Ancient Rome was a civilization centred around the city of Rome, that lasted from the 8th century BC to 476 AD (West); 1453 AD (East).

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What are the symbols on the Tomb of the Priestess of Isis along Via Appia

A couple of years ago, I had the good fortune to ride along the Appian Way and admire the old tombstones still standing along the old Roman road. (Highly recommended for any Roman history buff!). I ...
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Were Roman marching songs still bawdy during principate/dominate?

We know from writers such as Suetonius in his Vita Divi Iuli that legionnaires would sing some quite raunchy and bawdy tunes, even during a triumph of their leader. There were open allusions to ...
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Is there an instance where Rome adopted a weapon to win a war?

I thought I had read that Roman soldiers had adopted crossbows to defeat the Pythagoreans. However after Google and Wikipedia, I can't find support for this. Or was there some other example where the ...
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3answers
295 views

Why did we never found any elephant skeletons in the Western Alps?

It is widely assumed that the carthaginian general Hannibal Barcas crossed the Western Alps some 2200 Years ago with an army of men, horses and elephants in direction of Italy and the Roman Republic. ...
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What is the reason that not all roman emperors named a month after them?

As far as I know, Julius Caesar and Augustus named the fifth and the sixth months, respectively, after themselves, but why didn't Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero do the same while there were ...
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191 views

What was the first major technological advancement that occurred after the fall of the Roman Empire? [closed]

Popular perception is that technology and science stopped advancing for quite some time after the fall of the Roman Empire. Is this true? Or were significant advances steadily made, just at a slower ...
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126 views

What did Ostian script look like?

What did Ostian script look like? I've seen some drawings in Origin of the Serif and I'd like to learn more. But when I tried googling I wasn't able to find anything: all I got were false positives. ...
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117 views

Did some Roman/Pompeiian houses have atria for slaves?

According to Wikipedia (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_of_the_Vettii) the House of the Vettii brothers had two atria, one specifically for slaves. Servants' quarters are to one side off ...
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122 views

Polite forms of address in Ancient Rome

My Latin dictionary only lists ere for sir, which is how a slave would address his/her master. But how would a lower status Roman address a person of higher status - for instance, a wage-labourer to ...
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376 views

How did the Romans supply water in winter?

Roman aquaducts are famous, but didn't the water freeze during winter? Where did the cities get their water during winter? EDIT: running water doesn't freeze as easily as motionless water, which ...
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1answer
111 views

What percent of the Roman Republic's population were citizens in various centuries? [closed]

Does anyone have any sources mentioning the percentages of citizens at various times, or the populations of citizens and corresponding total populations so I can calculate percents? I looked at dozens ...
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106 views

Where did Roman senators mostly live in the time of Tiberius or Caligula?

My understanding is that under the Republic the Palatine was the most popular place for senators and their families, but from the time of Nero the Imperial family more-or-less took over the Palatine. ...
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What happened to the imperial archives stored at the Tabularium?

The Tabularium in Rome was used to house the archives of the Roman Empire. Unfortunately, these archives do no longer exist. What happened to them?
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222 views

What was the primary reason for the rise and success of the Roman republic / empire? [closed]

The Roman republic and its successor, the Roman empire, were extremely successful. The territory of the empire did encompass several times the size of the early republic. What was the primary cause ...
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120 views

Is this a Caesar silver coin

A friend showed me a coin he found a number of years a go, but it is hard to identify if it is a Roman coin. (having problems updating the image) Can someone help me identify when it is from?
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What did an ancient Roman certificate of land ownership look like; or, what did it consist of?

Suppose you're a landowner in Germania, just west of the Rhine. It is the 2nd Century A.D. You own a number of farms, a couple of good houses, maybe some slaves, some of whom are on the verge of ...
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If I were a well-to-do ancient Roman, could I make money by investing in the construction of an aqueduct?

One incentive for wealthy Romans to finance construction of aqueducts was, of course, glory. One's name would go up on the wall somewhere, and down in history, too. However, there was more to ...
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1answer
386 views

The Roman Law of the Twelve Tables on slavery

I have just been reading the Roman Twelve Tables, and am deeply confused. In Table VI, it states: Law VII. Where anyone demands freedom for another against the claim of servitude, the Prætor shall ...
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226 views

How were provincial Roman accounting and taxes handled under Hadrian?

Levies were put on entire provinces payable by their governors, and what they taxed and how much, was up to them. Suppose you're the governor of a province that has a large city in it. Living in ...
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197 views

What status and rights did a Roman freedwoman have?

When a slave was freed by a Roman citizen, he became a Roman citizen himself, although with certain legal disabilities: eg, he could not stand for public office, he could not join the army, and was ...
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1answer
367 views

Were Roman gladiators ever enlisted into the military?

Were Roman gladiators ever enlisted into the actual Roman military? I have heard of Roman soldiers becoming gladiators but not the other way around. I imagine this would only happen if the Roman ...
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1answer
257 views

Was the use of imperial nicknames in ancient Rome meant as an insult?

A few Roman emperors are commonly known by nicknames. I'm thinking specifically of the Emperors Gaius (Caligula) and Antoninus (Caracalla.) These nicknames were never in official use, at least while ...
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543 views

What did ancient Romans use instead of shampoo?

Urban Romans, we're told, took a bath every day. They did not use soap. Instead, they oiled themselves and scraped off the oil, along with the dirt, with strigils. What did they do about their hair, ...
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176 views

Did women in ancient Rome wear corsets, and if so, what were they made of?

Breast bands and other kinds of support were used. The history of the corset as we know it, however, begins in the 1600's, according to Wikipedia. I find this hard to believe. Perhaps this is because ...
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108 views

What's inside the Arch of Constantine?

