Civics Lesson

Civics Course: Ancient Rome
Title: The Rise and Fall of a Democracy
Special Focus on the Role and Importance of Women in Ancient Rome
Reference Text… “Octavian: Rise to Power”
Patrick J. Parrelli     678-823-1820

Learning Objective:
Gain a unique understanding of the singular importance of our Constitution to our Democracy.

Course Description:
The focus of the course is the study of what caused Rome’s Democracy to fail in the 1st century BC. There are important civics lessons in this historical story. They are instructive and can be most helpful in gaining an understanding of our government and other governments of the world today.

First, there is a brief review of the early history of Ancient Rome from its Founding in 753 BC, through its Age of Kings up to and until 509 BC when the Romans overthrew a tyrannical monarchy and replaced it with a Democracy they created, a democratic Republic.

Then, this is followed by an in-depth study of the most pivotal time in the history of Ancient Rome, the 1st century BC. During this period, the Roman leaders of the day failed to support the democratic principles they had established nearly 500 years prior. It caused the failure of their Democracy and Rome transitioned into a Principate type Empire as it came under the rule of one man, Caesar Augustus.

Rome initially prospered under the Principate Empire, but several hundred years later (beyond the scope of this course) the Principate became a Dominate Empire. This ultimately led to the fall of Ancient Rome.

The lessons are made more interesting because they’re told through the personal stories of the main characters and their relationships with one another. The student will benefit from learning what these people were really like; their personalities, family relationships, love interests, friends, enemies and rivalries as they make history in the battles, treaties and politics of this most amazing story of Ancient Rome.

Special attention is also paid to the importance of the role of women in this historical period.

Benefits and Goals for Students:
Gain a basic understanding of the major forms of government (Democracy, Monarchy, Aristocracy, Dictatorship, and Oligarchy).
Develop an ability to identify and understand what combination of events can cause a democratic Republic to fail and be replaced by the Government of a sole ruler.
Attain a greater interest in studying history by learning how entertaining the people in it may be.
Obtain a basic framework upon which to further study the history of Ancient Rome.

What the Students are expected to be able to do:
Give a brief dissertation on the Timeline of Ancient Rome and its important historical dates.
Provide an outline of the basic forms of Government and briefly explain each.
Explain the failure of Rome’s Democracy and what we can learn from it and use today.
Provide an opinion as to what they believe the people of Ancient Rome were “really like.”
Describe what they believe the responsibilities of the Citizens of a Democracy are.