This site offers the visitor several ways in which to view the history of ancient Rome and some of the contemporary civilizations. Whether you are a casual user, amateur historian, interested in theatre and performing arts, ancient coin collector, or serious scholar, you should be able to quickly and easily find out whether the site has the information you are looking for.
This site consists of a system of linked Web pages organized into twenty two topic areas. You will find the topic areas arranged in a table at the bottom of each page on this site which contains links to the table of contents for each of these areas. You may always return to the top level table of contents in any of the twenty two main topics by clicking its link at the bottom of the page. For those users who like to stay organized or who don't want to get "lost" out at the end of a chain of links in hyperspace, this table of links provides an easy way back to familiar territory. This feature along with the hypertext links in context and the related tables of contents described below work together to help you access the information you want quickly and see how it relates to other ideas and topics. The site has been carefully designed to provide you with access to an almost unlimited variety of content yet remain easy and comfy for even the newest of Internet surfers to use.
This site is constructed to take advantage of the best features of your browser. Keep in mind that you can always follow a link to "take a quick peek" at another page, then use the Back Button to jump back. If you follow several links, use the Go Menu to get back where you want to be. Both buttons are located on the button bar at the top of your browser. The Title Bar at the top of your browser gives the title of the main topic group, then the title of the article. You will also see a list of the last fourteen of these titles you visited when you click the Go Menu but only the first and last few words of the title appear. By learning to use these tools built into your browser and the way this site extends and takes advantage of them, you should be able to zoom around the site and find the information you need quickly.
Most of the articles will have a table of contents containing short, descriptive or inviting phrases linked to articles related to the one currently being displayed. A great deal of design work went into the layout, wording, placement on the page, length, indentation, and text size of these tables. In order to avoid cluttering up the page with related links, a special area has been added that might be thought of as "under" the bottom of the page. Usually, both the top and the bottom of each page will have a link to the next article, the previous article, and the complete table of contents for that particular topical area. Sometimes, if there are only a few articles in a topical area or a subsection of a topical area, there will be a complete list of links to the articles in the section instead of a link to the next and previous articles. This usually works if there are seven or less articles in the logically related section and it makes more sense than just links to previous and next articles because the user's idea of which little related topic comes "next" may be different from the author's opinion. The next and previous links at the top of the page are there so the user can quickly scan the first few sentences of an article to find out whether he or she will be interested in reading further. These two groups of links, top and bottom, help the reader who is most comfortable either skimming or jumping quickly from page to page like would be done with a traditional book.
Under the little group of links at the bottom, there will be a thin dividing line (Horizontal Rule) that denotes the "bottom" of the page. It is here that an expanded table of contents to related articles will be found in most articles. Since an article on shipbuilding, for example, might contain discussions related to metalworking, military tactics, economy, trade, and artistic styles found on the bronze fittings, a suitable table of contents might take the form of an outline. Most of today's learners have already put in the time and energy to learn to work well with tables of contents, outlines, alphabetized lists, chronological lists, and indexes. The design of this site and CD will take full advantage of all this front - end learning by making all of these tools just a click or two away from the user . Furthermore, the user will have found some of these methods of access more comfortable than others. Furthermore, the glossary link at the very bottom of the bottom of the page will be an enhanced tool when implemented. Indexes are being examined from several good books on Roman history in all areas of study. Also, word lists that the author has gathered over the years will be thrown into the mix. An extended, expanded list will then be generated and edited. The little descriptions will be checked and edited for clarity, and some short definition text or explanatory remarks will be added to most words and terms. Finally, each word will be followed by links to pages that discuss the subject more fully, if such pages exist. The list will also serve as a guide and prompt to the authoring team to develop future articles. All of the tables of contents and links to topical areas, indexes, timelines, and glossaries will be tucked away in this area "under" the bottom of each page to be out of the way of those people who don't want the clutter, yet just a few strokes of the Page Down key or a little drag of the scroll bar will make them available to the picker and peeker, the chooser and nibbler kinds of learners.
A key point that the author expects to make this kind of structure successful is the descriptive text used in the links themselves. It is hoped that extensive user testing will confirm that making the text used in the links descriptive and interesting will be a powerful learning tool in itself. Modern constructivist theory states that learning is contextual and that the learner builds his or her own learning by fitting the new information into an existing network of ideas or schema that he or she already possesses. Additional scaffolding and suggestions for organization of learning can be supplied through tables of contents situated in a variety of contexts that are in themselves links to larger bodies of information. If the learner can see linked ideas presented in an interesting way on the page, s/he may be able to incorporate a sizable chunk of learning into his or her own learning, and feel a rush of joy and sense of accomplishment at being able to do "power learning" on the fly. Perhaps it will even take the student who is bored with learning and turn her into one of Julius Caesar's standard bearers.
