Heritage > The Romans

AEDILES - Roman government officials who looked after the streets, markets and public buildings.

AMPHITHEATRE - An oval open-air arena surrounded by seats. It was invented by the Romans for public shows, such as gladiators fighting to the death and battles between wild animals.

AMPHORA - (plural : amphorae) A pottery storage jar, often shaped liked a tall vase with handles and a pointed base. Amphorae came in all shapes and sizes - tall and slim, fat and round.

ANVIL - A block used by smiths for shaping hot metals.

AQUEDUCT - An artificial channel for carrying water over a long distance. Aqueducts were usually underground or were supported on arched bridges.

ARCHITECTURE - The design and style of buildings.

ARENA - The sand floor area in an amphitheatre where games and combats took place.

ATRIUM - The hallway or courtyard in a Roman house. The centre of the atrium was open to the sky.

AUGUSTUS - The honorary title given to the Emperor. In means "revered" in Latin.

AUXILIARIES - Soldiers recruited from non-Roman citizens.

BARBARIAN - The Romans called all tribes-people who lived outside the Empire barbarians. According to the Romans they were "uncivilised", because they did not speak Latin or Greek.

BASILICA - A huge building in the forum of a Roman city. It was a cross between a town hall and law courts.

BLACKSMITH - A craftsman who makes or repairs iron goods.

BRAZIER - A bronze container filled with hot coals, used for heating rooms.

CATAPULT - A large wooden structure used during a siege to fire stones and iron bolts at the enemy.

CENSORES - Government officials, elected every five years to revise the Senate membership.

CENTURY - A unit of Roman army, numbering from 80 to 100 soldiers.

CENTURION - A Roman soldier who was in charge of a group of 80-100 soldiers (known as a Century).

CHARIOT - A lightweight cart drawn by horses. Chariots were used in warfare or for racing.

CIRCUS - An oval track used for chariot races.

CITIZEN - A free person with the right to vote.

CIVILIZATION - A society that has mad advances in the arts, scienc and technology, law or government.

COHORT - A division of the Roman army, at times numbering about 500 soldiers.

CONSCRIPT - Someone who is called up by the government to serve in the army.

CONSUL - One of the two leaders of the Roman republic, elected each year.

CREMATION - The burning of dead bodies.

CUIRASS - Armour that protects the upper part of the body.

CURIA - The council in ancient Roman cities.

DICTATOR - A ruler with total power.

EMPEROR - The ruler of an empire.

EMPIRE - A large number of different lands or states rules over by a single person or government.

EQUITES - Rich business people, including merchants, bankers and traders.

ESTATE - A large amount of land, houses and farms, usually owned by a single person or group.

FLAX - A plant who's stems are used to make cloth called linen. Its blue flowers can be used to make a dye, and its seeds are crushed to produce linseed oil.

FORCEPS - Surgical instru

GRUEL - A soup of cereal and water such as porridge.

GUILD - A society which protected the interests of people working within a trade.

HYPOCAUST - The Romans way of heating buildings by spreading hot air beneath the floor.

JAVELIN - A throwing spear.

KILN - An industrial oven or a furnace.

KINDLING - Twigs, woodchips or other materials used to start a fire.

LEGION - A section of the Roman army made up of Roman citizens. Non-Roman citizens could not be legionaries.

LITTER - A form of transport in which a seat or platform is carried by bearers.

LYRE - One of the various harp-like instruments played in ancient Greece and Rome.

MAIL - Chain armour, made up of inter-locking iron rings.

MIDWIFE - Someone who helps a woman to give birth.

MOSAIC - A picture made up from many small squares or cubes of glass, stone or pottery, set in soft concrete.

MYRHH - A kind of resin from shrubs, used to make perfume and medicine.

OCHRE - A kind of yellow or reddish coloured earth.

ONAGER - A wild donkey. Also the name of a Roman war-machine, which hurled stones at the enemy.

PALLA - A veil worn over the head or shoulders by Roman women.

PANPIPES - A musical instrument, made up of a series of pipes of different lengths.

PAPYRUS - A tall reed that grows in the River Nile, used to make a kind of paper.

PATRICIAN - A member of one of the old, wealthy and powerful families in ancient Rome.

PAX ROMANA - The "Roman Peace". A time of peace and prosperity under Emperors Trajan and Hadrian.

PLATE ARMOUR - Fitted body armour made of linked sheets of solid metal.

PLEBEIAN - A member of the (free) common people of ancient Rome.

PRESERVE - To treat food so that it does not spoil or go bad.

RAM - A large pointed beam extending from the hull, or front, of an ancient warship. It was used to ram into the side of an enemy ship, making it easier to board.

REPUBLIC - A state this is governed by an assembly of its own citizens rather than by a king.

SACRIFICE - The killing of a living thing in honour of the gods.

SAMIAN WARE - A type of glazed, red-clay pottery that was popular throughout the Roman Empire.

SATURNALIA - A winter festival held in honour of the god Saturn.

SENATE - The law-making assembly of ancient Rome.

SHRINES - Places of worship.

SICKLE - A tool with a curved blade used to cut grass or grain corps.

SOCIETY - All the classes of people living in a particular community or country.

STANDARD - A banner used by armies to rally there troops in battle or carried in parades.

STEPPES - Vast grass-covered plains.

STOLA - A long dress worn by Roman women. It was worn over a tunic.

STRIGIL - A metal scraper used for cleaning the body.

STYLUS - A pointed tool, such as the one used to scratch words onto a wax tablet.

SURVEY - To map out and measure land. Land is surveyed before the construction of a building or a road, or any other structure.

TABLINIUM - The formal reception room and study in a Roman house.

TERRACOTTA - Baked, unglazed, orange-red clay.

TOGA - A white woollen robe, worn by the upper class in ancient Rome.

TOROISE OR TESTUDO - A method of covering a group of soldiers with shields to protect them from missiles.

TREADWHEEL - A wooden wheel turned by the feet of people, used to power mills or other machinery.

TRIBUNE - One of the officials elected to represent the interests of the common people in ancient Rome. Tribune was also a rank in the Roman army.

TRICLINIUM - Dining room. It's name comes from the Roman tradition of having an arrangement of three (tri) couched to lie on while dining.

TRIDENT - A three pronged spear used by fisherman and gladiators.

TRIVET - A metal stand placed over a flame to support a cooking pot.

TRIUMPH - Ceremonial procession through the streets of Rome, ending in solemn sacrifices. Awarded as a great honour to successful generals.

TUNIC - A simple skirt-like garment.

TUTOR - A personal teacher.

VALLUM - Walls and ditches built as defence.

VILLA - A Roman country house, often decorated with mosaics and wall paintings. Villas were usually part of an agricultural estate.

VISOR - Hinged shield attached to a helmet to protect the eyes.

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