Top 8 things we didn’t know about daily life in ancient Rome

Unless you’re a specialist in Ancient Rome who knows all the laws of Antiquity by heart, chances are you’ll learn a lot of stuff in this top. Afterwards, you have to be interested in ancient Rome anyway, otherwise it will be very boring for you. But if you opened this link, it is that it is the case (or you are weird). So I invite you to read the few points that follow by pushing ” OH “ and “AH” of surprise. You can also do this silently if you prefer.

1. The Romans had a first name, a surname and a nickname

If you were wondering why the Romans had long names, here is the explanation. The guys had a first name (praenomen), a name (name) and a nickname (cognomen). The praenomem often designates a particularity related to the baby, for example quintus (“the fifth”) is often given as the first name to the fifth child of the family. But – and beware, this changes everything – the praenomem was often transmitted from father to son, which took away its personal character. the name was also transmitted; it was the classic surname as it is still used today. Then there was the cognomen, the nickname, which was personal, but which also often ended up becoming hereditary. Today, when we talk about the Romans, we tend to give only their name and cognomeneven just their cognomenbut now you know.

2. The public baths were heated by a hypocaust

Good to know, huh? Well, that’s what a hypocaust is: it’s a kind of charcoal oven that was placed below or to the side of baths and floors. Thanks to him, the guys had heated floors and 30 degree baths. Frankly it looked nice ancient Rome.

3. Divorce was quite common in ancient Rome

If you thought marriages that ended in divorce were a contemporary thing, you’re kidding yourself. In Rome, getting divorced was relatively easy. Well, not at first, because the decision to divorce was reserved for men, and divorce could only take place in cases of adultery, infertility or bad behavior. But that ended up changing. Women also had access to it, and divorce ended up becoming accessible even without either spouse having committed a fault. And it was super simple: it was enough that the two spouses no longer considered themselves married and meant it to each other. Not even a paper to sign or a lawyer to hire. Super practical.

4. The Romans had “vomitoriums”

It sounds disgusting like that, and many spread this false information according to which the vomitoria were places where the Romans went to make themselves vomit so they could eat more at banquets. Yet even if the term existed, it had nothing to do with it. The vomitoria were theater exits, so called because they “vomited up” (or expelled, if you prefer) people onto the street. It’s immediately less disgusting.

5. The Romans had good hygiene

If at first only the rich had baths in their villas, public baths were eventually built under Augustus from the 1st century BC. JC The practice spread and, from the 1st century AD, the first Roman emperors made it a habit to build public baths to which access was free for all. They were gifts for the people (nice guys). Suddenly, everyone was going to wash since it was free, and everyone was pretty clean, even if I personally didn’t go to check if they had scrubbed well behind their ears.

6. The Romans used their urine for lots of things.

We’ll start with the one that will make you wince the most: the Romans brushed their teeth with their urine. The ammonia in the piss whitened their teeth, and it was apparently effective. Urine could also be used as fertilizer to grow fruit (a use that can still be found in some places today). And, finally, it was used in the tanning of leather and the fixing of dyes, once again thanks to the ammonia that it contained. Well, that’s fine, but we’ll pass our turn for the pee toothpaste.

7. The Romans had public toilets

You must have already heard of the vespasiennes, the Roman public toilets. Their name comes from Vespasian, the emperor who decided to put a tax on the collection of urine (which was used for lots of things, as you know). As we made fun of him for this tax, he had released the famous punchline ” money has no smell “. That’s for the style part of the story. For the less stylish part, know that in public toilets, we wiped our buttocks with a sponge attached to the end of a stick that we rinsed by soaking in a ditch. Frankly, we prefer our good old PQ.

8. Not everyone wore a toga

In reality, only Roman citizens wore togas, and citizenship was not given to everyone, far from it. Basically (because it has evolved over time), to be a Roman citizen, you had to be a free man born to Roman citizen parents or born to a freedman. In short, only the citizens dressed in a toga (which was apparently super boring to wear).

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