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The Foundations of Rome OCR Teacher's Guide

This Teacher's Guide is taken from the OCR Foundations of Rome Teachers' Guide which can be accessed at the OCR website and downloaded in full here.

Overview of the topic

The foundation of Rome, its early kings and the creation of the Republic has fascinated historians for millennia. Despite the best efforts of modern historians and archaeologists, the origins of this great empire are still shrouded in myth and legend. Uncovering the ‘foundations of Rome’ remains one of the ancient world’s biggest challenges.

This compulsory unit will invite learners to add their ideas to the debate. Students will primarily follow the foundation story which has come down to us through Livy. His account includes surprising and, at times, shocking events which will facilitate debate and advanced historical skills. Archaeology and modern historical research will combine to challenge and cast light upon his account. From here learners will begin to formulate their own theories as to how useful the Foundation stories are to historians. Learners will assess how far the savagery of Romulus’ murder of his brother and his city of criminals and outcasts provides the blueprint for an ambitious city which portrays expansion and aggression as a virtue. On the other, students will consider how significant self-sacrifice and community are to the Romans through the stories of the Sabine women, Lucretia and Brutus. As the narrative unfolds students will explore how these two themes clash in the Conflict of the Orders. The self-interest of the patrician class and the growing communal consciousness of the plebeian class leads to conflict and sedition which threatens to tear Rome apart. By making Roman history relevant to modern minds this syllabus is designed to prepare and enthuse students for further study with a coherent understanding of the origins of Rome.



The basic format of this planning guide is to take the events in chronological order as the easiest approach for students to gain familiarity with the necessary details. The themes in the specification can be accessed at various points in the scheme; there will be a need to focus on the themes for the students at various points. Throughout this planning guide, relevant original sources are suggested as to where teachers can find details about the specified content. These suggestions do not imply that these should all be studied with the candidates. The sources which have a & symbol next to them are recommendations as to which material could be studied with students.

This period study is designed to take approximately 33–38 hours of teaching time to complete. This guide will provide an overview of how this content might be taught in that timeframe. The planning guide is structured around the narratives / content and contains possible points that might be considered or discussed in class. The planning guide does not contain activities. This is intentional to enable you to choose a series of activities that compliment your own teaching.

Teachers may use this guide as an example of one possible way of approaching the teaching of the ‘Foundations of Rome, 753-440 BC’ longer period study and NOT a prescriptive plan for how your teaching should be structured.

The ancient sources detailed in the planning guide does not represent a prescribed source booklet nor does it constitute a document from where examiners will draw the passage or image for the ‘unseen’ source in the examination.

What this guide is intended to do is to show you what the teaching outline might look like in practice. It should then help you to build your own scheme of work, confident that you’ve covered all the required content in sufficient depth.


Planning guide


Specification content

Narrative / content

Ancient sources

Potential themes for discussion

The geography of Rome and the ancient sources we have

(Suggested timings: 1–2 hours)

· The geography of Rome and the advantages of its site

· The people of Latium and their relationship with the early Romans

· Etruscans and Greek city-states and their relationships with the early Romans

· Learners should be introduced to Livy and possibly Dionysius of Halicarnassus, including their motivations for writing their history.

· Livy Preface

· Dionysius of Halicarnassus Preface


The Foundation of the City of Rome: The Myths of Aeneas and Romulus and Remus

(Suggested timings: 2 hours)

The myth of Aeneas

· Aeneas’ journey from Troy


Livy, 1.1–1.3.9


· Aeneas’ agreement/treaty with Latinus and marriage to Lavinia

Dionysius 1.57–1.58

· the founding of Lavinium

Dionysius 1.59.2–1.59.3

· conflict with the Rutuli


· the founding of Alba Longa by Ascanius and the line of Alban kings, linking Aeneas to Romulus

Livy 1.3; Dionysius 1.66.1–1.66.2, 1.70–1.71


The myth of Romulus and Remus

· Importance of Mars and Rhea Silvia, the exposure of Romulus and Remus, and raised by a shepherd, Faustulus, and his wife


Livy, The History of Rome 1.3.10–1.4.7

· What do these foundation myths say about the Romans?

· Similarities to the early youth of Cyrus

· The capture of Remus, the realisation of royal blood by Faustulus and Numitor

Livy, The History of Rome 1.4.8–1.5.6

· The overthrow of Amulius and re-establishment of Numitor as the king of Alba Longa

Livy, The History of Rome 1.5.7–1.6.2

· Romulus and Remus’ desire to build a new city where they were left to be exposed and the murder of Remus

Livy, The History of Rome 1.6.3–1.7.3

Myth and reality: 8th century Rome and before

What does the archaeological and literary evidence tell us about the foundation of Rome?

(Suggested timings: 1 hour)

Some things worth referring to may include:

· Pottery deposits from the final Bronze Age have been found near the Forum, the Palatine and Capitoline demonstrating that these sites were occupied.

