Lesson Plan #17

Aim: Early Roman History

Vocabulary: Etruscans, Republic, Senate, Consuls, Dictator, Patricians, Plebeians, Twelve Tables

Discussion: Now we have finished the Greeks who essentially created Western civilization as we know it, we will turn our focus to another important civilization which essentially cements the impact of the Greek-hellenistic-Western civilization in the world and that is the Romans.

Motivation: Can someome tell me the name of the galus we are in? The Ibn Ezra in Biraishis (10:4 and also in Daniel 2:39) says that Edom and Yavan are really the same. We can explain it by saying that since Edom and Yavan share the same spiritual-cultural heritage they are really of the same type.

1)      Ok how does Rome begin?[moshe bro1] The story  how Rome begun is found in a Medrash well quoted in the ancient world that there was a person who had a dream of two fires coming out of his nostrils and that burnt up his whole town. When he woke up he was very scared and he went home and heard that his wife had given birth to twins. He interpreted the dream as being about him and he threw his kids into the forest where a she wolf nurtured them till they where able to be on their own. These two people then founded Rome they were called Romleus and Remus.

2)      The Gemara in Shabbos nun vav amud beis says that when Shlomo Hamelech married Bas Paroh, which he shouldn’t of have, Malach Gavriel came and stuck some sand into the ocean and sedimentation occurred and out was born Rome or Italya shel Yavan which is sort of proof for the ibn Ezra that these two malchiyos should be considered as one.)

3)       The early Romans were ruled by a group called the Etruscans. The Romans learned from the Etruscans who learned the Greek alphabet and their architectural styles.[moshe bro2]

4)      In the year 509 BCE the Romans pushed out the hated Etruscan king and promised never to be ruled by a king again. They established a Republic which means a thing by the people. This means that the people chose the leaders.[moshe bro3]

5)       The government was made up of two parts. The Senate [moshe bro4] which was made up of 300 patricians or landowners who then elected two consuls or CEO’s who ran the business of government. During time’s of war they elected a dictator who would rule for six months with complete power all in his own hands.

6)      Over time plain people called plebeians also gained power beginning with the introduction of the twelve tables in 450 BCE which clearly allowed all people to read the laws for themselves and defend themselves against Patricians claims against them. Over 2000 years later the effect of Roman rule is felt today in what is called the senate today.


[moshe bro1]See Maharsha (chidushai Agados in Avoda Zara (10a)  which says that Rome was started by tzifo ben Elifaz

[moshe bro2] (See the gemara in Avoda Zara daf yud amud beis that Rome is called a  malchus beizyah no own language or alphabet)

[moshe bro3]The Gemara in Avoda Zara (10a) actually mentions that the Romans have no king and that it was a kiyum of a nevuah of Ovadiah hinai Katan nisaticha bagoyim that means that they have no King who gives over its rulership to their son! See the Gemara there which clearly describes  the institution of Roman democracy and how an emperor  was able to get his son elected as a melech through a vote (see Rash”i there who says so)! See there then how Rebbi gave Antoninus advice on how to get his son elected!

[moshe bro4] (quote midrash rabbah berishis samach ches daled about what is a senator soneh Nokaim Vinoter