People in Ancient Rome ate a wide variety of foods. In this, as in many other things, the Ancient Roman Empire often takes the cake. To add to all of this, they had a huge empire. No matter how much you are enjoying a party, after some time you reach the end of your ability and have to say no to the next serving. Read on and see for yourself just how weird Roman customs could get. Left handed people were therefore considered unlucky by the Romans. 15 Famous Roman Emperors Of Ancient Times, 13 Things You Should Know about the Roman Legionary, 13 Fascinating Facts About Hannibal Barca, 18 Important Events in Ancient Rome History, 13 Facts About The Ancient Roman Gladiators, 15 Ancient Roman Buildings That Are Still Standing, 15 Dating Tips from History That Could Enhance Your…. Consequently, betraying one’s family was a grave sin, as per Roman tradition. Legendary Woman Cloelia Cloelia is considered as the bravest of all women and belonged to the earliest of Roman history. The Romans had a deep prejudice against left handed people, which stemmed from the belief that they were untrustworthy, and spread bad luck. We really have to wonder as to what made them think that phalluses could ward off evil. As a result, it was believed that consuming a gladiator’s blood could cure many diseases, including infertility, epilepsy, etc. The most LOL-worthy things the Internet has to offer. Specifically, he recommended that the urine of an adult who had consumed cabbage should be warmed and then, babies should be bathed in this warm urine. In fact, the Romans believed that a god – Goddess Cloacina – was the guardian of the cloaca maxima (which means big drain and was the name that the Romans gave to their sewer system). That gives a whole new meaning to the expression “being down in the dumps”! Ancient Rome had many weird and mysterious things associated that are still in the process of getting discovered. Eating the ashes of the dead, binding a person’s feet so that the feet remain small and beautiful (supposedly) even as the person grows, a husband picking up his pregnant wife and carrying her across burning coals – many customs and rituals from across the world are incredibly weird (and sometimes, outright grotesque). If the father picked up the child, it symbolized that he was taking responsibility for the child’s upbringing and education. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Hence, they collected urine from all over the town in establishments known as fullones – the Roman equivalent of modern launderers. Childbirth, therefore, was not a casual affair for the Romans. The Romans were wealthy, powerful, and extremely conscious of their status. Historians point out that the Romans used to insert olive oil, honey, and other clogging liquids into the vagina in order to prevent pregnancies. If books on weird ancient Rome facts are to be believed, the Romans were the first to report instances of UFO happenings. Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. Two written accounts testify to the fact that Romans were great scientists too and were not new to the idea of alien life. Rome had over 140 toilets with proper sewage system where people would carry on with their nature’s calls while talking and conversing with each other. From wearing phallus charms, drinking the blood drawn from gladiators to washing clothes in urine, the Romans had many a weird fetishes. Later, the oil would be removed with the strigil and various cosmetics would be applied. Rich and powerful Romans often had especially designated slaves who were solely employed for their expertise in coloring hair. The Romans loved partying and they used to indulge in long banquets. Among other superstitions, the Romans believed that baldness could be prevented by smelling cyclamen flowers. [4] On his journey through the Alps to invade Rome in 218 B.C., the Carthaginian general Hannibal lost 14,000 men and 25 elephants.Yet, it took Roman soldiers 17 years to defeat him. Even more interesting than its expansion are the details of Roman civilization and the lifestyles of the ancient Roman people. Did you know that we have a FREE downloadable Romans primary resource? After the war between Clusium and Rome came to an end because of a peace treaty in 508 BC, the Etruscan king, Lars Porsena, took Roman hostages. Hair coloring was not the only roman indulgence in their pursuit to look cool. Can you believe it? All Rights Reserved. History >> Ancient Rome. However, the Romans did not lather themselves with soap while bathing. For wealthy Romans, this was a particularly elaborate process and it involved the use of several slaves who would assist them in this procedure. Indeed, you may have even used some of these lucky charms at some point of time. But we’re going to focus on the fact that he was a bit…strange. The Romans loved to show off and were extremely fashion conscious – much like us. The emperors of Rome could be wise, just and kind. He also recommended that goat dung should be placed in diapers in order to lull babies to sleep. Here are some unsolved mysteries of the ancient Romans. Indeed, it was often said that gladiators were lion-hearted. Historyly.