Unit 4, The Heritage of Ancient Greece and Rome is an informational unit included to provide context for the literature unit that precedes it (Unit 3, The Iliad, the Odyssey, and Other Greek Stories) and the literature unit that follows it (Unit 5, William Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Julius Caesar). Together, Units 3–5 are designed to give students a nuanced view of ancient Greek and Roman culture.
In this unit, students will focus on differentiating sentence structures, correct sentence punctuation, and Greek and Roman roots and affixes in the English language.
Students will also write a research essay in this unit. Students can enhance their presentation by incorporating a multimedia element into their presentation.
During this unit, students will read parts of The Heritage of Ancient Greece and Rome. This unit begins with the origins and development of the ancient Greek city-states. Particular attention is given to Athens and Sparta. Athens is rightly regarded as “the birthplace of democracy.” While falling short of today’s standards of inclusion and civil rights, the city-state of Athens introduced ideas of citizenship and “government by the people” that were advanced for the time and remain standard in American and many other Western governments today. While influenced to some extent by these same ideas, Sparta contrasted with Athens in its focus on militarism. These two city-states had a complicated relationship, mostly adversarial, but at times united in opposition to a common enemy. The ancient Greek civilization peaked with the 300-year Hellenistic Period, during which its culture infused much of the region between the Eastern Mediterranean and India. The Roman Republic further shaped the democratic principles that define our present government in the United States. Our nation’s founders paid particularly close attention to the structures of both Greek and Roman governments when laying out our constitution.