· An area of the Forum was used as a crematory in the 10th century, possibly for a settlement on the Palatine and/or Capitoline hills. Other cemeteries have been found on the Esquiline, Quirinal and Viminal hills.

· Remains of 9th and 8th-century houses have been found on the Cermalus, one of the ridges on the Palatine. The buildings of the period were oval wooden huts with thatched roofs.


Vollonovan culture funerary urn


The nature and reliability of the ancient literary sources

The kings of Rome, 753–509 BC

(Suggested timing: 15 ½–16 ½ hours)

Romulus 753–716 BC

(Suggested timing: 2 ½–3 hours)

Livy 1.7.3-–1.17 and Dionysius 2.1–2.56 cover Romulus’ reign

Romulus’ political initiatives and the role of the Senate

· Romulus role as the creator of Rome’s structures:


The nature and character of Romulus’ reign


Romulus’ political, social and religious achievements

o 12 lictors

Livy 1.8.2–1.8.3

o Toga praetexta

Livy 1.8.3

o sella curulis (curule chair)

Livy 1.8.3

o Romulus created 100 ‘Senators’ who were tasked with advising the king and representing the people of Rome. Romulus chose 100 either because he felt this was an appropriate number or because there were 100 clan leaders. They were called patres and their descendants' patricians.

Livy 1.8.7 & Dionysius 2.12

o Plebeians and patricians

Dionysius 2.8–2.9

o the patron-client system

Dionysius 2.10

o Creation of 3 tribes and 30 curiae; used to divide people and land

Dionysius 2.7

o established 300 celeres (bodyguards)

Livy 1.15.8 & Dionysius 2.13








· Rome as a ‘city’ of outcasts, criminals and immigrants.

Livy 1.8.4–1.8.6


· Rome’s relationship with the Sabines, the Rape of the Sabine women and shared reign with Sabine king Tatius.

Livy 1.9–1.14.4

· Romulus’ temple to Jupiter

Livy 1.10.5–1.10.7

· Romulus’ death, including Livy’s accounts of his deification and murder.

Livy 1.16, Dionysius 2.56

Numa 716–672 BC

(Suggested timing: 1 hour)

Livy 1.17–1.21 and Dionysius 2.58–2.76 cover Numa’s reign


The succession of Numa, his religious policies and reforms, and use of diplomacy

· The interregnum and the selection of Numa for his pious reputation

Livy 1.17–1.18

The nature and character of Numa’s reign


Comparison with Romulus


Religious and social change

· Numa’s use of diplomacy to facilitate peace

Livy 1.19.4

· Numa’s use of religion, laws and a common identity.

o The temple of Janus


Livy 1.19.2–1.19.4

o Use of religion – fear of the gods – and relationship with the goddess Egeria and the impact that this had on Rome and their neighbours

Livy 1.19.4–1.19.5, 1.21.1–1.21.2

o Introduction of a new calendar

Livy 1.19.6

o Introduction of days of business and no business

Livy 1.19.7

o Numa’s introduction of the flamen, pontiff and Vestal Virgins

Livy 1.20.1–1.20.7

· New places of sacrifices were agreed

Livy 1.21.3–1.21.5

Tullus Hostilius 672–642 BC

(Suggested timing: 2 hours)

Livy 1.22–31 and Dionysius 3.1–3.35 cover Tullus Hostilius’ reign

Tullus Hostilius’ conflict with Alba Longa

· The nature of Hostilius’ character and the nature of his reign


The nature and character of Tullus Hostilius’ reign


Political change and the impact of warfare


The veracity of these accounts about Alba Longa


Comparison with earlier kings


· The conflict with Alba Longa and the battle of the 3 Curiatii and 3 Horatii

Livy 1.22–1.29

& Livy 1.24–1.25

· Right to appeal as described in Livy 1.26 in the context of Publius appealing decision after murdering his sister. Publius was condemned to death but his father and Publius appeal to popular assemblies and managed to get the punishment commuted.

Livy 1.26

· Later however the Alban king Mettius plotted with the Roman colony of Fidenae to rebel against Rome. The Roman defeated the Fidenae and Mettius was torn in two by chariots running in the opposite direction.

Livy 1.27–1.28

· Tullus Hostilius ordered the destruction of Alba Longa.

Livy 1.29; Dionysius 3.31

· Growth of Rome due to the fall of Alba Longa, including adding Alban nobles to the Senate and the reputed building the first Senate House, the Curia Hostilia.

Livy 1.30.1–1.30.3

Ancus Marcius 642–617 BC

(Suggested timing: 1 hour)

Livy 1.32–33 and Dionysius 3.36–3.45 cover the reign of Ancus Marcius.

