Interesting Roman Facts

Studies of ancient societies often unearth intriguing details that will leave one surprised, and Rome is no exception.

Rome offers many fascinating aspects, while some are simply bizarre. These fun roman facts will bring out your inner comedy!


Gladiatorial shows were an immensely popular phenomenon in ancient Rome. At Etruscan funerals, their purpose was to give those departed an armed presence in the next life; later on, these spectacles also provided entertainment and pleasure for rulers and citizens. At first, shows were short but quickly evolved into longer events with various types of combat that became more elaborate over time; eventually under Julius Caesar as many as 300 pairs took part, reaching up to 5,000 during Trajan’s rule!

Though many gladiators were forced into gladiatorial contests by way of punishment or death, those who chose the profession voluntarily could earn enormous wealth and fame – as seen with Spartacus who is famously immortalized by Kirk Douglas’ 1960 film version of his life story; other fighters just as famous among their peers may have also enjoyed substantial cash rewards should they prevail. Spartacus became an international star thanks to Kirk Douglas and was recognized in Hollywood with huge cash awards when they won fights such as Spartacus was immortalized with Kirk Douglas film’s 1960 version but there were numerous others just as popular fighters known by names that became famous, such as Kirk Douglas’s film version. Kirk Douglas brought fame along with him, making his film version famous along with huge cash awards should they come victorious from every fight victory!

Women gladiators were once very popular, yet eventually banned under Septimius Severus in 200 AD. Indeed, female gladiators would even compete against male gladiators during certain battles or commemorate important visits or birthdays with celebrations of these female warriors.

A lighter-armed, more agile form of fighter was the Thracian, who wore little or no armor while wielding a curved sword in one hand and shield in the other. They often moved quickly with lightning speed in pursuit of finding weaknesses in an opponent’s defenses; however, even they were vulnerable against heavier-armed opponents.

Eques gladiators were another form of gladiator that took to horseback battles for victory. While early forms were simply equipped with swords or spears, later ones donned protective leg guards known as greaves to protect the legs of these horseback warriors, along with manicae on their right arms and tunics with belts adorned with belts. Eques typically only engaged other eques for combat purposes but some were trained in animal fighting too.


Triumphs were military procession that commemorated the return of a victorious general or generalissimo from war, usually including games. A triumph could last up to 10 days and was often attended by horses, chariots, maenads, satyrs and assorted drunkards in attendance.

Generals could only receive triumphs once they could demonstrate they had defeated an opposing force of significant size. A commander claiming victory must then request this honor from the Senate; their members would review all aspects of his victory before making their final determination on its merit. While an assembly could affect this decision, ultimately it rested with them alone to confer this distinction upon their leader.

Celebration of triumph can be costly, as it often includes lavish displays of wealth and power. A triumph may involve returning precious metals or artefacts captured during battle to their owners – or rich donors making donations to the victorious general to gain prestige or even secure their seat in the Senate.

After the Republic and into the Empire, triumph began to lose its religious meaning and become more of a personal recognition for leaders than an act of religion. Because of this shift, celebrations became increasingly extravagant – such as Dionysius of Halicarnassus who claimed triumph was corrupting traditional values and leading to wars.

However, even without its original religious context, triumph celebrations remained an iconic way for wealthy individuals and societies to demonstrate their military and social success. Procession after procession presented an opportunity to showcase pride while providing generals an excuse for self-indulgence.

Triumphs were only held after a successful military campaign had been completed and by magistrates of the highest rank (Consul, Praetor or Dictator). A generalissimo led a procession through Rome as part of his duties leading a large army. Sometimes they combined this celebration with games as an offering to their gods; these celebrations took place according to Etruscan and Greek precedents.

Public Restrooms

Historically, Roman civilization is revered. Yet a closer examination reveals they engaged in many practices that many modern people would find offensive – like public toilets.

Martial mentions a Roman commander named Vacerra who preferred sitting on the toilet all day because he was so filthy. Romans used latrines known as foricae to store communal pools of urine and water for latrining purposes; excavation of one in Rome has revealed it could seat up to 20 people at once! No stalls or partitions existed within each seat – all that offered any form of privacy was wearing togas or tunics over their bodies!

Lacking toilet seats, benches that could not be properly sanitized and the close proximity of Romans in each forica made it an incubator of germs and disease, such as head lice, tuberculosis, diarrhea and intestinal parasites – often responsible for dysentery outbreaks – foricae were perfect places for germs to take hold. With no toilet seat to protect Romans from germs or diseases entering their bodies via direct contact between Romans in each forica, and infectious demons such as tuberculosis that causes dysentery outbreaks; foricae were incubators of germs and diseases brought in directly by Romans from other parts of Rome.

As a result, Romans were superstitious about their toilets. To protect against demons and promote good fortune, many latrines had small shrines dedicated to Fortuna that protected from them inside them. Furthermore, it was common practice for donors to inscribe their names on bathhouse walls but not toilet walls as a form of recognition for their generosity.

The Romans were an intriguing civilisation. Not only did they leave an impressive legacy behind in terms of infrastructure – such as aqueducts, hot water systems, flush toilets and sewers – they also invented gods for seemingly mundane items like door hinges, wheat, daylight and even poo! And their bathing rituals were legendary! In fact, their obsession with cleanliness inspired the development of spa services known as Sana Per Acqua (Health through Water). You can still experience full set of Roman baths today in Bath England


Rome may conjure up images of stunning temples and extravagant villas, but in reality most Romans lived in ancient apartment blocks called insulae which could reach seven stories high and were often very cramped. Yet Romans invented numerous products still used today such as concrete, newspapers, numbers toilets calendars and created new sports such as gladiator fighting that we use today.

Being a citizen of Rome meant being part of its system that ran everything. There were various routes into citizenship; most often this privilege was passed down from father to son as it was considered such an honour to belong.

Rome did offer those not born within its borders the chance to become citizens if they adopted virtue and went through legal processes correctly, while non-citizens might even join its military service if willing.

Citizenship was of vital importance to those who ruled Rome as it gave them great power over the Empire, helping to maintain peace and order across its boundaries. Citizenship became one of the cornerstones of democracy today.

Citizenship was essential for Roman emperors as it allowed them to form an imperial union from their various client states, making the monarch far more powerful and helping build up an even greater empire. Citizenship remains significant today; we frequently hear of global citizenship – the concept that every citizen should enjoy certain rights and liberties simply for existing on this earth – something with its roots in Roman citizenship.

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