This post was published on May 18, 2022 by

Ancient Rome Facts – English Documentary

An English documentary about the ancient Rome facts with a video + full video transcript to practice listening and reading comprehension at the same time. You can also learn advanced vocabulary in real context about the ancient Rome facts.

Source of documentary: National Geographic YouTube channel

Listening comprehension on Ancient Rome facts

Reading comprehension on Ancient Rome facts

The story of ancient Rome

The story of ancient Rome is a story of evolution, of how a civilization’s ability to adapt and dominate can lead to its survival for over 1,000 years.

Rome began as a small village on central Italy’s Tiber River. In the coming centuries, it grew into an empire that stretched from the north Atlantic all the way to the Persian Gulf.

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During this transformation, Rome displayed a political, military, and cultural prowess that enabled it to become a super power and helped shape what would become known as western civilization.

Three major time periods in ancient Rome

The lifespan of ancient Rome can be divided into three major periods: the regal, the republican, and the imperial. During the regal period, Rome was monarchical and ruled by a succession of about seven kings. Rome’s first king, according to legend, was a man named Romulus. He and his twin brother Remus are said to have founded Rome in 753 B.C.

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In 509 B.C., Rome adopted a republican system of governance in which the state was primarily ruled by two annually representatives called praetors, who were later called consuls. One of them become a famous general and dictator, Julius Caesar.

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The imperial period followed. It was characterized by the rise of the Roman Empire and notorious leaders such as Octavian, Rome’s first emperor, who issued in an era of peace, and Nero, who, some scholars believe, was Rome’s cruelest emperor.

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This rise of ancient Rome

Rome’s focus and pride in its military was vital to the civilization’s growth, and this ethos was evident as early as the regal period when Rome was only a small village. Still, Rome slowly conquered and annexed neighboring peoples. This slow and steady expansion eventually lead to the Romans’ domination of the Italian peninsula and the entire Mediterranean Sea, where they conquered the Greeks, Egyptians, and Carthaginians.

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Expanding the territory

Military conquests would later help Rome conquer lands as far away as Britain and Iraq. This massive scale and growing populous necessitated advancements in Roman engineering. Aqueducts were constructed, which increased the public’s access to water, helped improve public health, and paved the way for Rome’s famed bath houses.

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A 50,000 mile long road system was built as well. While made originally for the military, it facilitated the movement of people and ideas throughout the empire. This transmission of ideas and increased contact with diverse cultures also enabled other aspects of Roman culture to evolve.

Accommodation of cultures & languages

A key to Rome’s success and longevity was the empire’s inclusion of cultures from the lands they conquered. From the nearby land of Latium, Rome acquired the Latin language, which became the empire’s official language and the ancestor to Europe’s Romance languages.

Romans also adopted cultural aspects from the ancient state of Etruria, including their religion, alphabet, and the spectacle of gladiator combat.

Ancient Greece & ancient Rome

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However, no other civilization influenced the Romans as much as the ancient Greeks. Their influence is probably most apparent in Rome’s art and architecture. Upper class Romans commissioned paintings and sculptures to imitate Greek art. Greek architectural styles, such as columns, were implemented in Roman structures such as the Pantheon and Colosseum.

Rise of Christianity

One cultural shift in particular that resonated throughout the empire was the rise of Christianity. Originating in the Middle East, the religion found a strong advocate in Constantine I, the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity. He enabled Rome’s transition into a Christian state and encouraged the religion to spread across Europe.

The fall of ancient Rome

By the fourth century, after a lifespan of over a millennium, the Roman Empire declined. Factors including political corruption, economic crises, and class conflict led to the empire’s decay from within while invasions and other military threats caused it to break down from outside.

Rome’s ability to incorporate diverse cultures, dominate rivals, and adapt political systems to the needs of its people are all lessons to be learned for time eternal.

About Dr. Mohammad Hossein Hariri Asl

Dr. Mohammad Hossein Hariri Asl is an English and Persian instructor, researcher, inventor, author, blogger, SEO expert, website developer, and the creator of LELB Society. He's got a PhD in TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language). Study our guest posting guidelines for authors.

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