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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Where did the Romans store their cash?

In the era before banking was invented, where did wealthy Romans store their cash? The emperor probably could store it somewhere in the imperial palace thanks to the Praetorian guard, but what about ...
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Did the Romans have winter uniforms?

Standard ancient Roman uniform consisted of a tunic, a cloak and sandal-type boots, resulting in a look like this. Now, this is all very well for Mediterranean climates but I really cannot fathom how ...
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When did the Romans begin using the sword, as opposed to the axe, for decapitation?

According to this article, the Romans first used the axe for decapitation, and then moved to using the sword later. The article states: [B]eheading, a mode of executing capital punishment by which ...
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How did the Roman state verify citizenship?

How were ancient Roman citizens identified, and how did officials make sure that their identity wasn't fake? I.e., did they maintain some kind of citizens registry, or did they have some kind of ...
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What form of home address did Romans use?

Were the buildings in an ancient Roman city numbered, named or something else? How would they tell each other where they lived? Were the numbers painted on the walls? Did they have apartment numbers? ...
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262 views

Did the Romans pour wine down wells for health purposes?

I've heard some kind of story that after the Romans would conquer a new village or city, they would pour wine (or other alcohol?) down the wells to kill the bacteria and make it safe for future ...
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Nero and the Great Fire of Rome 64AD

I have always been fascinated by the history of ancient Rome and this is one of the topics, I always wanted to know a little bit more about. The rumor about Nero himself giving the order to burn down ...
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What is the evidence to claim that political order in ancient Rome was sufficiently different under “kingdom”, “republic” and “empire”?

Traditionally the following stages are counted for the political order of the Ancient Rome: Kingdom Republic Empire (subdivided into Principate and Dominate) The "kingdom" is usually regarded as ...
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Did Ancient Roman insulae reach more than 10 storeys?

High-rise apartments flourished in classical antiquity. Ancient Roman insulae there and in other imperial cities reached 10 and more storeys. Beginning with Augustus (r. 30 BCE-14 CE), several ...
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What did ex-Gladiators do after being freed?

What did ex-Gladiators do after being freed? Did they stay near to what they knew or chose completely unrelated professions and prospered?
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424 views

When did the Roman forum fall into disuse?

The Roman forum is reported to have already been falling apart in 8th century by a anonymous traveler, according to Wikipedia. The question is, with the Visigothic and Byzantine conquests of Italy, ...
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244 views

Were there any conquests that Ancient Rome undertook explicitly to gain control of a natural resource?

Was there ever a case when Rome conquered a territory solely for the purpose of gaining control of a specific resource (spice, ore, timber, etc....)? I'm looking for something backed up by historical ...
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Why did the scutum fall out of use?

Wikipedia says By the end of the 3rd century the rectangular scutum seems to have disappeared. Why did the rectangular scutum design fall out of use? Why was the shield design not commonly ...
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In ancient Rome, did a lot of people feel guilty about owning slaves?

Do we have historical evidence which shows whether significant number of people felt guilty about owning (without necessarily abusing) slaves in the ancient Roman era, e.g. 1-2 century AD?
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In what language did Caractacus deliver his speech to the emperor Claudius?

In The Annals, the Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus wrote about the British chieftain Caractacus and how he was captured by the Romans. According to him, Caractacus was taken to Rome along with his ...
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335 views

What role did the Eastern Roman Empire play in the fall of the Western Roman Empire?

What role did the Eastern Roman Empire play in the fall of the Western Roman Empire? Did the Eastern Empire actually contribute to the fall of the West? Was the Eastern Roman Empire able to help the ...
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326 views

Has history mistreated Nero?

Nero is (wrongly) "known" as the Emperor who "fiddled while Rome burned." But he did kill a number of prominent people, including his own mother. He is treated by much of history as a psychopath, and ...
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How does the amount of equipment carried by various historical infantries compare?

I've heard many statements amount the weight of supplies and munition carried by soldiers of various historical forces. In particular, I've heard many comments about the amount that the British ...
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Why did Greeks and Romans dilute their wine?

I’ve gathered that ancient Greeks and Romans watered their wine heavily, up to 90% water. Roman-era Talmudic sources speak of wine not being fit to drink until it had been watered (although mixtures ...
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179 views

Is there any evidence of STD's in ancient times?

Are there any ancient texts that show or imply that their authors knew that certain diseases were spread through sexual activity? It seems like sexual contagion was recognized in the 16th century ...
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345 views

How quickly could the roman legions march? How does it compare to the mobile cavalry?

In the history of Rome there are numerous instances of legions being marched up and down Europe, from Spain to Rome and from Rome to Syria. I'm interested to know how quickly these armies could move? ...
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How did the Roman army go from constantly losing battles in the middle of the 3rd century to winning almost everything?

During the middle of the 3rd century (crisis years) the roman legions seemed to be beaten left and right by the Goths, Sassanians and numerous Germanic tribes. Then suddenly with the arrival of the ...
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296 views

Extent of the Roman empire after Trajan?

It is generally acknowledged that the Roman Empire reached its geographical zenith during Trajan's reign. Listening to the highly interesting History of Rome podcast I didn't notice any major ...
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How widespread was practice of fusion of Graeco-Roman and barbarian names?

There are some instances when barbarian names were romanized in order to be similar to already existing Roman or Greek names. Just some examples that come to mind: Hebrew Martha -> Marta ("of Mars") ...
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270 views

Did the Romans melt down looted golden objects or did they keep them intact?

The most famous such object is, of course, the Menorah which is reported to have surfaced up later in Constantinople via Carthage, so it seems to have been kept intact. But I am wondering if there ...
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510 views

Were the animals used for gladiatorial combat in Rome trained?

