SKILLS LESSON: ANCIENT ROME AND THE TRAGEDY OF JULIUS CAESAR

Caesar began his rule of Rome as a member of the First Triumvirate. How did he become Rome’s sole leader?

He was elected by the House of Representatives.
He inherited the position from his father, Crassus.
Pompey stepped down from his position as Roman emperor.
He defeated his fellow Triumvirate member Pompey and became dictator.

He defeated his fellow Triumvirate member Pompey and became dictator.
Which social change did Caesar not put into place?

Senate benefits
debt cancellation
family morality
public works

Senate benefits
Read the excerpt below from Life of Caesar by Plutarch and complete the instruction that follows.

At Rome, moreover, Caesar won a great and brilliant popularity by his eloquence as an advocate, and much good will from the common people for the friendliness of his manners . . . . He had also a large and gradually increasing political influence in consequence of his lavish hospitality and the general splendour of his mode of life. At first his enemies thought this influence would quickly vanish . . . . [T]he man who is thought to have been the first to see beneath the surface of Caesar’s public policy and to fear it, . . . and who comprehended the powerful character hidden beneath his kindly and cheerful exterior, namely Cicero, said that in most of Caesar’s political plans and projects he saw a tyrannical purpose . . . .

List two to three details you learned from this excerpt about Caesar the historical figure.

Responses may vary but should include some or all of the following information:

Caesar was popular with the common people. Caesar was a good speaker. Caesar was friendly. Caesar gradually gained more political power. His influence was carefully watched by his enemies. Some thought that Caesar’s only ambition was tyranny despite his friendly exterior.

Why do you think Shakespeare wanted to tell his audience the story of Julius Caesar?
Responses may vary but should include some or all of the following information:

Elizabethan England shared numerous similarities with Julius Caesar’s Rome. Just as Julius Caesar was the absolute ruler of an ever-expanding empire, Queen Elizabeth I found herself as the monarch of an England that was quickly gaining political power beyond its borders. Both ruled over a growing population, one that was intrinsically divided due to status and wealth. By casting light on the similarities—any kinship with the imperial ancient Rome was welcomed as evidence of a successful example—Shakespeare was also warning the nation about what path to avoid.

Ideally, how does a republic work?
Responses may vary but should include some or all of the following information:

Ideally, a republic is a government elected by its citizens. Within that government, a ruling body, usually called the senate, is appointed to manage the domestic and legislative affairs of the nation.

Julius Caesar and Queen Elizabeth I were often considered __________, leaders who worked to seize absolute power.

groundlings
demigods
tyrants
citizens

tyrants
Whom did Queen Elizabeth I succeed?

her mother, Anne Boleyn
her mother, Queen Mary I
her sister, Anne Boleyn
her sister, Queen Mary I

her sister, Queen Mary I
Explain the seating arrangements in the Globe Theatre.
Responses may vary but should include some or all of the following information:

Social status determined where a theater goer sat; basically, the more wealth and status attendants had, the better their seats. The groundlings paid a penny for standing area with no roof protection. The galleries were occupied by middle- to upper-class citizens. Prestigious social figures were often seated on the stage.

How were citizens of Rome involved in the political process?

Roman citizens had no input on ancient Rome’s political process but were involved in electing public officials.
Roman citizens earned voting rights from the Senate, who decided which citizens could vote.
Roman citizens could vote on the Senate’s legislation, and some citizens were involved in electing public officials.
Roman citizens only participated by serving in the military.

Roman citizens could vote on the Senate’s legislation, and some citizens were involved in electing public officials.
Read the statements below about the state of the Roman Republic during Caesar’s life and complete the instruction that follows.

Statement 1: Stress and pressure from managing the new territories of the Roman Empire created serious issues.

Statement 2: Internal disputes among military generals became frequent as they sought more control.

Based on these two statements, explain the cause for these problems in Rome.