Ancus Marcius’ expansion of Rome

· Ancus character: re-established religious rites but forced to become a warrior-like king

Livy 1.32.1–1.32.5 & Dionysius 3.36–3.37

The nature and character of Ancus Marcius’ reign


Military and social change; impact of warfare


Comparison with earlier kings


· Expansion of Rome and its defences:

o the introduction of envoys

Livy 1.32.5–1.32.14

o the impact of the war with the Latin cities: granted citizenship of many Latins and these were settled in the area called Admurciae which linked the Aventine and Palatine.

Livy 1.33.5

o the Janiculum was brought into the city to prevent the strong position being held by an enemy

Livy 1.33.6

o construction of the bridge known as the Pons Sublicius over the river Tiber

Livy 1.33.6–7

o the construction of the Fossa Quiritium (ditch fortification)

Livy 1.33.7

o the construction of the prison

Livy 1.33.8–9

o expansion of Rome – Mesian Forest and Roman dominion extended to the sea

Livy 1.33.9

o Ostia was built

Livy 1.33.9

o the temple of Jupiter Feretrius was enlarged

Livy 1.33.9

Myth vs reality – 7th century Rome

· Archaeological

· Geographical

· Literary


(Suggested timing: 1 hour)

A chance to look back and challenge what the literary sources say by looking at the archaeological evidence to see which parts of the regal past might be historical and which parts might be myth. Alternatively, this could be done as one goes through each king in order.

Some things worth referring to could include:

· Archaeological evidence shows that the 7th century was a period of urbanisation which the settlements on the various hills merged into a much clear single community. Burial areas were now confined to the outlying hills – the Esquiline and the Quirinal.

· Archaeological evidence shows that the 7th century saw developments to the later day Forum Romanum, and excavations near the House of the Vestal Virgins and the sanctuary of Vesta reveal important buildings in terms of size and complexity. The central areas around the Palatine and Capitoline were now reserved for public buildings or private houses.

· It is likely that a small and dominate elite had developed, and evidence suggests that clans were an important part of society. By the end of the 7th century, aristocratic male Romans had two names: a personal name and a clan name.


The anachronistic nature of the literary sources


Was there a monarchy in Rome at this point? The earliest epigraphical evidence comes from the 6th century. Livy acknowledges an interrex, when the heads of leading clans ruled Rome between kings. If Rome followed a similar development to other Italian states, it may have been ruled by an elite composed of heads of clans who shared power rather than exclusively by a king.

Lucius Tarquinius Priscus / Tarquin the Elder 616–578 BC

(Suggested timing: 2 hours)

Livy 1.34–1.38 and Dionysius of Halicarnassus 3.46–3.73 covers Lucius Tarquinius’ reign

How Priscus gained and secured power

· Background to Lucius Tarquinius Priscus, his wealth and ambition, his arrival to Rome and the myth of the Eagle, his relationship with Ancus Marcius.

Livy 1.34.1–1.34.12

The political and social significance of victories


Importance of Etruscan influence upon the enlargement of Rome


Comparison with earlier kings


· On Ancus Marcius’ death, Lucius Tarquinius Priscus addressed the comitia curiata and convinced them he should be the next king

Livy 1.35.1–1.35.5

· Enlargement of the Senate with 100 of his supporters.

Livy 1.35.6; Dionysius 3.67.1

The nature of his reign including the development of the city of Rome and the reorganisation of the army

· Development of the Circus Maximus and establishment of annual games

Livy 1.35.8–1.35.10 & Dionysius 3.68

· Extension of the Forum

Livy 1.35.10

· Enlargement of legions and the conflict with Attus Navius, an augur, over this.

Livy 1.36.2–1.36.8

· Building works after victory against the Sabines including the commencement of an open-air sewer which would become the Cloaca Maxima

Livy 1.38.5–1.38.7 & Dionysius 3.67.4–3.67.5

· Increase to the number of Vestal Virgins and introduction of harsher punishments if they broke their vow of chastity

Dionysius 3.67.2–3.67.3

Servius Tullius 578–534 BC

(Suggested timing: 2 hours)

Livy 1.39–1.48 and Dionysius 4.1– 4.40 cover the reign of Servius Tullius.

The manner in which Servius Tullius gained and secured power

· Omens and myths surrounding Servius Tullius, including his heritage as discussed by Livy.

Livy 1.39

The nature and character of Servius Tullius’ reign


Political and military change


Comparison with earlier kings


· The murder of Tarquinius Priscus and the role of Ancus Marcius’ children.

Livy 1.40; Dionysius 3.72–3.73

· The significance of Servius becoming king because of Priscus’ wife and without the input of the Senate.

Livy 1.41

· The marriage of Servius’ two daughters to the two sons of Priscus.