Were the animals used for gladiatorial combat in Rome 100% wild, or were they trained in any way (either for entertainment purposes like today's circus animals, or for fighting like fighting dogs are ...
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653 views

Did war chariots ever actually have blades on the wheel hubs?

Several movies depict Greek and Roman war chariots with sharp, sword like blades protruding from the hub in the centre of the wheels. Was such a design just theatre on the part of the movies or is ...
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Roman era clothing (Egypt + Carthage)

In 2014, it is 2000 years ago that Emperor Augustus died. To celebrate this, we are doing a huge project (Historical Walking Dinner) in which we re-enact certain groups of the Roman population in that ...
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Why was a 10-year old kid appointed consul?

This guy was appointed consul in the Eastern Roman Empire in 491 when he was 10 (ten) years old. As far as I know this was a rather irregular proceeding - I don't recall other cases where children ...
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115 views

Why did the start of the Roman consular year move?

Thus quoth wikipedia: The first day of the consular term changed several times during Roman history. It became 1 January in 153 BC. Question is: why? (And what is the source, since wiki is ...
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Why did the Romans incorporate and rename the Greek pantheon? [closed]

I have read on occasion that they kept the pantheon out of admiration and/or to keep the peace with the newly conquered Greeks, but I have never seen any hard evidence or writings that say this in in ...
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689 views

Did the Romans “copy” their political system from the Greeks?

This is an outgrowth of the discussion here. My sense is that the Romans developed their system autochthonously, probably with some influence from their Etruscan neigbours and one-time-overlords. ...
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450 views

How did the Romans discover dry cleaning?

It seems that the Romans would dry clean their laundry with ammonia derived from urine. Considering the source of the ammonia, and the smell of pure ammonia, I find it hard to believe that this ...
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66 views

Is there any way to historically consider the cultural severity on a disease or impairment? (specifically during the Roman Empire)

I'm looking to find how certain diseases or impairments were viewed during the Roman Empire (circa ~50AD) by the Roman culture prior, during, and after that time. I'm mainly looking for physical ...
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How much of an impact did the Roman emperors' civil wars have on their decision to debase the coinage?

From Adrian Goldsworthy's How Rome Fell: "Civil war remained a common event, ...the economy collapsed, as successive emperors massively devalued the coinage to pay for their wars." Other sources say ...
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362 views

Were Roman emperors officially considered kings of Egypt?

On this statue of Augustus (image is from Wikipedia), he is depicted wearing the traditional dress of Egyptian pharaohs: I wonder whether Roman emperors were officially declared kings of Egypt or ...
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155 views

When were soldiers compensated with land grants?

In what times and places was it common to give land to soldiers, as a form of payment for their army service? I have learned in school that this was common in Rome. However, in the wikipedia article ...
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262 views

Did Roman military require uniform weapons?

It seems to me that weapons were quite expensive in ancient world. At the same time there could be much of captured and imported weapons available. So did the Roman military prohibit use of captured ...
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178 views

What was more expensive to lose in a gladiatorial fight: a gladiator or a rare animal?

We know that, aside from man-to-man combat, gladiatorial fights would often pit human gladiators against wild animals. Is there any documented historical evidence that would show what was a bigger ...
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413 views

Who proposed the motion that gave Gaius Julius Caesar the title Augustus?

In 27 BC, the Senate gave Gaius Julius Caesar the title Augustus. I am assuming that as the senate gave him that title, the motion must have been proposed by someone at the senate floor. Do we know, ...
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197 views

What rules of the ancient Roman game 'Harpastum' are known?

I have heard of the ancient Roman game known as Harpastum. What rules of this games are known? I have two particular principal points of interest, how were points scored and what happened (i.e. was ...
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407 views

What was the status of specialized workers during the Roman times?

It's obvious that people in the Senate or people with political power would be considered of higher status, while ordinary plebs, such as farmers, would have a lower status. However, where exactly ...
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107 views

How did Rome's legal system work?

How was it decided if a case should be tried in Rome or in the province by the governor of that province? was the governor always the judge or were there exceptions? who were the lawyers? I know a lot ...
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1answer
204 views

New theory on origins of modern-day Romania?

I watched a documentary which basically claims that modern-day Romanians are not the descendants of Rome, but that the Romans and the Romanians share a common ancestor with the same language. One of ...
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200 views

Why was the water in roman fountains cold?

Why was the water from some aqueducts that fed the water to ancient Roman fountains(nasoni) cold?
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1answer
122 views

What roman legions in Spain revolted against Caesar before the battle at Munda?

I was debating an interesting topic recently about Pompey's legions in Spain and why they hadn't fought alongside him against Caesar at Pharsalus. Now Caesar forcefully convinced most of them to join ...
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1answer
205 views

Why were Arians outnumbered on the First Council of Nicaea?

Constantine was baptized by an Arian bishop a few years after the Council of Nicaea. His sons were Arians. At least the leadership of the Visigoths that sacked Rome where Arians. That was in 410, only ...
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Why were there so many suffect consuls during the Principate?

As quoted from this wikipedia article, it states: If a consul died during his term (not uncommon when consuls were in the forefront of battle) or was removed from office, another would be ...
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Who were the candidates in the consular elections for 80 BC in Rome?

Wikipedia describes the political process of 80 BC thus: Near the end of 81 BC, Sulla, true to his traditionalist sentiments, resigned his dictatorship, disbanded his legions and re-established ...
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Monotheism/Atheism in Polytheistic societies

I would like to know if there are any documents telling us how common (or if it even existed) among people in polytheistic societies (like ancient Greece, Rome, etc.) it was to believe that there is ...