Pr02b_New Direction in Government and Society- Ancient Rome: The Founding of Rome (Slide by Slide Description)
Cover Slide: “SPQR”. Represents republican Rome’s creed. As an acronym, it stands for “Senatus Populusque Romanus” => The Senate and People of Rome. Such a phrase/ acronym would be affixed at the end of official documents and facade of public monuments.
Slide #2 – 4: Maps depicting the region of interest.
Slide #5 – 7: Much about Rome’s founding is lost. The ravages of time and human activities have left us little about this period. Myths and the occasional artifact is what we have to depend on for information dating to the 8th C. BCE. Rome was founded in 753 BCE (traditionally accepted date).
Slide #8 – 12: An early myth of Rome’s founding is known by many today. It involved the nurturing of abandoned twins by a ‘she wolf’. Myths serve the purpose of answering questions that a pre-scientific society could not otherwise answer. Myths do not fall within the category of undeniable fact, but they are still valuable in revealing social values. I provide here student contributions to a discussion on what the Romulus – Remus myth revealed.
Slide #13: This is a semantic map of what we can extract from the myth of Rome’s founding.
Slide #14: The City of Rome, like many ancient cities, started as a walled town. It’s early stages of development never revealing what it will eventually become. The town had four ‘Gates’ or entrance ways into the town. The paths from each gate met in the center to form the *Forum*. The Forum was the focal point of civic activity. The city would grow and that often entailed extending the walls further outward.
The red band drawn along the perimeter of the town (slide 14) represents the *Pomerium*. It’s a bit challenging to explain the significance of this area, which surrounds all Roman towns beginning with Rome. In an effort to keep this within the realm of high school History class, I will say this much; the Pomerium’s sacred nature as a barrier (or border if you like) dates to Rome’s founding era. Originally a practical solution to dealing with limited space within the town, the Pomerium may also have been a way to avoid the pestilence that accompanied inadequate means of interring the dead. The area outside the town walls become a communal cemetery and acquires a sacredness from that early use. Of course, as Rome comes to expand and conquer areas near and far, space is no longer a consideration of high magnitude. The Pomerium transforms from a place to bury the dead, to a sacred barrier/ border marking the integrity of the town/ city it encloses. This barrier will play a significant role in the evolution of one of Rome’s most sacred of traditions (involving the authority represented by the Fasces). That story will be told at another time.
Slide #15: Rome, by the mid-1st C. BCE, has grown far beyond it’s modest beginning. At it’s height, the city will hold as many as 1,000,000 people.