Ancient History & Civilisation

BONUS CHAPTER

Ten Little Known Facts about Ancient Rome

Drinking Gladiator Blood

Not an easy fact to swallow; but yes, ancient Romans use to drink Gladiator blood. They thought that the blood of these strong and fierce beings had the power to cure epilepsy. So it was more like a protein shake for them.

And the most intriguing thing about this is how the Romans were crazy obsessed with drinking a gladiator’s blood. After a gladiator dies in a combat at the Colosseum, his or her body would be removed from the arena and their blood, while it’s still warm, would be sold outside to the crowd.

Washing Clothes in Urine

One irrefutable fact is that the Romans were incredibly intelligent. Some of the things they did might definitely repulse the modern day society, but at that time it was certainly brilliant. 

For instance, in Ancient Rome urine was more of an indispensable commodity. On street corners there used to be several public urinals and the urine would be collected on a daily basis and used to wash clothes.

There is a high level of ammonia, a bleaching agent, in urine. So life without urine is like life without soap for us today.

The Statue of Liberty and the Roman Goddess Libertas

The Statue of Liberty is an extraordinary entity that distinguishes New York from any other city in the United States. And guess what? It was actually inspired by the Roman pagan goddess, Libertas.

Sinister: Left-Handed

It is true, left-handed people had it rough for centuries. It is incredible how even the word ‘Sinister’ means ‘Left’ in Latin. In every society, left handed people have been discriminated in one way or another. There were times when they were even seen as the devil’s envoy.

And in ancient Rome they were seen as the unluckiest and Janus-faced individuals in the world. But the lot of left-handed gladiators in Rome was slightly different. Left-handed gladiators fought differently, and so they were often treated like special bonuses.

The First Shopping Mall

Today, there isn’t a single country in this world that doesn’t have at least one shopping mall in one of their cities. And isn’t it incredible to learn that it was the Romans that invented this market place over 2,000 years ago? 

This ancient shopping mall, which was called ‘Trajan’s Market,’ was built in the capital of ancient Rome. It was a 4-story tall building with a wide interior. The mall had the capacity of holding about 150 different shops and offices.

Ancient Rome certainly fostered great engineers.

Salema Porgy a Recreational Drug

Just as the modern day society uses alcohol, marijuana or pills for recreational purposes, the Romans use to consume Salema Porgy as a recreational drug.

Salema Porgy is a kind of sea bream that can cause hallucinations when eaten. And the Romans loved it.

Ancient Rome Had Less Income Inequality than the U.S.

The emperors of Ancient Rome were indeed intelligent statesmen. And their leadership brought Rome nothing but victory and prosperity. They believed in social equality and hard work; they sympathized with the poor and advocated justice.

Leaders, such as Marcus Aurelius, had a strong belief in the fact that an emperor’s duty was to work hard for the welfare of all his subjects.

And under such leadership, Rome in 150 B.C., according to the historians Walter Schiedel and Steven Friesen, had less income inequality than the U.S. today.

The Technology to Make Concrete Was Lost for 1000 Years

As earlier stated, Romans were great engineers. And most of the buildings they constructed managed to survive for thousands of years. But it wasn’t the way they built these edifices that made it survive for so long; the secret is in the way they made their concrete.

The Romans used to make cement out of pozzolana and an aggregate made out of pumice. And to make the concrete they used various methods to mix it.  They were also the first in the world that started mixing lime with concrete to avoid corrosion.

But after the fall of the Roman Empire, this technology was lost for about 1000 years.

Spider Web Bandages

There is no need to mention again just how intelligent the Romans were, but this fact certainly merits the mention. 

The medical world just recently discovered the value of using spider silk as bandage. It contains antibacterial properties and has proved to be stronger than steel. And guess what? The Romans discovered this fact thousands of years ago.

It is said that the Roman army used to mix cobwebs, honey and vinegar and used it to bandage the wounds of soldiers.

Romans and Their Flushing Toilets

During the ruling days of Octavius, the first Roman emperor, a plumbing system was established in Rome. It was used to supply water for the public fountains, private houses and the great Roman baths.

The Romans also had flushing toilets; they weren’t so fond of bedpans.

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