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Questions tagged [ancient-rome]

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 was Hadrian's decree banning circumcision enforced? Were there mandatory body check or something similar?

Roman Emperor Hadrian issued a decree outlawing circumcision around 132 CE, under penalty of death. I am curious as to how such a decree may be enforced, given that circumcision/castration practices ...
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Offhand reference to a Roman/Greek writer on same-sex marriage [closed]

I read on a website that offhandedly mentioned that some thinkers were having a debate on same-sex marriage and one of them used the fact that then lesbians would be allowed to marry as a reductio ad ...
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Are there any ancient sources clearly testifying a frozen Tiber river in the year 398, 396, 271, and 177 BCE?

Multiple sources, ranging from Wikipedia to journal articles over the years (such as this one), record a series of severe winters which caused the Tiber river to be frozen in the above-listed years. ...
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How was gravity explained in Ancient Greek and Roman times? [migrated]

Gravity is of course something that we can all observe. Stuff falls towards the ground. But not everything: some things like steam or smoke defy this force and instead float up. During Ancient Greek ...
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What is the earliest depiction of a crane?

Various sources on the internet - such as Crane (machine), A History Of The Crane and The sky is the limit: human powered cranes and lifting devices - state that the Ancient Greeks were the inventors ...
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Why did the baths of Bath need a hypocaust?

Bath, England has 3 natural hot springs. The Romans built a place of worship and a thermae around the springs. Why did Bath need a hypocaust if the water was already 47C hot just from the geothermal ...
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How did the ancient Romans count with their fingers?

This joke was supposed to be funny: A Roman walks into a bar, holds up two fingers and shouts "Five beers, please!" But disregarding the funniness, it made me actually think about the real system ...
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What would the Arch of Titus have looked like painted?

The Arch of Titus is a famous attraction in Rome, built by the Roman Emperor Domitian in 82 CE, in honor of the great military conquest of his older brother, Titus. Perhaps the most famous part of ...
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Does anyone know what type of structure this is?

I came across this picture taken at an ancient Roman site (name & location not provided) and was wondering what kind of structure it is. I've searched for fountains, wells, milestones, and ...
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Formation of underground layers of Rome

I have recently came across several news articles (for example) from various decades, talking about existing underground structures in the city of Rome, which used to be above ground at some point of ...
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Why Marcus Aurelius did not restore the Roman Republic? [closed]

I'm wondering why Marcus Aurelius, who could be considered as one of the most wise emperors of Roman Empire, did not restore Roman Republic constitutions? I read somewhere that the functionality of ...
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What happened to the coins In ancient Greece and Rome when monarchs changed?

Were there any instances in the ancient periods of Greece and Rome, where the succeeding monarchs/state leaders refused to acknowledge the coins issued by the preceding monarch, i.e., decreed the ...
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Is there an edition of Gibbon's *Decline and Fall* that has been annotated by a modern historian?

I like reading old history texts. I also like knowing accurate history (to the degree that we know it). Is there an edition (abridged or not) of The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire ...
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Were Trojans the ancestors of the Romans?

Such an hypothesis should be possible to test. I know that graveyards dating back to the pre Roman civilization of Latium can be found : those who allegedly were the descendants of Trojans. ...
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Do we have a notion of how common private bathing facilities were, in Rome at late Republican times?

For example, there are small private bathtubs in Pompeii, but this is about 150 years later and in a period that practices were changing, as more people became wealthy enough to have such things. My ...
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Do we have any surviving texts by Romano-Celtic authors?

Do we have any surviving texts or references to texts with Romano-Celtic authors and how common were 'non-Greco-Italian' (I'm not sure of the best term for that) authors? Specifically within the Roman ...
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Did emperor Nero later regret his treatment of early Christians?

Did emperor Nero later, any time before his death, regret anything that he did to the early Christians? Is there any evidence that documents his opinions on his actions?
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Why did the Romans only name some months and number others?

There's a lot of sources on the internet which are happy to tell you that the Roman year originally had 10 months (Martius, Aprilis, Maius, Junius, Quintilis, Sextilis, September, October, November, ...
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Who first published Marcus Aurelius' Meditations?

Marcus Aurelius wrote the famous book of philosophy Meditations while on campaign in Pannonia. The writing was personal and intended for his eyes and reflections for he himself to meditate on and was ...
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Was the reign of Galba covered in the missing books of Tacitus' Annals?

The surviving books of Tacitus' Annals end off midway through the year AD 66 (during Nero's principate). Had the rest of the work survived, would the Annals have ended in June 68 (Nero's death) or ...
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What is the history of the Roman ogee shape?

I have a small wood shop and make various tables/frames and other wood related items. A common tool I use is a plunge router which is an electric device which spins a router bit to make interesting ...
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What cult images are likely to be found in a Second Punic war era Roman field camp?

Were cult images (e.g. statues of gods) carried by a Roman army (or its commander) around 200 BC? If so, which gods? And were would they be kept while in camp? (I am not referring to items individual ...
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What was the legal process of raising a legion in late Republican Rome?

I've read some about both the Roman army and the Late Republican period, but realized that, while I understand well enough how legions worked in the field, I have only a very incomplete idea of who ...
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Earliest surviving SPQR inscriptions?

I have looked a bit around, and was wondering if there was any information about which could be the earliest still surviving and accessible (for public) inscriptions which included the Latin ...
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Why didn't the Germanic tribes harry the Roman troops to distraction when Caesar built the bridges across the Rhine?

The two bridges across the Rhine river are considered among the greatest military engineering achievements in the ancient world. Caesar's Bridge across the Rhine, the first two bridges to cross the ...
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Why did the ancient Romans use groups of eight?

