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Questions tagged [roman-empire]

The Roman Empire was a vast empire, centred around the city of Rome, that lasted from 27 BC to 476 AD (West); 1453 AD (East).

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Why didn't Roman emperors have harems?

Harems were common in the Orient; the Chinese emperor, the Ottoman sultan, and the Mongol emperor all had many wives. Roman Emperors did not have a similar custom. Why is the harem common in the ...
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Why did the Western Roman Empire collapse but not the Eastern Roman Empire?

There were several crises in the “late” Roman Empire. For once, the crisis of the Republic, which resulted in the creation of Principat and later Dominat. This crisis may be related to the fact that ...
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56 votes
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Why were the Romans unable to conquer Germania?

Emperor Augustus ordered his army to subdue the Germanic tribes in what is modern Germany. This was promptly achieved and by 6 AD the Romans controlled Germany up to the river Elba. The Romans were ...
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Why was the Council of Nicea held in Nicea rather than Rome or Constantinople?

The title sums it up quite nicely. At school, we refer to the 5 centres of the Christian world as being Rome, Constantinople, Antioch, Jerusalem and Alexandria. I'm only wondering if there is any ...
PolymorphismPrince's user avatar
50 votes
7 answers
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When did the Romans finally acknowledge that they were living in an empire?

The Romans, during the time of the Republic, were a famously anti-monarchical society. There are plenty of stories of Roman politicians gaining favor by refusing crowns, or condemning kings, etc. As ...
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Where did the Romans store their cash?

In the era before banking was invented, where did wealthy Romans store their cash? The emperor probably could store it somewhere in the imperial palace thanks to the Praetorian guard, but what about ...
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6 answers
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When did the Greeks stop calling themselves "Roman"?

I've been reading a lot about the Byzantine Empire recently, and one of the things I see pointed out over and over again is that "Byzantine" is a term coined by historians, not by the people ...
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How did the Roman state verify citizenship?

How were ancient Roman citizens identified, and how did officials make sure that their identity wasn't fake? I.e., did they maintain some kind of citizens registry, or did they have some kind of ...
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When did the Roman Empire fall according to contemporaries?

The Roman Empire divided itself into two parts, the Eastern Roman Empire headquartered in Constantinople and the Western Roman Empire headquartered in Rome. The city of Rome itself fell in the year ...
Keshav Srinivasan's user avatar
39 votes
3 answers
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Did Roman unmarried men have a preferred hand and finger for wearing their seal ring?

I have read that, generally, Roman men during the Empire would wear only one ring at a time. For instance here: http://m.tribunesandtriumphs.org/roman-clothing/roman-jewelry.htm An unmarried one ...
Vincenzo Oliva's user avatar
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Did the communication lag become a problem for the ever expanding Roman Empire?

There is a dispute among historians over whether the Roman Empire collapsed because of its increasing size and system-imminent flaws which were not suited for this size. The bigger the territory, the ...
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What happened in Rome, when the western empire "fell"?

I mean everybody knows that the western Roman Empire fell about 476 A.D. But what happened in Rome itself then? Did Romans keep living their day to day lives? Were there riots? I find it hard to find ...
F.Rauls's user avatar
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Why did modern "Romania" remain the most "Roman" part of the Balkans?

The so-called "Romanians" are the Vlachs who inhabited the territory just north of the Danube in Roman times, and today. Wallachia (home of the Vlachs), represented the outer limit or Roman expansion. ...
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Until when was Marseille Greek-speaking?

Marseille was originally a Greek city. It fell to the Romans in 49 BC, but without suffering very much. Given the widespread use of the Greek language in the Roman Empire, it is not clear to me that ...
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33 votes
3 answers
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Did the Romans have winter uniforms?

Standard ancient Roman uniform consisted of a tunic, a cloak and sandal-type boots, resulting in a look like this. Now, this is all very well for Mediterranean climates but I really cannot fathom how ...
Felix Goldberg's user avatar
32 votes
4 answers
6k views

Did ancient Romans anticipate the fall of Rome?

