Octavian was the grand-nephew of Julius Caesar, the first emperor of Rome. After Julius Caesar’s death, Octavian returned to Rome to take revenge after his studying in Greece. He made a truce with Antony and Lepidus to become the Second Triumvirate to rule the people, but Octavian’s hidden goal was to become the sole ruler. Octavian forced Lepidus to retire and Antony was the only one left, he became ruler of Rome. As ruler he expanded Rome’s territory, he brought peace to Rome, and he refused to become dictator until his death, but instead, he became known as Emperor Caesar Augustus.

   Augustus ruled Rome for twenty-seven years. He organized the Praetorian guard who would become the body guard for the emperor, and he also set up governors over each of the provinces of Rome to make sure peace was maintained in the empire. The period of peace Augustus brought up was known as the Pax Romana. During the Pax Romana, he worked together with the Senate to improve Rome, and he reduced the size of the army to prevent a coup. He built lots of building and cared for the very poor people. Augustus called for a census of the entire Roman Empire which was the cause of Mary and Joseph traveling to Bethlehem, the place where Jesus was born.

   Augustus died in 14 A.D. and the Romans declared him a Roman god. Is it amazing that Augustus lived the same time Jesus was born?

   Carthage was founded by Dido in 814 B.C. Dido was a Phoenician princess. When Dido’s brother became king, she was afraid he was going to kill her, so she fled to found a new city. She named this city Carthage.

   Carthage was in North Africa. She talked the people of Africa into giving her as much land as a bull’s hide can take up. This seems really stupid, but she actually used her trickery in this request by slicing the bull’s hide into thin strips long enough to take up a huge tract of land to hound Carthage.

   Carthage followed in the pattern of Phoenicia civilization and Carthage also became a prosperous trading city. It traded three kinds of metals. These metals were tin, bronze, and silver.

   Carthage was very cool in its wars and trading center. I wonder what they traded at their trading center.

   Rome had the most intimidating and effective army in antiquity the world has ever seen at that time. Whenever a war occurred, the citizens were called to the Field of Mars. Mars is the Roman name for Ares, the god of war. Wars usually lasted a few days, but if it lasted longer, the soldiers would get paid. The Roman military was known for its massive legions. Every original legion consisted of four thousand two hundred men, divided into four very different types and organized into “maniples”. The maniples each had one hundred twenty soldiers and they were organized by experience levels. Commander Marius reorganized some of the army in 100 B.C. which means all citizens could join the army no matter how rich or poor they were. The new legion had five thousand soldiers.

   Life as a soldier in Rome was hard because the soldiers had to keep up with hard training exercises, you had to carry your own provisions, and the punishments were also very harsh in the army. In fact, they were so harsh, you could die. The parts of the Roman armor were very impressive. They had a helmet, a javelin, shoulder plates, body armor, dagger, sword, shield, woolen, tunic, and sandals or boots depending on the weather.

   I would want to be in the army. Would you want to be in the army?

   Lucius Tarquinius Priscus was the very first king to be a great promoter of the Roman games and he outlined the area that would later become the Circus Maximus. The Circus Maximus was used for chariot races and foot races. Later in time, the Coliseum and other amphitheaters were built as an arena for watching all the other games that were held in Rome.

   The Circuit Maximus was one thousand eight hundred feet long and six hundred feet wide. Also, the stadium held up to two hundred fifty thousand people. Now that’s a lot of people! Races consisted of up to twelve chariots and the race usually consisted of seven laps in length. The races were dangerous, you could get very injured, or even die, but if you’re a good driver and win every race you are in, you will become a champion and will become rich and famous.

   The gladiator games are sort of an entertainment for people. There were two different times the games were held: the morning games and the afternoon games. The morning games were animal games. At the beginning of the game, participants paraded into the amphitheater and then the games began. Sometimes animals ought against gladiators and other times animals devoured defenseless criminals that the government catches. The afternoon games were when gladiators fought each other, often to the death. If you were a criminal fighting and you were very good at it, you could beg for mercy from the emperor. Sometimes the emperor would put his thumbs down, which means kill him, and sometimes the emperor would put his thumbs up, which means you are free. Sometimes the amphitheaters were so flooded, the gladiator had to fight on ships. There were at least twenty-five varieties of gladiators, but four of the most popular types are Samnite, Thracian, Retiarius, and Murmillo.

   The Circus Maximus and the amphitheater still exist today; however, the Roman games are very cruel when you think about it. I would not want to be in the Roman games.

   After a king of Rome died, the Senate of the government began ruling the people for about a year until the people wanted a king so the people chose Tullus Hostilius and the Senate accepted him as king. Tullus was a very warlike and violent man. When Rome was going to fight Alba, the general of Alba ran to the king and said that he didn’t want to fight, so to settle the fight they would each chose a set of triplets from each city to duel and whoevers triplets won, that city would conquer the other city and Rome won the duel. when Rome went to fight a city, he called for aid from Alba; however, Alba did not come to his aid, so after the battle, Tullus executed the general of Alba for not coming to his aid even though they won the battle. Tullus died because lightning struck his house and he died in 642 B.C.

   Ancus Martius was the grandson of Numa Pompilius, the king before Tullus Hostilius. Because Ancus reigned during a time of war, he developed religious practices for times of war. Ancus died in 616 B.C.

   Lucius Tarquinius Priscus came from an Etruscan city named Tarquinia. After he became king, he sponsored Chariot racing. He died because the sons of Ancus Martius were jealous of him being king instead of them so they killed him.

