Top 10 Fascinating Facts About Rome In Ancient Times

Facts About Rome

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The Roman Empire is a civilization that continues to astonish us all over thousands of years after their moment of glory. Their contribution to history came in many shapes of forms – culture, language, technology, medicine, etc. But even though they left such a palpable and undeniable legacy, there are still many secrets and mysteries that are only now getting unveiled. Join us as we lay down some of the most interesting facts about Rome that you probably didn’t know.

#1 Ancient Romans were living examples of paradoxes. Even though they were way ahead of their time in plenty of domains, medicine excluded, like most cases, they also had their rotten apples in the bunch. Rome was filled with the belief that gladiator blood was able to cure a set of afflictions, including epilepsy. After gladiator fights were banned, they even went as far as to turn to executed prisoners instead for their miracle worker.

#2 The Latin language wasn’t actually the Empire’s universal tongue. There were around 65 million people part of the Roman Empire, so it was essentially impossible to impose the same language to all of them. Actually, many original languages survived and the Romans themselves were, in majority, bilingual, given that knowledge of Greek was considered to be a badge of honor.

#3 The thing Roman emperors feared most was death by poison. In order to try to prevent it in one form or another, they developed the habit of digesting small doses of a variety of poisons on a daily basis. Supposedly, this continuous exposure to the substances would eventually lead them to being immune.

#4 Roman generals rarely fought in battles. In fact, you can count those who did on the fingers on one hand. Rather than being warriors who wielded swords in battle, they were “managers,” specialized in strategies, commands, and organizing their troops.

Facts About Rome

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#5 It’s no secret that one of Rome’s most controversial personalities was represented by the Emperor Caligula. Among his many bizarre deeds, we can definitely say that trying to make his horse a consul sits really high on the list of crazy things that he was willing to do.

#6 It’s very likely that the Roman persecution of Christians was kick-started by a misconception. When word about Jesus Christ’s apostles eating bread and drinking wine as symbols for flesh and blood, they probably misinterpreted that a little bit. As a result, they believed that early Christians practiced cannibalism.

#7 Ancient Romans considered left-handed people to be bad omens, unlucky, and untrustworthy. In fact, the negativity associated with them eventually led to the evolution of the word “sinister,” which is derived from the Latin word for “left.”

#8 Romans were one of the first people to set the foundation for modern toilets. Not only did they create the first underground system that flushed away waste, they also had, albeit for the wealthy, implemented a plumbing system. They had toilets and had the possibility to switch between hot and cold water. After the collapse of the Roman Empire, knowledge of the toilets was lost. During the Middle Ages, for example, people still used chamber pots that needed manual emptying.

 #9 The act of crucifixion received its dreaded reputation due to Jesus’ own crucifixion story, but it was actually a common act in Ancient Rome. It was specifically designed for those who committed acts of treason or for non-Roman citizens caught in criminal acts. If a Roman citizen committed murder, he’d usually be exiled, while a foreigner caught pick-pocketing would likely get crucified.

#10 Here’s something to feed your alien conspiracy theories – some of the first UFO spotting instances occurred during the times of Ancient Rome. Several pieces of writings have been found, which describe sky apparitions that are several hundred feet and “shoot fiery rays.”

Most Influential Women in History

In a world that’s been so largely dominated by patriarchy for the longest of time, for a woman to emerge out of the crowd and leave her mark on history – that’s as incredible as it is rare. And although it wasn’t an easy deed, their reputation now precedes them. Don’t know who we’re talking about? They are the most influential women in history, the ones who we honor today by providing a brief-over of their lives and achievements.

#1 Mother Theresa

Most Influential Women in History - Mother Theresa

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Not seldom have some of us heard someone jokingly compare someone who’d just displayed an act of benevolence to Mother Theresa. There is a good reason for that, as Mother Theresa was essentially equivalent to kindness and charity. She discovered her calling for aiding the poor at an early age, having made her first trip to India when she was only seventeen.  She became a nun, worked as a teacher at a school in Calcutta for a while, and eventually ended up founding the Order of the Missionaries of Charity.

