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Curiosities of ancient Rome (People)

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.

Polybius square

Polybius square is (known also as Polybius checkerboard) a type of monoalphabetic cipher (the hidden letter corresponds to the open letter), which owes its name to the famous ancient historian and writer – Polybius. As Polybius himself tells us in his “Histories”, the author of the cipher are the Greeks – Cleoksenos and Democletus – but it was he who undertook to improve the mechanism.

Polybius square with Greek letters

Caligula and slaughter on Palatine Hill

The circumstances of the death of the third emperor of Rome are seemingly clear. Caligula was assassinated on January 24, 41, after reigning for less than four years. The very fact of the murder of the emperor is beyond doubt, although some details remain obscure.

Emperor Gaius, known as Caligula

Sulla’s divine guide

The Roman politician Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix, also known as Sulla, lived from 138-78 BCE. In the history of Rome, he went down as one of the most controversial figures of the Roman Republic. As an efficient military and politician, he is known for the first Roman civil war and the adoption of the office of dictator (82 BCE) for life. He was cruel in getting rid of political opponents. A certain goddess of war, Bellona, ​​played a large role in Sulla’s enormous career.


Aristonicus (Eumenes III) – self-proclaimed king of Pergamon

In 133 BCE, Attalus III died on the throne of the Kingdom of Pergamum (the western part of present-day Turkey). In his will, he handed over his country to Roman rule. As the Romans were very slow in securing their rights, a certain Aristonicus raised a rebellion against the decision of the former king.

Kingdom of Pergamon in 188 BCE

Tertullian – knight of faith

Tertullian was a well-educated Roman orator and jurist who lived in North Africa at the turn of the 2nd/3rd century CE. In about 190 CE he was baptized and became a zealous supporter and defender of Christianity. He founded his own Tertullian sect, which preached moral rigour and forbade escape from persecution; it mandated fasts that other Christians did not practice.


Bernice, beloved of caesar Titus

Roman Empire was lucky to have unusual female characters. And although not all of them became empresses, they were often remembered by History. This was the case with caesar Titus, son of Vespasian, a descendant of the Flavian family. Officially, his wives were Arrecina Tertulla and Marcia Furnilla. One of them was the mother of his only daughter, Julia.

Titus and Berenice in the painting

Crates of Mallos – creator of first globe

Crates of Mallos, the Greek Stoic philosopher and grammarian of the ruler of Pergamon, is known as the creator of the first globe (c. 150 BCE) – a spherical model of the Earth. His globe differs from the modern ones for a simple reason – in his time people did not know as much about all the continents as they do today.

Globe of Crates of Mallos

Certain Calvisius Sabinus

Seneca the Younger, a Roman philosopher and writer from the 1st century CE, mentions in his letters Calvisius Sabinus – a wealthy and respected Roman who had such a bad memory that he couldn’t even remember the names of Homeric heroes.

Roman copy of a Hellenistic sculpture  from the 2nd century BCE depicting Homer

Syagrius – king of Romans

Syagrius (430-486 or 487 CE) was a Roman commander and the last governor (dux) of Gaul – called by the surrounding barbarian tribes “king of the Romans1” (rex Romanorum). He was the son of the Roman governor Egidius.

The reign of Syagrius

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