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Ancient Rome

Glossary and Terms

History >> Ancient Rome

Aqueduct - A manmade channel used for delivering water to Roman towns. Public fountains and baths made water available to everyone. Wealthy Romans had running water in their homes.

Barbarian - A term used by the Romans to refer to people who lived outside the Roman Empire.

Censor - A government official who counted the people of Rome. He also was responsible for public morality and some of the government finances.

Century - A division of the Roman army made up of 80 soldiers and led by a centurion.

Circus - A large oval shaped stadium used for chariot races.

Citizen - A Roman citizen had certain rights and privileges including the right to vote. Only freeborn men were fully Roman citizens.

Cohort - A cohort was a division of the Roman army. It was made up of six centuries or 480 men. There were 10 cohorts in a Roman legion.

Consul - The highest position in the Roman government. There were two consuls elected each year for a one year term.

Dictator - A ruler that has absolute power.

Dynasty - When a family passes down the leadership of a country from generation to generation.

Emperor - The leader of an empire. The first emperor of Rome was Augustus.

Forum - The area of a Roman town that was the center of Roman life. Government meetings, public speeches, and business all took place in the forum.

Fresco - A painting made on a freshly plastered wall. The paint would be absorbed into the plaster as it dried.

Gaul - What the Romans called the lands to the north and west of Italy.

Gladiator - A person who fought for the entertainment of Roman audiences. Gladiators sometimes fought to the death.

Gladius - A short sword used by Roman soldiers.

Legion - The main unit of the Roman army. It generally had around 5400 soldiers and was divided up into groups of men called cohorts and centuries.

Mosaic - A type of art using small tiles made of glass or stone to create a picture.

Orator - A talented public speaker. This was an important skill for Roman leaders.

Paterfamilias - The man who was leader of the Roman family. He had complete power over his wife and children.

Patrician - A member of the original elite land-owning families of Rome.

Plebeian - A common person or person not of the patrician class.

Praetor - A high ranking official in the Roman government.

Province - An area of the Roman empire that was outside Italy.

Quaestor - An official of the Roman government who supervised various financial affairs.

Republic - A country where the government is run by elected officials rather than by a king or emperor.

Rhetoric - The art of public speaking used to inform, motivate, or persuade an audience.

Senate - A group of prestigious men who advised the consuls. In most cases the consuls did what the Senate recommended.

Tribune - An elected representative of the Plebeian Council. Tribunes could veto laws made by the Senate.

Toga - A long robe worn by Roman citizens. It was generally white with color markings for high ranking officials.

For more about Ancient Rome:

Overview and History
Timeline of Ancient Rome
Early History of Rome
The Roman Republic
Republic to Empire
Wars and Battles
Roman Empire in England
Fall of Rome

Cities and Engineering
The City of Rome
City of Pompeii
The Colosseum
Roman Baths
Housing and Homes
Roman Engineering
Roman Numerals
Daily Life
Daily Life in Ancient Rome
Life in the City
Life in the Country
Food and Cooking
Family Life
Slaves and Peasants
Plebeians and Patricians

Arts and Religion
Ancient Roman Art
Roman Mythology
Romulus and Remus
The Arena and Entertainment
Julius Caesar
Constantine the Great
Gaius Marius
Spartacus the Gladiator
Emperors of the Roman Empire
Women of Rome

Legacy of Rome
The Roman Senate
Roman Law
Roman Army
Glossary and Terms

Works Cited

History >> Ancient Rome

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