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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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Where did the money come from to build the Colosseum?

Where did the money come from to finance the building of the Colosseum?
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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 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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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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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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What happened to the stuff stolen from the Temple in Jerusalem by the Romans?

In the year 66 CE, the Jews in Roman Palestine rose up in revolt against the Roman occupation. Four years later , the Romans sacked Jerusalem, leveled the city, killed everyone inside, razed the ...
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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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347 views

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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What sources could Tacitus or Appian have used that have since been lost?

I was fascinated by the announcement of the 'virtual unrolling' of a fire-burned scroll in En-Gedi that has been analysed and found to be part of the book of Leviticus. As the Guardian noted, the ...
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Were Roman marching songs still bawdy during principate/dominate?

We know from writers such as Suetonius in his Vita Divi Iuli that legionnaires would sing some quite raunchy and bawdy tunes, even during a triumph of their leader. There were open allusions to ...
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Why do people still leave flowers at the Temple of Julius Caesar?

I visited Rome recently and did an audio tour through the Colosseum and Roman Forum archeological sites. In the Roman Forum there is the remains of the Temple of Caesar, where Julius Caesar was ...
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Why was the Aeolipile not put to practical use in classical antiquity?

The Aeolipile was a simple mechanical device that generated kinetic energy from steam. Its invention is attributed to the Hero of Alexandria in the 1st century AD. Source: Aeolipile With the ...
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Constantine the Great created the Chi-Rho from the Greek word for “Christ”. Why choose Greek over Latin, even though he was Roman?

Upon emerging victorious after the Battle of the Milvian Bridge, Constantine the Great created the Chi-Rho from the first two letters of the Greek word ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ meaning "Christ". Given that ...
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How regularly did the Romans bathe?

I guess the answer may be different for rich people who had their own baths and others who visited the public baths.
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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 not,...
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Why was ancient Christianity more successful than the Roman pantheon and Judaism in gaining followers?

Around the 1st century AD, the three biggest religions in the Roman empire were the Roman pantheon, Judaism, and Christianity. Why was Christianity so much more successful in gaining and keeping ...
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What was more expensive to lose in a gladiatorial fight: a gladiator or a rare animal?

We know that, aside from man-to-man combat, gladiatorial fights would often pit human gladiators against wild animals. Is there any documented historical evidence that would show what was a bigger ...
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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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How much did the culture of Anatolian Gallic settlers differ from their kin in Gaul?

It is known that some Gallic tribes emigrated to Anatolia in Roman era. In Livy's History of Rome, 38.16 - (cited from a reddit article), it is mentioned about their arrival to Anatolia by an ...
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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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What territories were lost or abandoned after Trajan?

It is generally acknowledged that the Roman Empire reached its geographical zenith during Trajan's reign. Listening to the highly interesting History of Rome podcast I didn't notice any major ...
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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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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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Why was a 10-year old kid appointed consul?

This guy was appointed consul in the Eastern Roman Empire in 491 when he was 10 (ten) years old. As far as I know this was a rather irregular proceeding - I don't recall other cases where children ...
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Were there any Roman villas in Britain which were used rather than destroyed after the Romans left?

As noted in this post, the infrastructure and buildings which the Romans left behind gradually fell apart, mostly abandoned and used as sources of building materials for other constructions. However, ...
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For how long were freed slaves in Ancient Rome supposed to wear a Pileus hat?

The Pileus hat article on Wikipedia says that in Ancient Rome, when a slave was freed, there was a ceremony in which his head was shaved and a pileus "was placed upon it". In the SE question: How did ...
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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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How is the year “753 BC” given in ancient legends about the founding of Rome?

According to tradition, the founding of Rome by the legendary figures Romulus and Remus occurred in the year "753 BC". Of course, ancient Roman scholars would not have referenced that date using the (...
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Why did Emperor Nero kill his mother and others?

Why did Nero kill his own mother? Was it true that she was dangerous to the point where it was "her life or his?" Did he have "good" reasons (in the sense of being understandable or acceptable at 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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Would every Roman army have dedicated engineers?

Would a Roman army have dedicated engineers to design and build the siege engines (onagers, scorpions etc)? Would the engineers be expected to fight? Personally, I am particularly interested in what ...
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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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Are the Dacians and the Getae the same people?

Are the Dacians and the Getae the same people? When Caesar and Trajan refer to their enemies above the Danube, do they refer to the same people or different people? Furthermore, how do Goths fit in? ...
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How did the Romans supply water in winter?

Roman aquaducts are famous, but didn't the water freeze during winter? Where did the cities get their water during winter? EDIT: running water doesn't freeze as easily as motionless water, which ...
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Were taxes from senatorial provinces and imperial provinces sent to their respective treasuries in the Roman Empire? (Under the rule of Augustus)

I read that Augustus imposed a rule that revenue from imperial provinces went to the imperial treasury, and the revenue from senatorial provinces went to the senatorial treasury. Is there evidence to ...
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Did Archimedes have any students?

We know that Archimedes learnt a lot from his father, Phidias (who was an astronomer) and most likely studied in Alexandria, alongside other great contemporaries such as Eratosthenes of Cyrene and ...
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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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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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When was the testudo / tortoise formation first used by the Romans?

When was the earliest known use of the testudo formation by the Romans? Wikipedia's article on the testudo formation includes a quote from Cassius Dio which mentions the use of a testudo formation at ...
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Who were the successors of the Roman Empire?

I know that the Byzantine Empire was technically the Eastern Roman Empire, but did they carry over actual Roman traditions with them? Also, did the Holy Roman Empire have anything to do with the ...
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Were early accounts of ancient child prostitution accurate?

Well I'm doing a research about the history and background of Child Sexual Abuse and due to the few sources related to the topic, I've been stucked ,but recently a I found this book "The Encyclopedia ...
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Was it illegal to blaspheme God in Antioch in 360.-410.?

We know that the Roman Empire became a Christian state. Was it illegal to blaspheme God in Antioch in 360.-410.? What punishment was prescribed (if it was illegal)? If it was punishable, who could ...
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What was different about the “right” (recto) side of papyrus sheets compared to the other side?

Usually only one side of papyrus sheets was used to write on in classic antiquity. What is the difference between the two sides of a sheet, and why would you write on "recto" only?
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What jobs were available for migrants from the country to Rome?

I've read that the during the late Roman republic and early empire there was a great migration from country to urban living. Historians estimate in peninsular Italy 15%-20% of the population lived in ...
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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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What is the historical evidence for asserting Huns were one and the same as Xiongnu?

This question is very close to a previous question, Who were the Huns and/or Xiongnu?, but I hope it is clear that I'm not asking the same point. In fact, I'm asking about the common assumption such ...
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Did the Romans “copy” their political system from the Greeks?

This is an outgrowth of the discussion here. My sense is that the Romans developed their system autochthonously, probably with some influence from their Etruscan neigbours and one-time-overlords. ...
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Why was the Marian reforms' inclusion of landless masses necessary?

The Marian reforms of the late Roman Republic changed Rome's military into a standing, professional volunteer force and greatly enhanced its effectiveness, thereby ensuring Rome's dominance for ...
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What was the mortality rate of Gladiators?

What proportion of fights ended in deaths? What proportion of gladiators who have fought retire to a safer life? As a theoretical extreme, all fights end in death and all gladiators die in battle. ...
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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 ...