Livy 1.42.1–1.42.2

The nature of Servius Tullius’ reign, including his reforms and development of the city

· Political reforms of Servius:

o creation of the census to decide military duties based upon wealth.

o The creation of comitia centuriata

o Establishment of new tribes

Livy 1.42.4–1.44.2

Dionysius of Halicarnassus 4.20 1.-5

Livy 1.43

· The extension of the city and the ‘Servian Walls’

Livy 1.44.3–1.44.5

· Building a temple to Diana (and sacrifice of a heifer fulfilling a prophecy that whoever sacrificed the animal would be the centre of a large empire).

Livy 1.45.2–1.45.7

· Granting land taken from the enemy to the plebs

Livy 1.46.1–1.46.2

Lucius Tarquinius Superbus / Tarquin the Proud / Tarquin the Arrogant 534–509 BC

(Suggested timing: 3–4 hours)

Livy 1.47–1.60 and Dionysius 4.41–4.85 cover the reign of Superbus

The scheming of Lucius Tarquinius Superbus and Tullia and the assassination of Servius Tullius

· Servius Tullius’ support from the people after hearing Lucius Tarquinius Superbus was saying that he was reigning without the approval of the people

Livy 1.46.1–1.46.2

The nature and character of Superbus’ reign


Was Superbus a tyrant?


The political and social significance of victories


Comparison with earlier kings


For those studying the ‘From tyranny to democracy’ depth study in J198/01, it may be worth reading Livy 1.54.5–1.54.10 due to the links with Periander (Herodotus 5.92F)

· Scheming of Lucius Tarquinius Superbus and the younger Tullia resulting in the murder of their respective partners, seizure of the throne and death of Servius Tullius.

Livy 1.46.3–1.48.9

The nature of Superbus’ reign

· Refusal to bury Servius Tullius’ body

Livy 1.49.1

· Killing supporters of Servius and decreasing influence of Senate

Livy 1.49.1 & Dionysius 4.42

· Surrounded himself with bodyguards

Livy 1.49.2 & Dionysius 4.41.2–4.41.3; 4.45.1

· Marriage alliances with other cities to help secure his position

Livy 1.49.8–1.49.9 & Dionysius 4.45.1–45.2

· Superbus’ plot to get rid of Turnus Herdonius, an outspoken critic of the king, when meeting Latin leaders, and renewal of treaty between Latin states.

Livy 1.50–1.52 & Dionysius 4.46–4.48

· Census is abandoned.

Dionysius 4.43

· Use of plebeians to provide labour

Livy 1.57.2 & Dionysius 4.44

· Military victories over the Sabines and Volsci

Livy 1.53.1–1.53.4

· the conquest of Gabii through his son Sextus

Livy 1.53.4–1.54.10

Dionysius 4.55–4.58

· creation of colonies

Livy 1.56.3 & Dionysius 4.63

The development of the city of Rome

· Extension of the city including

o setting aside money for the building of the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus and then built it once victories over the Volsci and Gabii.


Livy 1.53.2–1.53.4 & 1.55.1–1.56.2

Archaeological evidence to support rapid expansion in this period

o the Cloaca Maxima

Livy 1.56.2

o the Circus Maximus

Livy 1.56.2

Myth vs reality – Rome in the 6th century

· Archaeological

· Geographical

· Literary


(Suggested timing: 1–1 ½ hours)

A chance to look back and challenge what the literary sources say by looking at the archaeological evidence to see which parts of the regal past might be historical and which parts might be myth. Alternatively, this could be done as one goes through each king in order.

Some things worth referring to could include:

· The first archaeological evidence of kingship comes from the 6th century and exists in the form of a potsherd found in the Forum with the inscription rex and the Lapis Niger

· Alternative tradition mentioned by Claudius that Servius Tullius was known as Mastarna, an Etruscan warlord

· The 6th-century date of the Servian reform of the army is consistent with changes taking place elsewhere such as the development of hoplite warfare and the consequential political influence of the hoplite class. However, was this a single programme of reform or a series of longer-term changes which were rationalised and later attributed to Servius?

· The character and actions of Superbus are closely mirrored on those of ancient Greek tyrants, such as Peisistratus.

· Analysis of the stone blocks in the so-called Servian walls indicates that they were constructed not before the 4th century BC.

Lapis Niger


CIL 13.1668

The nature of the evidence for the Etruscan kings.

The Origins of the Republic, 509–494 BC

(Suggested timing: 7–7 ½ hours)

Livy 2.1–2.22 and Dionysius 5.1–6.21 cover these events

The removal of Tarquinus Superbus


Dionysius 4.64–4.85


(Suggested timing: 1 hour)

· Sextus’ rape of Lucretia and her suicide.

