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Ancient Roman Contributions: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Michelle Jones

Michelle has taught at the elementary level and has earned a master's degree.

The Roman Empire was the most powerful of its time. It lasted for over 1,000 years and spread over several continents. This lesson describes some of the most important contributions of this influential empire.

What is a Contribution?

Have you ever donated money to a charity or food for a food pantry? How about helping your sports team win a game, either by playing or cheering them on? When you supply or give something to help a cause or another person, you are making a contribution. Over the course of 1,000 years, many Roman leaders took control of land in Europe, Asia, and North Africa and spread their contributions throughout these areas.

Since the Roman Empire lasted for so long and was so big, many of their ideas and practices were spread around and are still used today. Let's face it, they had some pretty good ideas, and I think you'll be surprised to learn just how much of our culture originated from one that existed 2,000 years ago.

This shows the scope of the Roman Empire at its largest.
Map of Roman Empire

Architecture

If you were to look at buildings in our nation's capital or even your state's capital, you would notice many of them have columns and arches. You may even have an arched wall in your house. Although the Romans used Greek columns on their buildings, they came up with the idea of arches as a way to support more weight, which allowed them to construct larger buildings.

One of the most well known structures from ancient Roman times is the Colosseum. This large amphitheater could seat 50,000 people - more than any other in Rome. Arches are a prominent feature in this impressive building where gladiator fights and other entertainment took place. If you've ever been to a concert or hockey or basketball game, you've been in a Roman inspired building.

Arches go all the way around the Colosseum.
Picture of Colosseum

Government and Laws

Although you're not old enough to vote for our nation's leaders, your parents are. We can partly thank the ancient Romans for this idea. Like the columns on buildings, Romans took a Greek custom and expanded on it. The Romans liked the idea of having citizens vote for leaders and laws, but because their empire was so large, it wasn't realistic. Instead, they came up with a representative democracy, in which citizens would elect leaders to represent them on government issues. Sound familiar? The structure of our country's government is based on this Roman Republic, as it was called.

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