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.
- Internet Ancient History Sourcebook: Rome: A great starting place, this site collects many texts and sources organized by time and topic.
- Hestia: Geospatial Analysis of Herodotus’s Histories: Walk through history with this site that combines historical texts and geography.
- Euro Docs: Prehistory and the Roman Empire: Find tons of primary sources and archives sorted chronologically.
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.
- ORBIS The Stanford Geospatial Network Model of the Roman World: This amazing digital map includes many interactive resources, and can help determine travel times and how they’re affected by place, time of year, method of travel, and more.
- Digital Atlas of the Roman Empire: This full, data-rich atlas allows anyone to traverse the Empire.
- Rome: Interactive Exploration: This lesson, including maps and more, serves as an excellent introduction to the topics of the ancient Roman world.
- Mapping Past Societies: Move across time and space with interactive maps for archeology, the general Roman world, or environmental history.
- Benthos: Digital Atlas of Ancient Waters: Explore the travel and trade routes of ancient waterways in this interactive map.
- OmnesViae: Roman Routeplanner: How long would travel take during the Roman era? What routes and methods were available? Find out here.
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.
- The Digital Sculpture Project: Get up close to 3D renderings of ancient art.
- The Art of Making in Antiquity: An interactive page and documentary focusing on the vital art of stonework and masonry in ancient Rome.
- Musisque Deoque: A Digital Archive of Latin Poetry: The perfect place to dig into Roman poetry and art or Latin literature and language learning.
- Gardens of the Roman Empire: Explore the location and description of nearly all documented gardens in the Roman world.
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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