Roman History Questions

Latin Day, University of Alabama



1. Name the Italian civilization from which the Romans adopted many political and cultural ideas. Some of Early Rome's kings came from this civilization.

2. What is the traditional date for the foundation of the city of Rome?

3. According to Roman historical sources, who was the first king of Rome?

4. From what neighboring Italian people did the first Romans supposedly steal wives?

5. What are the spolia opima?

6. Who was the last king of Rome?

7. What river runs through the city of Rome?

8. What foreign people heavily colonized Southern Italy and Sicily? Neapolis and Syracusa were two cities they founded.

9. After the expulsion of the Tarquins, what sort of government did the Romans establish?

10. According to ancient sources, what year was the Roman Republic founded?

11. During the Roman Republic, two men were elected yearly and served as the chief magistrates of the state. What were they called?

12. Ten men were elected each year in Rome to fill what political position? Each one of these men had the power to veto any governmental proceedings.

13. Name the government position that was originally used only during a time of great danger to the Roman state. The holder of this office had the highest power in the state, but was only supposed to serve for a period of six months.

14. What was the assembly called that was made up of ex-magistrates and originally served as an advisory body for the state? At various times in Roman History, this body had 300, 600, or 900 members.

15. What were fasces?

16. What were the Roman families called who received special privileges and distinctions under the law due to the prestige of their family lineage?

17. Of what status was any Roman citizen who was not a patrician?

18. What were the second highest ranking annual magistrates in the Roman Republic called? They often administered the Roman legal system.

19. Six unmarried women filled an important Roman religious office. Among other duties, they tended the sacred hearth-fire of the Rome. What were these women called?

20. What were Rome's first written laws called? They were drafted by the decemvirs between 451 and 449 BC.

21. Who sacked Rome in 390 BC?

22. After a series of costly victories against Rome in 280 BC, what invading king reportedly said, "Another such victory and I am lost!"

23. Rome fought three wars against what North African city in the period form 264 to 146 BC?

24. What people founded the city of Carthage?

25. What Carthaginian general crossed the Alps and invaded Italy in 218 BC and defeated the Romans in several major battles?

26. What was the nickname of the Roman general Q. Fabius Maximus, who avoided fighting large-scale battles with Hannibal?

27. What Roman general was finally able to defeat Hannibal at the Battle of Zama in 202 BC?

28. From 215-148 BC the Romans fought four wars against what kingdom in Northern Greece? Alexander the Great previously had ruled this Kingdom.

29. Name the Roman statesman of the second century BC who was known as "The Censor" and was renowned for his strict and conservative views? He lived from 234-149 BC, and was later used by Cicero as the main speaker in the De Senectute (Dialogue on Old Age).

30. What Greek historian was present at the destruction of Carthage in 146 BC?

31. What Roman general captured and destroyed Carthage in 146 BC?

32. In 146 BC, the Romans sacked and destroyed what major Greek city?

33. Who was the tribune of the plebs in 133 BC who attempted to redistribute Roman public land to poor citizens? He was killed in political violence later that same year.

34. What Spanish town resisted the Romans from 137-133 BC before being destroyed by Scipio Aemilianus?

35. What Kingdom in Asia Minor did the Romans receive in the will of King Attalus III?

36. What name is often given to Roman statesmen in the late Republic who attempted to build public support for reforms by appealing to the common people?

37. What name is usually given to the Roman aristocrats in the late Republic who sought to maintain the status quo and opposed reforms?

38. What is the senatus consultum ultimum?

39. What Numidian King fought a long war with the Romans from 111 to 106 BC?

40. Who finally defeated Jugurtha? He served as consul seven times during his life.

41. What Roman historian wrote a work about the war with Jugurtha?

42. What is the cursus honorum?

43. Who did the Romans fight in the Social War?

44. What foreign king reported massacred killed 80,000 Romans and Italians living in Asia in 88 BC?

45. In 88 BC, what Roman general took the city of Rome by force after his political enemies had driven him out?

46. What were the proscriptions in 82 BC?

47. In 82 BC, what office did Sulla demand the Roman people bestow upon him?

48. What was Sulla's nickname?

49. What Roman commander resisted Sulla and his supporters by occupying Spain and defeating several armies sent against him from 82 to 73 BC?

50. Who led a slave revolt against the Romans from 73-71 BC?

51. This Roman general gained power and prestige by defeating Sertorius' forces in Spain, Cilician pirates in the Mediterranean, and King Mithridates in Asia.

52. Who was consul in 63 BC and exposed a conspiracy led by a rebellious Roman senator to overthrow the government?

53. What Roman senator led an attempt to overthrow the Roman government in 63 BC?

54. Who was consul in 59 BC and later conquered Gaul?

55. Who was Cicero's main political enemy in the 50s BC who was responsible for his 18-month exile? This man was originally a patrician, but became a plebian so he could serve as a tribune of the plebs.

