Rome is known all over the world so are the Romans and their history. When we hear about Rome, we remember all the beautiful places this Eternal city holds. But we must know all the courses the city of Rome went through in the long passage of time.
Roman history is quite prominent in the present day. They are studied all over the world to learn about the glorious history as well as the lifestyle of the people. There are many facts about the Romans that will surprise you.
An Overlook of the Ancient Roman Society.
Ancient Roman society was purely dependent on the social class of individuals. The society was hierarchical, which implied the hero-worshipping of a certain community over an oppressive community. Learning about their society is one of the most interesting and educative facts about the Romans.
Here are the different stages of the social lives of the people-
The society was ruled by the Emperor, who had absolute power over the empire. He was the ultimate person who reached out for every issue of the empire.
Next came the Consuls, who were like the emperor’s second in command. Two persons were assigned every year for this post. They helped the emperor closely rule the empire.
There were Senators, who were the political pillar of the empire. They introduced and enforced new laws to avoid social discrimination and solve clashes between the patricians and plebeians.
After the senators were the Patricians and the aristocrats, they were a community of wealthy people from privileged backgrounds.
Then there were the Plebians, who were the common people of Rome. They were poor and worked hard to make both ends meet. However, they were granted the right to vote.
Finally, there were Slaves. They were at the bottom level of society and were the poorest. They were given no rights or power in society.
Here are a Few Interesting Facts about the Romans and Rome!
1. The first city recorded with a population of 1 million in the world was Rome, in its first-ever census in the 2nd century B.C.
2. Rome had the first legal system.
3. There are more than 200 theatres built by the ancient Romans in the Roman Empire. Among these, the Colosseum was the largest.
4. Rome had domination over entire Europe for more than 700 years.
5. Rome celebrates its birthday on the 21st of April every year. It was first celebrated in 753 B.C. and remains remarkable to date as a day to pay homage to the ancient ancestors of Rome.
6. The only city in the world that has an entire individual nation inside it is Rome. Vatican City, the smallest country in the world with a land area of 44 hectares, is tucked right into the core of Rome.
7. The imperial rule in Rome lasted for a little more than 500 years when more than 70 emperors ruled, but Augustus still held on the record of the longest ruler for 44 years.
8. The Circus Maximus was the largest stadium in Rome which could hold up to 250,000 onlookers every time there was a race.
9. The first paved highway in Europe was the Appian Way, constructed in the 3rd century B.C. by the Romans.
10. There are over 2,000 fountains in Rome, as the city never lacked water since the beginning.
11. The ancient Romans ate bizarre foods like garum, parrot, and peacock tongue!
12. The wealthy Romans ate their food while lying down.
13. The Romans did not have toilet paper, so they used a stick that had a sponge stuck at its end to clean themselves. The funny thing is that they were never washed between uses in the communal toilets!
14. The Romans were the ones who introduced hare, peacock, pheasants, and domestic cats to the Britishers.
15. The Romans were the first to introduce the idea of using coins in the form of currency to buy things in England.
Things you Must Know About the Romans.
You may be unaware of many things about Rome and the Romans. Below are the most interesting facts about the Romans that you must know-
1. Roman History Goes Way Back.
The Roman Civilization started in the 6th century B.C., which makes it one of the oldest civilizations in the world. The Romans eventually grew powerful and conquered many parts of the world.
2. The Story of Romulus and Remus is a Myth!
According to Roman mythology, it is said that Romulus and Remus were the twin sons of Mars who were gradually abandoned and then brought up by a she-wolf.
Many events simultaneously led to Rome’s founding, and then Romulus named the city after him and killed his brother, Remus, to become the king.
3. Rome was Founded in 753 BC by Romulus.
Romulus killed his brother, Remus, to become Rome’s king. However, he was the king before Rome adopted Principate rule, so he is considered the first unrecorded king of Ancient Rome.
4. Julius Caesar was a Dictator.
It may be one of the surprising facts about the Romans but Julius Caesar never ruled Rome as an emperor. He was a powerful general who eventually became an autocrat. He was the first person to have control all over the Roman Empire.
