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Climate in Ancient Rome: 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's warm and mild climate helped its citizens build a powerful empire. However, over many years the climate shifted and weakened the empire, and may have even helped lead to the fall of Rome.

What Is Climate?

You probably already know that the weather of an area can affect what happens there. Take the Rocky Mountains, for example: the snowy winters there make it an ideal place for tourists who love to ski and snowboard. Or what about Florida? The warm winters there make it a place where people go to escape the cold and relax in the sun.

The weather conditions that are the most common in an area in over a long period of time are collectively called the area's climate. In general, the climate of an area remains similar year after year. Climate does change over time, but it usually takes many years for that change to be noticeable. The climate of a desert is dry and arid, while the climate of a rainforest may be described as tropical.

A Mediterranean climate is warm and mild
med climate

Building Rome

Ancient Rome was located on the Mediterranean Sea and had warm summers and mild winters. This type of climate is referred to as a Mediterranean climate. At first, the Roman kingdom was just located near where the modern city of Rome is. As the kingdom expanded, it acquired more and more land. Soon the Roman Empire stretched all over Europe. So what does this have to do with climate? Well, as the empire grew, it took over lands with many different climates. Deserts, mountains, wetlands and forests all became diverse areas of the Roman Empire.

As the empire expanded, so did the diversity of climates
map

An Important Factor

Farming thrived in the Mediterranean climate, which had a light and crumbly soil that was good for growing things. This ideal climate helped Rome to grow quickly and soon become a great power in Europe. And since up to 90% of Romans lived in the country and depended on farms for their food, farming was certainly a huge part of life. The Romans easily grew many crops, such as grapes, olives, wheat, and barley. The farmers planted seeds in spring and harvested crops in the fall. They took advantage of the warm, wet summers to grow their food and stock up before winter.

Farming was an important factor in the growth of Rome
Farming

A Changing Climate

Since the dawn of time, humans have been subject to climate change. When this happens, the climate shifts over a short period of time and upsets the balance of the land. Even the Romans, who were a very advanced civilization, were not protected from changing climates.

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