Who says Rome was not built in a day? History shows Rome was founded on April 21 in the 8th century. We go back in history to get a glimpse of Ancient Rome list its contribution to modern society
How did Rome get its name?
The story of how Rome got its name is quite fascinating. About 2,000 years ago it was the centre of the Roman Empire, the building of which started in 753 BC. Legend has it that twin boys, Romulus and Remus who were the sons of Mars (the Roman god or war) were stolen from their parents and thrown into the River Tiber to drown. Fortunately for them a she-wolf happened to rescue them. She reared them as her own cubs. Years later, Mars told his sons to build a city where they had been found. The city was Rome. One day, Remus made fun of the wall Romulus had built around the city. The twins argued, fought, and Romulus killed Remus. Today, historians and archaeologists agree that people were living in Rome long before 753 BC, but the legend is one of the most famous in world history.
What have the romans ever given us ?
Well if you have watched The Life of Brian by Monty Python you could have guessed the answer by now. Though it may have seemed to be humorous , he does mean serious business. We make a list of what Romans have actually given us
The Romans were a clean lot and very concerned about public health. Clearly they understood the link between cleanliness and good health since they did build myriad latrines, drains, sewers and public baths. This water supply was augmented in the typical Roman domus by rain water which fell into a pool called an impluvium and ran down into a cistern. This rain water was used for household tasks rather than drinking water. So, you see they knew the effects of water conservation. Rome had an extensive network of drains and sewers. In many Roman cities there were public toilets.
As we can see, it’s obvious Roman culture has had a lot to offer the modern world. But the most significant contribution is perhaps language. Most of what we call the ‘romance’ languages take fromLatin, the language of the Romans. English, which is based on Anglo-saxon but has many words and phrases of Latin origin. One reason why there are so many words of Latin origin in English is that Latin has been used for centuries by people in professions like the church, the law and medicine. In fact scientists still use Latin names for all living things like plants, animals, bacteria etc, as do lawyers to describe in legal study.
Roads, Towns & Architecture
The Romans were among the first civilisations to build an organised and centralized transit system of roads. In fact the Roman system of road build is the model on which modern city planning is based. It was also credit to the Romans who knew how to choose places which had good communications, a good water supply and good farmland around them, so they can build towns around them. Many of the buildings you see in the streets of towns and cities across the world today imitate the buildings of the Roman world. Classic examples of neo-classicistic architecture can be found in basilicas, amphi-theatres, churches across Europe even now.
The basis for the laws practiced in our courtrooms today can be traced back to the Romans. They drafted what was known as the Twelve Tables,which were said to hold the foundations for law systems. These laws laid down essential principles such as equal treatment, presumption of innocence, and fairness. Their laws covered inheritance, marriage,and courtroom procedures. Also, the basic premise followed by all courts today, that is, no man, woman or child can be punished until proven guilty and is entitled to a fair trial is a legacy bequeathed to us by the Romans.
The Romans started by observing what the Greeks learned of medicine and then improvised. Like the Greeks, the Romans believed in the four humors and the power of bloodletting. They were the first to see bad health was caused by bad water and sewage. So there was a lot of emphasis on keeping roman cities, villas and forts healthy places. The importance of hygiene also extended as far as military hospitals which had drainage and sewage systems attached to them. By 315 AD, it is said that Rome as a city had 144 public toilets which were flushed clean by running water.
Not all Roman Emperors were known for their courage and valour.?Some gained a reputation for being weird and wacky. We list a few
Tiberius was Emperor after Augustus, from 14 to 37, and did not care for the job. All he wanted was the luxury, and left the Senate to do all the ruling. He erected statues of his captain of the guards, Lucius Sejanus, all over the city, and gave all the tasks of ruling to him. Tiberius more or less retired to Capri for the rest of his long life, only returning to Rome a few times. While he lived on Capri, he had a huge villa built for him, Villa Jovis, the Villa of Jove (Jupiter), in which he indulged his pedophilia. He swam naked with and raped infants, toddlers and young boys. He was one king the boys would have feared.