Livy 1.57.1–1.58.12 & Dionysius 4.64–4.67


· Lucius Junius Brutus use of Lucretia’s suicide and his position to organise a revolution

Livy 1.59.1–1.60.3 & Dionysius 4.70–4.71

· Appointment of an interrex, speech of Brutus

o Vote on proposal to banish Tarquins from Rome and not allowed to say or do anything regarding their restoration on the threat of death

· Vote on whether to have two annual magistrates


Dionysius 4.84

Dionysius 4.84

The creation of the early Republic


(Suggested timings: 2 hours)

· Lucius Junius Brutus and Lucian Tarquinius Collatinus (the husband of Lucretia) were the first two consuls according to Livy.

Livy 1.60.3 & Dionysius 4.84

Impact of the foundation of the Republic upon the plebeian and patrician class, in particular the tensions developing between the two groups


The development of the consulship and the Senate.

· Brutus’ early/first actions:

o Made people take an oath that no king would ever rule in Rome again

o Selection of equestrian men to help repopulate the Senate up to 300 men

o Changes to religious roles previously conducted by the king

o Appealing to the plebeians


Livy 2.1.9 & Dionysius 5.1.3

Livy 2.1.10–2.1.11 & Dionysius 5.13

Livy 2.2.1–2.2.2

Dionysius 5.2


· The removal of Lucius Tarquinius Collatinus from his position as consul. Publius Valerius Publicola was appointed/elected consul to replace Collatinus.

Livy 2.2.3–2.2.11 & Dionysius 5.10–5.12

· Using the pretext of recovering the property of the Tarquins, a conspiracy to murder the consuls and restore the Tarquins was hatched.

Livy 2.3.1–2.4.7 & Dionysius 5.5–5.10

· The role of Publius Valerius in uncovering the conspiracy. The involvement of Brutus’ two sons and their subsequent execution, along with the other conspirators.

Livy 2.5.5–2.5.10

· The Tarquins’ property was given to the plebs as plunder

Livy 2.5.1 & Dionysius 5.13.2–5.13.3

· Superbus was furious about the failures of his intrigues that he was determined for open war.

Livy 2.6.1

Military challenges to the early Republic and the Roman response

(Suggested timings: 3–3 ½ hours)

The battle of Silva Arsia (509 BC)

· Battle between Etruscan forces of Tarquinii and Veii led by Superbus against Republican forces.

· Battle took place near Silva Arsia (the Arsian Forest)

· Resulted in Republican victory but the death of Lucius Janius Brutus

Livy 2.6.1–2.7.4

Dionysius 5.14–5.16

Plutarch, Life of Publicola 9


· Concerns were raised about Publius Valerius’ actions after the death of Brutus where he seemed to be imitating Superbus. His subsequent actions, according to Plutarch, earned him the name ‘Publicola’.

Plutarch, Life of Publicola 10
Dionysius 5.17–5.19

Lapis Satricanus

Impact of the foundation of the Republic upon the plebeian and patrician class, in particular, the tensions developing between the two groups


Myth vs reality – discussion of the Lapis Satricanus (Stone of Satricum).

· Valerius ‘repopulated’ the Senate which had been reduced by war

Livy 2.7.5–2.7.12

· Introduced laws, including:

o allowing a defendant to appeal to the people from the judgement of the consuls

Plutarch, Publicola 11–12

Plutarch, Publicola 11.2 & Livy 2.8.2–2.8.3

o capital offence to assume a magistracy which the people had not bestowed

Plutarch, Publicola 11.2


Lars Porsena (508 BC)

· Superbus tried and failed to retake the throne a number of times before appealing to Lars Porsena for help. Lars Porsena was king of Clusium, a powerful Etruscan city.


Livy 2.9.1–2.9.4


The conflicting accounts as to what happened to Rome when fighting Lars Porsena


The relationships between plebeians and patricians


Myth vs reality

· Concern in Rome – fear of both Lars Porsena but also that the plebs might go over to him. The Senate made many concessions to the plebs

Livy 2.9.5–2.9.8

· According to Livy, Lars Porsena attacked Rome but was impressed with particular acts of bravery and chose to make peace. These acts included:

o Story of Horatius Cocles at the Pons Sublicius bridge

o Story of Gaius Macius Scaevola and his attempted assassination of Porsena

o Story of Cloelia

& Livy 2.10–2.13

Horatius Cocles: Plutarch, Publicola 16; Livy 2.10, Dionysius 5.23–5.25

Gaius Macius: Livy 2.12.1–2.13.5, Plutarch, Publicola 17, Dionysius 5.27–5.30

Cloelia: Plutarch Publicola 18–19, Livy 2.13.6–2.13.11

· According to Plutarch, Publicola negotiated a treaty with Lars Porsena which ended the war. Publicola gave the king hostages, including his daughter Valeria, whom Lars Porsena protected from the Tarquins.

Plutarch, Publicola 18 & Dionysius 5.31–5.35

· Other accounts, however, suggest that Lars Porsena subdued the city and that the Etruscans were driven out at some later date. Neither story however suggests that Superbus returned to the throne.

