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72

One key lies in their treatment of illegitimacy, or bastardy. In Roman society, as is typical of the West in general, illegitimate children had no formal link to their fathers. This was true from the earliest times, and lasted well into the Imperial period before a softening of the laws occurred in the second and third centuries.1 In the Roman setting, ...


45

In Antiquities of the Jews, the ancient historian Josephus reported an incident where the Emperor Tiberius explicitly ordered a woman to be crucified: Mundus had a freedwoman, who had been made free by his father, whose name was Ide, one skillful in all sorts of mischief ... Tiberius inquired into the matter thoroughly by examining the priests about it, ...


31

Actually, the Romans used the same phalanx everyone else did for a very long time. Past Hannibal. The essence of winning a phalanx battle is to attack the flank of the phalanx. One may achieve that many ways, hence the many ways phalanxes were formed in particular battles - adapted to the width of the battlefield usually, though if one's enemy overdid that, ...


29

Ancient Rome had land deeds and registrations. Most of it has long since been lost, but there are still plenty of examples. Note that Roman rule lasted a long time and stretched across three continents; unsurprisingly, the exact details of the system in place differed across time and space. For example, there is a land deed found among the papyri excavated ...


24

Suetonius has this to report about Tiberius, the second emperor and the third Caesar: [H]e at first played a most unassuming part, almost humbler than that of a private citizen. Of many high honours he accepted only a few of the more modest. He barely consented to allow his birthday, which came at the time of the Plebeian games in the Circus, to be ...


21

According to A Companion to the Archaeology of the Roman Republic, and a citation of antiquities scholar Ph. Leveau in particular, Roman aqueducts were mostly publicly funded, and although some may have had private funding, it was not for-profit. Aqueducts were very costly to construct. So why and how did the Romans do it? Under the Empire, aqueducts ...


15

Ancient Mediterranean sailcloth was made of a fine linen, which was written "linon" in Greek and "lintea" in Latin. Many ancient literary sources mention this, for example, Aeschylus, Virgil, Homer, etc. There is a book, "Ships and Seamanship in the Ancient World" (1995) by Lionel Casson that goes into detail about ancient ship technology.


13

Ireland was not a threat to Rome By the time the Romans had reached Britain, their empire covered most of western Europe and their resources were becoming stretched. For most of the time they spent in Britain, they were more concerned with holding on to what they had rather than expanding further. Caesar invaded Britain in BCs 55 & 54 to see what was ...


13

Actually several did: Caligula renamed September to Germanicus (Suetonius, Caligula, 15) in memory of his father. Nero renamed April to Neronium (Suetonius, Nero, 55).


13

The simple answer is because bones are organic, and organic things don't last 2000 years. Even hard organic things like bones, except in very extreme (eg: rare) circumstance. Exposed bone, unless its somewhere with little life, will generally be gone within a year. Usually when we talk of archeologists finding "bones" what they have really found is fossils ...


10

First of all, Carthage did not fall in the First or Second Punic Wars. The Carthaginians were defeated twice, and compelled to surrender to particularly harsh terms the second time, but the City of Carthage itself was not conquered. Keep in mind that Carthage was not some run of the mill city-state, but rather the capital of a far flung maritime empire. ...


10

The Romans were very good in copying tactics and equipment from other peoples. They learned the Phalanx from the Etruscans. The phalanx works like a wall: difficult to get through, but also almost impossible to maneuver. When the Romans met their new enemies the Samnites, a people from the mountains, they saw that the Samnites were armed with long shields ...


10

This question is a bit tricky. Mundane every day facts like descriptions of writing tools tend to be poorly documented because most people find them uninteresting. However, first to disabuse you of the idea that lead can't write. Have you ever handled lead yourself? It is remarkably soft and malleable, and easily makes marks on hard surfaces, although not ...


10

In the time of late Republic the decimation was not practised anymore, except the well-known incident on Spartacus uprising: Five hundred of them, moreover, who had shown the greatest cowardice and been first to fly, he divided into fifty decades, and put to death one from each decade, on whom the lot fell, thus reviving, after the lapse of many years, ...


10

The training was too expensive. A gladiator, especially a good one, was a commodity; a valuable asset to his owner. For the duration of their gladiatorial careers, gladiators were viewed as their owners property, and few owners would give them up to the army just like that. The gladiatorial version of martial arts emphasized visual effects: more like stage ...