The organization provided help for the poor, sick, dying, and orphaned of India, although the Order’s influence eventually spread out to other countries too. Her relentless activity in the name of good was rewarded with a Nobel Prize for Peace and a Bharat Ratna, India’s greatest honor.

#2 Queen Elizabeth I

Most Influential Women in History - Elizabeth I

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Daughter of the famed King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, the Virgin Queen of England shaped the country’s history in a way that’s second only to Queen Victoria’s. While the latter ruled during a period of great advances and expansion, Elizabeth I became known for her military deeds. Her most famous accomplishment involved the defeat of the legendary Spanish Armada, although there are many other achievements that can be attributed to her.

During her reign, Protestantism was reinstalled in England and the country started its global expansion which would lead to its transformation into a great empire.

#3 Coretta Scott King

Most Influential Women in History - Coretta Scott King

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It might be easier to put a face to the name if you know that Coretta was Martin Luther King’s wife, but she was definitely more than that. After the events of the Montgomery bus boycott, Coretta became as invested in the African-American Civil Rights Movement as much as her husband, relentlessly supporting him. After his assassination, Coretta carried on his legacy and continued to fight for the freedom of black lives, equality which ignores race or gender, and many other movements of social justice.

#4 Marie Curie

Most Influential Women in History - Marie Curie

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Considered by many to be one of the greatest scientists that have ever lived, Marie Curie was a woman of many broken records. Her activity in the field of radioactivity was rewarded with two Nobel Prizes, an accomplishment achieved by no one else. Also, after the death of her father, she stepped into his role as a teacher at the Sorbonne, something that distinguished her as the first woman to ever hold such a position.

#5 Joan of Arc

Most Influential Women in History - joan of arc

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Being today’s France’s second patron after being canonized by Pope Benedict XV in 1920, Joan of Arc has influenced history with the tales of her heroism during the Hundred Years War. After she heard voices telling her that she needed to save the French from the English, she turned to Charles VII and begged him to let her join his army for the siege of Orleans. She led the French army several other occasions after that thanks to her visions, granting the soldiers a significant boost in morale.

She was eventually taken hostage by the Burgundians after a failed attack on Paris then sold to the English. The former put her on trial for witchcraft, ending her life by burning her at the pyre.

Great People In History Who Were Assassinated

Maybe, today, seeing state officials and other important people surrounded and heavily guarded by security forces might seem a bit unusual. Is it really a need for something like this? Surely, no one would be as foolish as to try to assassinate a president or a famous singer, right? That belief is as wrong as it gets, as proven by the situation of these great people in history whose public recognition only drew more ill intentions towards them.

#7 John Lennon

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As a founder and member of one of the greatest bands of all time, John Lennon was the very definition of a superstar. What was even more admirable about him was that he used his fame as a way to promote peace. Naturally, there were people who disagreed with the mentality promoted by the artist, with one of them going as far as to shoot Lennon four times right in front of his hotel. Killer Mark David didn’t fight his arrest, and he’s still behind bars today, though his reasoning is still highly unclear.

#6 Mahatma Gandhi

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There is no worse way to go for a peace activist than through the very thing he’s been fighting against. Gandhi was a beacon of hope in a world riddled by violence and dividing caused by religious differences. So, when he was gunned down by a student turned extreme activist, the whole world was in shock.

#5 John F. Kennedy

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JFK wasn’t the first American president to have been assassinated, but none of the previous tragedies have been so exposed to the eye of the public. Surrounded by hundreds of supporters and projected on televisions all over the country, John F. Kennedy’s death left a deep mark on the hearts of American citizens, which has yet to be healed.

#4 Julius Caesar

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Even though it sounds like an event that’s been taken right off the pages of a melodrama, the assassination of the Roman Emperor was a very real thing. Most importantly, it dramatically affected the entire empire, sending Rome into a spiral of chaos and betrayals that would knock the mighty city off its own axis. After all, if the Emperor wasn’t safe, being ultimately betrayed by his own son, then who was?

#3 Martin Luther King

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Just like in the case of Gandhi, King’s death was a huge blow for a wider mass, respectively for all the black people who were fighting for their freedom and the abolishing of racial discrimination. The mind behind the American Civil Rights Movement, King was a believer of equality who tragically met his end because of a gunshot. At the other end of the gun was a white man who was opposed to the movement promoted by Martin Luther King.