5. Augustus Caesar was the first Roman Emperor.
Several kings ruled ancient Rome for 240 years before it became Republic. After the death of the very powerful Julius Caesar, Augustus Caesar was made the first king of the Roman Empire.
6. Rome Followed a Strictly Hierarchical Society.
Roman society was divided into two parts- Patricians and Plebeians. The Patricians were privileged aristocrats who ruled the city, whereas Plebians were the tradesperson, landowners, and mostly the common people who were underprivileged and had no voice in society.
7. Ancient Rome was a Patriarchal Society.
Ancient Roman society was patriarchal where the women were not even considered citizens. They were second-class citizens who were controlled by the male members under whom they lived. They were prevented from voting or attending any political meeting. Like every other societies in the ancient times, this is one of the most common facts about the Romans.
8. We can Read Roman History in Three Parts.
To learn about the type of administration and the history of Rome, we can divide it into three parts. The grandiose Rome in its tender years when it was first founded. Rome was under Principate from 509 to 27 B.C., when it was ruled by elected officials like the senates and diplomats, and the society was divided into Patricians and Plebians. And finally, Rome was under imperial power from 27 B.C. to 476 A.D., when emperors ruled it.
9. Early Roman History was in the Hands of Titus Livius.
Titus Livius wrote 142 books on the early history of Rome but only 54 complete volumes survived. He wrote all these books around two centuries after Rome conquered Italy.
10. Rome was Ruled by Seven Kings Before it Became a Republic.
According to mythology, Rome became a republic in 500 B.C. Before that, it was ruled by seven different kings starting with Romulus, who was followed by Numa Pompilius, Tullus Hostilius, Ancus Marcius, Lucius Tarquinius Priscus, Servius Tullius, and finally Lucius Tarquinius Superbus.
11. The Romans Invaded Land all over the World.
The Roman Empire last one of the most powerful empires in the world. With its incomparable emperors and strong army, they conquered a large part of Europe, Africa, and Asia. This is one of the facts about the Romans that all must know.
12. The World’s Largest Unsupported Dome is the Dome of the Roman Pantheon.
During the rule of Augustus, Marcus Agrippa commissioned the building of the Roman Pantheon. Built in 25 B.C., the Pantheon is an architectural masterpiece. The dome of the Pantheon is the largest unsupported concrete dome in the world, even after hundreds of years of its creation. It is one of a kind in Rome.
13. The Colosseum is Still Today the Pride of the Romans.
The Colosseum was built between 70 to 80 A.D. This huge arena can hold up to 80,000 spectators. This arena saw thousands of gladiator fights, epic battles, brutal executions of prisoners and criminals, bloody sacrifices of animals, and many great games that entertained the rulers and their subjects.
14. The First Complex Sewage System was Built in Rome.
The creation of the first sewer system in the world, the Cloaca Maxima, dates back to the 6th century by the Romans. The beginning of the system was quite unsophisticated. It was helpful to drain the water of the Forum, but it was eventually rebuilt to absorb all the sewage of the entire city.
15. The Romans were the Cleanest Civilization.
Among all the contemporary civilizations in the world, the Roman Civilization was the cleanest. They associated good health with hygiene. They invented the spa then and considered visiting the communal baths a must.
16. The Romans had Communal Baths.
Bathing was an important social activity and an activity to keep themselves clean in Ancient Rome. The Romans preferred to clean themselves together at the communal baths. They went to the bathhouses to socialize and relax apart from bathing.
One of the baths still prevails from the Roman era in Britain at bath.
17. The Romans Invented Numerous Things.
The Romans invented many things that are handy in our day-to-day lives. They invented crucial and necessary things like concrete, books, postal services, newspapers, the Julian calendar, Roman numerals, Corvus, air conditioning, and central heating.
