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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How did people distinguish slaves from free people in Ancient Rome?

I've tried to find some information about it, but failed. Somehow it doesn't seem to be important enough to write about it. Let's say there is an educated slave living in a relatively rich household ...
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Were the Medieval Britons aware of the existence of the Roman Empire?

I would like to know if the medieval people in Britain, by around 800 AD, knew that there was an empire that ruled Britain several hundreds of years before. Otherwise, were there any myths, legends, ...
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Could women be crucified under Roman law?

(A few days ago, a user posted a couple of good questions about the historic practice of crucifixion in Ancient Rome on the Christianity SE. Unfortunately, they posted the questions as an answer to ...
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Is there any documented criticism of the brutality of the Colosseum from citizens at the time?

I recently watched a documentary on the Roman Colosseum that described some of the brutal and cruel violence that took place. The documentary explained that for the citizenry, the violence was ...
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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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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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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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Why didn't Hannibal attack Rome after the Battle of Cannae?

Hannibal Barca defeated 8 Roman legions in the Battle of Cannae. At that time Carthage also had control over Hispania. Why did Hannibal not seize Rome at that time?
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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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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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Classical battle sizes vs medieval battle sizes

Why did classical battles did tend to be larger than medieval ages? One particular example I am thinking of was the battle of Stamford bridge, which had around 30,000 participants, compared to the ...
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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 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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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 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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Where did Hannibal cross the Pyrenees?

Hannibal's passage through the Alps has been extensively studied, regarding the route chosen and logistics involved in passing a large army through difficult terrain. Before that, Hannibal would have ...
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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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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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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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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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Buddhists in ancient Alexandria and Rome

I came across this quote in an interview with British philosopher Jonardon Ganeri: What I would add is that philosophy did not have a single origin, but many origins around the world, and each ...
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Julius Caesar's view on Celts and Germans

I encountered an interesting quote on the English Wikipedia page for Germania some time ago, which seems to have persisted, albeit without citation. I was hoping someone could find a reliable source ...
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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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What is the last historical mention of people worshipping the Roman gods?

Today, there are many polytheists and neopagans who worship the ancient Roman gods. They are, however, a very new development, and not the descendants of an unbroken line stretching back to the Roman ...
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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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Is chain mail expensive?

I've read many textbooks and talked to plenty of people who explained to me that making thousands of rings, then interlocking them is terribly expensive. This confuses me because history had Vikings ...
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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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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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Unemployed people in ancient Rome

How did ancient Rome deal with the unemployed? (I mean not the idle by supposed laziness, or vagabonds). Did they at some point have free citizens who were unemployed, in the sense that they wanted ...
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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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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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Average height of Ancient Roman Men and Women?

On a field trip to Philadelphia as a child I visited Betsy Ross' house. I was only 11 at the time and yet my head almost reached the ceiling. The tour guide said that Americans used to be shorter than ...
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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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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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What were Greek and Roman sails made from?

I have found that Vikings used sails made from wool: http://www.vikingeskibsmuseet.dk/en/research/maritime-technology/woollen-sailcloth/#.VctQLvlVhBc But can anyone tell me what the sails of ancient ...
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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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Why do Strabo, Pliny and Diodorus cite Pytheas in disbelief?

According to the wikipedia page on Germanic tribes, (direct quotation) The first news about the Germanic world are contained in the lost Pytheas work. It is believed that Pytheas travelled to ...
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Was hitchhiking common in Ancient Rome?

I am writing a story about a soldier who survived from an ambush and he hide several days.then he walked to a village, While he is on the way(walking on a road) he saw a caravan ... so my question is ...
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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 ...