Traces of Ancient Rome in the Modern World

Traces of Ancient Rome in the Modern World

The ideas and culture of ancient Rome influence the art, architecture, science, technology, literature, language, and law of today.


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Anthropology, Archaeology, Social Studies, World History


Pont du Gard Aqueduct

This is the Roman aqueduct of Pont du Gard, which crosses the Gard River, located in France. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Robert Harding Picture Library
This is the Roman aqueduct of Pont du Gard, which crosses the Gard River, located in France. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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The Roman Empire ruled thousands of years ago. Still, it left a huge mark on our world. Bridges, stadiums, languages, and books show Roman influence.

Art and Architecture

The ancient Greeks greatly influenced the Romans. However, the Romans improved on certain Greek building ideas.

Greeks used posts and beams to hold up buildings. Ancient Romans created curved roofs and large arches instead. These could support more weight than Greek buildings. Arches were used to build huge Roman bridges.

The Colosseum is a large stadium in Rome. It is like sports stadiums we have today. It had separate levels of seating. It also had a rounded shape. Both were Roman ideas.

The arches of the Colosseum are made out of cement. It is a very strong building material. Many cement Roman buildings still stand today. The Romans made them with ash and rock from nearby volcanoes.

Scientists study Roman concrete even today. They can still learn from the ancient master builders.

Sculptures of Rome have lasted a long time, too. Romans used marble to make statues and monuments. Many can be seen today in museums.

Technology and Science

The Romans were very skilled engineers. They understood the science of how things move. They made aqueducts. This is a kind of plumbing system that brought in water from all over.

A large road system was built by Romans. It was said that "all roads lead to Rome." They laid gravel first. Then, they paved over it with huge rock slabs.

The Romans were also skilled at farming. They knew much about climate, soil, and planting. They pioneered ways to effectively plant crops and to water and drain fields. Modern farmers still use Roman methods.

Literature and Language

Much literature has been influenced by ancient Roman writers. Poets such as Virgil and Ovid made long-lasting, popular works.

Ovid's Metamorphoses is an example. It inspired authors such as Dante and Shakespeare.

During the empire, Romans took over many new lands. Their language, Latin, spread everywhere.

Latin became the root for a group of languages called the "Romance languages." These include French, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese.

Many English words come from Latin root words. The English alphabet is based on the Latin alphabet. "Agenda" and "bona fide" are examples of common Latin words we still use today.


The Roman justice system influenced how the United States' courts work today.

One example is the initial hearing. This is where a Roman government official would decide if a case was worthy. If it was, a well-known Roman citizen would start a trial. Witnesses and evidence would be presented.

The Roman Empire later fell. Still, it changed the world in many ways.

Media Credits

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National Geographic Society
Sarah Appleton, National Geographic Society, National Geographic Society
Last Updated

February 9, 2024

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