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Curiosities of ancient Rome (Society)

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.

How did ancient Romans lose weight?

Many people ask themselves how to lose weight in an easy and fun way. The answer to this question is not easy. As it turns out, people in ancient times had similar problems. Let us ask ourselves: how did the ancient Romans lose weight?

Roman mosaic showing women playing a ball

Evolution of patronage in late Roman Empire

In Roman society, the existence of a patron-client relationship was common. Most often, a poor citizen or a liberator submitted to a higher-ranking Roman who, through his position and property, could act in favour of the client. In return, the client was the patron’s support and support, e.g. during elections. Moreover, having many clients aroused respect and strengthened the position of the patron in society. In the 4th century CE however, patronage (patrocinium) changed and the patron-client relationship began to hit the state directly.

Roman mosaic floor

Father was not only head of family

Under Roman law, the father was not only the head of the family but exercised absolute authority over it. The fact that his wife gave birth to a child did not yet mean that he would become a family member. This happened only after the completion of the so-called ritual of elevation. It consisted in placing the newborn at the feet of the master of the house and awaiting his decision. If the pater familias, as the omnipotent father was called, took the child in his arms and walked around the house with him, he officially recognized him as his offspring.

Roman couple

Dowry in Roman world

In ancient Rome, it was an unwritten rule that in the event of marriage the bride should bring a dowry (dos). The additional capital contributed to the husband was to facilitate the maintenance of the family (onera matrimonii) and the protection of the wife or children in the event of a breakdown of the relationship (divortium). Obviously, the larger the dowry the father of the bride could propose, the greater the chance that the husband would accept the woman’s hand.

Portrait of a mummified woman

High infant mortality in ancient Rome

Although the Roman Empire was powerful and was inhabited by a huge mass of people, it still, like other countries of that period, had a high infant mortality rate. In ancient Rome, infant mortality ranged from 15% to 35%.

A child dressed as a Roman

Ancient acne

Who among us did not struggle in adolescence with colloquially called “pimples”. The same problem also applied to the youth of the ancient world.

Hippocrates

Are you up with your left foot again?

Greco-Roman texts provide a great deal of information about the ancients’ views on religious matters, many of which refer to very mundane matters. Often the superstitions of ordinary people from two thousand years ago are present and very popular superstitions. How many people have not stood up at least once with the famous “left leg”? Or vice versa, he ascribed his happiness to his right foot, as did the Germans and the English in their proverbs (“Auf rechten Füssen ist gut stehen” tudzież “Let’s get off on the right foot this year”)?

Left foot sculpture from the 4th century BCE. The object is from Egypt

Wedding day in Roman world

The wedding day in the Roman world was chosen with great care. This was done to avoid any ordinary omens that might adversely affect future life. For example, June was considered a successful month until marriage, while May was seen as very unlucky.

Roman couple on a sculpture

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