Responses may vary but should include some or all of the following information:

With so many new people to manage in the new territories, the leaders had to work harder to make sure that their messages were reaching far enough. However, the drive for more power and the ambition to control more land prevented them from realizing their limits. Acting under the direction of the leaders, the military generals also sought more power for the empire. With more power came more fighting and unrest until it was just too much to take and destruction occurred.

Feeling unheard, the public fell into a(n) __________ that completely resisted the government and its rules.

tyranny
dictatorship
friendship
anarchy

anarchy
Read the excerpt below from Life of Caesar by Plutarch and answer the question that follows.

At Rome, moreover, Caesar won a great and brilliant popularity by his eloquence as an advocate, and much good will from the common people for the friendliness of his manners . . . . He had also a large and gradually increasing political influence in consequence of his lavish hospitality and the general splendour of his mode of life. At first his enemies thought this influence would quickly vanish . . . . [T]he man who is thought to have been the first to see beneath the surface of Caesar’s public policy and to fear it, . . . and who comprehended the powerful character hidden beneath his kindly and cheerful exterior, namely Cicero, said that in most of Caesar’s political plans and projects he saw a tyrannical purpose . . . .

Based on this excerpt, what information could Shakespeare use to construct the character of Julius Caesar?

Shakespeare could not have used any of the information.
Shakespeare could have only used the information about Caesar’s popularity with the common people.
Shakespeare could have used the information about his personality, political influence, and tyranny.
Shakespeare could only have used the information about Caesar’s enemies.

Shakespeare could have used the information about his personality, political influence, and tyranny.
Which sector of society paid the lowest amount to attend plays at the Globe Theatre?

The middle class paid the lowest amount.
The lower class, the groundlings, paid the lowest amount.
The upper class paid the lowest amount.
The Globe was free to everyone.

The lower class, the groundlings, paid the lowest amount.
Why did Julius Caesar’s enemies label him a tyrant?

He eventually assumed absolute power over Rome.
He shared his power equally with the Roman Senate and Rome’s citizens.
He was part of the First Triumvirate.
He did nothing to help expand the Roman Empire.

He eventually assumed absolute power over Rome.
Which statement is true about both monarchies and dictatorships?

Every monarch is a dictator.
A single ruler is in charge.
Every dictator is a monarch.
There are no similarities.

A single ruler is in charge.
Which similarity did Julius Caesar and Queen Elizabeth I share?

Both lived in a time of severe class division.
Both lived in the 1500s.
Both were rulers of England.
Both were rulers of Rome.

Both lived in a time of severe class division.
Read the excerpt below from Life of Caesar by Plutarch and answer the question that follows.

At Rome, moreover, Caesar won a great and brilliant popularity by his eloquence as an advocate, and much good will from the common people for the friendliness of his manners . . . . He had also a large and gradually increasing political influence in consequence of his lavish hospitality and the general splendour of his mode of life. At first his enemies thought this influence would quickly vanish . . . . [T]he man who is thought to have been the first to see beneath the surface of Caesar’s public policy and to fear it, . . . and who comprehended the powerful character hidden beneath his kindly and cheerful exterior, namely Cicero, said that in most of Caesar’s political plans and projects he saw a tyrannical purpose . . . .

Based on the excerpt above, which statement about Caesar is true?

Caesar was disliked by the common people.
Caesar had no desire for a political career.
Cicero believed Caesar had noble political intentions.
Caesar gained popularity and political influence but also gained enemies during his life.

Caesar gained popularity and political influence but also gained enemies during his life.
Julius Caesar was a Roman __________ and __________.

barbarian . . . enemy
king . . . foot soldier
politician . . . military general
foreign ally . . . hero

politician . . . military general
The three men Crassus, Pompey, and Caesar joined together as a __________ to lead the empire.

friends
Senate
Republic
triumvirate

triumvirate
Which territory was added to the Roman Empire under Caesar’s governance?

Tarquinia
Venice
London
Gaul

Gaul