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Lesson to study, What It Was Like To Live In Ancient Rome During Its Golden Age (1)

What It Was Like To Live In Ancient Rome During Its Golden Age (1)

The hottest place to live from the second century BC

through the second century AD was, no doubt, ancient Rome.

Though like any major city, it wasn't always

sunshine and rainbows.

Sometimes it was insanely loud streets and using something

called a communal sponge to wipe your bum with.

Today, we're looking at what was life like in ancient Rome

during the golden age.

But before we dive into the glamorous life of the Romans,

be sure to click and subscribe to never miss out

on a weird history deep dive.

As early as sixth century BC, Rome

began taking census information to assist

with the needs of the growing population.

The population of Rome was generally

believed to be in the hundreds of thousands

during the first century BC and shooting up as high as 800,000

by the reign of Augustus and hitting as many as a cool

million during the second century AD.

Rome was a hodgepodge of free men and women with varying

degrees of wealth and some not so free men

and women who contributed to the population frenzy that

created a very crowded city with not a lot of space

to accommodate its people.

Housing was extremely limited with a population of this size,

so the city developed insula, or tenements.

Insula consisted of numerous apartments

alongside businesses and shops with large numbers of people

living in close confines.

They were several stories high, poorly built,

and home to a variety of income levels

both poor and only kind of poor.

They were also susceptible to being on fire, collapse,

and aided in the spread of disease.

An alternative to the ever appealing dorm room

coffin-like insula was a single family home known as the domus.

The domus was appealing to the wealthier Roman resident.

And the richer the Roman, the bigger the domus.

Domus featured one or two stories with reception,

halls living rooms or atria, several bedrooms, dining rooms,

a kitchen, and bathroom adjoined outdoor spaces for relaxing.

Larger houses might contain several bathrooms and even

private baths.

Doing your business in private wasn't

a guarantee in ancient Rome.

A domus was in Rome was smaller than most houses

in other cities due to the tight topography

and space of the city during the Roman Empire.

The locations of domus in Rome are difficult to pin down,

but it's presumed they were located

outside the danger of a rising Tiber River

and close to places of imperial importance.

Domus could span an entire city block.

And unlike the poorly constructed hobo shanties

of the very safe sounding insula were standalone structures

that didn't face crowded Roman streets directly.

As mentioned previously, bathing and cleanliness of Rome

were slightly less conventional than what

we're used to in modern times.

Everyone from slaves to Roman emperors

visited the public baths in the city.

Called thermae by the first century BC,

public baths included hot and cold rooms

with pools, steam rooms, and dry heat rooms

where people could clean themselves, carry out business

transactions, and socialize.

The public bars were coed until the practice

of inter-gender mingling in public baths

was forbidden by Emperor Hadrian,

a frequent patron of public baths

himself in second century AD.

Hadrian famously gave a veteran he saw one of his own slaves

to perform the duty.

The honor of scraping oil off a human body,

normally done with a strigil, belonged to servants

for the wealthy people, while poor trash people

had to scrape the oil off their own garbaged bodies.

The number of baths in Rome increased from first century BC

through the fifth century AD and got even more fancy

with the addition of fountains and gymnasias.

By 400 AD, it is estimated 800 to 900 public baths

were getting weird in Rome.

Emperors such as Trajan, Caracalla, and Diocletian

gifted Rome elaborate baths that could serve thousands of Romans

at one time.

Diocletian built the largest, a structure

with massive pools lined with marble clad walls and granite

columns.

The task of washing clothes in Rome

fell to the fuller, who provided an essential service to Romans

since most didn't wash their own clothes.

Without the benefits and later internet hilarity of Tide Pods,

fullers got creative in finding ways to bleach linens and wool

garments-- urine.

Both animal urine and human urine

contain the cleaning agent ammonia.

Pee would be diluted with water thrown into a vat,

and fullers would stop around in the bucket

like Lucille Ball did with grapes,

only not funny and very gross.

By the late first century AD urine

became a valuable commodity.