10

The ancient Romans did not use deeds, they used a registration system. The document cited by Semaphore is not a deed, it is a conveyance (everybody now run to the Wikipedia and find out what a conveyance is). Roman land was surveyed and divided by stone markers called limites. In some places the land was divided into regular squares called centuriae. In ...


9

As I remember, the biggest problems of phalanx were slow pace and inability to operate on a rough terrain (consider the length of their spears). In the battle of Pydna the macedonians had early success yet the romans were able to regroup and won the battle in the later counter-attack. So the phalanx was pretty good for one-time onslaught but in an advanced ...


9

Not in the way you would think. The Romans did not use furniture unless they were very rich. Even items like the curule chair which magistrates used were very simple with only a small amount of wood. Of course, desks did exist for secretaries to the emperor and people like that, but a modern desk would have been very expensive in Roman times. Ordinary ...


9

Pompey did die as essentially a refugee, with little means at hand. So, Seneca may be using a bit of poetic license to drive a point home. Whether Pompey was bankrupt due to having to finance the armies that were then wiped out by Caesar or he simply had no access to what fortunes he left behind - it's not like he could do a Western Union wire transfer! He ...


8

I would have made that a comment, but do not have enough reputation. In this article the author is referring to a study conducted by Columbia University in New York where the leader of the study, Joshua New stated, that fear of spiders dates back to the early human evolution in Africa. It acted as sort of a survival instinct. Detecting the spider before it ...


8

It is not necessarily be problematic if the censors disagreed. Scholars have generally thought that only one censor was chosen by lot to nominate the Princeps Senatus alone. If correct, then in the event of disagreements between the censors, the chosen one would have the final say. Much support for this theory is inferred from the 209 dispute (see below), ...


8

The Lex Julia de Maritandis of 18 BC forbade a senator to marry a freedwoman but in other instances where a freedwoman married her patron she had no right of divorce. Freedwomen did not have the right to benefit from wills until they had four children (other women when they had three children). The Lex Aelia Sentia of AD 4 stated that a freed slave (of ...


8

Building something as massive as the Colosseum would have required a wide range of types of labor, from unskilled slaves quarrying materials to highly skilled craftsmen and thus would encompass a range of workers and pay scales. Some slaves would have been more or less worked hard just for room and board, while others would have been well-paid for their ...


7

Most lower class Romans and slaves wore only a knee length tunic, if they even had that much clothing. Many in modern times have indicated that wearing an undergarment was considered being naked, yet the Greek word that was usually used in the period to refer to someone who was naked was gymnos, which means a complete lack of clothing. Those who try to say ...


7

Ancient sources are pretty vague about crucifixion. My understanding is that the naked element comes from two sources: a single sentence in the Oneirocritica and from ancient Jewish practice/law. In the Oneirocritica the reference is to "naked (gumnos) flesh" on the pole (stauron). However, this work is about dreams and the context is pretty philosophical, ...


7

To invade Ireland, the Romans would first have needed to gain full control of either Wales or the Clyde estuary in Scotland, something they never succeeded in doing. The Romans very much wanted to conquer Ireland, because the Irish were a constant source of weapons and "rebellibus" support to the Scots and Welsh for attacks on Roman communities. During the ...


7

The exact relation between Dacians and Getae is unclear; ancient sources tell us that they spoke the same language, and some of them claim that they were the same tribe under different names. They should thus be considered related, possibly identical. Wikipedia has a review of the sources. As for the connection to Goths, it was a common identification in ...


7

Referring to the documentary series "Conquest" of history channel may be a bit too much on the popular side of popular-science but I think they have a point (or rather some). From what I remember they said: shields grew in size allowing to push into rows of spears and lock them between the shields while staying unhurt and weight, compensating the ...


7

On my opinion, this statement "When we look to history we see that ignoring science has led to the crumbling of societies" is not confirmed by history. Societies, or civilizations come and go and there is no evidence that this is somehow related to the development of science. Science, in its present form, was mostly created by the Hellenistic Greeks, and ...


7

They used lye soap which is made by combining ashes with lard or other oils and fats. This kind of soap was known from ancient Egyptian times. It was customary in Rome to always wash your hair on August 13th in honor of Diana, but they washed it other times as well, obviously. The Romans bathed a lot and they (especially the women) would wear little caps to ...



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