Trăim în umbra Imperiului Roman! – Cloaca!

(de aici)

The smell of the city is strong and foul as you make your way down Trajan’s Market. The narrow streets are hot and overcrowded with soldiers supervising, civilians running errands, and the aristocracy taking a stroll in their expensive togas. All around you peddlers and customers are squabbling and negotiating prices. Amidst all of the commotion, you can still hear the roars from the Colosseum as another gladiator meets their violent end. Welcome to Ancient Rome. While most people have a basic understanding of Ancient Rome, take a deeper look into the culture that’s credited with shaping the Western World.

Learn about the misconception of the life expectancy of a Roman citizen.

Gladiator Fighting Wasn’t The Predominant Source Of Entertainment

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Photo Credits: ullstein bild via Getty Images

When most people think of Roman entertainment, it usually involves gladiators in the Colosseum fighting to the death for the pleasure of the Roman public. While gladiator fighting was a beloved sport by the Romans, it turns out that it wasn’t the most popular. The sheer brutality and the size of such games was astounding, but not admired by all.

Chariot racing was the most popular sport of its time. The Colosseum, where the gladiator fights occurred, could seat around 50,000 people. Yet, the Circus Maximus, which was for chariot racing, could seat an audience of up to 250,000.

Roman Life Expectancy

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Photo Credits: De Agostini Picture Library/Getty Images

Although Rome was extremely technologically advanced, that doesn’t mean that the living conditions of the commoners or the city were anywhere close to being sanitary. This led historians to believe that the life expectancy in Ancient Rome was probably around 25 to 40 years old. However, this is a massive misconception because that is the average lifespan of the population, not the expectancy of the individual.

Ancient Rome had an incredibly high child mortality rate with half of the children dying before they were ten years old. However, if you did live past ten, you were expected to live a long life. Another factor that brought the average down was men in military service and women that died during childbirth.

Christmas Has Its Roots In Saturnalia

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Photo Credits: Bettmann/Getty Images

Saturnalia was a Roman pagan festival to honor the god of agriculture Saturnalia during mid-December each year. Some of the traditions, such as decorating and gift-giving, are believed to be the roots of modern-day Christmas. Saturnalia was a week-long holiday that began on December 17th. During that week of celebration, all work would stop, and typical day-to-day activities cease to exist.

People would decorate their homes with greenery and wreaths and even changed the style of clothing they wore. Slaves also stopped working and were even allowed to participate in the festivities and in some cases switched places with their masters. Essentially, it was one of the biggest parties the Western World has ever seen.

The Vestal Virgins

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Photo Credits: Bettmann/Getty Images

In Ancient Rome, the Vestal VIrgins were an order of priestesses of the Roman goddess of the hearth, Vesta. There were typically four to six of these priestesses at a time who worked as full-time members of the clergy. Their duties included tending the sacred fire, caring for sacred artifacts, and officiating public events that involved Vesta.

The Virgins were selected by the chief priest between the ages of six and ten. They were then required to serve for 30 years as well as remain chaste during their years of service. After their 30 years were up they were free to leave, although few rarely did. If a Vestal Virgin failed in her duties they were severely punished and beaten. Furthermore, those who broke their chastity were buried alive or had molten lead poured down their throats.

Urine Was A High Commodity

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Photo Credits: DeAgostini/Getty Images

As if using a public bathroom isn’t bad enough, Ancient Romans were taxed for using public facilities. It was first Emperor Nero and then Vespasian that passed this tax called the vectigal, urinaeor the urine tax. However, the urine didn’t go to waste. All of the urinals both public and private would lead to pools where it was then recycled and used for various purposes.

Back then, urine was great for cleaning animal pelts because it would help to remove the hair fibers on the pelt. Also, believe it or not, it was used for laundry because it was a source of ammonia and could be used for bleaching and cleaning garments.

The Legend Of The Founders Of Rome

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Photo Credits: VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images

According to Ancient Greek legend, Rome was founded by the two demo-god twin brothers Romulus and Remus on April 21, 753 BCE. Supposedly, the boys were the children of Rhea Silvia and Mars. As babies, their death was ordered by their grandfather who had the two boys thrown into the Tiber river. They were then saved by a she-wolf until they were discovered by a herdsman who raised them.

After growing up, the boys killed King Amulius of Alba Longa and were offered the throne. Instead, the two set off to start their own city in the best location possible. The brothers argued about the area, and eventually, Romulus killed Remus and named the new city after himself. Although this is just a myth, the story remains prominent today.

Gladiator Blood Was Special

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Photo Credits: DEA / BIBLIOTECA AMBROSIANA/Getty Images

Ancient Romans were known for doing some pretty questionable things in the name of health. Whether it was brushing their teeth with urine or sharing wiping sponges in public bathrooms, nothing was out of the question. However, during the first and sixth centuries, it was believed that the consumption of gladiator’s blood or liver was successful in curing epilepsy.

The belief was that the blood of a fallen gladiator could cleanse the soul and that’s what people with epilepsy needed to cure their disease. It was not uncommon to see gladiator blood for sale while it was still warm not long after their death in the arena.

Goddess Of The Sewers

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Photo Credits: DeAgostini/Getty Images

Believe it or not, the Ancient Romans had a goddess of the sewers and drains of Rome. Cloacina, or “The Cleanser,” was believed to have presided over the Cloaca Maxima, “The Great Drain,” which was the main system of sewers in Ancient Rome. Originally derived from Etruscan mythology, she was eventually adopted by the Romans and came to be identified with Venus.

Over time, as well as being the goddess of the sewers, Cloaca was also deemed the protector of sexual intercourse in marriage, the goddess of filth, and the goddess purity. A shrine was built in her honor directly above the entrance to the Cloaca Maxima Sewer and is where historians believe there was once a shrine.

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Categories: Articole de interes general

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