So much so Emperor Vespasian put a tax

on urine collected in public.

This didn't sit well with Vespasian's son, Titus,

who didn't think it was super cool for his dad to collect

taxes on public conveniences.

Vespasian responded by waving a piece of money

from the first payment to his sons nose

and asked whether its odor was offensive to him.

When Titus said no, he replied, yet it comes from urine.

Ancient Rome had a reputation for stellar street

design for good reason.

While most planned cities had patterned streets,

unplanned cities could delve into chaos,

even if roads were generally well constructed.

Roads linked areas through the empire and Rome,

including the via Appia, which ran for more than 130 Roman

miles across the Italian peninsula.

While Rome had paved streets that allowed for drainage,

the frequent use of chariots and other wheeled vehicles

caused a ruckus of epic proportions.

Julius Caesar himself in the first century BC

made it illegal for wheely traffic

to enter the downtown area of Rome during the day.

While the noise was reduced during daytime hours,

it only succeeded in turning nighttime

into a calamity of noise.

Overcrowding and traffic both contributed to constant racket

in the streets that made peaceful sleep damn

near impossible.

Ancient Rome with an elaborate system of aqueducts and sewers

had running water in their homes and public places,

making them pretty sophisticated all things considered.

The cloaca maxima, or main sewer,

collected water from around the city

and channeled it back into the Tiber River.

By the third century AD they turned the open channel

into a closed tunnel that collected water

from public baths and latrines, and got the town's

sewage the hell out of Rome.

Before iPhones, people used to connect with one another face

to face.

And what better time to have a conversation

with a neighbor than when you're doing your business.

At public latrines, there were multiple holes

for men and women to relieve themselves with wild abandon,

and wealthier Romans would have latrines in their home

with one or two holes.

In public latrines, human waste would dump out

into the running water below.

But with little ventilation and communal sponges

for toilet paper, the smelling situation in Rome

sounds less than desirable.

In lieu of doing fun things like watching Netflix

until bedtime at 8 PM, Romans had all sorts

of ways to spend their leisure time

and keep themselves entertained.

The Colosseum, which we did a video on,

hosted gladiator combat for an exciting but bloody way

to pass the time.

Rome was home to theaters of varying sizes that were often

modeled after Greek buildings with tiered seating

and awnings to block out the weather conditions.

Smaller theaters existed during this time period

but were mostly for musical performances,

with larger theaters being reserved for stage productions.

Not everyone thought it was OK to have fun though.

Roman satirist, Juvenal, made the petty observation

that the citizens of Rome only cared about bread and circuses,

losing sight of their role in politics

in exchange for food and fun--

an inalienable human right that is still

practiced today by most people.

Before it became a big deal for wealthy B-list celebrities

to buy their children's way into fancy colleges,

the Romans were trailblazing the premise

of wealthier people receiving a better education

than their poorer counterparts.

There were no public schools in Rome,

and kids receive most of their basic instruction

from their parents before being sent to a teacher

or tutor to finish the job.

The father would teach his son how

to read and write and do physical manly stuff,

while the women were tasked with training their daughters on how

to get married.

Lesson plans from teachers and tutors

were determined by the amount of money parents were contributing

to their education.

Wealthy Romans snatched up the best tutors

or employed literate trained slaves

to educate their children.

Other occasions saw the rich kids sent off to school

with a pedagogue in tow.

Somebody who carried the young student's books

escorted them to classes and made

sure the children behave themselves.

Poorer Romans, meanwhile, could skip formal education

altogether and go into the family trade.

Education was also based on gender,

with male s studying logic, literature, and philosophy.

And the women were taught how to read, and write, and that's it.

Women didn't need a lot of formal education

in Rome because women weren't expected to do a lot.

The role of a woman in Rome was determined

by her social status, wealth, location, and the auspices

of her male guardian, be it her father, husband, brother,

or even her son.

They had very few legal rights, couldn't even vote,

and were prohibited from entering politics

by holding public office.

