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Exploring Ancient Rome with Free, Interactive Resources

by Andrew Roush
ancient rome

The history of ancient societies can help us understand our world today. That is, after all, one of the goals of history and social studies education. In particular, the history of ancient Rome, including its evolution from kingdom to republic to empire, can help students understand the past and present realities of Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East.

Because the history of ancient Rome is a well-explored topic, and includes many of the artifacts and written sources that historians use, there is a huge variety of resources for exploring the ancient Roman world. In this post, we’ve collected more than 20 interactive digital resources to assist you in bringing that world to life, from art and architecture to trade and politics.

Ad Fontes: Primary Sources

These interactive sites include useful ways to interact with ancient primary-source materials, which can be deployed in instruction or for student research.

Terra Cognita: Interactive Maps

Maps are a vital way to understand history, culture, government, and other social studies topics. These interactive maps help you and your students visualize the Roman world. 

Ars Longa, Vita Brevis: Art and Culture

Artistic and cultural artifacts are another way to connect with a long-gone society. These sites use modern technology to give students access to the physical world of the past.

Et Cetera: Other Resources

With a topic as broad and diverse as ancient Rome, there are plenty of other learning resources out there. Here are just a few.

  • LacusCurtius: Into the Roman World: An academic page chock full of Roman documents, history, and resources.
  • Keys to Rome: An interactive exhibit organized by cultural institutions across Europe.
  • Ariadne: A huge trove of information, including timelines, data sets, word clouds, and more.
  • Digital Augustan Rome: A detail-rich interactive map reflecting Rome in the year 14 C.E.
  • Ostia Antica: Harbor City of Ancient Rome: Dedicated to resources for understanding this once-bustling trading hub.
  • Rome Reborn: A suite of VR products that allow you to freely travel the streets of Rome.
  • Virtual Rome: See the ancient city of Rome, complete with 3D views of the Colosseum, and even a free online course. 

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Photo by Andrea Albanese from Pexels

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