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Articles (Society)

The Roman state existed in practice for XIII centuries, being the power which was impacting the history. Therefore, I decided that I would tell the history of ancient Rome in the articles below, which will not necessarily cover only the Eternal City.

I encourage you to send articles and point out any corrections or inaccuracies.

Pets of ancient Romans

Almost everyone likes animals. Most of us probably once had or currently have a pet. In this matter, we are almost no different from the ancient Romans, who also had their animal friends, not only those that are most popular today, such as dogs or cats, but also parrots, snakes, lions, bears, and even monkeys.

Fresco depicting a bird, Villa of the Empress Poppea, Torre Annunziata, Italy

Public libraries in Roman world

The word “libraries” (Gr. βιβλιοθήκη, derived from the Greek words βιβλίον and θήκη, successively translated as book and reservoir) functions in Polish as a name for a large collection of books, both private, being the work of an independent collector, and public, in the form of a state institution with free access to the collection, which is regulated by the rules set for a given institution. This 20th-century definition significantly differs from how libraries functioned and were understood during the existence of ancient Rome.

Ruins of the Library of Celsus in Ephesus

First-hand information about business travel

Today, business travel is standard all over the world. A multitude of means of transport, a wide range of accommodations and other facilities, such as telecommunications, make travelling for business purposes quick, comfortable and safe. And what were such issues like in the vast Roman Empire? The answer comes from the detailed, and therefore extremely valuable, journals and letters of a certain official who meticulously recorded his travels.

Cursus publicus - post office of ancient Rome

Rome – country with two languages

Ancient Rome was a multicultural state, which owed its relative prosperity to the skilful balancing between the strength of the Roman army in the occupied territories and openness to local culture and non-interference in the everyday life of conquered peoples as much as possible. However, this apparent openness of the Romans to these cultures was not altruistic. Ultimately, significant inhabitants of the conquered areas adopted the Roman way of being and language, which degraded local cultures by merging with Latin culture. In the case of Greek, however, the complete opposite happened. It was the Romans who, after conquering Hellas, propagated this language not only in the east but also in the west of the empire.

Henryk Siemiradzki, The patrician's siesta

Advertising in ancient Rome

In the modern world, advertising accompanies us at every step. It may concern all manifestations of human activity: trade, politics, art, etc. The desire to promote one’s own products or a person seems to be inscribed in human nature. It was no different in ancient Rome. However, the means of disseminating advertising were very different from those we know today.

Garum of Scaurus

Manus and marriage

As is well known, women in ancient Rome had very limited rights, but their social position was much stronger than that of Greek women. Despite this, she still remained completely dependent on men – first her father and then her husband. Manus, or the passing of the wife under the authority of the husband, was closely related to the institution of marriage. If we combine the concepts of marriage and manus, this requires more explanation.

Aldobrandini Wedding

Gardens and gardening in ancient Rome

Development of Roman gardens (horti) was greatly influenced by Greek culture. The impact of the Greek style was first due to the gardens of Magna Graecia and Sicily. Then the East began to play a role, along with conquests and numerous contacts. Territorial gains under the Republic led to the accumulation of wealth in the hands of an influential elite who developed their great estates, including gardens.

Getty Villa - a unique antique museum

Baths – place of relaxation and rest for ancient Romans

The ancient Romans created a very developed culture. They conquered huge areas and where they settled, they introduced their customs. To this day, we can admire their technological achievements preserved in the form of monuments. Their greatest achievements certainly include thermal baths, also known as baths. They were a place of meetings and numerous entertainments. However, their most important function was to take care of hygiene.

Tunisia - Carthage

Literature in ancient Rome

In ancient Rome, the simplest method of conveying information or the content of your work was to deliver it – recitation (recitatio), which was certainly based on Greek symposiums (symposium). Seneca the Elder reports that a certain Asinius Pollio, who wrote during the reign of Octavian Augustus (27 BCE – 14 CE), invited guests to read his work1. Pliny the Younger, Martial and Juvenal regret that in their time there was a really big number of people reciting their songs.

Wooden tablet (No. 311) discovered in Vindolanda

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