Ancient Rome

Lesson 4


Explain why the Romans were always ready for war. 

Readings and Materials

  • Book: Ancient Rome and Pompeii: A Nonfiction Companion to Magic Tree House #13 by Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce (April 2006)  pp. 41 – 54

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Target Task


Multiple Choice

Read the sentence from page 44.

“The training was strict and brutal.”

What does the word “brutal” most likely mean as used in this sentence?

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Which detail from page 44 best helped you determine the meaning of the word “brutal”?

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Writing Prompt

The author states, “The powerful Romans were always ready for war.”

What details from the text best support this statement? Explain.

Mastery Response


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Key Questions


  • What evidence does the author give to support the point that “the Roman Empire would not have been possible without the army”?
  • What additional information about the Roman army does a reader learn from the diagram on page 43?
  • Why does the author use the words “strict” and “brutal” to describe the training?
  • How did battle formations help the Roman army?
  • In what ways did the Romans excel at “siege” warfare? Defend.
  • Describe some of the different war machines used by the Roman army. How did they fit with the Romans’ strategy of siege warfare?
  • What is the main idea of the section? What key details support the main idea?



triumph     (n.)

an important victory

siege     (n.)

when soldiers or police surround something to take control of it

hurl     (v.)

to throw with force

Enhanced lesson plan

Enhanced Lesson Plan

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Common Core Standards

  • RI.3.2 — Determine the main idea of a text; recount the key details and explain how they support the main idea.

  • RI.3.3 — Describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect.

Spiral Standards