Traditions and Encounters, AP Edition (Bentley), 5th Edition

Chapter 11: Mediterranean Society: The Roman Phase


This chapter traces the growth and development of Rome from its humble beginnings on the banks of the Tiber River through its republican phase and its transformation into a sprawling, cosmopolitan empire encompassing much of Europe and northern Africa. A tight administrative structure and organized trade network promoted the movement of people, goods, and ideas throughout the empire. The Romans had a significant impact on later Mediterranean, European, and southwest Asian cultures. These influences include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The concept of a republican form of government governed by a constitution and a fixed body of law that guaranteed the rights of citizens
  • Elaborate transportation and communications networks with sophisticated roads, sea lanes linking port cities, and an imperial postal system
  • Economically specialized regions, either in the development of cash crops for export or in localized industries
  • New cities built throughout the empire with unprecedented levels of sanitation, comfort, and entertainment opportunities

The Romans also contributed to the widespread dissemination of philosophical beliefs and values, like Stoicism, and religions of salvation, like Christianity.

Traditions & Encounters, 5e
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