How Well Do You Know the Ancient Romans?

Gavin Thagard

Image: duncan1890/DigitalVision Vectors/Getty Images

About This Quiz

From its founding, Rome established one of the greatest empires the world has ever seen. At its height, the empire stretched from Britain to Spain and North Africa to much of the Middle East. How much do you know about Rome, from the founding of the city to the height of the empire? Here's your chance to find out!

It's hard to ignore the influence Rome has had on the history of the world, even into modern times. The significance of Rome is not surprising, however, considering how long the empire dominated Europe and the Mediterranean. 

Founded in 753 BCE, Rome existed in some form for over 2,000 years. There, of course, were various periods over the course of that history, which included an era of kings, the rise and fall of the Republic, and the dominance of the emperor over Roman affairs. These periods ushered in both new ideas and a rich culture which are still influential today. 

Do you think you are an expert on everything Roman? Do you know the most important rulers and their accomplishments as well as their failures? Take this quiz and find out for yourself. Get started and prove to everyone that you're a true history buff!

Who is credited with founding Rome?

Rome was built on the hills overlooking the Tiber River. The original settlement was located on Palatine Hill, though the surrounding hills were eventually incorporated as well.

Which animal supposedly nursed Romulus and his brother?

Supposedly with their father being the god Mars, Romulus and Remus were born to a virgin named Rhea Silvia. At birth, they were taken from their mother and abandoned near a river where they were supposed to die.

Where did Romulus kidnap women from?

The Rape of the Sabine Woman was an important event in Renaissance art. Famous artists from Giabologna to Pietro da Cortona tackled this subject.

Rome was first ruled by what?

Roman kings ruled over their subjects much like fathers over a household throughout Roman history. A king had responsibilities such as inflicting punishment, going to war and maintaining religious practices.

What was the first Roman unit of value?

The Roman economy was quite sophisticated from the start of the kingdom. Not only did they have a unit of value for trading, but different members of society performed various occupations from pottery to carpentry to flute-playing.

How many consuls were elected each year?

Consuls only served one year terms after being elected. The Romans believed such a short occupancy would help prevent corruption.

How long was a dictator supposed to serve during times of war?

Gaius Marcius Rutilus was a plebeian dictator who overcame a combined Etruscan force in 356 BC. His victory earned him fame among the plebian class, but the Senate​ overlooked his victory.

What was created to give a voice to the people during the Republic?

Rome certainly had democratic elements, but the entire city wasn't free under the Roman Republic. Slaves were a huge labor source and were imported from cities which lost to the Romans in battle.

To help ease class conflict, what code of law was created in 451 BC?

The Twelve Tables helped shape law in the western world for hundreds of years. The tables formulated new concepts such as justice, equality and land rights.

Who did Rome fight in the Punic Wars?

Carthage was the rival empire of the Romans for part of early Roman history. The empire dominated much of North Africa and the Mediterranean, putting them into constant conflict with Rome.

Which military leader invaded Italy in the Second Punic War?

Hannibal was a very strategic general. One​ of his greatest feats was marching his army, which included elephants, over the Alps to attack Rome on its own land.

What was a unit of the Roman army called?

Roman legions were made up of citizens of Rome who were awarded land and money at the time of retirement. This system helped Rome maintain loyal soldiers throughout its history.

What was used to deliver water throughout a Roman town?

Roman aqueducts were a result of sewage problems throughout the city. Citizens often faced disease and death if they drank from rivers which were infected with feces and other contaminants​.

Who is credited with ending the Roman Republic by becoming the first emperor?

The reign of Julius Caesar is as complicated today as it was in his own time. That's because it's hard to pinpoint if he was a savior of the people or a dictator seeking power.

Who did Julius Caesar defeat in a civil war?

Though his family was relatively new to the Roman nobility, Pompey proved himself from a young age to be a great military genius. He was particularly instrumental in Sulla's second civil war, where he earned the nickname "Magnus."

Who reformed the Roman army by enlisting the poor?

Gaius Marius' changes to the Roman army helped bring about an end to the Republic. Because of his reforms, soldiers were more loyal to Roman generals than to the Republic.

What did Lucius Cornelius Sulla name himself after marching on Rome?

After winning a civil war and marching on Rome, Sulla famously posted a list of all the enemies of the state. These enemies were sought and murdered in a violent episode of Roman history.

What was the name of the political alliance between Julius Caesar, Pompey and Marcus Crassus?

The First Triumvirate crumbled when Crassus was killed at the Battle of Carrhae. The leader was seeking glory but suffered a humiliating defeat to a much smaller force.

What happened on the Ides of March?

Julius Caesar was assassinated at the site known as the Curia Pompeia. The site is now a sanctuary for hundreds of cats.

At which battle was Julius Caesar's conspirator Marcus Brutus defeated?

William Shakespeare wrote about Brutus and his plot to assassinate Julius Caesar. He portrayed Brutus as a loyal Roman who wanted to protect the Republic from a tyrant.

Who tried to preserve the Republic after Caesar's death by opposing Mark Antony?

Cicero served as consul in 63 BC. While in the position, he helped stop the overthrow of the Roman Republic, which earned him the title "Pater Patriae."

What did Octavian change his name to?

Augustus consolidated power throughout Rome in a way that had not been matched before. Today, he's regarded as Rome's first emperor.

What was the period of peace brought to Rome by Augustus called?

Augustus was known for bringing peace to the Roman empire. However, he also expanded that empire greatly into areas like Spain and Egypt.

What did Emperor Claudius initiate in 43 AD?

Claudius suffered from many physical disabilities which were mocked even by members of his own family. He took over as emperor after his nephew, Caligula, was assassinated.

Who is blamed for the Great Fire of Rome?

There is little evidence that Nero actually started the fire that wiped out several districts across Rome. However, the fire did allow him to build a city more suitable to his liking.

How many emperors ruled in 69 AD?

After the death of Nero in 68 AD, Rome broke out into a period of civil​ wars. By the end of 69 AD, Vespasian ruled Rome, and a new dynasty was formed.

Who built a wall between Roman Britain and the tribes north of the wall?

Hadrian's Wall was built by the Roman legions, which consisted of around 5,000 men each. The wall took about six years to build.

Which Roman god was the god of the heavens?

Roman gods were adapted from many Greek gods. They were simply given Roman names.

What is the name of the amphitheater in Rome where gladiators fought one another?

The Colosseum was built by thousands of slaves in the Roman empire. It is the largest amphitheater in the world.

What was the name of the Roman market and town square?

Supposedly, the Roman Forum started as a meeting place between Romulus and a rival leader. The Forum eventually developed into an area for most public events, from shopping to religious practices.

Who made Rome a Christian empire?

Constantine issued the Edict of Milan, which allowed religious tolerance in the Roman empire. The edict was an important point for Christianity, which would come to dominate Europe in future centuries.

Where did Constantine move the capital of the Roman Empire to​?

The height of the Byzantine Empire was reached under Justinian I. One of Justinian's most important contributions was the Justinian Code, which incorporated various Roman laws into a single book.

Which group sacked Rome in 410 AD?

The Visigoths were a segment of the Germanic people who invaded Western Europe beginning around the 4th century. The invasion was due to encroachment by the Huns into Germanic territory.

What was the name of the Roman clothing which was draped over the shoulders of a person?

Togas are the most easily recognized piece of clothing worn by the Romans. Today, it is widely used in various forms of culture from movies to toga-themed parties.

When did the Byzantine Empire fall?

The Roman Empire officially collapsed with the fall of Constantinople in 1453. The Ottoman Empire replaced the Byzantine Empire by sacking the city in the Conquest of Istanbul.

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