#2 Abraham Lincoln

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The American president’s famed assassination during his attendance at a theater play left a whole country, already ravaged by the aftermaths of the Civil War, mourning. He was fatally shot in the head by a Confederate spy, who turned against Lincoln because of his support towards the emancipation of African American people. Many believe that Lincoln’s death was the reason why the Civil War lasted for so long.

#1 Franz Ferdinand

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The Archduke of Austria was assassinated during a visit to Sarajevo, part of a Serbia that was, at the time, under the rule of Austria-Hungary. His was almost certainly the catalyst for the second biggest conflict in history, as only two months after his assassination, World War I was erupting. Although it was initially a dispute between Serbia and Austria-Hungary, the conflict led to a domino effect which resulted in formed alliances that clashed and tore the world apart.

Strange Facts About The Ancient Greeks You Won’t Believe

Strange Facts

Roughly 40,000 years ago, a group of people known as the Minoans settled nearby the island of Crete. They were the foundation of what would soon become one of the mightiest civilizations in history – the Ancient Greeks. They quite literally changed the world, leaving a cultural legacy that can hardly be matched, rich in literature, art, theatre, clothing, and Olympic Games. Moreover, we also owe them a great deal for being the ones to introduce the concept of democracy, so prominent in most of the post-WWII countries today.

The Minoans were later preceded by another civilization, called the Mycenaean. Although excellent traders and builders, they were also fine soldiers, having been remembered by history for their participation in the famed battle for Troy. If you’ve taken an interest in the culture of Ancient Greece and, by default, everything that precedes it, it’s undoubted that you’re familiar with Homer’s works – the Iliad and the Odyssey – which tell the tales of the Mycenaean age.

But this is exactly the point I was getting to. So many tales have been told about Ancient Greece (the so-called Dark Ages excluded) and in so much detail, you just have to start wondering: don’t we, perchance, know pretty much everything by now? You can never know everything, my friend. But I’m sure we all know that and no one actually asked themselves that silly question. Not phrased like that, at least. A better rephrasing would be, “Is there anything left that can surprise me when it comes to this civilization?”

The answer is, obviously, yes. So, grab a pen, read ahead the following list about some of Ancient Greece's strange facts and cross the ones you already knew. So, if you want to have your mind blown by some of the lesser known facts about Ancient Greece, proceed.

Strange Facts

Athena V Poseidon: Dawn of Olive Trees

The city of Athens was named after goddess Athena, as you may have figured. But this was the result of a competition. When the Greeks wanted to find a patron deity of the city-state that would be known as Athens, they had two options. Athena, goddess of wisdom and skill, was one of them, with the second being Poseidon, the infamous god of seas.

Cecrops, the first king of the would-be-Athens, asked the two gods to each offer a gift that would prove valuable to the city. Poseidon offered water, which sounded nice at first… until you actually tasted it. Since the water was salty, it was pretty much useless. Athena followed next, gifting the city an olive tree. Given the alternative, Cecrops was pleased and, therefore, granted Athena the honor of having one of the oldest cities in the world named after her.

The downside is that Poseidon wasn’t too happy, cursing Athens to never have enough water and the world to have to suffer from a horrible Percy Jackson movie adaption. One of these is a lie, have fun figuring out which.

Strange Facts

Hipster Greek Scuba Divers

Ancient Greeks were scuba diving before scuba diving was even invented. Maybe the term was a bit misused, but one thing was clear – they were one of the first civilizations to really take this whole “underwater exploration” business seriously. Long before the invention of submarines and other inventions that would help humans not die when exploring the vastness of seas and oceans, Ancient Greeks were using barrels and kettles.

Or, better said, inverted barrels and kettles which came to be known as “diving bells.” Someone would patiently sit inside of those bells as their helpful fellows would lower them into the hydrographic abyss. Air was trapped inside of an “air pocket,” something that allowed the divers to repeatedly return and take another big breath without actually returning to the surface. In case you’re in need of a visual reference, Pirates of the Caribbean uses a device that’s as similar as it gets.

This technology has been used around 360 B.C., as recorded by Aristotle. Seemingly, Alexander the Great himself handled a similar submersible for his underwater exploration missions.

