Living in the Ancient Rome

History & Cultural Heritage


We know the history of the Roman Empire. The lives and wars of the Emperors and of the main philosopher or poets. But we are not really aware of how real life could be for poor people and for the workforce. History is written by the victors as Walter Benjamin wrote. However, the people that went to war or worked for feeding the population played an unknown role in the development of the facts and actions. A group of French historians known as Annales school ( affirmed that the social dimension is very important for knowing and understanding better the times we are studying. For these reasons, we through this activity will try to discover

  • the daily life of the workers of ancient Rome,
  • how was the food and what was the price of the food
  • what he could buy and were.
  • the habits of the Romans


  1. You are required to accomplish four tasks in this web quest. Have a look at this PPT about a brief summary of the Roman History. Research, create and study a brief summary of the Diocletian times making a short video (in group or single).

  2. Please have a look at this link that contains some indications about how to make a video

  3. Research documents about the social life, the social situation, and the food and nutrition in Rome and create a brief document answering the following questions
    • When Diocletian born?
    • Was The slavery legal?
    • What was the idea of Diocletian about the size of the Empire?
    • What was the life in Rome during Diocletian?
    • What did they eat?
    • In which classes was the society divided?
    • Which reforms did Diocletian approve in the field of social affairs?  

  1. Create (in group or single) in a Power point a “story” about how you would behave as worker (what food would you have bought; what would have been you day life (but do not forget to present the historical references: edicts; literature references; reporters of historians)


First, you need to research the history of Diocletian and his times. And to have a study some problems related to the social situation in Rome during the Empire.

Diocletian’s program of domestic reform systematized the Empire organization toward a kind of centralized and absolute monarchy that put effective means of action at his disposal.

Such an organization made it possible for the administration to rely less on individual human beings and more on the application of legal texts. Diocletian was concerned with the preservation of the ancient virtues and encouraged governors to be as autonomous as possible.

Such policies were expensive, as were wars and the legacy of an unstable financial situation. Diocletian’s fiscal solutions are still debated.

Diocletian times

  • When Diocletian became emperor?
  • How he take the place?
  • What was the social and financial situation under Diocletian

Living in Rome

  • How was the family composition and perception during these times
  • A day in a life in ROME

Describe the daily life of a worker and his family (where they lived; what they ate; what they did for leisure…)


You are requested to find videos or other materials that indicate how the people lived in Rome in their daily life, in particular during the era of Diocletian, but in general in the Age of empire.

The keywords and the conceptual references to be used are:

  • Food and subsistence
  • Housing
  • Markets
  • Fiscal policy
  • Daily life
  • Agricultural production
  • Salaries


Feel free to define more



We suggest, after having an idea of the history of Diocletian and before starting accomplishing the tasks, to create a conceptual map for proceeding in a correct and linear way.



The job of the historians is to have proper documentation of the information you provide. Everything you affirm or write should be based on evidence. If you are not able to read in Latin, the language the Roma spoke, and are not be able to have direct access to original documents, use in your Webquest sites or videos that are proved to be reliable. You should have a look to the source of the information and have a look at whom has made it. For instance, if the video is produced by a university or by a university professor in History you can be more sure of its usability.     


You can use these videos and websites to find your answers:

For the Diocletian time


For the life in Rome

Evaluation of learning achievements

The teacher will evaluate the final product (task 4) considering the following criteria.


Criteria for Evaluating Presentations
One of the best ways to help students create and deliver good presentations involves providing them with information about how their presentations will be evaluated. Some of the criteria that you can use to assess presentations include:

  • Focus of the presentation
  • Clarity and coherence of the content and adequate knowledge of the Roman history
  • Thoroughness of the ideas presented and the analysis
  • Clarity of the presentation
  • Effective use of facts and details
  • Lack of grammatical and spelling errors
  • Design of the slides
  • Effective use of images
  • Clarity of voice projection and appropriate volume
  • Completion of the presentation within the allotted time frame

In this section we will not dive very deep into the underlying educational theories about evaluation and testing: there’s too much out there than we could possibly cover in this small project report.