The Romans also contributed a lot to the field of medical science, like bone drills, forceps, obstetrical hooks, vaginal speculums, and bronze scalpels. It is also said that the Romans were the first to sterilize their instruments before or during surgery which is one of the most important facts about the Romans that you must be aware of.
Surprisingly, the popular festival of Halloween celebrated all over the world is also one of their inventions. They celebrated this festival for around 2000 years.
18. We Still Use the Roman Numerals.
Ancient Romans introduced Roman numerals and used them throughout Europe in the Middle Ages. They were adapted from Latin and used today in clocks and taught in schools.
19. The Romans were Quite Aware of Things Around Them.
The common residents were aware of the current affairs as the official news was always displayed in the Roman Forum from the 1st century B.C. The news included the debates held by the Senate, the common people’s assemblies, court trials, executions, marine and military news, weddings, births, and obituaries.
20. The Romans Loved Gladiator’s Fight.
The Romans fondly enjoyed the sport where people’s lives were in line. They would watch people fight to the death in the ring of huge stadiums.
21. The Rich Romans had Servants.
One of the interesting facts about the Romans is that they did not have servants like the present day. They had their servants feeding them while they lay there draping in luxury.
22. Roads made by the Ancient Romans are Still in Use.
One of the most helpful facts about the Romans is that they built wide and straight roads to transport goods easily all over the empire. They built about 55,000 miles of roads across the empire, some of which are traveled to date.
23. Bridges Made by the Ancient Romans Stand to Date.
Emperor Trajan built the Alcántara Bridge over the Tagus River. It is a very beautiful bridge that was created in 106 A.D. An inscription on the bridge says, “I have built a bridge which will last forever.” It shows how the ancient Romans knew of their impact.
24. Ancient Rome is Underground.
The ancient city of Rome is underneath the current Rome. Hundreds of years of buildings and architecture have vanished from the town’s authenticity.
25. The Ancient Romans Spoke Latin.
One of the interesting facts about the Romans is that they communicated with Latin as their official language throughout the Roman Empire. However, it is not used presently, at least not in its authentic form. It is said that Latin fell out of use since the downfall of the Roman Empire. It is now considered a dead language.
But Latin gave birth to many modern languages like the Romance Languages, its simplified counterpart like Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Romanian. We can also say that 60% of English words have their root in Latin or Greek.
26. The Romans Worshipped a Lot of Gods and Goddesses.
The ancient Romans were highly polytheistic and believed in the concept of numen, unlike today’s Rome, which is the main center of Catholicism. They considered that all the gods were assigned different functions. It was also believed that Heaven, Earth, and the Underworld rulers were immortal gods. Learning about their deities is among the most interesting facts about the Romans.
There is a list of the most important gods and goddesses of the Roman Pantheon called Dii Consentes. The gilt statues of these 6 gods and 6 goddesses are adorned in the Roman Forum. There is another group called Dii Select, which was made of 20 gods, among which were also the gods of Dii Consentes.
Like Greek Mythology, the Romans also arranged their Gods and Goddesses in couples-Jupiter-Juno, Neptune-Minerva, Mars-Venus, Apollo-Diana, Vulcan-Vesta, and Mercury-Ceres.
Below is the list of the Dii Consentes-
i. Jupiter (Zeus)
The supreme of all the Gods, also the patron God of Rome, and the Roman God of the sky and thunder.
ii. Juno (Hera)
The queen of the Roman gods and goddesses and the patron Goddess of Rome. She is considered the Roman goddess of marriage and childbirth.
iii. Minerva (Athena)
The Roman goddess of wisdom, arts, justice, warfare, trade, victory, and law.
iV. Neptune (Poseidon)
Roman god of freshwater and the sea, along with earthquakes, hurricanes, and horses.
v. Venus (Aphrodite)
She is considered the mother of the Roman people. Venus is the Roman goddess of love, victory, beauty, fertility, sex, prostitution, desire, and prosperity.
She was also considered the patron of wine.
vi. Mars (Ares)
Roman god of war and the epitome of masculinity and aggression. Mars was the guardian of farmers and agriculture.