Strange Facts

Guilt-Tripping Tax Collecting

If there is one thing that Ancient Greeks truly cared about, that’s freedom. It was because of this that they would later create the foundations for democracy, the system that (at least in theory) is explicitly supposed to protect freedom. In fact, Ancient Greece cared so much about its citizens that it refused to implement direct taxes and fees. A city without taxes and fees? Where’s a time traveling machine when you need one?

However, it was still a state-city and state-cities required some sort of funding for their schools, armies, buildings, and so on. This funding mostly came from wealthy families, who paid “taxes of shame.” Sure, there may not have been any written laws stating that you need to pay any fees, but in Antiquity, sometimes ethics and pride outweighed laws. If you had money but didn’t contribute to the well-being of the city, you were pretty much considered a pariah. Many wealthy citizens contributed directly by building temples, schools, and other institutions.

Are you processing this? Ancient Greece had no law codes about taxes and fees, but still had people pay taxes and fees because of ethics, morals, and shame? These days, this sounds like the premise of a utopian science-fiction work of literature.

A godly competition, ancient scuba diving, and shame based tax collecting – these are all real facts. Strange, but real. The list could probably go on forever, given how there’s surely enough material to work with. For instance, did you know that Ancient Greeks thought that beans contained the souls of the dead, so they never ate them? I bet that beans wish they could return to those times of glory when they were as worshipped as cows in contemporary India.

As bizarre as some of these facts are, they barely make up one percent of the huge legacy of Ancient Greece. They may have thought beans were human soul holders, but they also invented theatre and were the civilization that infiltrated Troy by building a giant wooden horse. In fact, all these strange facts, although definitely odd, only manage to make the Ancient Greeks shine more. They had a great mythology, explored the deep sea before Jesus Christ was even born, and managed to have a functioning society that relied solely on morals.

If you ever see me in the street, I’ll be wearing an “Ancient Greece Fan #1” T-shirt.

Image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4.

15 Amazing Facts About Dinosaurs You Need To Know

When I was little, there was nothing I loved more than dinosaurs. I had a big encyclopedia filled just with information on these giants. On one of my birthdays, I was gifted a box set with dinosaur plastic figurines. Also, it goes without saying that Jurassic Park was my favorite movie. You'd think that once adulthood rolls in, this interest began to fade, but, surprise: it didn't. And why would it? Dinosaurs are like dragons, mighty and ancient, except they were actually real. So, for all the big T-Rex enthusiasts out there, here are 15 Amazing Facts About Dinosaurs You Need To Know, to indulge in.

1. Rulers Of Earth

Amazing Facts About Dinosaurs - Dominant Species

Dinosaurs were the ruling species on Earth for over 165 million years. Humanity, on the other hand, has only been around for roughly two million. If we have so much history to study, imagine how tough life would have been in dinosaur schools.

2. Fastest Dinosaurs

Fastest Dinosaur -Amazing Facts About Dinosaurs

They could reach some truly impressive speed. A dinosaur called the Ornithonimus being the Usain Bolt of its species. According to scientific research, it could run with a speed of 70 km/h.

3. Lifespan

Amazing Facts About Dinosaurs - Lifespan

Despite all the progressive steps that have been made in science since we first started to dig up dinosaur fossils, the lifespan of dinosaurs is still unclear. However, it's estimated that some of them were able to live up to two hundred years.

4. Sizes

Sizes, Among The Amazing Facts About Dinosaurs

The majority of dinosaurs were actually not that much taller than your average human. You can find plenty of skeletons in museums that belonged to colossally big dinosaurs, but only because it's apparently easier for large bones to fossilize and, thus, be preserved and reconstructed into a replica.

5. Stegosaurus State

Amazing Facts About Dinosaurs - Stegosaurus State

Colorado is also nicknamed Stegosaurus State. No, no, it has nothing to do with a strange shape on the map or anything. The first Stegosaurus remains were found in Colorado, which is definitely an honor that needs to be boasted to the world.