Instead, we want to concentrate on procedures that enable both students/pupils and their teachers to establish if the learning goals of the Webquest were achieved and, if so, to what extent. We recommend teachers make use of a combined evaluation procedure, that consists of:

  1. Statements by learners (after being asked to do so)
    • telling what they learned about the subject (knowledge-oriented self-evaluation): now (after going through the Webquest) I know that …
    • telling what he/she learned about herself/himself (formative evaluation, in this case, diagnostic self-evaluation): now (after going through the Webquest) I know about myself that I …
      This pair of basic statements add up to a so-called learner report, in which the pupil/student reflects on what the Webquest brought him/her in terms of acquired knowledge and new personal views and attitudes concerning the subject.

    For instance:

    • ‘I learned that in medieval times the hygiene of people was hardly a concern which helped to let epidemic diseases like the Plague cause so many casualties’ Or:
    • ‘I learned the facts and I know the earth is warming, but I cannot understand why people were so stupid to pollute the world and let it warm up so much.
    • ‘I learned from the information about diseases that this subject is more appealing to me than I would expect in advance: maybe I should consider a medical career’. Or:
      ‘The Webquests confirms what I thought already: I could not care less about the climate and global warming. In fact, I thought it was all a hoax and I still do!’

    This kind of assessment seems more subjective than it actually is: in his standard work on testing and evaluation (and much more), simply called Methodology (1974), Prof. A.D. de Groot described how consistent the student’s self-evaluations appeared to be: when asked again after 5 or 10 years, their evaluation would almost be the same. De Groot advised teachers to use the learner report as a start for joint evaluations, striving for consensus between teacher and student/pupil about the learning outcomes and their value for the learner, but also compared with the learning objectives as stated in the curriculum.

  2. The learning achievements are visible in the output produced by the students: it is physical evidence: reports, answers to questions asked in the Webquest, presentations, and performance during presentations (preferably recorded). The teacher completes an evaluation grid stating clearly what the learning outcomes for the student/pupil are. The categories in the grid can be modified by the teacher to cover more precisely the content of a Webquest.

    >We advise teachers to use the grid to start a joint evaluation discussion, aiming at consensus or at least understanding between the teacher and the student/pupil about the learning outcomes: were they achieved (as planned in the curriculum and communicated before the Webquest started) and to what extent? To communicate the learning goals clearly before any learning activity starts, is a transparency requirement that is widely acknowledged in the educational community. The history of making learning objectives explicit goes back to the evaluation ‘Bible’ by Bloom, Hastings and Madaus: ‘Handbook on formative and summative evaluation of student learning’ (1971), a standard work that also served as inspiration for the earlier mentioned Prof. De Groot.


The procedure also applies when students/pupils have worked together on a Webquest. The teacher will ask questions about individual contributions: ‘What did you find? What part did you write? How did you find the illustrations? Who made  the final presentation?’

All the evidence (of learning efforts and outcomes plus joint evaluations) is preferably stored in the learning portfolio of the student, or in any other suitable storage system (folders with written or printed documents, online collection of files, etcetera ).

Changes in personal points of view and feelings are harder to value and here the consensus between teacher and student/pupil about experiences during the learning process provides essential insights.

The grid below gives an example of how the evaluation of the learning process and achievements can be shaped: what kind of reactions to the Webquest does the teacher expect and how valuable are they? Is the teacher capable to explain the value or score allocated to answers or presentations given by pupils? Does the pupil/student understand the evaluation outcomes, and does he/she agree? If an agreement (consensus is not possible, it is still the teacher who decides how to value the student’s work.

Please note that the text in the grid addresses the pupil/student directly: this is important and it is in fact a prerequisite for using such an evaluation grid: it is specifically meant to enable a discussion of learning results between teacher and student and not to communicate learning achievements of learners to others who had no direct role in the Webquest.

Evaluation Grid


Having now completed this WebQuest, you should have a good idea about what was the social and daily life in Rome during Diocletian. You can know reflect and have a personal idea about the things you studied. You would have matured a better idea of the “job of the historian” and how he/she organizes the materials. Again, do not forget that the materials and documents you use should be controlled and verified. Internet is a very rich place, full of interesting things and suggestions, but also full of unreliable documents and sites!

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The European Commission’s support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Talk To Us

t: +357 2466 40 40
f: +357 2465 00 90

Funded by
sCOOL-IT erasmus logo EN

The European Commission’s support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Talk To Us

t: +357 2466 40 40
f: +357 2465 00 90

Funded by
sCOOL-IT erasmus logo EN

The European Commission’s support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Talk To Us

t: +357 2466 40 40
f: +357 2465 00 90

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