The Ancient Romans had weeks of eight days, called nundinae, miles consisting of eight stadia or furlongs, and their smallest military unit was the contubernium, consisting of eight men. What ...
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What evidence is there for inventions by slaves or former slaves in Ancient Rome?

The article Slavery in the Roman Empire claims that Slaves are...reported to have made several important inventions. A number of slaves and freedmen did achieve some measure of fame and fortune: ...
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Where were ancient Romans supposed to dispose of their waste and garbage?

On page 35 of Gregory Aldrete's Daily Life in the Roman City he states "The majority of sewage that found its way into the system did not come directly from latrines [...] Most waste was dumped in the ...
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Was every Roman citizen part of a curia?

In a book by German historian Klaus Bringmann, I read that during the regal period, the whole population was divided into three tribes. He furthermore states that each tribe was divided into 10 curiae ...
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In ancient Rome, could free-born Romans become slaves?

In the article Roman Slavery, Kenneth Tuite of the Classics Department at the University of Maryland states quite categorically that Romans could not be slaves: Although a class system existed, ...
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Was Rome exporting its trash to Egypt as an early example of recycling?

During the time that Egypt was a Roman province, it shipped large quantities of grain to Rome until 330 AD. The article Trade Routes and Commercial Products of Roman Pompeii says: Egypt was ...
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How did Christianity replace Roman Paganism and other ancient religions?

Christianity seems to have been the first world religion that was interested in and successful with establishing itself as not only the state religion of but practically the only in an empire - namely,...
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How was the Roman army in fact organized during Caesar's campaigns in Gaul?

I'm finding contradictory descriptions about how Roman legions were organized during the Gallic Wars (58-50 BC). An appendix on Roman military organization in The Landmark Julius Caesar highlights ...
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After the fall of the Roman Empire, where did their armor go? Was it used by any dark ages forces?

It is my understanding that the plate armor manufactured in the time after the fall of Rome was far inferior to anything that the Romans used in their legions. (Of course, if I am wrong on any of this ...
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Did Ancient Romans use metal thimbles? What were they like?

The Romans didn't have forks, so they picked the food with their hands. It is known about the rich that after every course they wiped them and received from their slaves pots with perfumed water to ...
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Was the high consumption of (red) wine in Ancient Rome preventive of scurvy? [closed]

With daily consumption of wine estimated to be about 1 liter/day based on production, vitamin c requirements may be about covered. Was that a reason why these enormous consumption levels were thought ...
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Where did Cicero talk about Plato's Menexenus Funeral Oration?

I'm writing a paper on Aspasia--ancient Greek woman rhetorician--and in Plato's Menexenus he attributes a funeral oration to her. I found references in a couple of places to Cicero saying that the ...
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Did Ancient China use lead in their food/water industry as much as the Romans?

The Romans used lead a lot. Water pipes might be the most famous, but there were lead plates and lead vessels to prepare food or drink too. Apparently lead was an inevitable byproduct of silver ...
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Did the Romans eat breakfast?

This BBC article, citing the food historian Caroline Yeldham, says Breakfast as we know it didn't exist for large parts of history. The Romans didn't really eat it, usually consuming only one ...
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Was Roman expansion & casus belli as just as they claimed?

Every time I read about Rome conquering some other land or nation, it always says that they were the ones attacked and then won that fight. And I find it a bit too convenient and Rome's greatest ...
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Why did post-Roman rulers abandon tax-paid army?

According to C. Wickham's The Inheritance of Rome: Illuminating the Dark Ages 400-1000, pages 102-104, in 5th century rulers abandoned Roman tax-paid army in favor of medieval feudal one, which was ...
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When was Sura in the Roman Empire?

I am curious about this statement: Sura was under Roman control in the time of Pliny the Elder (23-79 CE) and Ptolemy (c. 100-170 CE) but was conquered by the Sasanian king Shapur I in 253 CE. ...
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How and when was the Temple of Trajan destroyed?

From Wikipedia article on the Temple of Trajan in Rome: The Temple of Trajan was a Roman temple dedicated to the emperor Trajan and his wife Plotina after his deification by the Roman Senate. ...
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Why were Roman dice elongated?

According to this article, Roman dice did not always have the modern cube-shaped form: [I]n contrast with modern dice, they weren’t always exactly cubes. Sometimes they were noticeably a bit ...
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What is the oldest road tunnel in the world?

At the Furlo Pass in the Apennines, the Via Flaminia passes through a tunnel built in 76 - 77 AD during the time of Emperor Vespasian, replacing an earlier tunnel. The tunnel built during the time of ...
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Is Josephus account of destruction of Temple considered reliable?

I'm currently finishing up "The Jewish War" by Josephus. Josephus describes the lengths that Romans went to preserve the temple. On the one hand, I know Romans had rather a synthetic approach to ...
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How much more productive was Aegyptus in comparison to Africa Proconsularis in classical antiquity?

On the one hand, the Wikipedia page on Africa Proconsularis states, with no references, that it "produced one million tons of cereals each year, one-quarter of which was exported." On the other, the ...
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Why didn't Caesar hire free men to do slave work?

So one of Caesar's significant policies in Roman politics was helping the peasants have land and work to make a living. Wonder why didn't he push laws that restricted the use of slaves and made those ...
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Did ancient Rome have slave hunters?

The Roman economy was heavily reliant on slaves, which means they had a LOT of them, which would lead one to conclude that at least some of them would run away. So who hunted escaped slaves? Did Rome ...