Ancient Rome: Manners & Customs
ANCIENT ROMAN EDUCATION
The children studied reading, writing, and counting. They read scrolls and books. They wrote on boards covered with wax, and used pebbles to do math problems. They were taught Roman numerals, and recited lessons they had memorized. [Ancient Rome]
Ancient Roman Family and Marriage
600 BC to about 1 AD - Before the Imperial Age, in very earlyn Roman times, families were organized rather like mini Greek city-states. Everybody in one family lived in one home, including the great grandparents, grandparents, parents and children. The head of the family was the oldest male. That could be the father, the grandfather, or perhaps even an uncle.
Ancient Roman Festivals
Feriae - Ancient Roman Festivals. Bacchanalia | Dionysiac festivals held in honor of the god Bacchus, Bacchanalia were so notorious in ancient Rome that the Roman Senate suppressed the celebration of these rites in 186 B.C.
Ancient Roman Food and Dining
The usual dishes of Roman foods contained peacock brains, pike livers, cock crests, lark tongues, bear, and lion. Also, frequently served for breakfast were cold meats, eggs, veggies, and bread. Herbs and spices livened up their meals to have cooking that was spicy and sweet. The most commonly used spice was pepper to give flavoring to game-birds, fish, shellfish, lamb, kid, and wild boar. In addition, a fish sauce and fish pickle was popular where "The gills, blood, and intestines of a mackerel were placed in a jar with salt, vinegar, and herbs. The mixture was stirred and pounded into a paste or sauce, which was left in the sun to ferment."
Ancient Roman Meals
History, Facts and Information about Ancient Roman Meals. The content of this article provides interesting history, facts and information about life in Ancient Rome including Ancient Roman Meals, the customs and religious observances.
Ancient Roman Medicine
Roman Medicine: We, in our overmedicated and over-modified world, have visions of primitive medical practices in "ancient" Europe. We think of unsanitary curbside surgeries by traveling barbers, poisons distributed as medicines (and vice versa, if you had enemies), herbs and simples with minimal value, bleeding and purging, superstition. There was some of that in the Roman world, but most of the excesses actually came later, when Roman knowledge had been lost.
Ancient Roman Weddings
When did they get married? Both parties had to be adults, and they could not marry more than one person at a time. For the first 500 years in Rome, divorce was unknown. So, a great deal of care was taken selecting a marriage partner. Probably the groom had to be at least 14 years old, and the bride had to be at least 12 years old. The bride and groom could not be closed related. In general, marriage was forbidden between relatives four times removed, and between anyone connected by marriage. Thus, in ancient Rome, if you happened to fall in love with your fourth cousin, or your sister's husband's brother, too bad!
Ancient Roman Women: A Look at their Lives
Any historical investigation into the lives of ancient women involves individual interpretation and much speculation. One can read the ancient sources concerned with women and their place in society, but to a large degree, they are all secondary sources that were written by men about women. No ancient journals or personal diaries written by Roman women were uncovered, so it is not known what their hopes and dreams were, or if they had any. What Roman women felt about most political issues and the numerous wars and upheavals is also a mystery. Nor can we read about what women thought of slavery, marriage, or the fact they had no legal rights over their children or even themselves.
Ancient Roman aqueducts were large bridges with pipes or channels set into them. These pipes carried water from rivers and lakes around the country, into Rome and other urban centers. One famous ancient Roman aqueduct that still remains today is the Pont du Gard in France.
Clothing & Hairstyles
CLOTHING & HAIR STYLES: The very early Romans wore a toga. It looked like a white sheet 9 yards long. Togas were arranged very carefully, in a stylish way. Togas fell out of style rather early. (The toga was inconvenient, and people felt the cold when they wore it.) To get anyone to wear them, even very early emperors had to legislate the wearing of togas by at least senators. Eventually, the emperors gave up. The Romans switched to comfortable tunics, which looked like long tee-shirts. They were far more practical. Tunics were made of cool linen, for summer wear, and warm wool, for winter wear. Sometimes, they worn trouser like affairs.
