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Curiosities of ancient Rome

The world of ancient Romans abounded in a number of amazing curiosities and information. The source of knowledge about the life of the Romans are mainly works left to us by ancient writers or discoveries. The Romans left behind a lot of strange information and facts that are sometimes hard to believe.

Roman sculpture showing Lysimachus

Roman sculpture showing Lysimachus, one of the generals of Alexander the Great. The object dates back to the 2nd century BCE. The artifact is in the National Archaeological Museum in Naples. It is a copy of the Greek original.

Roman sculpture showing Lysimachus

Graffiti from Pompeii

Graffiti from Pompeii tells the story of a certain Marcus Atillus – a gladiator – who defeated Lucius Raecius Felix, the winner of 12 duels in a row. It is known that Felix survived the fight despite the defeat and was granted freedom.

Graffiti from Pompeii

Roman cursive

On the tombstone visible in the photo I came across in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. The full Latin text reads: D(is) M(anibus) / T(ito) Fl(avio) Vero Aug(usti) / lib(erto) tab(ulario) rat(ionis) / aquarior(um) co(n)/iugi bene me/renti Octa/via Thetis fecit.

Urn of Titus Flavius Verus, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Duel to end the war?

In the years 421-422, the Eastern Roman Empire waged another war with the Sassanid State. The troops, led by magister militum per orientem Ardabur, entered Persian Mesopotamia but were quickly driven back by superior Persian forces.

Photo showing a Parthian cataphract from the 2nd century CE and Armenian from the 3rd century CE

Fimbrian legions

In 67 BCE Lucius Licinius Lucullus was recalled to Rome, and Pompey the Great became the commander of the Roman armies fighting in the east. Lucullus was disliked by the soldiers for being stingy and for limiting their ability to plunder. Most of all, however, he was hated by the Fimbrian legionnaires – veterans with more than 20 years of service behind them.

Roman legionary from the 1st century BCE

Farthest part of Roman Empire

After hearing the slogan “the farthest part of the Roman Empire”, most of us will probably think of wild Britain or Mesopotamia, conquered for a moment by Trajan. However, modern discoveries have shown that the truth may be different and very surprising. We are talking about a Roman garrison on inconspicuous Arabian islands – over 3,900 km from Rome itself.

Farasan Islands

Atia the Elder manipulator?

Atia the Elder, niece of Julius Caesar and mother of Gaius Octavian and Octavia was one of the most expressive female characters in the television series “Rome”. In the series, she was shown as an amoral manipulator who allows herself to play with the feelings and matchmaker of her family members to achieve political goals. Do historical sources confirm this?

Polly Walker as Atia the Elder and James Purefoy as Antony in Rome

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