One possible danger with using this approach is that the author may be guilty of brainwashing the learner or superimposing his or her views and biases through the way the information is linked or grouped. For example, this author tends to portray ancient coin collecting as a mighty fine hobby and Flavius Stilicho as a hero, both of which are legitimately debatable points of view. One can try to avoid this by situating links to content in a variety of contexts and presenting controversies in terms of discussing the issues alternatively from the viewpoints of each side. Then, links can be structured and grouped to provide access to articles that discuss the issues from the points of view of all parties concerned.
The author and those collaborating with him on this project are working to continuously refine the site and the CD-ROM version for those without Internet access but with Netscape or another browser installed on their computers. Part of this refinement is to take the information in existing articles and break it up into smaller articles that are more easily read by younger students at the sixth grade level. In order to serve the high school and college undergraduate student, many of these short articles will be linked to an article that covers the subject in greater depth. When you see the mortar board cap icon like the one at the top left corner of this paragraph, click it to follow a link to a more detailed article. These articles will usually have more bibliographic references to the Booklist page and a somewhat higher vocabulary level.
For those who want to explore on their own, the team of authors is continuously updating the articles and placing new links to other articles. Quite a lot of thought went into the placement of these links and they are designed with two goals in mind. The first goal is simply to make history more fun to learn. Modern research has shown that if a person is left to explore interesting short well illustrated articles on his or her own, then they will learn much faster because they are in control of their own learning. We try to sprinkle just enough gore and gossip of the times to keep you coming back for more. If the Sixth - Grader who generally hates schoolwork spends time browsing our site, one day he or she will be able to tell the class something about history of which the teacher hasn't heard. The student will now have become a history expert in that area. This ought to be reason for both the teacher and the student to rejoice. This would most certainly give this author cause to rejoice!
The second goal is to allow the user to link most of the meaningful information about each person, event, idea, or object. If you are looking at the obverse (heads) of a coin you might want to see the reverse of the coin, especially if you are a collector. You might see an image of a person and want to read more about that emperor or lady. Some links explain what the images are depicting and tell about the symbols being used. If the article is about a battle or a neighboring kingdom, then a link will often lead to an article about the emperors or generals fighting the battle or the ruler of the kingdom you are reading about. If you need to gather information for a paper or report, following the links will usually turn up lots of details and explanations about the subject of the report. Also, the different related articles tell about people, places, and things from different points of view. You may read about the events of a battle, then look up information about the generals, the living conditions of the soldiers, the ships or weapons used, or what became of the losers. Not only does this make for a better report, it is just more fun learning this way.
One last important benefit of having enough relevant links and a good, table of contents of closely related ideas are that they provide both cueing and rehearsal, both highly important tools that educational psychologists tell us help us to retain, remember, and contextualize what we have learned. The contrasting blue and underlined link color help the student to identify main ideas and important words without the irritation provided by a teacher always nagging us to look for important ideas in our reading. Most students hate outlines and find find reading t hem boring but, when an outline is presented as a catalog of tantalizing goodies and promising links, the student will naturally be attracted. This provides rehearsal and a recap of the content, a summing up without coming of as repetitious. The The nagging things that teachers did with verbal language that bored us to tears as kids are turned into attractive features in a well - done hypertext article. Nobody is looking over the student's shoulder to either nag or make fun of his or her enjoyment of learning.
The images used on this site are carefully chosen to emphasize or clarify what the adjacent text is explaining. Often, the images will be coin portraits of rulers. Sometimes, they will be of symbols or figures found on the reverse of coins. Most images show examples of the written language from the period. There is an entire main topic area on writing and language, and the various words, letters, and symbols are explained there. Most of the inscriptions in Latin can be deciphered by readers of English with a well - developed vocabulary, since much of English comes from Latin. The author has applied some rather sophisticated digital imaging techniques to make the lettering clear and crisp even when the original coin is dark or corroded. Also, the different eras of the Roman republic and empire had different styles of portraiture and lettering. The author has tried to have his photos show these features as clearly as possible. This site is created for the enjoyment of history buffs and coin collectors as well as for use by elementary, high school, and college students. Quite a few of the photos were chosen with the added goal of helping collectors identify what turns up in an ancient coin dealer's bargain box!
Please note that all images and text on all the pages at this site are copyright c 1997 by Jay King unless otherwise noted. You are encouraged to download and use all text or images for the purpose of education in a classroom or individual setting. If you are a coin collector, a history enthusiast, or a student you may use and enjoy the materials in reports and presentations for personal enjoyment or to present to your group, club, or class. If you wish to use or incorporate the materials in any commercial or corporate product offered for sale or for use in corporate training, please contact the author at the email address below. He has the same and other images in much higher resolution archived on disk which are more suitable for use in original works. He is willing to license the materials quite reasonably or in exchange for a benefit to one of his partner schools.
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