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. Similarly, wool was also sometimes used as a contraceptive and inserted into the vagina. Out of these, the cookies that are categorized as necessary are stored on your browser as they are essential for the working of basic functionalities of the website. Thus, it was thought that the eagle would carry the emperor’s soul to heaven. Food was imported from all around the empire to feed the large populations in the capital city of Rome. As for more intimate history, how did Romans wipe their bottoms? At the time, it was suspected that he had been murdered by Sejanus, the father of his betrothed, but Suetonius, a Roman historian, did not believe that. In later Greco-Roman times, sodomy lost its standing as an abomination. After washing, they rubbed their clothes with various fragrant leaves in order to mask the smell. Well, it were the ancient Romans who can be credited for introducing to the world, the concept of a modern day shopping mall. The Roman culture placed a very high value on the family as a unit of society. It grew into a rich and powerful city during the next few hundred years. Interestingly, Emperor Claudius’ third wife – Valeria Messalina – reportedly once colored her hair blond, gilded her breasts gold and entered a contest with a prostitute to see who could sleep with more men in one night. In case the slave’s work was not considered satisfactory, a sound whipping – or even more severe punishment – could result. The choice of oil depending on the family’s wealth and the wealthier Romans would use more precious and fragrant oils. A man could also have sex with a woman of lower social status without being considered an adulterer. They also believed that the sound of ringing bells reduced the pain of childbirth. Rather it happened thousands of years ago in Rome. Augustus reigned from 27 BC to 14 AD and is widely considered to be one of the greatest Roman emperors. They did use water to carry the waste out of these toilets and into the sewers. But opting out of some of these cookies may affect your browsing experience. The Romans had a detailed set of customs and practices for almost every aspect of life – the birth of a child, washing clothes, partying, the daily toilet, curing diseases, contraception, the treatment of the dead, and so on. The practice of homo sacre was widely prevalent and was applicable to a wide variety of cases. Hence, the Romans came up with this ingenious solution. It was only after this that the body was carried to the cemetery. “Friends, Romans, and cybergeeks, lend me your ears!” As far as it’s concerned, the history of ancient Rome if focused on the birth of democracy. In Roman tradition, every man was expected to abide by his vows and oaths. The toilets had underground water system that would wash all the waste generated, and there was the facility for using hot and cold water on demand. The murderer would then be placed in the sack along with a snake, rooster, monkey and dog. In 1838, Edgar Allan Poe wrote The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, a book about four crewmen on a whaling ship who ended up stranded and having to draw lots to see who would be eaten.The lot landed on a cabin boy named Richard Parker. Following this, the man lost his legal rights. The evidence. What's been lost to history would easily fill the internet — a humbling thought. Gladiators often used to be in the prime of their health. We also use third-party cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website. The sack would then be thrown in a river or in the ocean. The institution of marriage was considered sacred and the family structure was inviolable. Here are 10 facts about the Roman emperors. Antony was defeated at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC. Thus, if the man had sex with his slaves, it was not considered a violation of his familial responsibility. List sites have already features lists of craziest Roman emperors or most evil women, but I have yet to see a list site focus in both Roman emperors and empresses together and without labeling them as either “crazy” or “evil.” Moreover, many of these other lists report actions by these men as if they are facts, despite the sources being of biased and questionable natures. Family planning was quite common among ancient Romans. A few years later, in 27 BC, Caesar Augustus became the first Roman Emperor and this was the start of the Roman Empire. Enjoy reading this post as it will take you on a whirlwind ride, discovering the untold facts about ancient Romans! Thus, contraception and abortion were commonly practiced by Romans irrespective of their social or economic status. Indeed, their ancestors were considered a part of the family. The poet Catullus called it … Consequently, betraying one’s family was a grave sin, as per Roman tradition. Rome was a hierarchical society too, and the slave ate an enormously different diet from the master he served. In our modern society, we have Batman, the vigilante superhero. Credit: Alexander Z / Commons. The Roman practice of using contraceptives and even abortion reflects a society that was very fastidious about child rearing and upbringing. When speaking of weird facts about Ancient Rome, how can we miss mentioning that Romans were the first of mankind to use bandages to treat wounds? 1) Rome was founded in 753BC by its first king, Romulus. However, their choice of lucky charms – phalluses – was certainly weird. on their hair. It was levied during the reign of Emperor Vespasian in first century A.D. Urine was regarded as an essential product. Violating these oaths was sacrilege and resulted in a man becoming an outcast and a pariah. For example, they believed that owls were unlucky and seeing an owl was a bad omen. Sometimes, it was … Sometimes we stumble across archaeological oddities or mysterious symbols that we just can't explain. Throughout history, humans have used various lucky charms in every civilization and in every culture. Quite disgusting, but true! They also used earthworm ashes mixed with oil – this concoction was rubbed on hair in order to prevent premature graying. 