Background: The Fall of Rome The Roman Empire collapsed as a political entity in several stages during the 5th, 6th, and 7th century CE. Specifically, these are: the crossing of the Rhine by the ...
0range's user avatar
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Why was the Roman Empire considered an empire rather than a kingdom (again)?

First there was the Roman Kingdom, then the Roman Republic and then the Roman Empire. But what was it that made it an empire the third time, rather than just going back to being a kingdom again? ...
Kristoffer Helander's user avatar
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What form of home address did Romans use?

Were the buildings in an ancient Roman city numbered, named or something else? How would they tell each other where they lived? Were the numbers painted on the walls? Did they have apartment numbers? ...
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Why did Roman women have no praenomen?

In a recent question it was noted, as is well known, that Roman girls were not given praenomen, but took the feminine form of their father's gens - eg Valeria, Cornelia. I have even read the assertion ...
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Why is the late Russian Empire associated with Byzantium while having little in common with it?

I have started reading the book A people's tragedy by Orlando Figes about the Russian revolution. I am no historian, however having read a few pages I have a few questions about the repeated ...
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26 votes
4 answers
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Why did the Romans change Europe's language, but the barbarians didn't?

When the Roman republic/empire took over the Mediterranean between 40 BC and 20 AD, Vulgar Latin replaced the local languages almost completely. Basque seems to be the only remaining pre-Roman ...
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25 votes
1 answer
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What role did the Eastern Roman Empire play in the fall of the Western Roman Empire?

What role did the Eastern Roman Empire play in the fall of the Western Roman Empire? Did the Eastern Empire actually contribute to the fall of the West? Was the Eastern Roman Empire able to help the ...
Sally's user avatar
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24 votes
1 answer
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How many times did the the sacred fire of Vesta die?

The sacred fire of Vesta was a sacred eternal flame in Ancient Rome, tended to by the Vestal Virgins. Except once a year for the kalendae (first day of March), extinguishing the sacred fire resulted ...
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23 votes
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What did Tacitus write about Nero and the Great Fire of Rome 64AD?

I have always been fascinated by the history of ancient Rome and this is one of the topics I always wanted to know a little bit more about. The rumor about Nero himself giving the order to burn down ...
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23 votes
1 answer
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Was Hagia Sophia built over a pagan temple?

According to Britannica's online article on Hagia Sophia: The original church on the site of the Hagia Sophia is said to have been built by Constantine I in 325 on the foundations of a pagan temple. ...
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22 votes
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Did the Byzantines ever attempt to move their capital to Rome?

Why was Constantinople (almost) always the capital of the Byzantines? I understand they did not have Rome under their control until the AD500's, but is there any specific reason why the Byzantines ...
Samid's user avatar
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22 votes
3 answers
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Why would Jesus' parents travel to their birthplace for a Roman census?

The Gospel According to Luke says that Jesus was born in Bethlehem because his parents had to travel to their place of origin for a census: 1 Now in those days, a decree went out from Caesar ...
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3 answers
4k views

Why didn't the Persians make and use ballistas and other kinds of artillery?

In 1980 E.P.Thompson published an interesting paper called *Barbarian Invaders and Roman Collaborators *. Among other subjects he consdiers there the leakage from Rome to its enemies of technical ...
Felix Goldberg's user avatar
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4 answers
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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,...
0range's user avatar
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22 votes
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What would a Roman slave be legally required to do if his master vanished?

Say that I were a Roman slave around the time of the Empire, perhaps as someone who maintains his villa. I serve my master faithfully and then one day, without warning, he doesn't come home. The day ...
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20 votes
7 answers
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Are there ancient historical sources which have been permanently lost? [closed]

I'm in a Year 11 Ancient history class studying Rome, and whenever I look over ancient sources on wikipedia, there is always a list of lost works, and occasionally a sentence describing how ...
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19 votes
3 answers
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Was the Roman Empire based on a 'plunder economy'?

It has been stated by Arnold J. Toynbee and James Burke that: The economy of the Empire was a Raubwirtschaft or plunder economy based on looting existing resources rather than producing anything ...
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19 votes
6 answers
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Was there significant interbreeding between Romans and Native Britons?