Pliny, Natural History 34.139 & Tacitus, Histories 3.72


Battle of Lake Regilius (499 BC according to Livy)

· Creation of a league of 30 towns against Rome and the first use of the role of dictator


Livy 2.18



· Battle between the Latin League, led by Superbus, and the Roman Republic, which ended in a Roman victory

Livy 2.19.1–2.20.13, 2.21.3–2.21.4

· Superbus spent the rest of his life in exile in Cumae.

Livy 2.21.5–2.21.6

Dionysius 6.2–6.21

Myth vs reality

(Suggesting timing: 1 hour)

A chance to look back and challenge what the literary sources say by looking at the archaeological record to see which parts of the early Republican past might be historical and which parts might be myth. Alternatively, this could be done as one goes through each aspect in order.

Some things worth referring to could include:

· Was the overthrow of the kings as peaceful as the literary sources suggest? Layers of burnt debris excavated in the Forum and elsewhere, which date to around 500 BC, may suggest that the overthrow of the Tarquins was bloodier than the sources imply.

· The nature of warfare in this and other periods – The literary sources depict large scale warfare; the reality is likely to be more like raiding/skirmishing rather than formal military campaigns.

· The Fasti – the records of the consuls since the founding of the Republic have come down to us


Was the overthrown of monarchy a liberation of Rome from tyranny or an outbreak of strife in the ruling family?


Was the overthrown of monarchy as a result of an evolutionary process or a single event?


Did Lars Porsena capture Rome? There is an alternative tradition in Pliny and Tacitus that he did.


Securing the Republic, 494–440 BC

(Suggested timing: 7–8 hours) Livy 2.23–4.6 and Dionysius 6.22–end of book 11 cover this period

Sicinius and the First Secession of the Plebeians (494 BC)


(Suggested timing: 2–2½ hours)

· Story of the war veteran will introduce learners to the main problems facing the plebeian class as a consequence of military service in the wars to protect Rome:

o Debt

o The tax burden

o Business failure due to their absence

Livy 2.23.1–2.23.9

Dionysius 6.22, 6.26

The distinction between plebeians and patricians


The impact of warfare


Political and social change


Myth vs reality ~> similarity to events in the 3rd Secession



· Consuls of the time were Publius Servilius and Appius Claudius Sabinus Regilansis. Presentation of Servius and Appius Claudius to present conflicting patrician views of the plebeian’s plight

Livy 2.23.10–2.23.15

Dionysius 6.23–6.24

· Informed that the Volsci were on the march to attack Rome, Servilius announced an edict which convinced the men to enlist. The Volsci were defeated in battle.

Livy 2.24.1–2.25.4

Dionysius 6.28–6.29

· However, on the soldiers' return, the other consul Appius reversed Servilius’ edict, angering the mob of debtors. This led to the failure of troops to enlist.

Livy 2.27.1–2.27.13 & 2.28

Dionysius 6.34


· Debate and appointment of Marcus Valerius as dictator, a man of moderate temper. He issued an edict similar to that which Servillius had issued. The Romans were victorious in the subsequent battle.

Livy 2.29.9–2.30.8, 2.31.1, 2.31.3

Dionysius 6.35–6.42

· Valerius tried to get a motion passed in the Senate to deal with the debt problem but couldn’t. Valerius then resigned as dictator

Livy 2.31.7–2.31.11

Dionysius 6.43–6.45

· Lucius Sicinius Vellutus advocated seceding from Rome and went to Mons Sacer (the Sacred Mount)

Livy 2.32.1–2.32.7

Dionysius 6.45

· The role of Menenius Agrippa in ending the First Secession and the creation of the Tribune of the Plebs.

Livy 2.32.8–2.32.12 & 2.33.1–2.33.3

Dionysius 6.87–6.89

· Famine resulted because the plebeians did not tend to their land during the succession, which led to grain being imported.

Livy 2.34.1-2.34.4

Dionysius 7.1

· Exile and defeat of Gaius Marcius Corialnus after he unsuccessfully advocated the reversal of these reforms.

Livy 2.34.7–2.35.6

The Volero Publilius uprising and the reforms of 471

(Suggested timing: 1 hour)

· Background: death of the tribune of the Plebs of 473 Gnaeus Genucius who had ordered the arrest and trial of the two previous consuls.

Livy 2.54.2–2.54.10

Political and social change

· This and the ineffectiveness of the tribunes led to rising tensions which eventually resulted in Volero Publilius being elected as a Tribune of the Plebs in 472.

Livy 2.55–2.56.1

Dionysius 9.38–9.39

· As tribune Volero Publilius proposed transferring the election of the tribune of the plebs from the comita curiata to the comita tributa but failed to get the law changed in 472

Livy 2.56.2–2.56.5

Dionysius 9.41

· Appius Claudius’ hatred of the commons

Livy 2.58.3–2.58.6

· Appius Claudius appointed consul in 471. Volero was re-elected tribune in 471 and tried again with his proposal. Volero’s fellow tribune clashed with Appius Claudius in the assembly. The Senate eventually agreed to pass the law.

