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32

Banking existed in the era of the Romans and earlier. In ancient Greece and Asia Minor temples served as a sanctuary where individuals could make deposits for safekeeping. This practice continued with the Romans (see this article titled "Temple Banking In Rome"). For instance, the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus was the largest depository in Asia and served as ...


25

They were not supermen by any means :) But yes, temperatures were higher, by more than 1 degree (Kent and Wales were famous for their wines, right now it's far too cold there for that for example). And don't forget that in the Roman era, wars were fought in summer almost exclusively, later expanding into spring and autumn as the conscript army was replaced ...


14

I don't have a good citation for this - the wikipedia article provided by @kubanczyk is relatively decent, and highlights the role of the censor, which is probably the state oriented solution to the question. I think the question relies on modern assumptions. Roman citizens would never have needed to prove their identity. Set aside for the moment the urban ...


12

Roman Infantry There were two types of Roman infantry: the light and the heavy infantry. The average heavy infantryman had a helmet, a mail coat, greaves, a shield, a spatha(broadsword), five weighted darts, and a javelin (pilum). The pilum was five to six feet long with a tip of iron, weighing nine ounces. The total weight of the pilum ranged between ...


11

This is an addition to Mike Rodney's answer. The Twelve Tables, traditionally written in 450 BC, were some of Rome's most ancient laws. The majority of Table III deals with banking. In particular Law I says that bankers can't steal deposits; Law II forbids usury†; Laws V through X concern treatment of delinquent debtors. So banking was common enough 2500 ...


11

In addition to harper89's answer, some gladiators were in the games to repay debts. Once they were repaid, they would return to whatever life they left before. With some luck, they would have earned a lot more than the debt, and thus be able to live off those earnings or invest them. The most successful gladiators were also treated like modern day ...


11

Once freed a Gladiator would become a Rudiarius and would be given a rudis which was a wooden sword that symbolized their freedom. Some gladiators stayed near and with their rudis were able to take up training of other gladiators. Others were even offered coin to return to the arena. The Roman Emperor Tiberius (r. 14-37 AD) once offered 1,000 gold ...


11

Slaves cost around 500 denarii at the time of Augustus - fluctuated around that price though depending on the wars.They were trained everyday and expected to live past one or two fights. Wild animals (untrained) were bought for the express purpose of being slaughtered, thus they would be purchased for much less. However, as they are rare they would obviously ...


11

Originally, only citizens with a certain amount of wealth were eligible to serve in the Roman army. They were responsible for the upkeep of their own equipment. Polybius records that each of the different types of soldiers had their own equipment made from the same standard materials and with the same standard measurements. More desperate times saw the ...


11

According to The Dawn of European Civilization by G. Hartwell Jones (1903), slaves in Rome were "looked upon as fit for nothing but the cross, the stake, or the arena" [for gladiatorial combat]. In Rome, the "principle that the slave was destitute of legal rights" applied. Improvements in their status were slow to come. The position of the home-born ...


11

The Premise is a bit off here. During the Crisis of the 3rd Century as well as after, the Roman army usually could win a set-piece battle over barbarians or the Persians. The difference was that the Roman army usually wasn't around where these incursions happened, and the tribes could run amok without much opposition. With the distractions of the Civil ...


10

The most common document identifying a person in Ancient Rome was diploma. Diploma identified the powers of magistrates and other office holders, including the consuls. Regarding the asked question, Roman citizenship of discharged soldiers if they had no citizenship before service was identified by a so-called military diploma The diploma was a notarially ...


10

Famously, the Ancient Egyptians knew a lot about sexuality, gynecology and genitourinary infections. Nevertheless, according to this article, there are no unambiguous description of STD's in the medical papyri of Ancient Egypt (though many reported symptoms suggest gonorrhea and some suggest pelvic infections). The same source notes that the Old Testament ...


10

Performing first a search for all occurrences of "German" and then of "civiliz" in The Gallic Wars suggests that the most relevant passage is from Chapter 24 from Book 6 (my emphasis): Chapter 24 And there was formerly a time when the Gauls excelled the Germans in prowess, and waged war on them offensively, and, on account of the great number of ...


10

I would suggest reading Book 1 of The Gallic Wars (link has both English and Latin if you want to see the untranslated text), which is as much a political history of the conquest of Gaul as it is a military history. Julius Caesar starts the book with a description of the political landscape at the time: All Gaul is divided into three parts, one of which ...


