The Roman Empire Through Primary Sources

Contributor: Danielle Childers. Lesson ID: 10406

You'll learn about Ancient Rome by studying its architecture including mosaics. Through online activities and research, you'll see how art teaches us about history. You'll even create your own mosaic.


World, World

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!


The emperors in the Roman Empire were so afraid of being poisoned, they tried to make their bodies immune by drinking a little bit of known poisons themselves.

  • If they were afraid of being poisoned; do you think the emperors were well-liked, or did they abuse their power?

The emperors of the Roman Empire were very powerful.

The Roman Empire was large and powerful. It grew from a small city in Italy to include all of Italy and much of Europe.

Roman Territory map

Image from Classical Drama and Society by Mark Damen at Utah State University, licensed under a Creative Commons CC BY-ND 3.0 US license.

It was able to grow and conquer many lands because of its powerful army. The Roman Empire’s army forced the newly conquered areas to have the same beliefs they did. This practice worked for awhile; but then people started to rebel, and the king could not control everyone in his Empire. So after the year 117AD, the Roman Empire began to break down.

Look at the above map to answer the following questions:

  • What year did the Roman Empire encompass all of Italy?
  • What year did the Roman Empire have the most land?

Print and complete the Roman Empire Map found in the Downloadable Resources in the right-hand sidebar.

Watch the video below which shows the growth of the Roman Empire. We still use many of their inventions today.

Short history of Rome

The Romans did not spend all of their time fighting; they were amazing artists, engineers and architects. Some of their buildings are still standing today, including the two pictured below!

  • Do either of these look familiar to you?

The Romans were the first to build structures with columns.

  • Can you point to them in the picture of the Pantheon?

They were also the first to build with cement and concrete.

Read about the 10 Innovations That Built Ancient Rome by Evan Andrews (

  • What would your life would be like without these innovations?

Print out Ancient Rome Innovations found in the Downloadable Resources in the right-hand sidebar. Choose 5 of the 10 Innovations from the lesson and write each under the Roman Innovation column.

Think about how each innovation has changed, if any, since Ancient Rome. Add your thoughts to the Modern Day column.

Think about how that innovation has impacted you. Add your ideas to the How this Innovation Impacts Me column.

Now, continue on to the Got It? section to learn how artistic the Romans were!

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