56. The so-called "First Triumvirate" consisted of what three men?

57. What nation destroyed the army of M. Licinius Crassus at Carrhae in 53 BC?

58. What Gallic chieftain led a revolt against Julius Caesar, but was defeated and captured at Alesia in 52 BC?

59. What building was burned down in the rioting during the funeral of P. Clodius in 52 BC?

60. What river did Caesar cross in 49 BC and begin a civil war?

61. What general initially commanded the forces that opposed Julius Caesar in the civil war until his defeat and death in 48 BC?

62. The forces of Pompey the Great were decisively defeated at what battle in 48 BC?

63. In what country did Pompey the Great die?

64. Who did Caesar restore to the throne of Egypt in 48 BC?

65. What opponent of Caesar committed suicide in 46 BC at Utica in North Africa rather than surrender?

66. What was the term of Caesar's dictatorship bestowed upon him in 45 BC?

67. What was the date of Caesar's assassination?

68. Julius Caesar was assassinated by several disaffected senators. To which assassin did the dying Caesar supposedly express surprise at his participation in the plot?

69. Who was Julius Caesar's principle heir?

70. Name one of the two consuls who were killed at the Battle of Mutina in 43 BC.

71. Name the members of the "Second Triumvirate."

72. What famous Roman orator was murdered on December 7, 43 BC?

73. In 42 BC, Octavian began to call himself Divi Filius. What was the justification for this action?

74. In 42 BC, the forces commanded by Brutus and Cassius were defeated by Antony and Octavian at which battle in Eastern Macedonia?

75. Who was Marc Antony's wife in 40 BC who helped to provoke a war with Octavian?

76. Who controlled Sicily and had mastery of the seas around Italy until his defeat by Octavian at the Battle of Naulochus in 36 BC?

77. Who did Marc Antony divorce in 32 BC?

78. At what sea battle in 31 BC did Octavian decisively defeat Antony and Cleopatra?

79. In 27 BC, what name was Octavian given by the senate? The name means "Revered One" and has religious connotations.

80. In 23 BC, Augustus was given a certain power by which he numbered the years of his principate. What was this power?

81. What games did Augustus hold in 17 BC? These games were only supposed to occur every 100 or 110 years.

82. In 21 BC, Augustus gave in marriage his daughter Julia to his friend and staunchest supporter. Who was this man who married Julia?

83. In 17 BC, Augustus adopted his two grandsons. What were their names?

84. Who was Augustus' wife and mother of his stepson Tiberius?

85. In 2 BC, Augustus exiled his daughter Julia. What charge led to her banishment?

86. Who did Augustus adopt as his successor in AD 4? This man would become emperor after Augustus' death.

87. What document was written by Augustus that recounted the deeds he accomplished? It was set up after Augustus' death as a massive inscription in various places throughout the Empire.

88. In what year did Augustus die?

89. What dynasty of emperors was related to Augustus and his wife?

90. Name the Roman biographer who wrote the "Lives of the Twelve Caesars," an important source for our knowledge of the early emperors.

91. Who was the prefect of the Praetorian Guard under Tiberius who was executed in AD 31 for treasonous activity?

92. On what island did Tiberius live for the rest of his life after he left the city of Rome in 26 BC?

93. Who were the Emperor Caligula's parents?

94. What does the nickname "Caligula" mean?

95. Who became emperor after Caligula's assassination in AD 41?

96. Claudius relied upon several freedmen or freed slaves to run important posts in his administration. Name one of the four freedmen that headed the imperial bureaus (scrinia) in Claudius' government.

97. What island did the Romans invade in AD 43? The Emperor Claudius commanded the Roman forces for a brief time in this campaign and celebrated a triumph.

98. Who was Claudius' wife when he became emperor? She was later executed for conspiring against him.

99. What Roman woman in the first century AD had the distinction of being sister of one emperor, wife of another one and mother of a third?

100. Who was the last Julio-Claudian emperor?

101. Which two Julio-Claudian emperors were deified after their deaths?

102. Who was Claudius' natural son who was murdered by his adopted son Nero?

103. What Stoic philosopher was Nero's tutor and advisor during the early years of his reign?

104. In AD 64, a great catastrophe befell the city of Rome. What was this disaster?

105. What group did Nero use as scapegoats for the Great Fire at Rome in order to avert suspicion from himself?

106. What was the name of the new palace that Nero began to build on the ruins of the Great Fire of Rome?

107. Name one of the three great literary figures that were executed by Nero in AD 65 after an unsuccessful conspiracy against him.

108. A great rebellion against the Romans in Britannia occurred in AD 61. Name the woman who led this rebellion.

109. Which emperor reportedly said, "What an artist dies in me" (qualis artifex pereo) shortly before he committed suicide?