Death and Funerals
Most of the Romans believed that the spirits of the dead were rowed across a mythological river called the Styx, to the underworld. There, the spirit was said to be judged whether it was to go to heaven Elysium, or hell Tartarus. Funerals were held to prepare the spirit for this journey. To pay the ferry fare across the Styx, a coin was placed underneath the tongue.
Dining in Ancient Rome
The ancient Hebrews, Egyptians, and Greeks. used to eat sitting on mats spread on the floor. The Romans actually reclined on couches around a table. The couches were arranged forming three sides of a square.
Divorce Agreement from Egypt
This Greek document shows a Marriage Contract From Egypt written in 13 BC. It mentions Caesar Augustus and a Roman Drachma.
Houses and Shops
From the grandest villa to the vilest tenements, the living residences of Ancient Rome continue to strike a sense of wonder into the hearts of those who lay eyes upon them. Over the centuries, Roman houses developed into a unique and functional style all their own.
Josephus' References to Crucifixion
Crucifixion in Antiquity - The Jewish Roman World of Jesus by Joe Zias. "Undoubtedly, one of the cruelest and most humiliating forms of punishment in the ancient world was, according to ancient sources, crucifixion. The Jewish historian Josephus best described it following the siege of Jerusalem by the Romans in AD 66-70 as "the most wretched of deaths."1 Whereas in Seneca's Epistle 101 to Lucilius, he argues that suicide is preferable to the cruel fate of being put on the cross." Zias cites references from Josephus, Plutarch, Rufus, and others. Joe Zias was the Curator of Archaeology/Anthropology for the Israel Antiquities Authority from 1972 to 1997.
Latin Mottos, Latin Phrases, Latin Quotes and Latin Sayings
A collection of usual phrases in Latin, with their approximate meaning. [Ancient Rome]
Life in Roman Times
The average Roman family consisted of father, mother, children,married sons, their family, and slaves. If you didn't get married by the age of 15-16, you were punished. The person who decided who his children marry was the head of the house, the father (PATERFAMILIAS). The family was very important to the Romans. Women were under control of their husbands but controlled how the house was run and were known as (MATERFAMILIAS).
Roman girls were allowed to marry at the age of 12, but most waited until they became 14. The young Romans did not have a lot of choice about whom they married. Parents made the choice, and they were often for business, political or social reasons.
Marriage and Customs and Roman Women
Marriage in Roman times began as a sacred institution. Divorce was unknown. Patricians married only patricians, and they were married in the stately form of marriage called confarreatio (the only legal form of marriage at the time). The patrician took his bride from her father's family into his own, with the direct consent of the gods (revealed by the auspices), in the presence of representatives of his gens. In this form, the wife passed in manum viri (under her husband's authority) and her husband would also become, in a way, her master. The ceremony involved the joining of hands of the bride and groom by the pronuba (a matron who had been married only once and was still living with there husband) in front of ten witnesses, representing the ten clans of the curia, an old patrician division of the people. The term confarriato came from the cake of far (spelt, an old variety of wheat), which was dedicated to Jupiter by the high priest and the priest of Jupiter.
Marriage Contract From Egypt
This Greek document shows a Marriage Contract From Egypt written in 13 BC. It mentions Caesar Augustus and a Roman Drachma.
Medicine & Surgery in Ancient Rome
Early Romans had a religious, yet fundamental understanding of medicine. Deriving knowledge from the Medical Treatises and Methods of the Greeks, the Etruscans, the Egyptians, the Persians and other conquered peoples, the Romans came up with one of the best and most sophisticated Medical Systems of the Ancient World. The science of medicine and the human body was evolving. Ancient Roman medicine was a combination of physical techniques using various tools and holistic medicine using rituals and religious belief systems.
