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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.

Roman women did not have unique names

Roman women did not have unique names. They usually took the female form of the family name. This is how Julia came from the Julius family, and for example, the daughter of Marcus Tullius Cicero was called Tulia. This name-surname was the first member of the name of a woman, and for a very long time, until the end of the republic, the only one.

Roman bust of a woman

Hair coloring was popular among Roman women

Hair dyeing was extremely popular among Roman women. The most famous colours were red, black and blonde. The latter was popular thanks to the Germans and Gauls with whom the Romans began to come into contact. Prostitutes were even legally obliged to have a blonde colour to distinguish themselves from ordinary Romans. However, this did not prevent the residents from dying their hair.

Roman lady on the painting

Romans wore wigs

Wigs were worn in ancient Rome. Julius Caesar reportedly wore a wig and a laurel wreath to hide his progressive baldness. The Emperor’s wife herself Marcus AureliusFaustina the Elder (c. 100-141 CE) – had an impressive collection of at least 300 wigs.

Fresco from Villa Arianna (Stabie), showing a Roman woman correcting her hairstyle. Painting dated to the 1st century CE.

Superstitions of Romans were really strange

Romans were very superstitious. They believed in many things that they could not logically explain. For example, the old superstition was known – kissing a female mule in the nostrils cured hiccups and a runny nose. It was also believed that some people were capable of hurting others just by looking at them. Such superstition was called the “evil eye”.

Mule

Price of slaves in ancient Rome

The price of slaves in ancient Rome varied greatly. After a victorious military campaign, in which many slaves were captured, the price was naturally low due to the multitude of goods. Plautus (c. 250 BCE – 184 BCE) mentions that the conservative Cato the Elder was willing to pay between 500 and 1500 denarii for a slave.

Slave market, Gustave Boulanger

What games did Romans play?

Roman children played games similar to those we know today. They probably played a variant of hopscotch, they competed in tug of war, tug of war or hide and seek. Paper, scissors and stone were played in Rome and Egypt. The boys probably played war with the use of wooden swordtails and recreated the siege of Troy, popular in ancient times.

Fresco showing the ancient Romans playing soccer.

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