110. AD 69 is often called "The Year of the Four Emperors." Name one of the four men who were emperor during that fateful year.

111. What historian wrote the following works: Annals, Histories, Germania, Agricola, and Dialogus?

112. What imperial dynasty did the emperor Vespasian found?

113. The Arch of Titus commemorates the suppression of a revolt in what Roman province?

114. What natural disaster struck to Bay of Naples in August AD 79?

115. What famous amphitheater in Rome was completed under the reign of Domitian?

116. Which emperor in the late 1st century AD liked to be called dominus et deus (Lord and God)?

117. What elderly senator became emperor after the assassination of Domitian in AD 96?

118. What emperor reigned from AD 97-117 and was known as optimus princeps (best emperor) both during his lifetime and after?

119. What new province did Trajan add to the Roman Empire after conquering the area north of the Danube River in the Balkans?

120. What monument in Rome commemorated Trajan's conquest of Dacia and featured a continuous sculptured frieze that depicted scenes from the campaign?

121. Under what emperor did the Roman Empire reach its greatest territorial limit?

122. Who became Emperor after the death of Trajan?

123. What defensive fortification on the northern border of the province of Britannia was built in the early 2nd century AD?

124. Which emperor reigned from AD 117-138, and spent most of his principate traveling through the empire, remaining in Italy only for brief periods?

125. Who was Simon Bar Kokhba?

126. Who was the emperor Hadrian's successor?

127. Name the emperor who ruled from AD 161-180 and wrote a philosophical work entitled the Meditations.

128. Who was co-emperor with Marcus Aurelius from AD 161-169?

129. Which Roman emperor often dressed like Hercules and fought as a gladiator?

130. After the assassination of Commodus, an elderly senator became emperor, although he would reign for less than a year. Who was this senator?

131. Name the emperor in AD 193 who secured the throne by paying each member of the Praetorian Guard 25,000 sesterces.

132. In the civil war of AD 193-194, who ultimately won the throne and founded a new imperial dynasty?

133. Which emperor had Commodus deified?

134. On his death bed, the Emperor Septimius Severus reportedly said to his two sons, "agree with each other, enrich the soldiers, and despise everyone else." Name one of his sons, who became co-emperors after their father's death.

135. What was the Constitutio Antoniniana of AD 212?

136. Who was Julia Domna?

137. Which Roman emperor was born in Syria and brought the cult image of his god, a large conical black stone, into Rome? This emperor reigned from AD 218-222.

138. Who was the last emperor of the Severan dynasty?

139. What lavish festival did the Romans celebrate in AD 247?

140. The emperor Decius initiated the first systemic persecution throughout the empire of what group?

141. In AD 260, the Roman Emperor Valerian was defeated and captured by a foreign enemy. Either name the battle in which he was captured, or name the foreign nation that defeated him.

142. Who was the queen of Palmyra in Syria who seized most of the eastern Roman Empire before she was defeated in AD 273?

143. Which emperor reigned from AD 270-75 and built a wall around the city of Rome, parts of which still stand today?

144. Name the emperor who reigned from AD 285-305 and voluntarily abdicated his power and lived the remainder of his life as a private citizen?

145. What was the Tetrarchy?

146. Starting with the reign of Diocletian, historians cease to identify the rule of the emperors as the Principate. What term do historians use to describe the Roman government at this point?

147. What was the object of Dioletian's Edict on Maximum Prices in AD 301?

148. Name either who won the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in AD 312, or who lost it.

149. What edict in AD 313 essentially ended the persecution of Christians and established Christianity as a legal religion?

150. Which emperor summoned Christian bishops from all over the empire in AD 325 to attend the Council of Nicea? This council defined the doctrine and organization of the Catholic Chruch.

151. What was the name of the city that became the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire after AD 330?

152. Who was the last Roman emperor who openly promoted paganism?

153. The Visigoths inflicted a crushing defeat on the Romans at what battle on April 9, AD 378?

154. Name the emperor who banned public displays of pagan worship by decrees in AD 391 and 392.

155. In what year did the Visigoths under Alaric sack Rome? It was the first time Rome had been sacked in 700 years.

156. What Mongolian people invaded the Western Roman Empire around AD 450?

157. Who led the Huns in their attack into Gaul and Italy from AD 450-53?

158. What tribe sacked Rome in AD 454? Their name has become synonymous with wanton destruction.

159. Who was the last emperor of the Western Roman Empire?

160. Name either the year in which the last Roman Emperor in the West was deposed, or the Ostrogothic chieftain who overthrew him.





Note: all answers will be in accordance with A. Ward, F. Heichelheim, and C. Yeo, A History of the Roman People, Third Edition (Prentice Hall: Upper Saddle River NJ, 1999).