Livy 2.56.5–2.57.4

Dionysius 9.42–9.49

· According to Piso, the number of tribunes of the plebs was officially increased to 5

Livy 2.57.4

The First and Second Decemvirate (450 & 449 BC) and the Second Secession (449 BC)

(Suggested timing: 2 – 2 ½ hours)

· Failure of Gaius Terentilius Harsa’s campaign (of c.462 BC) to define and limit consular power

Livy 3.9


· In 454, the plebeian tribunes asked for a body of legislators, both plebeian and patricians, to draw up / propose laws advantageous to both parties.

Livy 3.31.7–3.31.8

· 3 envoys sent to Athens to study the Laws of Solon and enquire about the laws of other Greek city-states. In 452, the envoys returned.

Livy 3.31.6–3.31.8 & 3.32.6

Dionysius 10.54

· Appointment of decemvirs with consular powers, not subject to the right of appeal; suspension of the consulship and tribune of the Plebs.

Livy 3.32.6–3.32.7

Dionysius 10.55–10.56

· Livy’s praise for the First Decemvirate

Livy 3.33.8–3.33.10,

· 10 tables voted on but felt that a further two tables were needed. Desire to appoint decemvirs again.

Livy 3.34–3.34.7

Dionysius 10.57



· Appius Claudius Crassus rigging of the election to ensure who was elected onto the 2nd Decemvirate.

Livy 3.35.1–3.35.10, Dionysius 10.58

The tyranny of the Second Decemvirate




· Creation of two extra tables which included a law which prevented plebeians and patricians marrying.

Livy 3.37.4, Dionysius 10.60.5–10.60.6


· the role of Appius Claudius Crassus in corrupting the Second Decemvirate to create a tyranny.

o no election of new magistrates and the decemvirate continue after their term of office had finished

Livy 3.36–3.38.2,

& Dionysius 10.59

Dionysius 11.2



o Appius Claudius Crassus’ use of coercion to force the Senate to mobilise an army.

Livy 3.38–3.41, Dionysius 11.3–11.21



o the murder of Licius Siccius for his opposition to the Decemvirs.

Livy 3.43, Dionysius 11.25–11.27



o Appius Claudius Crassus’ failed abduction of Virginia, the trial and her murder by her father.

Livy 3.44–3.50.9

& Livy 3.48

Dionysius 11.28–11.37

The similarity between the overthrow of the kings and the overthrow of the 2nd Decemvirate

Causes of the Second Secession

· The importance of Virginia’s father, Lucius Verginius, in mobilising the plebeians in Rome and the army to secede, weakening patrician authority

Livy 3.51.7–3.51.12

Dionysius 11.43–11.44

· The role of Valerius and Horatius in the dissolution of the Second Decemvirate, and appeasing the plebeians who had seceded.

Livy 3.51.12–3.54.5

The Valerio-Horatian Laws and the publication of the Twelve Tables and other reforms of the 440s

(Suggested timing: 1 hour)

· The importance of the Volero-Horation laws to ensure the inviolability of the plebeian tribunes.

o The resolutions passed by the Plebeian Council were binding on all.

o Restoration of the right of appeal to the people

o Restoration of plebeian tribunes and inviolability of the plebeian tribunes

Livy 3.55–59

Livy 3.55.3–3.55.4

Livy 3.55.4–3.55.5

Livy 3.55.6–3.55.8

The nature and scope of the laws of the Twelve Tables

· Publication of the Twelve Tables, engraved in brass and publicly exhibited. One of the two extra tables included a ban on marriages between plebeians and patricians.

Livy 3.57.10

· Verginius pardoned Appius Claudius for his crimes except that of illegally awarding custody a free woman to a man claiming her as his slave. The day before his trial, Appius Claudius committed suicide. The other decemvirs either went into exile or committed suicide.

Livy 3.56–3.59

Dionysius 11.46

· In 445 BC Gaius Canuleius’ succeeded in repealing the law preventing patrician and plebeian marriage.

· He proposed that plebeians should also be allowed to stand as consuls. The tribunes obstructed the enlistment of soldiers; and a compromise led to the creation of tribune of the soldiers, which could be elected from both the patricians and plebeians. No change was made to the election of consuls.

Livy 4.1–4.6

Dionysius 11.53–11.61

Myth vs reality

(Suggested timing: 1 hour)

A chance to look back and challenge what the literary sources say by looking at the archaeological record to see which parts of the early republic might be historical and which parts might be myth. Alternatively, this could be done as one goes through each aspect in order.

Some things worth referring to could include:

· Archaeological evidence suggests that in the 5th century Rome wasn’t a thriving place. There was a reduction in both Etruscan and Greek pottery and no major public building programmes between c.484 and 400.

