History & Research

10 Facts You (probably) didn’t Know About the Romans

  1. In Roman society, left-handed people were deemed dishonest and unlucky.
  2. Urine was collected from bathhouses to be used for washing clothes as the ammonia cleaned and bleached clothing.
  3. Sweat and dead skin cells would be scrapped off Gladiators following a performance and bottled for the use of aristocratic women who would pay a hefty price for it. They would then rub it into their skin believing it had anti-ageing or beautifying properties.
  4. A popular trend amongst aristocratic women would be to visit the gladiatorum and observe gladiators in chains (a kinky afternoon). Note these men were usually free men rather than slaves who simply participated in this activity as it was a lucrative business.
  5. The Romans were innovative if nothing else and would incorporate the gods and customs of those they had conquered into their own belief systems. For instance, in Roman Britain the Celtic water goddess Sulis was amalgamated with the Roman goddess Minerva to create a hybrid – Sulis Minerva.
  6. It was considered treason for anyone aside from the Emperor to wear purple. The colour was achieved by boiling snails in a vat then extracting the colour.
  7. Crucifixion was a punishment favoured by the Romans, but only for non- citizens. Roman citizens were exempt from this kind of punishment, non- citizens could be crucified for even petty crimes such as theft.
  8. Roman banquets could go on for hours. In order to keep eating, it was deemed socially acceptable to induce vomiting and thus continue to party.
  9. ‘Poena Cullei’ (punishment of the sack) was reserved for those found guilty of parricide (the killing of one’s parents). The guilty party was sewn into a sack with a number of live animals – a dog, a cock, a monkey and a viper and then thrown into the sea.
  10. Trajan’s market in Rome, two storeys high and housing around 150 shops, was likely the world’s first example of a shopping mall.https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ATrajan's_Market%2C_Imperial_Forums%2C_Rome_(14085785639).jpg
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