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.
#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.”