They could, however, own property and work outside

of the home as a wet nurse, a midwife,

an agricultural laborer, or in the marketplace.

Women on the lower end of financial luck

and social nobodies were relegated

to being mothers and providers.

While the job opportunities for women were sparse,

they could produce crafts or other artisan goods

for the home.

And while women did provide assistance

to the working men in the family businesses,

women who were not crafty or educated

may have turned to prostitution.

Wealthy women had fewer responsibilities

in domestic chores, which left them

with more time for leisurely activities

like checking out a matinee gladiator show

or just having lunch with the gals.

One last option for women during this time

was the life of a priestess.

Vestal virgins, for example, dedicated their lives

to Vesta, the goddess of the hearth,

by committing to 30 years of chastity.

Ancient Rome loved their religions.

There were temples to gos within the Roman pantheon

throughout this city that acted as links

between human existence and divine presence.

The Temple of Mars Ultor was built

to honor Augustus and his military success

with the assistance of Mars himself.

Temples honoring Venus and Jupiter

served as political and religious centers

with Jupiter going through several restorations

in the firs centuries, due to its importance within the Roman

state religion.

Household gods, called "pane," oversaw the kitchen and home,

making it a safe and abundant space.

Other house gods, lares, where ancestral spirits who

were worshipped all day every day with additional offerings

sprinkled throughout the year to keep

things copacetic with the ancestral spirit community.

Both lares and pane were tethered to the family

and moved along with them if they should relocate homes.

The presence of pane and lares in everyday life

brought cult worship of gods like Backus and Isis.

The most important cult, however,

was the cult we met along the way, the imperial cult.

Many emperors were worshipped as deities,

which strengthen their ties to the Roman pantheon

and earned them a coveted spot amongst the pane

and lares in the daily worship cycle of a Roman citizen.

With the establishment of tribunals in the fifth century

BC, the plebian class earned a voice

within the Roman political system.

The wealthy class maintain control of the Roman senate.

But with increasing pressure from farmers,

servicemen, and a growing population of immigrants,

the concept of citizen was expanded



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What It Was Like To Live In Ancient Rome During Its Golden Age (1)

The hottest place to live from the second century BC

through the second century AD was, no doubt, ancient Rome.

Though like any major city, it wasn't always

sunshine and rainbows.

Sometimes it was insanely loud streets and using something

called a communal sponge to wipe your bum with.

Today, we're looking at what was life like in ancient Rome

during the golden age.

But before we dive into the glamorous life of the Romans,

be sure to click and subscribe to never miss out

on a weird history deep dive.

As early as sixth century BC, Rome

began taking census information to assist

with the needs of the growing population.

The population of Rome was generally

believed to be in the hundreds of thousands

during the first century BC and shooting up as high as 800,000

by the reign of Augustus and hitting as many as a cool

million during the second century AD.

Rome was a hodgepodge of free men and women with varying

degrees of wealth and some not so free men

and women who contributed to the population frenzy that

created a very crowded city with not a lot of space

to accommodate its people.

Housing was extremely limited with a population of this size,

so the city developed insula, or tenements.

Insula consisted of numerous apartments

alongside businesses and shops with large numbers of people

living in close confines.

They were several stories high, poorly built,

and home to a variety of income levels

both poor and only kind of poor.

They were also susceptible to being on fire, collapse,

and aided in the spread of disease.

An alternative to the ever appealing dorm room

coffin-like insula was a single family home known as the domus.

The domus was appealing to the wealthier Roman resident.

And the richer the Roman, the bigger the domus.

Domus featured one or two stories with reception,

halls living rooms or atria, several bedrooms, dining rooms,

a kitchen, and bathroom adjoined outdoor spaces for relaxing.

Larger houses might contain several bathrooms and even

private baths.

Doing your business in private wasn't

a guarantee in ancient Rome.

A domus was in Rome was smaller than most houses

in other cities due to the tight topography

and space of the city during the Roman Empire.

