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The Life of the Ancient Romans

Jana G.Jana G.
Ancient Rome

The Roman Empire is one of the best developed ancient civilizations, bequeathing to the world many philosophical, scientific and technological achievements. But do we know enough about the life of the ancient Romans? Some facts of their lives seem shocking to say the least these days, but at the time they were completely normal.

Contrary to our beliefs, the famous Roman baths were definitely not a place of good hygiene, on the contrary - they were huge breeding grounds for bacteria. People brought in all kinds of garbage and dirt, which, together with bodily fluids, flowed out with the water at the other end of the bath.

Life in Ancient Rome was not very easy. Since there was no police at the time, robberies were common. Arsons often occurred, which in minutes destroyed property that had been accumulated over a long period of time.

In Ancient Rome, the treatment of women was very interesting - they held a much higher position than women throughout the Mediterranean in antiquity.

Roman women freely went shopping, had the opportunity to eat with representatives of the stronger sex, donate large sums to charity.

But politics was inaccessible to women. The phallus was considered a symbol of power and wealth, so phallic images were left in Ancient Rome.

They are depicted everywhere - on doors, stoves and in Ancient Rome the phallus-shaped bird was very popular as a sign of masculinity and power.

Roman Chariot

Women in Ancient Rome had to give birth, which was dangerous and often fatal and keep the house in order. A man's fidelity to a woman was not considered a virtue. The law prosecuted love affairs with wives and daughters of people in power. This could be punished even with death and posthumous confiscation of all wealth.

Slaves had no rights, anyone could dispose of them as they wished. Nevertheless, it sometimes happened that true love flared up between master and slave. This is evidenced by a gold bracelet found on a female skeleton during excavations. On the bracelet was written: To the beloved slave - from her master.

However, in a greater percentage of cases, slaves were badly exploited, often becoming victims of sexual violence and even sadism. They had the right to run a small business and with the money they earned, they could buy their freedom.

The nothingness of the slave life of the ancient Romans was best seen in the arena. Slaves often met their death in the fights organized to entertain the public. Many of them died even in the initial phase of the preparations for gladiator fights while they were teasing the animals.

But the gladiators were the real stars. They reaped great fame and the ladies of high society adored them. With a little luck, some gladiators even managed to regain their freedom. However, they rarely lived to old age - most of them died before the age of 30.

In Rome, next to the Trojan Column, there was a large semi-circular market. It rose as high as six stories and at its entrance there were one hundred and fifty stalls where free bread flour was distributed.

On the upper floors there was a trade in olive oil, wine, fruit and vegetables, as well as spices from distant countries. The Roman militia and charitable organizations were located on the fifth floor. On the sixth there were two large pools of fish.

The ancient Romans celebrated 182 public holidays with theatrical performances during which exotic fruit and dishes were offered. They did not celebrate Christmas, but had an equivalent - Saturnalia, in honor of the god Saturn. He was associated with the Greek Kronos and on the days of the celebration of the holiday (December 17-21) all public works were canceled, even criminals were not punished. Slaves were released from their duties, they could even sit at the table with their masters.


The holiday began with a sacrifice - most often a pig was slaughtered in honor of God. After that, everyone gathered at the table and even gave each other gifts.

The representatives of the lower strata of society led a very miserable way of life. The profession of paid priestesses was very popular. An interesting fact is that even among them there was a division - priestesses for the common people and priestesses for the upper class.

Many married men visited these paid priestesses and it was perfectly normal. In Ancient Rome, the family was more of a contract and the man set the rules. Sex was used to create children, not to ignite love and intimacy. The woman was supposed to stay at home, look after the children and protect the man's honor and dignity.

Another interesting fact about the Romans is that there were also travelers in the Roman Empire, but they were mainly merchants, soldiers, doctors and artists. There were many inns, there were also guidebooks and detailed maps.

Wealthy Romans, on the other hand, fled from the stress of the city in their suburban estates. Areas with mineral deposits were highly preferred. Baths were built in them and the Romans came for rest and for treatment. The most famous resorts in ancient Rome were Baie and Pozzuoli, where the villas of Nero and Caesar were located.