Medicine in Ancient Rome
The Ancient Romans, like the Ancient Greeks and Ancient Egyptians, made a huge input into medicine and health, though their input was mainly concerned with public health schemes. Though the Roman "˜discoveries' may not have been in the field of pure medicine, poor hygiene by people was a constant source of disease, so any improvement in public health was to have a major impact on society.
Mesopotamia - Daily Life
THE CLOTHING THAT PEOPLE IN ANCIENT MESOPOTAMIA WORE. The normal day of a Mesopotamian was based on mostly their work. The majority of the people worked at farming. Other than farmers there was potters, builders, traders, slaves, servants, priests, kings, and elders. Their clothes consisted of a garment which was a flounced skirt.
Odyssey Rome: Daily Life
Throughout our exploration of ancient cultures on Odyssey Online, we've used museum objects to learn about the people who made and used them. But, for the most part, we don't know the exact "context," or place, where each object was found. Archaeologists and other specialists study ancient sites and the artifacts found there to try and shed light on the cultures that produced these objects.
Odyssey Rome: Death & Burial
Like most people living in ancient times, the Romans had a short life expectancy. Diseases were common, and medical knowledge was limited. Funerary rituals and practices played a central role in Roman life because remembering and honoring the deceased members of their family was important to the Romans.
Roles of Men, Women and Children in Ancient Rome
After learning about where the Romans lived and what hobbies they enjoyed, you might be wondering what roles the men, women, and children played in ancient Rome. Keep reading to learn about what you, your friends, and your family would have been expected to do in ancient Rome.
The Roman people were deeply rooted in tradition and custom. Ceremonies such as those listed below would have meant an enormous amount to a Roman family. Far more important to the Romans than the day of birth of a child, the dies lustricus, they day when the baby was to be named, was a joyous occasion. The custom of handing down names to children was of great importance to Romans and their families.
Only children from wealthy families went to school. Poor families needed their children to help work. Schools were not free. Poor families could not pay the tuition. Often children from poor families were taught by their parents at home. Some Roman families paid school masters to teach their children. The school year started on March 24. Schools were usually just one room. There were about twelve students in a class. Often the teachers were Greek slaves. The Romans thought the Greeks were smart.
Where would we be without food? Romans, while disdaining the Greeks for decadence and luxury, were quite fond of it themselves, at least in the upper classes. Poorer Romans made due on fish, bread, grain, olives, and the obligatory wine. Patricians, and many of those in the middle class, ate from a slightly more interesting menu. Many tales are recorded of the fabulous banquets thrown by the rich and powerful. Below are some places you can check out before attempting your own Roman banquet.
The expression "you are what you eat" could not have been more true than at Ancient Rome. While plebeians sustained themselves on cereals and bread, members of the senatorial class dined on exotic foods from far away lands and enjoyed three course meals over luxurious dinners. Wine, anyone?
A Roman Education: Just as it is in much of the world today, the amount and kind of education you got in Rome depended on your family's wealth, status, and connections. There was no legal requirement to educate your children, but in most times and places during the long span of "ancient Rome" there was broad acceptance of the idea that knowledge was the key to a happy and prosperous future. Parents tried to provide the best available education for their offspring. Kids learned early on both a sense of duty to the family and the value of applying themselves to academics, so they generally made a real effort to learn as much as possible. The "best available" and "as much as possible" varied immensely. Think of the kind of education that was available to Americans 100 years ago in different parts of the US, and then think of what could be had by Western Europeans in 1000 AD -- similar distances and times spanned "Rome".
Entertainment was essential to daily life in Ancient Rome. As noted by Juvenal, it seemed that all Romans were interested in was "bread and circuses." And with theaters, amphitheaters, circuses, and public baths galore, the Romans never seemed to get bored.