The locations of domus in Rome are difficult to pin down,

but it's presumed they were located

outside the danger of a rising Tiber River

and close to places of imperial importance.

Domus could span an entire city block.

And unlike the poorly constructed hobo shanties

of the very safe sounding insula were standalone structures

that didn't face crowded Roman streets directly.

As mentioned previously, bathing and cleanliness of Rome

were slightly less conventional than what

we're used to in modern times.

Everyone from slaves to Roman emperors

visited the public baths in the city.

Called thermae by the first century BC,

public baths included hot and cold rooms

with pools, steam rooms, and dry heat rooms

where people could clean themselves, carry out business

transactions, and socialize.

The public bars were coed until the practice

of inter-gender mingling in public baths

was forbidden by Emperor Hadrian,

a frequent patron of public baths

himself in second century AD.

Hadrian famously gave a veteran he saw one of his own slaves

to perform the duty.

The honor of scraping oil off a human body,

normally done with a strigil, belonged to servants

for the wealthy people, while poor trash people

had to scrape the oil off their own garbaged bodies.

The number of baths in Rome increased from first century BC

through the fifth century AD and got even more fancy

with the addition of fountains and gymnasias.

By 400 AD, it is estimated 800 to 900 public baths

were getting weird in Rome.

Emperors such as Trajan, Caracalla, and Diocletian

gifted Rome elaborate baths that could serve thousands of Romans

at one time.

Diocletian built the largest, a structure

with massive pools lined with marble clad walls and granite

columns.

The task of washing clothes in Rome

fell to the fuller, who provided an essential service to Romans

since most didn't wash their own clothes.

Without the benefits and later internet hilarity of Tide Pods,

fullers got creative in finding ways to bleach linens and wool

garments-- urine.

Both animal urine and human urine

contain the cleaning agent ammonia.

Pee would be diluted with water thrown into a vat,

and fullers would stop around in the bucket

like Lucille Ball did with grapes,

only not funny and very gross.

By the late first century AD urine

became a valuable commodity.

So much so Emperor Vespasian put a tax

on urine collected in public.

This didn't sit well with Vespasian's son, Titus,

who didn't think it was super cool for his dad to collect

taxes on public conveniences.

Vespasian responded by waving a piece of money

from the first payment to his sons nose

and asked whether its odor was offensive to him.

When Titus said no, he replied, yet it comes from urine.

Ancient Rome had a reputation for stellar street

design for good reason.

While most planned cities had patterned streets,

unplanned cities could delve into chaos,

even if roads were generally well constructed.

Roads linked areas through the empire and Rome,

including the via Appia, which ran for more than 130 Roman

miles across the Italian peninsula.

While Rome had paved streets that allowed for drainage,

the frequent use of chariots and other wheeled vehicles

caused a ruckus of epic proportions.

Julius Caesar himself in the first century BC

made it illegal for wheely traffic

to enter the downtown area of Rome during the day.

While the noise was reduced during daytime hours,

it only succeeded in turning nighttime

into a calamity of noise.

Overcrowding and traffic both contributed to constant racket

in the streets that made peaceful sleep damn

near impossible.

Ancient Rome with an elaborate system of aqueducts and sewers

had running water in their homes and public places,

making them pretty sophisticated all things considered.

The cloaca maxima, or main sewer,

collected water from around the city

and channeled it back into the Tiber River.

By the third century AD they turned the open channel

into a closed tunnel that collected water

from public baths and latrines, and got the town's

sewage the hell out of Rome.

Before iPhones, people used to connect with one another face

to face.

And what better time to have a conversation

with a neighbor than when you're doing your business.

At public latrines, there were multiple holes

for men and women to relieve themselves with wild abandon,

and wealthier Romans would have latrines in their home

with one or two holes.

In public latrines, human waste would dump out

into the running water below.

But with little ventilation and communal sponges

for toilet paper, the smelling situation in Rome

sounds less than desirable.

In lieu of doing fun things like watching Netflix

until bedtime at 8 PM, Romans had all sorts

of ways to spend their leisure time

and keep themselves entertained.