   These kings are great kings. I think the best is Ancus Martius. Who do you think is the best?

   Alexander was the son of Philip II and was born in 356 B.C. Alexander had lots of courage and ambition. He demonstrated this by taming a great war horse which Philip gave to Alexander as a gift for taming the horse which he named Bucephalus. Alexander schooled and the famous philosopher Aristotle was his teacher. Homer was Alexander’s favorite author. In fact, he loved him so much he carried a copy of the Iliad with him on his conquests in his later years. Alexander was 20 years old when he became king. He was given the name “The Great”, because he never lost a battle.

   He began his conquests in 336 B.C. Alexander eventually conquered Greece and after conquering Greece, he turned to conquer Asia next. The first successful siege completed by Alexander was in Halicarnassus. He even fulfilled the prophecy of the Gordian knot. The Gordian knot is a knot that is almost impossible to untie, but Alexander untied the knot by slicing the knot with a sword, and when he was done, there were only tiny pieces, but the knot was not there, so he became the ruler of Asia. Alexander did not destroy Jerusalem, because a Greek king would conquer Jerusalem so Jerusalem was spared. Alexander then turned to defeat King Darius III and died in 330 B.C. He was killed by his own men who rebelled against him. Alexander kept calling for more troops from his home regions made them weakened over time.

   Alexander died in 323 B.C. and was a great man who had a great Empire. I wish I could be like him.

   There were three Peloponnesian wars. The city-states who fought against each other were Athens and Sparta. The first one began when Sparta did not let Athens rebuild the city wall and when Sparta did not accept reinforcements from Athens when they were trying to help. The first war began in 459 B.C. and was 15 years long. Because the city-states lost so many soldiers and possessions the city-state kings made a peace treaty which was called, “The Thirty Year’s peace.” Athens was the one guilty of breaking the peace treaty which lead into the next war.

   The second Peloponnesian war was called The Archidamion war and began in 432 B.C. it was hard for either Athens or Sparta to win a battle because Athens preferred naval battles while Sparta preferred land battles. In 430 B.C. a plague struck Athens and killed 30,000 people. After this happened there was no formal peace treaty that ended the wars. Instead, Athens was forced to go home and protect their city while Sparta asked the city-states’ government that were around Sparta to help them in destroying Athens.

   For whatever reason, the Spartans did not destroy Athens quickly. This caused the Athenians to make a small comeback in the war. In 406 B.C. Athens won a naval victory, but could not destroy the Spartans so Athens chased them to the Hellespont, because that is where Athens got its grain, and without grain, Athens could not eat. Athens lost the war because the wall of their city was torn down, their naval fleet was destroyed, and all Athenian colonies were freed from obligations to the city. Athens was weakened by the Peloponnesian wars so it was easier for Alexander the Great to conquer them.


   Before Xerxes, king of Persia, could fight a war, he had a feast, and when he was having the feast, he told Vashti, queen of Persia, to come to him to show off her beauty. Vashti refused to come, so Xerxes dismissed her from being queen of Persia.

   After he came back from the war, he decided to choose a new queen so he had all the beautiful girls come into the palace and get ready. Well, one girl whose name was Hadassah, a Jewish lady, was raised by her cousin, Mordecai, was brought into the palace to get ready. Because Hadassah was a Jewish name, Mordecai changed her name to Esther. It took her a year to get ready!

   When the day came for Xerxes to chose his bride, all the girls were brought before him. He chose Esther to be the queen and married her.

   Haman was a descendant of King Agag and extremely hated the Jews. When Haman found out that Mordecai wasn’t giving him the respect he thought he should be given, he wanted to kill all the Jews. He made a decree with the king that all Jews were to be killed on a specific day; however, he didn’t say what kind of people it was. When Mordecai heard of the decree he went to Esther and asked her if she would ask the king to take the decree back. With courage, she went into the place the king was and asked him to have dinner with her. The king accepted and after the dinner was over, she asked him to have another dinner with her next week. He again accepted and on that night, Esther revealed Haman’s plan to kill all the Jews. After she told of the plot, Xerxes was furious and had Haman and his entire family executed.

   Xerxes also made a second decree that said that the Jews could fight back and defend themselves against the Persians. He also gave them weapons and on the day the Jews were supposed to be killed, the Jews won the battle. In honor of her courageous act, the king held a feast called Purim and Mordecai got promoted in Haman’s place.

   Esther did a great thing in saving the Jews. It took a lot of courage to go talk to the king. Do you think she did a courageous act?


     Nehemiah was a Jew who lived during the time of King Artaxerxes. He was the King’s cupbearer. When he heard about the construction of the walls of Jerusalem, he was very sad. One day the King realized he was sad and asked him what was the matter. Nehemiah asked permission to go to Jerusalem for a time and the King granted his request.

     Nehemiah took a people group with him to help rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. When he got there he checked the damage of the walls and in the morning he planned out his plan. It was for each tribe to go to their part of the city and rebuild the walls there. Some of their enemies tried to interfere with the building of the walls of Jerusalem, however, the construction of the walls did not stop. The walls were rebuilt in 52 days! The people of Jerusalem lived in the city from 400 B.C. to 70 A.D. That’s 470 years! Nehemiah was in a unique position to influence the king and he used that position to lead the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem.

     God used Nehemiah in a special way to help rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Don’t you think so?