Caligula revived the treason trials of his predecessor, Tiberius, opened a brothel in the palace, raped whomever he wished, reported on the woman’s performance to her husband, committed incest, killed for greed, and thought he should be treated as a god. A very famous story associated with Caligula is that he made his horse the consul. The tale of the mad Caligula’s affection for his horse Incitatus has a long pedigree. The Roman historian Suetonius, who according to his Britannica biography reported that “besides a stall of marble, a manger of ivory, purple blankets and a collar of precious stones, he even gave this horse a house. . . . It is also said that he intended to make him Consul.” By the time of the even less cautious historian Dio Cassius, the rumour had become “fact”.
Nero was the Roman emperor from 54 to 68 AD. He is remembered most for his perverse mind and his persecution of Christians. One of the most famous events of his reign was the fire of Rome in 64 AD. Nero was in Antium when the fire started in the Circus Maximus. Rome burned for nine days. Nero did nothing and that’s how the story became popular that while Rome burned Nero played the fiddle. Nero’s reign finally came to an end in 68 AD when he committed suicide with the help of his secretary, Epaphroditus. He is said to have muttered before his death, “What an artist dies in me!”
Caracalla was not insane. He was malicious and sadistic. From 211 to 217 AD he presided over an awe-inspiring spectacle of fearsome acts. He had his brother and co-emperor, Geta, and Geta’s wife, assassinated. The citizens of Alexandria, Egypt ridiculed this crime with a public play, and when Caracalla got wind of it, he traveled with an army to Alexandria, invited the citizens into their city square, and slaughtered them, looting and burning the whole city, 20,000 died. At the slightest whiff of discord, he ordered death. Wherever he went, his army killed, raped, and destroyed. He was murdered by one of his Guardsmen, on April 8, 217, while urinating on the side of the road outside Carrhae.
- A lot can happen over Coffee: Cappuccino takes its name from the Capuchin order of monks who were known by their custom of wearing a hood or cappucio with their habits.
- Shop till you drop: The first-ever shopping mall was built by the Emperor Trajan in Rome. It consisted of several levels and more than 150 outlets that sold everything ranging from food and spices to clothes. You know now whom to thank for the malls.
- Deadly Games: On the day the Colosseum officially opened, 5,000 animals were killed. During its history, it has been estimated that over 500,000 people and over a million animals were killed there.
- The Hannibal: On his journey through the Alps to invade Rome in 218 B.C., the Carthaginian general Hannibal lost 14,000 men and 25 elephants. Yet, it took Roman soldiers 17 years to defeat him. Hannibal so frightened the Romans that parents would tell their children that unless they behaved, Hannibal would come after them.
- Tough Love: In ancient Rome, an infant was placed at the father’s feet shortly after birth. If the father took the child into his arms, it showed he accepted responsibility for its upbringing. If the baby was not accepted, it was left to die.
- Slaves to pride: Romans considered not owning slaves as a sign of poverty. Many people would take three slaves with them just to go to the baths.
- Women of the world: Roman women were quite career oriented. Besides being priestesses and lamp makers, they were also professional midwives, hairdressers, and even a few female doctors.
- What’s in a name:Rome’s last emperor was Romulus Augustus, whose name recalls both the founder of Rome and Rome’s first emperor. He was deposed by Odoacer, the leader of the Barbarians.
- Tying the Knot: While Romans might have given us the word “romance,” marriage was another story altogether. There was no one to conduct ceremonies or legally register them. So, a marriage was recognised when a man and woman decided to live together and a dowry was paid.
Things you did not know about Rome
- Cobwebs were used to stop bleeding from fractured skulls and shaving cuts.
- The Romans wondered whether plants enjoy travel in the same way people do. There was a law against using magic to transfer growing crops from one place to another.
- A person found guilty of parricide was sewn up in a sack with a dog, a rooster, a viper, and a monkey, and thrown into the sea.
- Kissing a she-mule on the nostrils cures hiccups and sneezing.
- Even though the Romans had no stirrups, Julius Caesar could ride at a gallop with his hands behind his back.
- The emperor Maximinus was said to have drunk seven gallons of wine per day and to have been eight feet, six inches tall.
Source: A Cabinet of Roman Curiosities: Strange Tales and Surprising Facts from the World’s Greatest Empire