Ancient Roman Jobs: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Kristin Pia Hayman

Kristin taught for over 10 years in the elementary classroom. She holds a B.A. in Journalism as well as a Master's Degree in Elementary Education.

Ancient Rome was a sophisticated and powerful society. The people who lived there all contributed in their own ways, working at various jobs to advance the society as a whole. This lesson will focus on common jobs in Ancient Rome and why they were all so important.

Ancient Roman Jobs

A typical day in Ancient Rome would be to wake up early, have breakfast, and go to work! But what did people do all day? Ancient Rome was an impressive society that required people to work at different jobs so that the society could function as one. This is called a division of labor because all of the labor is divided up among groups that work together to accomplish more.

There were many jobs available, and what you did for a living often depended on your education or family status. Unfortunately, because slavery was widely used in Ancient Rome, many of the boring or difficult tasks were done by slaves. Also, most women did not usually work outside of the home. Their primary responsibilities included running the household and caring for small children. Both were very important jobs!

The people of Ancient Rome held many different jobs.
chariot

Farmers

Let's start with the most basic need: food! Ancient Rome was made up of sprawling countrysides. The people who lived there were mostly farmers. All types of crops were grown, but the most common was wheat, used to make bread. Crops were taken from the countryside into larger towns where there were more people.

Military

Romans prided themselves on their ability to protect and defend their empire. Because they were so powerful, they needed a strong army. All types of men served in the military, and there were many ranks. Men from poorer families would join the army because it boosted them to a higher social class and allowed them to earn money. Wealthier men would join to gain power as high-ranking officials.

A strong military was needed to protect Rome.
soldier

Entertainer

What's a society without a little fun? Many Romans were employed in the theater and as artists to create entertainment and performances. They enjoyed music, dancing, and juggling.

Ancient Romans also enjoyed watching sporting events such as chariot racing and gladiator matches. Rome is famous for its gladiators, who were tough fighters. They fought against other gladiators, criminals, or even wild animals. This was not a fight you would want to be a part of, because they often fought to the death. Yikes! As horrible as this sounds, Ancient Romans loved watching gladiator matches, just like people enjoy watching football today.

Gladiators fought in arenas such as the Colosseum.
arena

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