Don't let history books or size fool you. While ancient Rome was the powerhouse of the world for more than 1,500 years, it's not even in the top ten of empires in terms of size. At its greatest height, Rome held 12 percent of the world's population, making it number 28 on the list. Beating it is the British Empire with around a quarter of the world's population at its peak.
The iconic monument of the city was known by something very different in 1st century AD. Because it was built around the time of the Flavian dynasty, it was known as the Amphitheatrium Flavium. The name switch occurred around 1000 AD, but even that had nothing to do with the building — it had more to do with a massive statue outside.
3. Cleopatra Was Living In Rome At An Important Time
The famed queen of Egypt was the mistress of Julius Caesar and he brought her over to Rome from Egypt in 46 AD. Her appearance and style made an impression in Roman culture, but she didn't stay long. Two years later she fled after Caesar was assassinated by Roman senators.
4. Some Women Played Part In Julius Caesar's Death
The assassination of Julius Caesar was carried out by Roman senators, but behind the scenes, some powerful women played a role. One tried saving an assassin while another, Paula, may have married a senator loyal to Caesar as a way to get him to turn on him.
Ancient Romans were no different than the guy drawing a huge dong on the public bathroom stall nowadays. The walls of Pompeii showed us this after we dug it out of volcanic ash. It had really lewd messages on the walls such as this one: "“Weep, you girls. My penis has given you up. Now it penetrates men’s behinds. Goodbye, wondrous femininity!”
A lot of Roman theater played off (read: were rewrites ) of Greek plays. What was very different from the source material was that Roman did not play around with themes of violence and sex. For example, an emperor once asked a troupe of mimes to have intercourse onstage during a performance.
Trajan's Market is the ancient world's version of what we now know of a mall. It had two floors and could hold around 150 shops. The wild thing about it is that it's almost 2,000 years old — it was built around 110 AD — and is still standing.
The female priestess of Vesta were known for their purity and for their importance, as they were the only female priests in the Roman religious system. They entered their holy purpose incredibly early in life - before puberty around the age of six to ten. Then they kept to their name and led a life of celibacy for 30 years!
We can joke on a person's weird raw keto vegan diet all we want now, but if you have Roman blood, your ancestor ate weirder stuff. The size of their border allowed to find ingredients for dishes you couldn't imagine, like a flamingo tongue. Ice cream was also on the menu if you were the emperor.
It's really gross to think about, but the Romans were pretty clever in the way they used human waste in their day-to-day life. An example is freshening up their togas with a fullery. This was a place where people would jump up and down in large vats of urine to use the ammonia to removed the grease for the cloth.
The sewage system of ancient Rome is still an impressive sight. Known as the Cloaca Maxima, it is named after the goddess Cloacina, who also protects the massive sewer line. Strangely enough, she is also the protector of sexual intercourse in marriage.
Long before Prince made purple his thing, the color was once tied to high-class in ancient times. You could know the status of a Roman by the amount of purple in their toga. A magistrate's toga, for example, had only purple trims while generals and emperors had solid purple togas during celebrations.
Being an actor in ancient Rome did not get you the Hollywood treatment. Romans considered it a lower-status job and those in high society tended to avoid associating with them. Spending too much time at the theater was considered bad for a person's character.
Vandals and the general decadence of empire are normally assumed as the causes for the end of the Roman Empire. But some historians are saying that there might be another reason worth noting; everyone might have been feeling the effects of lead poisoning. The water pipes, food in contact with lead containers, and even the cosmetics of the time all had traces of lead.