6. The Name

The Name - Amazing Facts About Dinosaurs

The first time the word “dinosaur” was used, was in 1842, by a British paleontologist named Richard Owen. A Greek term, it roughly translates to “terrible lizard.” The cool fact is that, apparently, it wasn't used derogatorily, since Owen intended it be a nod to their size and majesty.

7. Long Tails

Amazing Facts About Dinosaurs - Long Tails

There were some dinosaurs who had incredibly long tails, although most members of the family tended to have tails lengthier than those of our animals today. Scientists think that they were biologically engineered this way, so they could keep their balance while running. Okay, fair enough, but where is that theory that explains the T-Rex's really, really small arms?

8. They Laid Eggs

Laid Eggs - Amazing Facts About Dinosaurs

Dinosaurs were the old ancestors of lizards, so it only makes sense that they laid eggs. So far, we know of about forty types of eggs.

9. Oldest Dinosaur

Amazing Facts About Dinosaurs - Oldest Dinosaur

Meet the Eoraptor, a dinosaur with a name that translates to “dawn stealer” (a much better name than “terrible lizard,” just saying). It was called this way, so it could be representative of the fact that this breed is really old, having roamed the Earth during the earliest days of the Dinosaur Age. An Eoraptor was apparently no bigger than a German shepherd.

10. Bird Ancestors

Bird Ancestors - Amazing Facts About Dinosaurs

You may have heard about this before, as you should since it's a fact as fascinating as it is hilarious. Did you know that the closest relative of a T-Rex is the chicken? Birds, in general, share many traits with the mighty dinosaurs, which has led scientists to believe that some of them managed to survive their mass extinction, then continued to live on through the winged species as a mutated, smaller scale version. Honestly, I just want to know which dinosaur is responsible for geese, because it must have been quite the awful creature.

11. Jurassic Park

Amazing Facts About Dinosaurs - Jurassic Park

Speaking of Jurassic Park, earlier mentioned in the introductory paragraph, one of the reasons why the movie was so insanely successful was because it was as accurate as a dinosaur movie could get. Steven Spielberg wanted scientific precision, so he hired actual paleontologists that were consulted on the creatures' behavior and movements. Thanks to that, we also got to experience the eerie realism of the suits and animatronics that were used to bring the T-Rex, raptors, and others to our screens.

12. Dinosaur Nests

Amazing Facts About Dinosaurs - Nests

Close your eyes and try to imagine a raptor frantically running back and forth, picking up twigs and pieces of wood in its mouth, which are taken to decorate its home, sweet home: a nest. Also like birds, dinosaurs kept their eggs safe in nests. The first one was discovered by an explorer named Roy Andrews Chapman in the Gobi Desert, Mongolia. Before this discovery, how dinosaurs reproduced was a great scientific mystery.

13. Extinction

Exctinction - Amazing Facts About Dinosaurs

That dinosaurs no longer inhabit Earth we already know, but there are actually multiple theories trying to explain how it was possible for a whole species to go completely extinct in such a short time. The most common one refers to a six-mile diameter meteorite that crashed on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. The impact was so powerful that it triggered a chain reaction of cataclysms, including volcano eruptions.

14. Blood Temperature

Amazing Facts About Dinosaurs - Blood Temperature

Despite being similar to the biology of our modern lizards, scientists argue that not all dinosaurs were cold-blooded. Some had warm blood while some had neither. One belief developed into a theory that concluded small carnivores may have been warm-blooded due to their constant activity, while large herbivores had colder blood run through their systems, because of their sedentary nature.

15. Hollow Bones

Hollow Bones - Amazing Facts About Dinosaurs

Ah, we're not done with the dinosaur-bird comparisons just yet. Despite how massive looking a carnivore's bones may seem, they're actually empty on the inside. This was a great asset to their nature as hunters since it meant that the bones were lighter. This means that the dinosaurs could accelerate to great speeds when running.

Trying to squeeze 65 million years of history into 15 Amazing Facts About Dinosaurs You Need To Know is as impossible as it is mildly offensive. Humanity may be the most developed and complex species in history, with achievements that are miles ahead of anything any animal could accomplish, but we have a long way to go before we can even dream about reaching the performance of ruling Earth for as long as the dinosaurs have. And when we eventually do, hopefully, it won't end as tragically for us.

Image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15.