IN EARLY TIMES, under the Kingdom and the Republic: (600 BCE to about 1c CE) Before the Imperial Age, in very early Roman times, a typical Roman family included unmarried children, married sons and their families, other relatives, and family slaves.
Roman Family Law and Traditions
Roman Law One of the greatest legacies of Rome is their legal system... The development of Roman law began with the Twelve Tables in the mid-fifth century B.C. During a period of over 1000 years, the Roman jurists created a rich literature about all aspects of law: property, marriage, guardianship and family, contracts, theft, and inheritance. Roman law laid the foundations for much of Western civil and criminal law.
Roman fashions did not change much over the centuries, but they did vary regionally. In general, children wore smaller versions of adult clothing. Roman fashions did not change much over the centuries, but they did vary regionally. In general, children wore smaller versions of adult clothing.
The Romans had a short life expectancy due to disease, limited medical knowledge and almost constant wars. Funerary rituals and practices played an essential part in their lives, as they believed that honouring the deceased members of their family and a proper burial were essential for the Afterlife. Central to the Romans very detailed view of the Afterlife was the belief that the spirits of the dead were taken across the mythological river Styx to the Underworld, where the spirit was judged whether it was to find its place in heaven, Elysium, or hell, Tartarus. Funerals were seen as a way of preparing the spirit for this journey. There were numerous customs that were followed to ensure that the deceased was properly laid to rest, would have an auspicious Afterlife and would not return to haunt the living. These were also intended to reflect the deceased's place in the family and the continued importance of the surviving family.
Most people living in the Roman Empire lived with their whole family in one room of a sort of apartment house. These were built, like many cheap apartment houses in the United States today, around two or three sides of a courtyard, one or two stories high. The other sides of the courtyard had high walls to keep out burglars. Today we use these courtyards for parking, but Roman people (who didn't have cars) used them for cooking, and for children to play in. The apartment houses were generally mud-brick, with flat roofs that you could sleep on in good weather.
Roman Houses - The Atrium
The lower class Romans (plebeians) lived in apartment houses, called flats, above or behind their shops. Even fairly well-to-do tradesmen might chose to live in an apartment-building compound over their store, with maybe renters on the upper stories. Their own apartments might be quite roomy, sanitary and pleasant, occasionally with running water. But others were not that nice.
The Romans encompassed thousands of different cultures and comprised of diverse social, religious, ethnic and economic classes. The Roman family consisted of the father of the family, the wife, the children and the slaves of the household. The Roman family structure was patriarchal, with the oldest father of the family being the head. They lived in joint family systems where the sons' families lived with his father under the same roof. The Romans had very short working days, working at an average for 6 hours a day. The men in the families went for work whereas the women were housewives. They lived in sophisticated brick houses.
Prior to 445 BC, intermarriage (connubium) between patricians and plebeians was forbidden. After that the children of such marriages took the social rank of the father, be it patrician or plebeian, regardless of the mother's status.
The chief purpose of Roman matrimony, as stated in marriage contracts and various laws, was the obvious one of producing and bringing up children. The Roman government often made efforts to encourage marriage and large families; in particular, the Emperor Augustus introduced a law which laid down penalties for those who remained unmarried (for example, by forbidding them to receive legacies; see bachelor) and offered special privileges to married couples who produced three or more children. Nevertheless the birth rate in Rome dropped steadily from the second century BC onwards, especially among the senatorial class.
Ancient Roman medicine was a combination of some limited scientific knowledge, and a deeply rooted religious and mythological system. While knowledge of anatomy was quite impressive, and many surgical techniques were only surpassed in the modern age, the application of medicines and cures was simplistic and largely ineffective. Much of the Roman system was adopted from the Greeks, and primarily the teachings of Hippocrates.
Rome as a Kingdom: In early Roman days, kids did not go to school. A Roman boy's education took place at home. If his father could read and write, he taught his son to do the same. The father instructed his sons in Roman law, history, customs, and physical training, to prepare for war. Reverence for the gods, respect for law, obedience to authority, and truthfulness were the most important lessons to be taught.