Does the Arch of Constantine in Rome have an interior? (I'm not speaking of the empty space formed by the arch itself, but rather of the massive stone structure which forms the arch.) The Wikipedia ...
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129 views

Were quaestors in the Roman Republic entitled to lictors/fasces?

I apologise if this is too basic a question, but Wikipedia seems to contradict itself! It says here https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quaestor that a Quaestor was entitled to one lictor and one fasces, ...
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100 views

What Was the Constitutional Basis that Made Pompey “Consul Without Colleague” for 52BC

From my understanding, the Senate had no prerogative in naming a consul. At best they could appoint an interrex among themselves. What was the constitutional basis that enabled the Senate to appoint ...
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109 views

What was the Constitutional Basis for Gaius Julius Caesar's Dictatorship

In the early republic, a dictator was usually appointed for a reason such as presiding over an election or defending the city against a foreign invasion. I remember reading somewhere that Sulla's ...
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359 views

Ancient Roman Slang

Is anyone able to recommend a book or website which lists slang from Ancient Rome? As an example, how would a Roman say the equivalent of "it's screwed up"? There are many ways of saying this in ...
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Examples of Romans repeating early stages of the cursus honorum

In some special cases, Romans held lower offices than some they had already held, for example Quaestor while having been a consul before. I understand that senators, expelled by the censors for ...
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545 views

How common was decimation in the Roman army

I know decimation happened a lot in the Roman army, but I find it hard to imagine generals like Marius, Scipio and Caesar, who all had the unwavering loyalty of their troops, practicing it.
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159 views

Penalty for patricide in Ancient Rome

This question is prompted by an earlier question on Roman law, which seemed to suggest that only treason was punishable by death for citizens. I did ask this as comment, but have got intrigued. I am ...
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154 views

How frequently were girls adopted in Ancient Rome?

Looking over Wikipedia's article on adoption in Ancient Rome, I notice that it mentions that adoption of females "was much less common" than adoption of males. I don't see any sources for that ...
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Did the Romans have writing desks?

I am just rekindling my interest in Ancient Rome, and reading Rome:Its people, life and customs by Ugo Enrico Paoli. He goes into considerable detail about tables, but only dining tables. There is a ...
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The role of science in enabling the survival of civilisations [closed]

The Claim asapScience has a video about the role of science in the society. In their video, they claim: When we look to history we see that ignoring science has led to the crumbling of societies. ...
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Were the republican legati pro praetores appointed by the governors?

I am not referring to the Legati Augusti pro praetores of the Empire. In republican Rome, provincial governors chose their own legates quite freely. I found here ...
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189 views

Did Ancient Rome use lead styli?

Is wikipedia correct to say: The original form of "lead pencil" was the leaden stylus used by the ancient Romans, who also used it to write on wood or papyrus by leaving dark streaks where the ...
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Why didn't Roman emperors have harems?

Harems were common in the Orient; the Chinese emperor, the Ottoman sultan, and the Mongol emperor all had many wives. Roman Emperors did not have a similar custom. Why is the harem common in the ...
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1answer
178 views

Did the Roman senate immediately send new governors after the death of proconsuls/propraetors?

I would like to know whether the Roman senate sent replacements for deceased governors (due to illness, accident, war, ...) immediately after hearing of their death or was content to entrust the ...
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217 views

Did the Thracian Rhomphaia ever clash with a Roman Gladius?

From what I understand, the Odrysian kingdom became a client state of Rome after the Third Macedonian War (171–168 BC). Did the Thracians (Odrysian or otherwise) ever clash with the Romans in a ...
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Why did the Roman military start to favour swords over the spear phalanx?

Up until the rise of the Roman Republic, the Greek phalanx was considered the dominant form of military tactics. Evolution had simply favoured longer and longer spears: by the time of Alexander, ...
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Is there any evidence of arachnophobia in ancient history?

Are there any sources that would tell us whether (any) ancient Greeks or Romans were afraid of spiders?
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231 views

How was the Roman Princeps Senatus appointed?

In Republican Rome, the princeps senatus (~head of the senate) was supposed to have been nominated by the censors, who were elected every 5 years for 1 and a half years. What happened when the ...
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320 views

Are the Dacians and the Getae the same people?

Are the Dacians and the Getae the same people? When Caesar and Trajan refer to their enemies above the Danube, do they refer to the same people or different people? Furthermore, how do Goths fit in? ...
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346 views

Which Roman emperor destroyed a weaving machine?

A slave created a revolutionary weaving machine which needed many less slaves to produce fabrics. The machine was so amazing that it was presented to the Emperor of Rome himself. That emperor was very ...
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240 views

What happened to the stuff stolen from the Temple in Jerusalem by the Romans?

In the year 66 CE, the Jews in Roman Palestine rose up in revolt against the Roman occupation. Four years later , the Romans sacked Jerusalem, leveled the city, killed everyone inside, razed the ...
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386 views

Why did the original Carthage never become a Roman city?

Carthage fell to the might of Rome, I think it was, three times in total. They were completely defeated and accepted some pretty horrible terms of surrender. And yet they maintained their self ...
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Did the Romans ever deploy troops to, or try to conquer, Ireland?

The Romans obviously conquered Ireland's nearest neighbor, Britain (at least the southern part of it), but they seem to have stayed away from Ireland, at least as far as I am aware. Is this the ...
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203 views

Did Archimedes have any students?

We know that Archimedes learnt a lot from his father, Phidias (who was an astronomer) and most likely studied in Alexandria, alongside other great contemporaries such as Eratosthenes of Cyrene and ...
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What documentary evidence is there that Roman crucifixion victims were completely nude?

(A few days ago, a user posted a couple good questions about the historic practice of crucifixion in Ancient Rome on the Christianity SE. Unfortunately, they posted the questions as an answer to this ...