9. Among early Romans, groups of vigilantes could declare a man homo sacre – one who is an outcast – if the man was thought to have broken his vows. Forty-six years later, a yacht named Mignonette bound for Sydney, Australia capsized en route from London. 2) By AD 117 the Roman Empire included the whole of Italy, all the lands around the Mediterranean and much of Europe, including England, Wales and parts of Scotland. If the father refused to pick up the child, it would be thrown in the garbage dumps. The Latin word ‘sinister’ originally meant left or left-handed but gradually, it came to mean unlucky or evil. Four-leaf clover, horseshoe, wishbone, rabbit’s foot, cat’s eye, lucky charm bracelet – you may have heard of some of these common lucky charms. For this purpose, cat liver was placed in a tube and the tube was worn on the left foot. Such a large empire needed lots of rules and regulations in order to hold it together and ensure that it does not quickly fall apart. Ancient Roman emperor Caligula was known for being a bit of a nut and a pretty cruel man. Civil war engulfed the Roman state in the mid 1st century BC, first between Julius Caesar and Pompey, and finally between Octavian and Mark Antony. 1. The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, who was born around 460 B.C. Yes, alien sighting is not a new phenomenon. But, the Romans certainly deserve full marks for effort and ingenuity! The ancient Romans may have been ahead of their time when it came to public health measures, but when it came to actual medical treatment, they believed some pretty weird stuff. The Roman Empire In 45 BC Julius Caesar took over the Roman Republic and made himself the supreme dictator. Hence, hair coloring was common among Romans. All of this combined to produce some of the weirdest and most shocking rituals and customs that the world has ever seen. You also have the option to opt-out of these cookies. Well, though, we may think that the practice of using bandages is only a recent phenomenon, but, Romans pioneered in this field too, and utilized it with aplomb thousands of centuries ago! Well, we all know how powerful Romans were, but, they were in the practice of cleaning their laundry with urine as it contained ammonia, a natural bleach. The Romans believed that gladiators, literally, possessed the soul of a lion. Interestingly, the Romans did not use water to wipe themselves. The dry cleaners collected urine from the public toilets. They were similarly fastidious about personal hygiene. This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. After the birth of a child, the infant would be placed at his father’s feet. Such children may die in the dumps or some roman citizen could pick the child from the dumps and raise it as a slave. These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. After this, a coin was placed in the mouth of the dead person (to pay Charon, the boatman on the river Styx, who would ferry the soul to the underworld). However, lye was rather expensive and most Romans could not afford it. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website. He was almost always in a foul mood and enjoyed devising excruciating tortures. Prestige and social standing were very important for the Romans. Du Bois Life and Contribution, 15 Most Disastrous Pandemics That Changed History, 15 Fearless Female Warriors of Ancient World. Following this, he would be placed in a prison while a large sack was prepared for him. Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. Rome holds the unique distinction of recording the first mooning in history. The 1,000-year and pan-European extent of Roman history takes in an enormous culinary range. Copyright © (2016 - 2020) Historyly.com. Facts about the Romans. However, this was reserved only for the affluent. They used to rub ass’ milk and crushed snails in order to hydrate and moisturize their face. Soap was not used by the Romans. It goes without saying that it took a lot of food to fuel the advancement and might of the ancient Roman empire. They were also a little strange, like, “vote for your horse to the Senate” weird. Today, it is one of the world’s most famous – and fascinating – archaeological sites. Can anyone of you tell who invented the present day shopping mall concept? So, the Romans were not that different from us when they believed that certain items could ward off evil. Of course, urine (and ammonia) has an unpleasant smell – unlike modern detergents, ammonia did not leave their clothes smelling like new, though it did leave the clothes looking as good as new. The social status of such concubines was only slightly lower than that of married women. This urine was then used to clean their clothes. Elagabalus, also known as Heliogabalus, served as a Roman emperor from 218 to 222, a time that significantly impacted his placement on the list of worst emperors. Parricide – killing one’s family member was one of the worst crimes that a Roman could commit. Updated January 9, 2019 . Yes, the venue for most socializing and gossiping was the ‘community toilet’! Flavius Josephus, a Jewish priest, wrote the first description of a mooning while describing a riot in Jerusalem. In a society with elaborate customs and rigid social hierarchy, it is only to be expected that death would be treated in an extremely ritualistic manner. Attendance in these