During the days of Roman occupation in Britain (43AD to 450AD), did the Roman occupants of Britain interbreed and intermarry with the native British population substantially (is not only a couple of ...
Charlie's user avatar
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19 votes
3 answers
5k views

Did the Romans ever deploy troops to, or try to conquer, Ireland?

The Romans obviously conquered Ireland's nearest neighbor, Britain (at least the southern part of it), but they seem to have stayed away from Ireland, at least as far as I am aware. Is this the ...
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19 votes
3 answers
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Did Julius Caesar say: "Africa, I have grabbed you"?

Someone once told me that when Julius Caesar stepped off the boat onto the North African shore, he tripped and landed flat on his face, to which he then said (in an amazing comeback to onlookers ...
ezra's user avatar
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19 votes
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How much tax did Romans pay?

According to this guy The Jewish rebellion in A.D. 66 that ignited the war with Rome was by no means inevitable. Judaism was a legal religion in the Roman Empire, and Nero's own empress, Poppaea, ...
user4951's user avatar
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19 votes
2 answers
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How accurate and detailed were geographical maps created and updated by the Romans?

Knowledge is power, and having superior geographical knowledge vs. your imperialistic enemies and competitors was probably a big advantage in the middle ages. Some specific examples would be knowledge ...
Hauser's user avatar
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19 votes
2 answers
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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 ...
Sally's user avatar
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18 votes
1 answer
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Did the Roman legions wear this type of boots?

I was looking at this drawing of a Roman soldier (copied below) About the boots: Is this pair of boots plausible for a Roman soldier (in any era/province of the Roman Empire)? I would like to confirm ...
Marcello Miorelli's user avatar
18 votes
2 answers
8k views

How long would it take to build 30 miles of Roman road?

Say there's a route of 30 miles length in need of a road. Assume ready availability of stone and lime and possibly other materials. Some gentle slopes, no particularly adverse terrain or flora/fauna. ...
Erics's user avatar
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18 votes
5 answers
3k 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 ...
Otavio Macedo's user avatar
18 votes
2 answers
724 views

How Was Roman Military Equipment Created and Distributed

When discussing the logistics of Roman armies, I usually see consumables and seigework discussed the most. However, I've been wondering about how the arms, armor, and tools were created and ...
ricree's user avatar
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18 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
Null's user avatar
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17 votes
3 answers
96k views

Pedophilia in ancient Greek and Roman culture

This question is inspired by an answer to: When did homosexuality become unacceptable in Europe? I have heard from many people that pedophilia was widely practiced in ancient Greek or Roman cultures. ...
Napoleonothecake's user avatar
17 votes
4 answers
13k views

Where were the western legions when the Roman empire fell?

Whenever I read about the collapse of the western half of the Roman empire, I get a feeling of total collapse, as if no legions existed there anymore. The collapse of the empire would also mean no ...
user1095108's user avatar
17 votes
2 answers
4k views

Were there punishments in the Roman Empire for not believing in the official religion?

In popular culture Christians were being killed in the Colosseum because they did not want to accept the Emperor as a god. An example can be the novel Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz, who won the ...
Voitcus's user avatar
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17 votes
3 answers
17k views

How rich were carpenters in Roman Galilee in the 1st century AD?

According to the Biblical account, Jesus was the son of a carpenter, Joseph of Nazareth (Matthew 13,55). How rich could a carpenter become in the Roman province of Galilee in 1st century AD? What ...
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17 votes
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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 ...
Felix Goldberg's user avatar
16 votes
1 answer
1k views

Why did Pausanias travel to Greece?

Pausanias wrote his Description of Greece in the first century AD, which remains a priceless resource for classicists and archaeologists to this day. I've made a quick perusal of the text itself, as ...
Tom Hosker's user avatar
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16 votes
2 answers
4k views

What did parchment and papyrus cost in the Roman Empire?

How much do we know of the costs of parchment and papyrus in Roman Empire? I'm especially interested in their cost ratio. So far I found some accounts for the other ends of the antiquity: in 301 a ...
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