Read the passage below. You have 3 minutes to read through:
The post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, known as the Roman Empire, was characterized by a government headed by emperors and large territorial holdings around the Mediterranean Sea in Europe, Asia, and Africa. The Roman Empire was the largest empire of the Classical Antiquity period, and one of the largest in world history covering 6.8 million square kilometers. It was also among the most powerful economic, cultural, political, and military forces in the world holding sway over 21% of the world’s entire population during that time period. The longevity and vast reach of the Empire provided a lasting influence of Latin and Greek language, culture, religion, inventions, architecture, philosophy, law, and government on future descendants. There are three reasons the Roman Empire became so powerful.
The first reason was their large armies that occupied the lands of other countries. These armies were made up of captives forced to serve in the army and by the professional soldiers of the Imperial Roman army. Professional soldiers volunteered for 20 years of active service followed by five years of reserve duty. This was a definite shift from the material of the former republic in which an army of conscripts exercised their responsibilities as citizens to protect their homeland in specific campaigns against specific threats, whereas Imperial Rome’s army was a full-time career.
The second reason for the Roman Empire’s rise to power was the power held by the monarchs. This state of the absolute monarchy began with Diocletian and endured until the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 CE. The authority of the emperor was based on the consolidation of several of the republican offices. The emperor had powers of inviolability of the tribunes of the people, the authority of the censors to manipulate the hierarchy of Roman society, central religious authority as Pontifex Maximus, the right to declare war, ratify treaties, and negotiate with foreign leaders. These functions were clearly defined during the Principate, but over time the emperor’s powers became less constitutional and more monarchical creating the dominant.
Finally, the high taxes placed on their empire helped to make the empire richer. The taxes an individual paid ranged from 2 to 5 percent of the gross product. The bewildering tax code involved a complicated system of direct and indirect taxes as well as taxes paid in cash and some paid in kind. The taxes might be specific to a province, property, or in effect for a limited time. The Roman Empire justified their tax collection as a necessary cost to maintain the military; however, taxpayers sometimes received a refund if the army obtained a surplus of booty. Less monetized areas that were unable to pay their taxes in cash were allowed to pay in-kind especially if they could supply grain of goods to the army camps.
Listen to the audio below related to the article you just read.
Directions: Give yourself 20 minutes to plan and write your response.
Your response is judged on the quality of the writing and on how well it presents the points in the lecture and their relationship to the reading passage. Typically, an effective response will be 250 to 300 words.
You may view the reading passage while you respond.
- Summarize the point made in the lecture and explain how the speaker cast doubt on specific points made in the reading passage.
Read the question below. Give yourself 30 minutes to plan, write, and revise your essay.
Typically, an effective response will contain a minimum of 350 words.
- Your school has received a gift of money. What do you think is the best way for your school to spend this money? Use specific reasons and details to support your choice.
In considering what exactly made the Roman Empire powerful, the lecturer questions the information presented in the reading. While he agrees that much of the reasoning is accurate, he takes a different interpretation to how each of those categories gave the empire power.
To begin with, although the empire derived much of its power from its military force, the reading was misleading in that not all soldiers were Romans. While the military conquered lots of land for the empire, many soldiers were from those conquered lands, and as loyalties waned the government would have to restructure the military. In this way, they ensured that their power was unchecked by the soldiers.
The second questionable source of power was in the form of the holder of power. While the reading suggests the emperor held monarchical powers, the lecturer suggests that the ruler’s power came not through their undisputed role, but through their control of the military. This led to power struggles whenever a leader died as power seekers vied for the support of the military as the path to power. This led to bribing and paying off of military leaders to gain support.
Another section of dispute came in their views about how taxes were used to increase wealth. While the lecturer agrees that taxes were a source of revenue, he argues that this came initially through taxing wealthy landowners. However, as time went on and they needed more money, they began taxing everyone, leading to discontent and eventually the downfall of the empire.
In conclusion, the lecturer shows how these ideas, while correct in their inception, were not interpreted correctly. Rome’s power came through their military while being kept in check. The lecturer also believed that one initial source of power eventually led to the downfall of the empire.
If my school received a gift of money, then the best way for the school to spend these funds would be to improve the school’s overall aspect. Some physical facilities, such as the classrooms, the playground, and the cafeteria, need attention. Some consideration could also be given to the academic side, although I shall not concentrate on this aspect. Any improvements that make the school more attractive and appealing and ensure it operates more smoothly should be introduced.
I have noticed that the classrooms in my school are well maintained but a few changes here and there would be helpful. Classroom capacity, on occasions, is limited and there is insufficient seating for all the students. Therefore, I would recommend that the classrooms be extended and classroom furniture – table and chairs – be purchased so that there is enough room for everybody not to be overcrowded, and to listen and learn comfortably.
I sincerely believe that the school playgrounds be utilized to the fullest extent. Wasted space should be put to use; the school should try to introduce more game-centric zones. The school should be considered as a haven which enables them not only to embark on an academic program but also to be involved in other activities. Obviously, this all should take place in an atmosphere of freedom. So, I believe that improving the playground facilities is an important improvement. Space should be made available for playing cricket, volleyball, basketball, football, tennis, etc. Students would love coming to school if such resources are present.
Thirdly, another very area on which money could be spent is the cafeteria. This is one of students’ most favorite “hangout” places. So, every effort should be spared to make sure that it is spacious, airy, and hygienic. The cafeteria is a vital, social factor in student interaction.
Ultimately, I have outlined some of the improvements I would wish to see in my school if it receives some money. Careful expenditure of these funds would lead to a great improvement in the overall quality of school life
|While what you just read about the Roman Empire is true, there have been new conclusions reached about it after the information was re-examined.
|First, while the Roman Empire had a large military force, not all of the members were Romans. Since this was the case, some of their soldiers were the same race as the enemies who were not loyal to the empire and could betray their army at any time. This meant that the Roman Empire’s army was superficially strong and would require the emperor to reform the military by consolidating or disbanding units with questionable loyalty and regularizing the legion to be truly strong.
|Also, it was not the ruler’s ability to make decisions without being disputed that led to the success of the Roman Empire. The real source of the emperor’s power and authority was the military. The legionaries were paid using funds from the Imperial treasury and swore an annual oath of loyalty to the emperor. When an emperor died, it led to a crucial period of uncertainty and crisis until a new emperor was appointed. While most emperors indicated their choice of successor, usually a close family member or adopted heir, the new emperor still had to seek a swift acknowledgment of his status and authority to stabilize the political landscape. This often included paying a monetary reward to the Praetorian Guard to ensure their loyalty. Even though the Senate was entitled to choose the new emperor, they were often mindful of the acclamation by the army or Praetorians.
|Finally, in the later period of the Roman Empire, they could not afford to acquire more land and only relied on raising taxes to increase their income. The emperor sometimes replenished the treasury by confiscating the estates of the extremely wealthy, but in later periods the resistance of the wealthy to paying taxes caused the empire to increase the taxes on the average citizen. This caused the ordinary people to hate their rulers and support the empire’s enemies helping to lead to the collapse of the empire.