1. If you had lived in the Roman Empire, where would you rather have lived – in the towns or in the countryside? Explain why.
In the roman empire one would have preferred to live in the towns due to:
(i) Availability of better facilities as compared to countryside.
(ii) Towns apart from governance were centres of art, learning and various intellectual activities.
(iii) During the time of famine, town people would not suffer food scarcity.
(iv) Cities provided the populations a much higher level of entertainment.
(v) Unlike the countryside which was subject to exploitation by the aristocracy and other wealthy persons, towns were centres of affluence, and culture.
2. Compile a list of some of the towns, cities, rivers, seas and provinces mentioned in this chapter, and then try and find them on the maps. Can you say something about any three of the items in the list you have compiled?
Towns: Alexandria, Carthage, Pompeii, Cairo, Mecca
Rivers: Rhine, Danube, Euphrates
Seas: Black Sea, Red Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Caspian Sea
Provinces: Cyrenaica, Tripolitania, Gallic
Alexandria: It was the port city and its ports were handled by Jewish merchants. They traded directly with which can be seen from the letters preserved in the Geniza collection. The merchants of Alexandria also exported to Europe.
Black Sea: It is between Southeastern Europe and Western Asia. It was one of the busy waterway at that time. The trades were held among Central Asia to the east, Mesopotamia to the south and Greece to the south-west by this route.
Mediterranean Sea: In 6th century, Iranians had established control over major parts of the Assyrian empire which leads to the development of trade networks along the coasts of the Mediterranean Sea. Greek cities and their colonies benefited from improvements in trade. It is enclosed by three sides of lands.
3. Imagine that you are a Roman housewife preparing a shopping list for household requirements. What would be on the list?
Being a roman housewife, i would like to include bread, butter, milk, eggs, meat, spices, oil, pulse etc. in while preparing a list of household requirements.
4. Why do you think the Roman government stopped coining in silver? And which metal did it begin to use for the production of coinage?
Roman government stooped the coining in silver and began to use gold for coinage because silver was limited and the mines of silver were exhausted due to over excavation.
Answer in a Short Essay
5. Suppose the emperor Trajan had actually managed to conquer India and the Romans had held on to the country for several centuries. In what ways do you think India might be different today?
If roman emperor Trajan had actually managed to conquer India, India would be different today on following aspects:
(i) Changes in art, architecture, literature and law as was evident even in the case of Indo Greek.
(ii) Exchange of ideas , roman law would have helped growth of Indian law.
(iii) Conversion and Christianization.
(iv) Concept of public baths and entertainment.
(v) Slavery would probably have become more rampant as roman society was known to use slave labour in every sector- agriculture, mining ,handicrafts etc.
(vi) Indian agriculture would have benefitted from roman diversified application of water.
(vii) The hitherto caste and class differences would have been further stratified.
(viii) The pattern of Indian trade ,would probably have under grown vast changes.
6. Go through the chapter carefully and pick out some basic features of Roman society and economy which you think make it look quite modern.
Basic features of the Roman society:
(i) The concept of amusement.
(ii) Prevalence of vast diversity in religious cults.
(iii) The considerable legal rights women enjoyed in owning and managing property.
(iv) Divorce was relatively easy and needed no more than a notice of intent to dissolve the marriage by either husband or wife.
Basic features of the Roman economy:
(i) Preference to live in urban centres.
(ii) Cities as bedrock of the imperial system.
(iii) Disputes between the rich and poor.
(iv) Widespread use of money , such as silver denarius, and gold solidi.
(v) Competition amongst regions for control of the markets in olive oil.