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Curiosities of ancient Rome (Ancient stories)

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.

Strange phenomena from Pliny

Pliny the Elder, author of the encyclopedic work “Natural History”, often relied on various and often unverified sources. The writer even mentions that if a mother wanted her child to have black eyes, she had to eat a shrew during pregnancy.


Cooperation between Hannibal and Antiochus III

Hannibal was over 40 years old after the end of the Second Punic War. After signing the humiliating peace, Hannibal decided to focus on politics. He was elected a sufet, the highest government official, with strong executive power and considerable legislative and judicial powers. As a result of his efficient reforms, seven years after the battle of Zama (202 BCE), Carthage was “rising from its knees”.


Gladiator’s pernicious fame

Gladiator Spiculus convinced himself that life in grace is uncertain and changeable and that nothing lasts forever. He fought in the arena, he was the favourite of the emperor, he gained fame and enormous wealth, which every Roman certainly dreamed of, but it was this that ultimately led him to destruction.

A vessel with gladiators

Example of racism in antiquity?

In ancient Rome, at the beginning of the day, there was faith in divination, good and bad omen announcing future events and superstitions. Such faith did not always end pleasantly for everyone, especially if a man was considered to be the evil sign that heralded the misfortune that would come.

Roman legionnaire from the 1st century CE

Crazy Emperor Caligula

Emperor Caligula was the first emperor who compared himself to god and called himself like that. What’s more, he allowed himself bizarre decisions, including appointing his horse a senator. About Caligula’s favourite horse (Incitatus, meaning “swift” or “at full gallop”) writes Suetonius in “About the Life of the Caesars”. According to the Roman writer, the animal had 18 servants who cared for it.


Gladiator placed into corner

Gladiators were not only slaves, prisoners of war or criminals; they could also be free citizens of Rome, eager to gain wealth or the opportunity to win fame as a good warrior. However, there were cases when, paradoxically, the profession of a gladiator, among whom most were slaves, was one of the options not to become a slave.

Graffiti of Marcus Attilius in Pompeii

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