Interesting Facts About the Roman Empire

interesting facts about the roman empire

Roman Empire was an immensely powerful and formidable entity. Their highly trained army became well known across three continents.

Ancient Roman society was quite complex. Citizens, non-citizens and slaves all played roles within Roman society; while citizens occupying top ranks were highly esteemed individuals while non-citizens and slaves enjoyed less rights than their fellow Romans.

1. They invented loads of things

Rome left us an incredible legacy after their short and violent rule; such as underfloor heating, numbers that lay the groundwork for modern democracy, viaducts and aqueducts, concrete, newspapers, toilets, medical tools, better roads, post and warfare techniques to name just some of them.

Roman law pioneered the notion that all are innocent until proven guilty, an idea still used today. They created a civil code called the Twelve Tables which listed punishments for crimes and was used as the foundation for many legal systems around the world; terms like pro bono and subpoena have their roots in Roman law.

Romans also developed Acta Diurna, an early form of public information. This publication provided updates on politics, military events, trials and more – helping Romans stay abreast of what was happening within their nation.

Romans invented precise medical instruments which inspired many of the tools we use today in medicine, such as medical tubes and the speculum – tools designed to keep body parts open so doctors could examine inside.

Aqueducts were an invaluable addition to city living, bringing clean water into cities while diverting waste away. Concret used in their construction contained special ingredients which have allowed it to stand the test of time – some still exist today!

Elagabulus was an incensed Emperor of Rome who outraged the ruling elite by demoting Jupiter from being considered as the supreme god and marrying his charioteer lover, Hierocles, against sacred rituals.

2. They loved to bathe

As is widely recognized, Romans enjoyed baths immensely. Public baths could be found all across their vast empire – from simple yet practical facilities to lavish marble luxury facilities – so it should come as no surprise that they spent much of their free time relaxing there!

Rich Romans could afford lavatories or balnea in their homes; these were called lavatorium or balnea. Most Romans however needed to go to public baths for bathing and these public baths became hugely popular venues for socialising, exercising, reading cultural materials and (of course!) sexual relations.

Although no law existed against mixed bathing, usually men and women would take turns bathing separately. Alternating between rooms – starting from the caldarium (hot room), then frigidarium (cold bath to help chill you down), then sweating room – perhaps lapidary for really rich people – to tepidarium which was warm enough for relaxation – was what most were used to doing when bathing.

The Romans had an expansive and powerful empire that stretched across Europe, north Africa and western Asia. At its height during Emperor Trajan (AD 98 to AD 117), this covered over 40 different countries including England.

Romans were an eccentric bunch, and many of their odd behaviors still live on today. For instance, ancient Romans enjoyed keeping pets such as ferrets, birds, and monkeys as pets; they also liked laying down to eat – an old custom that has endured as lazy breakfasts! Not just upper-class Romans were allowed this luxury; lower class people too could sit reclining during meals and were served by servants! Additionally, they liked hosting dinner parties featuring dishes like pork loin, deer meat, goat cheese etc!

3. They built loads of roads

Nearly every part of the Roman Empire was connected through an intricate network of roads that represented truly remarkable feats of engineering. These roads stimulated trade by connecting remote regions to Rome, as well as making rapid mobilization easier when needed for defense or conquest purposes.

Roman roads were so essential that special detachments dedicated to their upkeep existed in Rome. These “stationarii” or “beneficiarii” patrolled public roads and manned watchtowers to monitor traffic; cleared away bushes and trees from paths so bandits couldn’t use cover against travelers; also doubled as toll collectors!

To promote themselves, the triumvirs (the four-member board that ran city affairs) and other politicians would often try to link themselves with public road projects as a means of increasing their profile. Gaius Gracchus, for instance, made significant efforts as Tribune of the People by paveling or gravelling many public roads while providing them with landmarks.

Dio Cassius mentions how even emperors took an interest in road maintenance; Augustus, upon becoming Emperor, disbanded the collegia and appointed himself superintendent of all roads, giving him superior authority among magistrates.

“All roads lead to Rome” may have originated with a marble column constructed in 20 B.C. by Caesar Augustus in Rome’s Forum. But Romans truly believed their extensive network of roads linked all their cities, provinces, and territories with Rome for governance purposes, tax collection and law enforcement purposes.

Romans loved going to gladiatorial fights as entertainment; these pitted groups of men and women against one another to the death. Many different battles reenacted included naval ones.

4. They had lots of gods

The Romans had many gods – from major deities such as Jupiter and Mars, to lesser ones such as Camenae (goddesses with attributes such as fresh water, prophecy and childbirth), Clementia and Cloacina. Furthermore, traders and legions brought back cults from Egypt, Greece, India and Persia; even more specifically they had deities unique to Rome such as Mater Matuta – goddess of fields and forests!

The Roman empire covered much of Britain, so they encountered many cultures from around the globe. Their language of choice was Latin (which became known as ancient world jargon). Some Emperors even introduced Greek into Roman society! There was no distinction between citizens and non-citizens but all had certain rights such as voting and not being executed for treason or murder – though most citizens were male; others earned citizenship through military service or marriage.

Non-citizens were known as non-citizens and were subject to slavery without due process; they did not enjoy the same protections afforded to citizens; in a violent age, this made them easy targets of powerful individuals.

Romans revered their gods deeply and had many temples and shrines where they could pray to them for help with various matters ranging from health to love to war – there was even one specifically for door hinges, wheat, daylight cows (even their waste!)

5. They were underground

Ancient societies can often provide unexpected surprises. Roman culture, religion and laws still have an immense effect on modern societies – but even with this knowledge you might encounter some peculiar habits from Roman history that make you question their reasoning! When researching Roman history it’s likely you will come across some surprising tidbits of information which make you go “What were they thinking?!.”

Until you happen across one of the secret Roman catacombs, it is unlikely you are aware that ancient Rome once existed beneath their city. Archaeological excavations have shown that parts of ancient Rome existed up to 11 meters beneath current ground level – this underground ancient world can be found throughout Rome through buildings, aqueducts, tunnels and mines.

Romans were known for having an abundance of subterranean temple chambers known as Mithraea that were dedicated to gods and goddesses chosen specifically for their attributes, like Venus for love or Janus for change in life. Arenas would sometimes even become inundated so as to set the scene for epic battles between wild beasts and human combatants complete with sets and scenery.

Roman society was deeply religious, yet also obsessed with status and class issues. People were classified into three classes – citizens, non-citizens and enslaved people – with citizens enjoying certain rights that enslaved people did not, including voting (though women weren’t given this right).

Augustus was Rome’s inaugural Emperor and was determined to live an austere lifestyle to appeal to lower-class Romans, unlike his extravagant predecessors who led extravagant lives. To prove his point he even commissioned statues depicting himself, hoping they would serve as reminders that he saved Rome.

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