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).

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
19
votes
2answers
2k views

Is there any evidence of arachnophobia in ancient history?

Are there any sources that would tell us whether (any) ancient Greeks or Romans were afraid of spiders?
19
votes
5answers
2k views

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 ...
19
votes
4answers
4k views

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,...
19
votes
2answers
4k 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 ...
19
votes
2answers
1k views

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 ...
18
votes
3answers
12k views

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 ...
18
votes
2answers
3k views

How did Roman armies survive in the desert?

I'm writing a novel set in the third century. A general is marching his army through the middle of the Syrian Desert. How did Roman armies with tens of thousands of soldiers survive in the arid ...
18
votes
1answer
3k views

Did the Roman Empire have penal colonies?

I've been searching for an answer for a question on Christianity Stack Exchange about the fate of St. John the Apostle. Tradition says he found himself exiled to a Roman penal colony on Patmos. ...
18
votes
3answers
3k 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, ...
17
votes
3answers
3k views

What is the reason that not all roman emperors named a month after them?

As far as I know, Julius Caesar and Augustus named the fifth and the sixth months, respectively, after themselves, but why didn't Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero do the same while there were ...
17
votes
3answers
3k views

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 of ...
17
votes
1answer
2k views

What were Greek and Roman sails made from?

I have found that Vikings used sails made from wool; can anyone tell me what the sails of ancient Greece and Rome would have been made from?
17
votes
4answers
3k views

What is the historical reason for 18 years being the most commonly accepted age of adulthood?

Most countries define the age of adulthood at 18 years. Why is this? Was there some historical precedent set in ancient Rome/Greece or something like that? Why 18 years and not some "nicer" number ...
17
votes
1answer
1k views

Why did Nero order many of the Pisonian conspirators to commit suicide instead of having them executed by the sword?

I noticed that many of the people executed by Nero were ordered to commit suicide or their deaths were made to look like a suicide. This is despite the fact that, in at least some cases, armed ...
16
votes
2answers
5k views

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. ...
16
votes
2answers
4k views

What is meaning of 4 letter abbreviations in Roman names like Titus Flavius T. f. T. n. Sabinus?

I am reading about Titus Flavius Sabinus (consul AD 47) and cannot find meaning of T. f. T. n. in his full name as written in Wikipedia, "Titus Flavius T. f. T. n. Sabinus." All I have found is a ...
16
votes
4answers
8k views

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 ...
16
votes
2answers
4k views

What documentary evidence is there that Roman crucifixion victims were completely nude?

(A few days ago, a user posted a couple good questions about the historic practice of crucifixion in Ancient Rome on the Christianity SE. Unfortunately, they posted the questions as an answer to this ...
16
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
16
votes
1answer
2k views

What was the original colour of the Colosseum (Flavian Amphitheatre)?

Most of the remains of Roman buildings that we see today are white, merely because paint decays much faster than the structure of the building which is naturally whitish. Looking at many of the ...
16
votes
2answers
4k views

Were Roman gladiators ever enlisted into the military?

Were Roman gladiators ever enlisted into the actual Roman military? I have heard of Roman soldiers becoming gladiators but not the other way around. I imagine this would only happen if the Roman ...
16
votes
1answer
691 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 ...
16
votes
1answer
793 views

What evidence is there for chain stores or restaurant chains in Ancient Rome?

In his book City, David Macaulay creates a fictional Roman city called Verbonia to show how a 'typical', planned Roman city was started from scratch. Although Verbonia and thus its characters are ...
15
votes
2answers
5k views

Did Roman women wear underwear? How did it look?

I must admit I have no expertise in history. My question is inspired by "Rome" TV series (the authors claim that everyday life was shown with relative historical accuracy) and it's about Roman panties....
15
votes
1answer
499 views

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 ...
15
votes
1answer
1k views

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 ...
15
votes
1answer
1k views

What status and rights did a Roman freedwoman have?

When a slave was freed by a Roman citizen, he became a Roman citizen himself, although with certain legal disabilities: eg, he could not stand for public office, he could not join the army, and was ...
15
votes
1answer
975 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
1k views

Where did Roman senators mostly live in the time of Tiberius or Caligula?

My understanding is that under the Republic the Palatine was the most popular place for senators and their families, but from the time of Nero the Imperial family more-or-less took over the Palatine. ...
14
votes
6answers
6k views

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 ...
14
votes
1answer
2k views

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 ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

Is there contemporary evidence for the Roman Kingdom?

The early history of Ancient Rome is notoriously poorly documented. The Gaul Sack of Rome (390 BC) has destroyed much early written records. What evidence do we have that remains of the Roman Kingdom? ...
14
votes
3answers
5k views

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 ...
14
votes
1answer
724 views

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 ...
14
votes
1answer
5k views

What did ancient Romans use instead of shampoo?

Urban Romans, we're told, took a bath every day. They did not use soap. Instead, they oiled themselves and scraped off the oil, along with the dirt, with strigils. What did they do about their hair, ...
13
votes
5answers
4k views

Why didn't Romans conquer/explore African Atlantic Coast?

I know that the Romans when they were on their empire's peak around the 1st and 2nd century AD, controlled the northern coast of Africa and had the Sahara desert as some kind of natural "wall" as well ...
13
votes
2answers
2k views

Why did the original Carthage never become a Roman city?

Carthage fell to the might of Rome, I think it was, three times in total. They were completely defeated and accepted some pretty horrible terms of surrender. And yet they maintained their self ...
13
votes
7answers
7k views

What happened to all the notable Roman families?

What happened to the numerous (patrician) families of Rome? Like the Gens Julia for example. There are no ancestors today leading back to them like for example the famous Medici family from ...
13
votes
1answer
934 views

Why didn't the Roman Princeps restructure or dismantle the Praetorian Guard?

Why did the princeps/emperors of various dynasties prior to Constantine the Great (d.337 AD) allow the Praetorian Guard to continue to amass such power and repeatedly cause trouble, including palace ...
13
votes
2answers
3k views

How common was decimation in the Roman army

I know decimation happened a lot in the Roman army, but I find it hard to imagine generals like Marius, Scipio and Caesar, who all had the unwavering loyalty of their troops, practicing it.
13
votes
1answer
3k views

Do we know any Roman debtor being cut to pieces in line with the 12 Tables?

The Twelve Tables state: ... Meanwhile they shall have the right to compromise, and unless they make a compromise the debtors shall be held in bonds for sixty days. During these days they shall ...
13
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
13
votes
1answer
2k views

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 ...
13
votes
1answer
3k views

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 ...
12
votes
3answers
4k views

What ships did pirates use in ancient Greece and Rome?

I imagine they did not have the funds to buy or build heavy military ships, so I wonder what did they use. Did they re-purpose civilian ships?
12
votes
4answers
2k views

Why didn't Caesar move against Sextus Pompey immediately after Munda?

I am very familiar with the story of the Civil war and the various players in it. I have read the sources from Livy, Suetonius, to more modern authors but none has ever answered why Caesar did not ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

Did the Romans have writing desks?

I am just rekindling my interest in Ancient Rome, and reading Rome:Its people, life and customs by Ugo Enrico Paoli. He goes into considerable detail about tables, but only dining tables. There is a ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

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 ...
12
votes
2answers
3k views

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 ...
12
votes
2answers
424 views

Where did the Roman money involved in the spice and luxury trade end up?

In the book "The Roman Empire and the Indian Ocean" by McLaughlin, which is a very interesting read, he states that annual bullion going to buy luxuries in India was around 50-100 million sesterces ...