feasts was a sign of social standing. The family would then start a ritual mourning while the body was laid on the ground and anointed. The Romans were extremely superstitious. The most tangible evidence of the Roman diet is … A common practice was rubbing lead paste on their face in order to look fashionably pale. Instead, they used urine because the ammonia in the urine did a good enough job of cleaning their clothes. Their solution – eat and drink as much as you can, then induce vomiting to free up some space in your limited stomach, and then eat and drink some more. Thus, duty to one’s family was a supreme virtue in their culture. They also believed that bees were messengers of God and thus, it was a good omen to see some bees. Hence, they were mortally afraid of evil and used various lucky charms to keep evil away. Similarly, slaves were considered the property of the head of the family. They made bandages using a concoction of spider webs, vinegar and honey. As per historians, the emperor had her executed. The scented oil would be warmed and then the slave would apply it on the body. They used a sponge on a stick called a xylospongium… If you think that was bizarre, do note that Cato – a Roman statesman – recommended that babies should be bathed in urine. Built more than 2000 years ago, the Trajan Market was the first of a kind shopping mall and is a marvel of architecture in true sense. Roman civilization lasted over 2,000 years, so there's still so much to learn. From its spectacular gladiator battles and elaborate dinner parties to its famous and infamous emperors, a walk through Roman history is always a fascinating experience. This was the end of the republic. Weird as it may sound, the ancient Romans had to pay urine tax! Rather, it placed significant burdens on a family that would be duty bound to ensure that the child was well cared for and well brought up. 1-5 Roman Empire Facts 1. Such men could then be killed by anyone without any legal consequences. Dyeing the hair blond, red, saffron and even purple was a common practice. When Julius Caesar died, he left today’s equivalent of about $270 to each and every Roman citizen. For example, a trader who was thought to have cheated his customers could be declared homo sacre. Unmarried men were also allowed to keep a concubine and have sex with her. The toilets were quite large and well-maintained with a host of slaves to cater to the Romans as they went about their daily business. Some Roman physicians advised wearing cat liver for its supposed contraceptive effect. Ancient Rome had many weird and mysterious things associated that are still in the process of getting discovered. Learn more about the Romans through in-depth articles, podcasts, slideshows and more. Ancient Rome was at its apex from the second century BC through the second century AD. For example, he lost all rights over any land or property that he owned. Often, they thought that anything abnormal was evil or afflicted by evil. The use of moisturizers was also common. The eldest son of the future Roman Emperor Claudius, Tiberius Claudius Drusus, died of asphyxiation when he tossed a pear high in the air and caught it with his mouth, but he choked on it. The Romans did not forget their dead. Here is a list of 15 most weird facts about ancient Rome that will fascinate you to no limits. 10. Similarly, they would also use large phalluses as wind chimes and hang them on doors and door frames. Roman towns were provided with forica, or public lavatories.In lieu of toilet paper, Romans would use a wet sponge. Yet, our human bodies have limited capacities to eat or drink. The first and one of the weirdest things about ancient Romans was the usage of urine for washing clothes. As we have seen, the Romans were extremely superstitious. The use of lucky charms was not limited to Romans alone. Go through this list and you will quickly discover that the Romans indeed led the way in the race to develop the most elaborate and, by our modern standards, weird and shocking rituals and customs. They also loved socializing, partying, and displaying their wealth and power. The Roman culture placed a very high value on the family as a unit of society. Thus, the Romans are believed to have invented the flushing toilet. As per this practice, a man convicted of killing a family member would have his face covered in wolf skin and his feet encased in sandals. Similarly, they used to release an eagle whenever an emperor died. For hair removal, they used bat’s blood and hedgehog ashes, which were rubbed on various body parts. ... Weird and wonderful ... the establishment of the Roman empire in 27 BC; and the fall of the Roman empire in the west in the 5th century AD. To get rid of this stench, they would then rub bay leaves (or other sweet-smelling leaves) on their clothes. How often have you been to a party that was so good that you just did not want to leave? It’s due to this strange belief held by the Romans, that the word holds negative connotations. To achieve this effect, the Romans used to rub goat fat, beechwood ashes, henna, saffron, bleach, etc. These slaves would rub various mixtures onto hair in order to produce the desired color. During this period, the master and the slaves would switch places. We are not joking. Ancient Roman physicians often recommended that their patients should consume a gladiator’s blood in order to reinvigorate themselves and become healthy again. The Romans were one of the most successful imperial powers in history. Later, this oil was scraped off by a wooden spatula-like tool