Regents Prep: Global History: Golden Ages:
Pax Romana
The Roman Republic was founded in 509 BCE.  The government was run by elected officials called Senators, who were chosen from the upper class called Patricians.  The lower class, Plebeians, made up the majority of the population and were generally farmers, artisans, and merchants.

By 270 BCE, Rome controlled all of Italy.  They also soon conquered Carthage, Macedonia, Greece, and parts of Asia Minor. This expansion led to civil war and the end of the Republic when Julius Caesar took power in 48 BCE.  After his murder, Caesar's grandnephew, Augustus, became Emperor.  This began a 200 year long peace called the Pax Romana.  The Pax Romana became a time of cultural and intellectual achievements for Rome.

Rome's greatest achievement was its system of laws. Some of the features of this system include, men being equal under the law, having the right to face their accusers, and being considered innocent until proven guilty.  Later, these laws were written down and named the Laws of the Twelve Tables.  Many aspects of this system of justice survive today in law codes around the world.

Art & Architecture
Roman art and architecture is a blending of Greek and Roman elements.  In art, Rome copied many Greek statues, but also produced a more realistic style of portraiture art instead of the idealized forms favored by the Greeks. In architecture, Rome used Greek columns, but modified them to be more elaborate, as well as using the arch and dome quite extensively, something the Greeks did not do.  An example of Roman use of arches and domes can be seen in the Pantheon.

The Romans built engineering marvels across their empire, such as roads, harbors, and bridges,.  They were well known for the building of aqueducts, which were bridge like structures used to carry fresh water across long distances. In Segovia, Spain the Roman aqueduct still functions today.

Science and Medicine
As with Hellenistic civilization, Alexandria, Egypt remained a center of learning under the Romans. In Roman controlled Alexandria, the astronomer - mathematician Ptolemy proposed that the earth was the center of the universe.  The geocentric model offered by Ptolemy was the accepted view until Copernicus offered the heliocentric, or sun centered theory of the universe. In medicine, the Greek physician Galen compiled an encyclopedia that became the standard medical text until the Islamic doctor Ibn Sina wrote his Canon on Medicine.


Created by Jeffery Watkins
Copyright 1999-2003 Oswego City School District Regents Exam Prep Center
RegentsPrep and StudyZone are FREE educational resources.