· The number of annual magistrates, the title and how they relate to one another is hard to distinguish. At most we can say that Rome was ruled by elected annual magistrates, probably varying in number and possibly with varying titles and which may have changed over the 5th century.

· Analysis of the consular Fasti records shows that plebeians held the ‘consulship’ during the very early Republican period. Modern scholars have suggested that the patrician dominance of the consulship occurred later in the 5th century.

· The ‘Conflict of the Orders’ of the 1st half of the 5th century are perhaps better viewed as a set of wide-ranging set of legal and economic grievances, which then gave way to more of a direct political power struggle in the 2nd half of the 5th and into the 4th century, when plebeians and patricians developed stronger identities.




Endorsed textbooks from Bloomsbury

Resources for OCR specification for first teaching September 2017



OCR Ancient History GCSE Component 1: Greece and Persia

Sam Baddeley, Paul Fowler, Lucy Nicholas, James Renshaw

ISBN-13: 978-1350015173


OCR Ancient History GCSE Component 2: Rome

Paul Fowler, Christopher Grocock, James Melville

ISBN-13: 978-1350015203


This textbook supports OCR's GCSE Ancient History Component 1. It covers the period study on the Persian Empire and the three optional depth studies.


This textbook supports OCR's GCSE Ancient History Component 2. It covers the longer period study on the Foundation of Rome and the three optional depth studies.

These textbooks have been written by experts and experienced teachers in a clear and accessible narrative. Ancient sources are described and analysed, with supporting images. Helpful features include study questions, further reading, and boxes focusing in on key people, events and terms.

Suggested resources


Ancient Sources


There are no set sources for this period study however it is important that students familiarise themselves with some ancient sources. There are many translations available to buy, but if you wish to use online copies you can find two freely-available translations here:

  • Livy, The History of Rome:
  • Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Roman Antiquities:
  • Livy, The Early History of Rome: Books 1–5, trans. Aubrey De Selincourt (Penguin Classics, 2002) ISBN: 978-0140448092
  • Livy, The Rise of Rome: Books 1–5, trans T. J. Luce (Oxford World Classics, 2008) ISBN: 978-0199540044
  • Jaclyn Nell (ed.), Early Rome: Myth and Society (John Wiley & Sons, 2017) ISBN: 978-1119083801
  • Livy, Stories of Rome, trans. Roger Nichols (Cambridge University Press, 2010) ISBN: 978-0521228169
  • Naphtali Lewis, Meyer Reinhold (ed.), Roman Civilization: Selected Readings Volume 1 (3rd edition, Columbia University Press, 1990) ISBN: 978-0231071314
  • Ronald Mellor, The Historians of Ancient Rome: An Anthology of the Major Writings (3rd edition, Routledge, 2012) ISBN: 978-0415527163




Mary Beard, SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome (Profile Books, 2016) ISBN 978-1846683817


Tim Cornell, The Beginnings of Rome (Routledge, 1995) ISBN 978-0415015967


Neil Faulkner, Rome: Empire of the Eagles, 753 BC–AD 476, chapter 1 (Routledge, 2009) ISBN: 978-1408229200


Harriet Flower (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to the Roman Republic (Cambridge Companions to the Ancient World), (2nd edition, Cambridge University Press, 2014) ISBN: 978-1107669420


Gary Forsythe, A Critical History of Early Rome: From Prehistory to the First Punic War (University of California Press, 2006) ISBN 978-0520249912


Kathryn Lomas, The Rise of Rome: From the Iron Age to the Punic Wars 1000 BC – 264 BC (Profile Books, 2018), ISBN 978-1846684128


Geraldine McCaughrean, The Orchard Book of Roman Myths (Orchard Books, 1999) ISBN: 978-1860397530


James Renshaw, In Search of the Romans (Bloomsbury, 2012) ISBN: 978-1853997488


  1. Scullard, A History of the Roman World, 753146 BC (4th edition, Routledge, 2002) ISBN 9780415305044


Christopher Smith, The Etruscans: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2014) ISBN 978-0199547913


Susan Sorek, Ancient Historians: A Student Handbook (Continuum, 2012), ISBN 978-1441179913


Patricia Southern, Ancient Rome: The Republic 753–30 BC (Amberley Publishing, 2011) ISBN 978-1445604275 p. 11-68



TV and Radio Programmes


Mary Beard’s Ultimate Rome: Empire Without Limit (BBC)


There is a section in Alexander Armstrong and Michael Scott’s Rome's Invisible City on the Cloaca Maxima.


Websites and other resources

Cambridge Schools Classics Project has produced a document on the Twelve Tables:


An online version of Morey’s 1901 illustrated textbook for younger readers. It will provide a basic introduction to some of the themes the unit introduces. It is particularly useful for those who are struggling to get to grips with the literary sources.











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