9

If you heard that the pouring of wine was to kill bacteria, you know it's a fake. You have to wait till Louis Pasteur for bacteria. Also, unless there was a whole lot of wine/alcohol poured, it would have no effect whatsoever on the water in the well. Wine was very expensive in Roman times -- up to several slaves for a barrel in Gaul around 50BC as Caesar ...


9

One way to determine this is to go to a translation of the source, which should provide you with all the Tacitus you can eat on the subject. In short, Tacitus suggests that Nero may well have been the primary motivation for the fire starting where and when it did, although Nero himself was in Antium when the fire started (again, according to Tacitus). As ...


9

No, they were not. The Ptolemys were the last dynasty to rule Egypt directly in the old fashion. When the Romans took over, they just treated it as another province in the empire. In 30 BC, following the death of Cleopatra VII, the Roman Empire declared that Egypt was a province (Aegyptus), and that it was to be governed by a prefect selected by the ...


9

Well alcohol does have a strong anti-bacterial effect,and adding water to wine was a way to create more drink as there was very little clean drinking water. During the fermentation process many microbes die, eventually the yeast too dies in the anaerobic environment. I think adding water to wine and letting the two mix for a while would kill a significant ...


9

Greek was in wide usage as the lingua franca of the Near East. It also has the benefit of actually surviving Roman rule, in the same capacity, all the way till the Late Antiquity. The Romans themselves read and spoke Greek. Thus, Greek works have had a much greater chance of surviving simply from a great, wider, and more durable distribution. The Etruscan ...


9

They did know. Roman knowledge of China is attested in the Geographia, work of the famous Claudius Ptolemy. Which is not to say, however, that the Romans knew much at all about the Han Empire (or vice versa, for that matter). For instance, Ptolemy's map of the Far East coastline is rather distorted: In Chinese records, the Han Emperor first received ...


8

Let me wikipedia that for you. There are some reference at the end of the article that I would check instead of relying on wikipedia. The Battle of Gaugamela maybe a better reference with lots of references given. Xenophon, in Cyropaedia (VI.2.17) states "[...] that scythes of steel have been fitted to the axles, and that it is the intention to drive ...


8

Being that Britain had been exposed to Roman influence for close to a century - Caesar having made first contact with his invasion around 55bc. There was constant diplomatic and trade relations between the British and Romans following that. As Caractacus was a member of the ruling class, it's entirely possible that he spoke Latin to some extent. As ...


8

This (fun) site assumes 10 miles per day, while adding the necessary disclaimer "it depends". However, I was not able to confirm this number in the cited source: John Pebbie's The Roman War Machine seems to refer to "10 miles" only in specific relation to a march undertaken by Caesar's army on its final approach to the Battle of Sabis. The same book ...


8

The height limits weren't actually legal, they were those of the materials and construction techniques available. Without the aid of steel beams to provide tensile strength and other modern techniques and materials, something around 200 feet tall is the limit of a brick structure before the ground floor is starting to approach solid wall over the entire ...


8

This is a complex matter (some authors like Delbruck thought that the classical numbers are very inflated) but one may point out to logistics - classical states were much better able to extract and stockpile resources (human and material) than high medieval polities with their fragmented political authority and erratic currency. As for the Romans' ...


7

Well, back in the 70's when I was in Army ROTC, I carried a M60 machine gun (23lbs), 4 bandoliers of blank ammo (about another 25-30lbs), maybe a grenade sim or 2, 2 canteens of water and C rations and other field gear. My total was probably around 90-100lbs. Later, in the USMC, I carried a M16 or a 9mm pistol, ammo and assorted field gear that probably ...


7

Octavian who would later become Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus: My answer really focuses on the why as much as the who, because the reality may have been that in many ways he gave himself the title. Octavian returned from Egypt with a wealth of treasure and a serious wealth of power. He was respected by his legions, of which he was commander of all sixty of ...


7

Urine was also widely used for improvement of leather. It was quite natural to try and put in it something else. Hmm... But I wouldn't call it "dry clean" :-) Ancient cultures had so few chemical reagents to try, that they tried everything on everything. For example, they hardened steel in urine, too. Tried multiple materials to see what urine is the best ...


7

The Roman Forum was initially constructed in the 8th century BC (as a temple to Vesta), started hosting games sometime around the 4th century BC, and was continually rebuilt and upgraded until about 29 BC. So it can be fairly said that it was (somewhat organically) designed to service the entertainment needs of the capital of the Roman empire, home to ...



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