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Two thousand years ago, one civilization held the entire Western world in its grasp. 1 From Northern Europe to Africa, and the Middle East, it imposed 2 laws, ideas, and the single language. For two millennia we’ve dreamed 3 of its cities and its triumphs, its idealism and its decadence. Rome: the power and the glory.

Over a thousand years after Rome’s fall, the armies of the French emperor Napoleon descend on the city. Napoleon’s forces have already battled their way through Europe 4 —to take Rome seems an afterthought. 5 By this time it’s a backwater; 6 but for Napoleon, it has an almost religious significance. He claims 7 he’s the spiritual descendant of the Roman emperors. He has himself painted wearing the Roman crown of laurels, 8 as if Rome still

rules 9 the world. His troops march unopposed 10 into the city. It’s

like walking into

a ghost town. 11










a su alcance. impuso. hemos soñado con; hemos imaginado.

sus fuerzas ya han combatido a lo largo de Europa. idea tardía. lugar atrasado, lugar apartado. asegura, afirma. corona de laureles. reina, gobierna.

10 sin oposición, sin rival.

11 ciudad fantasma.


They find the frightened 12 Romans huddling 13 among the ruins of the ancient city. Crumbling 14 palaces and arches still seem to echo the magnificent triumphs they were built to celebrate. Goats and cattle graze 15 where thousands once thronged 16 the streets.


In 70 A.D., when the emperor, Vespasian, started building the massive Coliseum, Rome was ten times larger 18 than the city Napoleon found. Vespasian wanted a great theater for the gory 19 spectacles Romans so loved. The scale of the Roman games, like the scale of Rome itself, was staggering. 20 The Coliseum had seating 21 for forty-five thousand, and standing room 22 for twenty thousand more. In one series of games, five thousand people, and eleven thousand animals, were slaughtered. 23 Nothing in Hollywood could compare with this gruesome 24 splatterfest. The blood and brutality were all too real, and the Romans were addicted to it.














asustados. acurrucados en las ruinas de la vieja ciudad. palacios y arcos que se derrumban. cabras y ganado pastan. llenaron. empezó a construir. diez veces más grande. sangriento. asombrosa. asientos. sitio para quedarse de pie. masacrados. repelente, espantoso.

When he saw the blood, rather than turn away, he fixed his eyes on the scene and took in all its frenzy. 25 He reveled in 26 the wickedness 27 of the fighting, and grew intoxicated with the bloodshed. 28 When he left the arena, he took with him a sick mind, 29 which left him no peace until he came back again. (St. Augustine)

They did get excited, watching gladiators kill one another—I’m not denying 30 that. But you know what? So do we. I think for example of the brouhaha 31 over Mike Tyson. What Mike Tyson did when he bit 32 Evander Holyfield’s ear—that would have been applauded in the Roman arena; that’s great, that’s what you’re supposed to do; in fact, you’re supposed to rip the ear off 33 and march around the arena with it in your mouth. That’s what you’re supposed to do. (Professor Shelley P. Haley)










furor, manía. Se deleitaba en. crueldad, maldad. derramamiento de sangre, matanza. mente enferma. negando. baraúnda, conmoción. mordió. arrancar la oreja.

Rome: The Power and the Glory


Rome’s savagery was matched by its size. When the Coliseum was built, Rome was a city of a million people and growing. Not until London of the nineteenth century would a city approach this size again.

What I think you’d notice, if a time traveler went back, would be the smell, the noise, 34 the dirt, 35 the crowdedness. I think there would be lots of beggars, 36 lots of signs of sickness, disease, 37 lots of small children. It would be rather like Calcutta, or Rio—a crowded, modern town, very poor, with these monumental buildings in the center expressing the wealth 38 and power of the empire. (Professor Keith Hopkins)

Traffic was terrible. Julius Caesar forbade 39 wheeled traffic 40 during the day so people could move around, which meant that at night all these carts started going on these stone streets and it was so noisy that you couldn’t sleep. (Professor Diane Favro)








ruido, bullicio.






tráfico rodado.