The Colosseum, which we did a video on,

hosted gladiator combat for an exciting but bloody way

to pass the time.

Rome was home to theaters of varying sizes that were often

modeled after Greek buildings with tiered seating

and awnings to block out the weather conditions.

Smaller theaters existed during this time period

but were mostly for musical performances,

with larger theaters being reserved for stage productions.

Not everyone thought it was OK to have fun though.

Roman satirist, Juvenal, made the petty observation

that the citizens of Rome only cared about bread and circuses,

losing sight of their role in politics

in exchange for food and fun--

an inalienable human right that is still

practiced today by most people.

Before it became a big deal for wealthy B-list celebrities

to buy their children's way into fancy colleges,

the Romans were trailblazing the premise

of wealthier people receiving a better education

than their poorer counterparts.

There were no public schools in Rome,

and kids receive most of their basic instruction

from their parents before being sent to a teacher

or tutor to finish the job.

The father would teach his son how

to read and write and do physical manly stuff,

while the women were tasked with training their daughters on how

to get married.

Lesson plans from teachers and tutors

were determined by the amount of money parents were contributing

to their education.

Wealthy Romans snatched up the best tutors

or employed literate trained slaves

to educate their children.

Other occasions saw the rich kids sent off to school

with a pedagogue in tow.

Somebody who carried the young student's books

escorted them to classes and made

sure the children behave themselves.

Poorer Romans, meanwhile, could skip formal education

altogether and go into the family trade.

Education was also based on gender,

with male s studying logic, literature, and philosophy.

And the women were taught how to read, and write, and that's it.

Women didn't need a lot of formal education

in Rome because women weren't expected to do a lot.

The role of a woman in Rome was determined

by her social status, wealth, location, and the auspices

of her male guardian, be it her father, husband, brother,

or even her son.

They had very few legal rights, couldn't even vote,

and were prohibited from entering politics

by holding public office.

They could, however, own property and work outside

of the home as a wet nurse, a midwife,

an agricultural laborer, or in the marketplace.

Women on the lower end of financial luck

and social nobodies were relegated

to being mothers and providers.

While the job opportunities for women were sparse,

they could produce crafts or other artisan goods

for the home.

And while women did provide assistance

to the working men in the family businesses,

women who were not crafty or educated

may have turned to prostitution.

Wealthy women had fewer responsibilities

in domestic chores, which left them

with more time for leisurely activities

like checking out a matinee gladiator show

or just having lunch with the gals.

One last option for women during this time

was the life of a priestess.

Vestal virgins, for example, dedicated their lives

to Vesta, the goddess of the hearth,

by committing to 30 years of chastity.

Ancient Rome loved their religions.

There were temples to gos within the Roman pantheon

throughout this city that acted as links

between human existence and divine presence.

The Temple of Mars Ultor was built

to honor Augustus and his military success

with the assistance of Mars himself.

Temples honoring Venus and Jupiter

served as political and religious centers

with Jupiter going through several restorations

in the firs centuries, due to its importance within the Roman

state religion.

Household gods, called "pane," oversaw the kitchen and home,

making it a safe and abundant space.

Other house gods, lares, where ancestral spirits who

were worshipped all day every day with additional offerings

sprinkled throughout the year to keep

things copacetic with the ancestral spirit community.

Both lares and pane were tethered to the family

and moved along with them if they should relocate homes.

The presence of pane and lares in everyday life

brought cult worship of gods like Backus and Isis.

The most important cult, however,

was the cult we met along the way, the imperial cult.

Many emperors were worshipped as deities,

which strengthen their ties to the Roman pantheon

and earned them a coveted spot amongst the pane

and lares in the daily worship cycle of a Roman citizen.

With the establishment of tribunals in the fifth century

BC, the plebian class earned a voice

within the Roman political system.

The wealthy class maintain control of the Roman senate.

But with increasing pressure from farmers,

servicemen, and a growing population of immigrants,

the concept of citizen was expanded

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