He was the father of Romulus and Remus.
vii. Apollo (Apollo)
The Roman god of truth, music and dance, healing and disease, poetry and archery. He is the god of the sun and light.
viii. Diana (Artemis)
Roman goddesses of hunting, nature, the moon, birth, enslaved people, and lower classes.
ix. Vulcan (Hephaestus)
Roman god of fire, volcanoes, metalwork, and the forge.
x. Vesta (Hestia)
Roman goddess of the hearth, home, and domestic life.
xi. Mercury (Hermes)
Roman god of profit, trade, eloquence, communication, travel, trickery, and thieves.
xii. Ceres (Demeter)
Roman goddess of agriculture, harvest, grain, women, fertility, motherhood, and marriage. She was also considered the lawgiver.
Other Roman Gods and Goddesses-
Roman god of wine, fertility, festivity, insanity, and merrymaking.
Roman god of sleep or simply the personification of sleep
Roman goddess of sensual pleasure.
Roman god of wealth, agriculture, liberation, and generation.
27. The Ancient Romans were Fond of Gambling.
One of the interesting facts about the Romans was that they were mostly struggling to make ends meet. In this situation, they always longed for easy wealth. They even cheated to win their way up or to get the upper hand.
28. Chariot Racing was the Most Popular Game in Ancient Rome.
One of the exciting facts about the Romans is that the drivers of the chariots received a lot of respect along with a huge sum of capital. This racer named Gaius Appuleius Diocles raced 4257 times, out of which he won 1462 times. During his 24 years in this career, he earned around $15 billion and an extreme height of fame.
29. The Roman Armies were Very Impactful.
The Roman armies were among the best fighters in the world. Romulus, the first king of Rome, was attributed to having raised an army of 3000 infantry and 300 cavalries.
The Roman army was strong, well-organized, and thoroughly trained to defeat forces that were even greater than them. They had more advanced weapons and armor than any other army prevalent at that period. It is believed that the Roman armies could march up to 40km a day.
30. The Romans founded the First Legal System.
Rome was the first country to have introduced the legal code. It was known as the Twelve Tables and was first publicized in 449 B.C. It was an ancient set of laws to resolve issues between the Patricians and Plebians. These laws made the future bureaucrats strict with the laws.
31. Rome has the Largest Number of Churches than Any Other City in the World.
Considering Rome as the heart of Christianity, it is not surprising that there are over 900 churches in this city.
32. The Romans Washed their Clothes with Urine!
As we already discussed, the Romans were the cleanest civilization. They were quite inclined towards bleaching and deep cleaning their clothes. They also used urine to lighten leather and even whiten teeth! Since urine is the natural source of ammonia, we can connect the dots as to why they used urine to clean their clothes. It is among the strangest facts about the Romans.
33. A Palace was Built for the First Time in Rome.
Palaces are huge residences filled with luxury. So, we can say that the first ever grand palace was built on Palatine Hill. It was the home of many early emperors, and eventually, all the common people were chased out of the hill to be inhabited only by the kings.
34. Rome has Many Layers.
Rome’s archaeology goes quite deep underground. If we dig into the city, we will find many preserved sheets of history that the land witnessed from natural disasters. Every time the city flooded, its ground level rose to some extent. The city is the final result of many layers of time.
35. Rome has the Maximum Number of Catacombs.
One of the most interesting facts about the Romans that you must know is that Rome tops the list of cities with the highest number of catacombs in the world. It is one of the unknown facts about the Romans. These underground tunnels were created to bury the deceased. More than 60 catacomb complexes were discovered that cover an area of over 400 kilometers.
36. Rome has Many Obelisks.
Obelisks were initially the symbol of power for the Egyptian Pharaohs. When Egypt was defeated and made a part of the Roman Empire, many obelisks were brought to Rome under the command of the emperors to decorate the city.
There were 53 obelisks brought, out of which the majority were lost or buried under the modern Roman city. But several 13 obelisks still stand in the city.