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Curiosities of ancient Rome (Unknown facts)

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.

Attempt to stop vandals

Outside the cities, the Romans did not build any public toilets, so travellers in need went to the bushes. On one of the ancient Roman tombstones near Rome, there is an interesting inscription:

Via Appia

Number 17 was unlucky for Romans

In Rome, the number 17 was considered an unlucky number. Anagram of this number written in Roman signs – XVII, forms the word VIXI, which in Latin means “I lived”. Until today, buildings in Italy do not have the 17th floor or room numbered.

Rzymska liczba 17

Trajan’s uncompromising attitude in fight for Armenia

The throne of Armenia, a country at the confluence of Roman and Parthian influences, was informally consulted and established between the two then powers over the years. When in 110 CE king Osroes I of the Parthians appointed his nephew Axidares, son of former king Pacorus II, to the throne of Armenia, there was a breach of an unwritten rule, and Rome was not asked to accept the new candidacy.


Morbid obesity also occurred in Rome

Morbid obesity, considered a modern “epidemic”, also occurred naturally in ancient Rome. Galen, a Roman physician of Greek origin from the 2nd century CE, undertook the treatment of obesity.

Bust of a Roman woman from around 80 CE

Doping in antiquity

In ancient times, athletes used substances to increase the body’s efficiency. Sophist Flavius ​​Philostrat – Greek biographer from 2nd-3rd century CE – remembers that the medics gave the players a decoction of mushrooms or bread with spices and poppy extract, containing alkaloids stimulating the body.

Olympians on Greek vase

Sura – faithful friend of Trajan

One of the greatest Roman emperors, Trajan, owed his military and administrative success not only to his skills but also to the people, who advised him. One of the important figures in his life was certainly Lucius Licinius Sura, comrade-in-arms, faithful friend, and trusted member of consilium – the emperor’s advisory council.

Bust of Emperor Trajan

Heroes of Roman games

Roman inscriptions allow us to get to know many heroes of the Roman games. One of them was a certain Marcus Aurelius Mollicius, a Rome-born coachman who lived just 20 years.

A scene from the movie Ben Hur, 1959

Largest Roman lupanar

The term lupanar comes from the oldest known brothel in the world – Lupanar in Pompeii, also known as Lupanare Grande. The Roman tryst house is additionally interesting for the remnants of 134 erotic paintings on its walls.

Largest Roman lupanar

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