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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.

Edict of Diocletian on Maximum Prices from 301 CE

The Edict of Diocletian on Maximum Prices from 301 CE, known as Edictum Diocletiani et Collegarum de Pretiis Rerum Venalium, was intended to combat the progressive inflation in the Roman Empire by setting maximum prices on more than 1,400 products, slaves or services. The edict has survived to our times partly due to fragments of inscriptions (in Greek and Latin) on stone slabs found mainly in the eastern territories of the Empire, in 42 places.


Richest men and wages in ancient Rome

The social inequalities prevailing in ancient Rome have always been large and only strengthened with the progressive territorial expansion of the Empire. Based on the preserved sources, we are able to collect information about how large disproportions prevailed in Roman society, and how much wealth or earnings could be obtained by citizens. I will try to present selected professional groups and their “outstanding” representatives. The property or earnings will ideally be compared with the earnings of an ordinary Roman soldier, slave prices and selected goods.

Slave market, Gustave Boulanger

Animals and hunting in world of Romans

Animals played many different roles in the life of the Romans. At the outset, attention should be paid to the importance of animals in the Roman religion. Etruscan influences meant that the initially simple religious rites of the Romans became more and more complicated. They began to try to guess the intentions of the gods by reading them from natural phenomena, from the entrails of animals sacrificed, and especially from the liver, the colour and shape of which varied from one individual to another. Attempts were made to read the future from the flight and behaviour of birds (e.g. auspices). The flight of vultures or ravens and the manner in which sacrificed hens collected grain were observed.

Roman statue from Volubilis showing a dog

Germanic marriages according to Tacitus

Germania, one of the smaller works of Tacitus, probably written between 98-99 CE contains a lot of detailed information about the appearance, everyday life, customs, and religion of the Germans. Particularly interesting seems to be the description of marriages that Tacitus sets as a model for his contemporaries, spoiled by luxury, citizens of the Roman Empire.

Germanic marriages according to Tacitus

Homosexuality in ancient Rome

During the time of the Republic, Roman citizens had the right (libertas) to protect their bodies from physical coercion, including both corporal punishment and sexual violence. Roman society was typically patriarchal and masculinity was based on the principle of governing not only oneself but also other persons, especially those from the lower class.

Roman cup showing a homosexual sex scene

Spintriae – Roman obscene tokens

Spintriae were Roman tokens (tessera) depicting erotic scenes during the early empire and probably related to prostitution in brothels. However, it is worth emphasizing that to this day their function and purpose have not been fully explained and there are various hypotheses.


Magic of ancient Romans

Greco-Roman magic, otherwise known as ancient magic, developed in the Greco-Roman culture, i.e. as it is assumed in the period from the 1st BCE to the 5th century CE. All its manifestations, such as magic papyri, metal plates with engraved spells, amulets such as ornaments and jewellery come from this time.

John William Waterhouse, Circe Offering Cup Ulysses

Horses in ancient Rome

When a favourite horse Emperor Caligula, gracefully named Incitatus (Swift), was appointed senator, many pointed out his Spanish origins and the fact that his original name was Porcellus (Piglet). The benevolent lawmakers were blinded by the sight of Piglet’s golden manger, a harness studded with precious stones, and 18 servants serving the brave senator.

Roman fresco showing running horses

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