To manage the problems of organizing such a huge 41 concentration of people, the Romans invented the science of urban planning. They invented cement, built gigantic public storehouses, 42 and installed city-wide sewage systems. 43 But their greatest achievement 44 was the water supply:

The aqueducts of Rome reached sixty and seventy miles into the hills to guarantee a continual flow 45 of fresh water 46 into the city. That flow of fresh water provided 47 enough water, gallons per person per day, that was not equaled by the city of Rome until the 1950s. (Professor Richard Brilliant)

Along with millions of gallons of water, Romans consumed a staggering 48 eight thousand tons 49 of grain 50 weekly. 51 Supertankers, each carrying a thousand tons of grain, crisscrossed












enorme, gigante. almacenes, bodegas. estaciones depuradoras; eliminación de aguas negras. logro, éxito. flujo. agua fresca. proporcionó. asombroso. toneladas. cereal. semanalmente.

Rome: The Power and the Glory


the Mediterranean. They were the largest ships built until the Atlantic steamers 52 of the nineteenth century.

The city of Rome was the heart of an empire 53 that stretched 54 from Scotland to Syria. Never 55 has the Western world been better organized or more united. In the year 100 A.D., you could travel 56 from Egypt to France on paved roads 57 with only one currency 58 and one passport in your pocket.

And this vast, well-organized empire would muster 59 the largest army the world have ever seen—over half a million soldiers. Rome was the superpower of the ancient world. Later superpowers never stopped learning the lessons 60 of its spectacular rise and fall. 61 Napoleon was not alone in his obsession with Rome. Twenty years before Napoleon marched into Rome, on the other side of the Atlantic, a group of men were designing a political system for their new country.











barcos de vapor. el corazón de un imperio. se extendía. nunca. viajar. caminos pavimentados. moneda. reunir. lecciones. auge y caída.

In designing the Constitution of these United States of America, we have at various times sought precedent in the history of that ancient republic and endeavored 62 to draw lessons both from its leading ideas and from the tumult and factions which finally brought it low. (Thomas Jefferson)

The American Founding Fathers 63 spent most of their childhood 64 and much of their adulthood 65 reading the Latin classics. To the Founders the past was not something that was dead 66 it was something that was alive; especially the Roman past—it was alive with personal and social meaning. 67 This was crucial, I think, to the American Revolution because they were doing something really 68 unprecedented in this revolution, and yet they were able to feel 69 that they were not the first. The basis of our political system, I think, lies in Rome. (Professor Carl J. Richard)

62 intentado, tratado.

63 los “padres” fundadores.

64 infancia.

65 edad adulta; madurez.

66 muerto.



68 realmente.

69 sentir.

Rome: The Power and the Glory


The Western world grew up 70 in Rome’s shadow 71 —its legends, 72 its laws, its institutions, and its language. Napoleon said, “the story of Rome is the story of the world.” It’s a story of great commanders and politicians—men like Caesar, Augustus, Hadrian and Constantine. But it’s also a story of the poor who bore the brunt 73 of their leaders’ ambitions. It’s a story of vast idealism and an equally vast greed 74 for power. And finally, it’s the story of Rome’s spectacular fall, 75 and the chaos that followed. 76 But behind 77 all that are the stories of Rome’s beginnings 78 almost three thousand years ago in the lush hills 79 of Central Italy.

70 creció, maduró.

71 sombra.

72 leyendas.

73 Se llevaron la peor parte; pagaron los platos rotos.

74 avaricia, ambición.

75 caída.

76 siguió, vino a continuación.



78 inicios, comienzos.

79 colinas exuberantes.

Group Work

Take turns reading the text aloud, with each member of the group reading an entire paragraph. Pay attention to any questions about pronunciation. Which words are most difficult to pronounce?

Make a list of the words and phrases that you do not understand.

Answer the following questions in writing, with complete sentences.

1. What was Rome like at the time of Napoleon’s invasion?

2. Describe the Coliseum during the reign of Vespasian.

3. What opinion did St. Augustine have of the Roman “games”?

4. What comparison is made between the Roman games and our

own times?

5. How did Rome solve the problems of being such a large city in

ancient times?

6. What link exists between ancient Rome and the “Founding

Fathers” of the United States?

7. Describe the “Western world” when the Roman Empire was at

its height.

Rome: The Power and the Glory


Homework Assignment

Create an original sentence for each of the vocabulary words below.

1. grasp—

2. through—

3. claim—

4. rule—

5. frightened—

6. throng—

7. staggering—

8. slaughter—

9. wicked, wickedness—

10. bloodshed—

11. crowd, crowded, crowdedness—

12. wealth—

13. currency—

14. endeavor—

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