known as a strigil, thus removing any traces of sweat or dirt. The Romans indeed led the way in the race to develop the most elaborate and, by our modern standards, weird and shocking rituals and customs. However, they had found an interesting solution to this problem – indeed, they had surpassed the limitations of the human body. Sinister is a negative word in the modern day but originally it meant left. However, Rome was much more than the foundation of democracy, emperors, and the ascent of the Roman gods. As a result, the Romans took a lot of precaution to ensure that an unplanned childbirth did not happen. Augustus was the first Roman emperor A bronze statue of Emperor Augustus in Rome. At the same time, they were very superstitious. Thus, they used communal toilets for socializing. Further, they rubbed crushed ant eggs on their eyebrows. They used wet sponges to wipe themselves after doing their business – and they shared these wet sponges. We have already seen how devoted the Romans were to aesthetics and looking good. You might think we know a lot about ancient Rome and the Roman way of life, but there's plenty we don't know. 14 Facts about W.EB. Historians are unable to tell us how successful these cosmetic practices were. As gross as it sounds, the Romans indeed used urine to wash their clothes. This website uses cookies to improve your experience. They could also be vindictive, cruel and insane. Saturnalia was an ancient Roman festival in honor of the deity Saturn, held on 17 December of the Julian calendar and later expanded with festivities through to 23 December. Thus, duty to one’s family was a supreme virtue in their culture. Another amusing thing in this list of unbelievable facts about ancient Rome is the culture of socializing that prevailed in ancient Rome. It is believed that in some cases, a person may have been declared homo sacre and killed purely due to personal enmity and jealousy, rather than any actual wrongdoing. A common Roman practice involved wearing phalluses as pendants on necklaces in order to ward off evil. A member of the Severan dynasty, Elagabalus was the second son of Julia Soaemias and Sextus Varius Marcellus, and of … And though the city of Rome (and the empire) continued to expand, not everyone was benefiting from it. Where to find out more: Herodian’s History of the Empire from the Death of Marcus is pretty colorful, as is Dio Cassius’ Roman History.And while it’s far from historically accurate, the movie Gladiator shows some of Commodus’ (played by Joaquin Phoenix) gladiatorial obsession, his troubled relationship with his father and sister, and what Rome would have looked like in the second century. Similarly, they used hippopotamus skin in order to make their hair grow long, thick and lustrous. The Romans too were just like us in this regard. It's believed that the disappearance of those cats cats helped rats spread the bubonic plague, or Black Death, that killed hundreds of millions of people in the 1300s. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. Welcome to the chronicles of history that your social studies class never covered in high school. Running water carried the waste to the main drains. The Romans had elaborate social structures and customs. The Roman Empire controlled the Mediterranean and the wealth the region provided. On the occasion of festivals, the Romans had elaborate gatherings near the burial sites of their dead family members. These cookies do not store any personal information. We know much about life in the ancient Roman period due to archaeological sites including the ancient Roman city of Pompeii, which was lost for centuries, after the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79. A Roman man could have sex with a prostitute, without it being considered adultery if he had paid for the prostitute. Thus, bathing and smelling good were a big concern for the Romans. Called pedico, it was practiced by men and women, the latter largely for contraception. Accordingly, spending inordinately large amounts of time – by our standards – in communal toilets was common among Romans. The Romans were extremely superstitious and correspondingly, they had a grave fear of diseases and infirmity of any kind. However, they could be extremely cold-blooded, if not outright cruel, in dealing with unwanted children. Groups of Romans would often discuss politics, military strategy and war, philosophical issues, even religion, and other everyday issues in these toilets. However, in certain cases, adultery was permitted. The Romans had their own version of vigilantism – a far harsher version. and is often referred to as the father of Western medicine, personally grappled with male pattern baldness. Lye was sometimes used to wash clothes. It held within it 150 shops and was centrally located. A fresh take on sports: the biggest news and most entertaining lists. During Passover, Roman soldiers were sent to stand outside of Jerusalem to keep watch in case the people revolted. Their social or economic status was inviolable after washing, they would use! They collected urine from all around the Empire to feed the large populations in the dumps ” and. Was not considered satisfactory, a sound whipping – or even more severe –! Hang them on doors and door frames untold facts about ancient Rome many. Cruel and insane they used urine because the ammonia in the dumps ” more intimate,! Made them think that was very fastidious about child rearing and upbringing communal toilets was common Romans... 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