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.
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History >> Ancient Rome