Slaves were very important to the Romans. Without slaves, the wealthy of Rome would not have been able to lead the lifestyles that they wanted to. Who were slaves? They were people who were frequently captured in battle and sent back to Rome to be sold. However, abandoned children could also be brought up as slaves. The law also stated that fathers could sell their older children if they were in need of money.
Equality as we know it was practically unknown the Romans. Women were treated as inferiors, the slave trade was booming, and, as one person put it, Rome was a great civilization for the few built on the backs of many. In any event, Roman society held different rules for different demographics, such as those below.
In the beginning was the census. Every five years, each male Roman citizen had to register in Rome for the census. In this he had to declare his family, wife, children, slaves and riches. Should he fail to do this, his possessions would be confiscated and he would be sold into slavery. But registration meant freedom. A master wishing to free his slave needed only to enter him in the censor's list as a citizen (manumissio censu).
Weddings- Marriages were arranged by the father of the bride and the future husband. The boy had to be at least 14 years old and the girl, 12 years. The Romans were the first to wear the engagement ring on the third finger of the left hand. A wedding ceremony was not needed for the marriage to be legal, however for wealthy couples a ceremony was considered an important rite. It was not uncommon for the groom to be absent from the ceremony. He would send a letter with his vows if he could not be there. A cake was present during the ceremony as an offering. A dinner party followed and ended with a procession to the grooms house. Nuts were usually thrown instead of rice.
Romans - Families and Children
Life in Roman times for women was quite hard. The father was the most important member of the family. He had the power of life or death over everyone. When a new baby was born it would be laid at its father's feet - if the father picked the baby up it would live, and if he ignored the baby it would be taken away to die. Mothers and children were never seen as important.
Status of Women in Ancient Rome
Women were not citizens of Rome. Only adult free men were citizens. The ancient Roman men believed that a women had to be under a guardianship. That guardianship could be a father or a husband. But they believed a women was unable to direct her own activities. As Cicero once said of early Roman men, 'Our ancestors, in their wisdom, considered that all women, because of their innate weakness, should be under the control of guardians.'
The great builders
The Roman Funeral
Roman. When a Roman was at the point of death, his nearest relation present endeavoured to catch the last breath with his mouth (Virg. Aen. IV.684; Cic. Verr. V.45). The ring was taken off the finger of the dying person (Suet. Tib. 73); and as soon as he was dead his eyes and mouth were closed by the nearest relation (Virg. Aen. IX.487; Lucan, III.740, who called upon the deceased by name (inclamare, conclamare), exclaiming have or vale (Ovid, Trist. III.3.43, Met. X.62, Fast. IV.852; Catull. ci.10). The corpse was then washed, and anointed with oil and perfumes by slaves, called Pollinctores, who belonged to the Libitinarii, or undertakers, called by the Greeks ÃÃ¥ÃªÃ±Ã¯Ã¨ÃœÃ°Ã´Ã¡Ã© (Dig. 14 tit. 3 s5 Â§ 8). The Libitinarii appear to have been so called because they dwelt near the temple of Venus Libitina, where all things requisite for funerals were sold (Senec. de Benef. vi.38; Plut. Quaest. Rom. 23; Liv. XLI.21; Plut. Num. 12). Hence we find the expressions vitare Libitinam and evadere Libitinam used in the sense of escaping death (Hor. Carm. III.30.6; Juv. XII.122). At this temple an account (ratio, ephemeris) was kept of those who died, and a small sum was paid for the registration of their names (Suet. Ner. 39; Dionys. Ant. Rom. IV.15).
The Roman House
Early Italian houses grouped around the atrium, with a small garden, the so-called hortus, at the back. The classic Roman house, however, was divided into two parts. The first part grouped around the atrium, the second around the peristylium. The peristylium having developed out of the earlier hortus.
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