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Interesting facts about the Roman Empire you may not have known.

Interesting facts about the Roman Empire: Rome is a beautiful and ancient city. Although it is old, it remains one of the most attractive tourist destinations. So while you enjoy it, what do you think about this great city? As the saying goes “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Well, that’s true, it wasn’t. This article contains interesting facts about the history of the Roman Empire as well as Rome as a city. Find out what has made the city so famous and popular as it is today.

Roman Empire
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Was Rome really the greatest empire?

Interesting facts about the Roman Empire: Since Rome is so ancient and popular, many people don’t believe it was the largest empire in the world. However, in world history, it ranks 28th. When it comes to the largest empires, we have Britain, the Mongols, Russia, Spain, and the list goes on until we get to the Roman Empire.

The longest war in human history

Although Rome is not touted as the greatest empire, it did record another event that is the longest in human history. For 721 years the Romans and Persians were at war and this was the longest recorded conflict in history. It was unprecedented for a war to last this long. The reason for the conflict is still not clear. However, some speculate it was over land and its resources, while others guess it was a vengeful act by the Persians regarding the Ionian Revolt.

The longest war in human history
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Rome vs the City of New York

After this, you should have more appreciation for the city of New York. This is because ancient Rome was 6 times more crowded than the city of New York. The Roman Empire spanned about 4.4 million square kilometers and had around 57 million inhabitants.

Roman gods fed on feces

Interesting facts about the Roman Empire: Today we know Rome for worshipping many gods. These include the “goddess of sewers”, the “toilet god”, and the “god of feces.” Romans commonly believed their dead fed on feces, so when praying to said gods they had to provide enough feces.

Communal “sponges on sticks”

Interesting facts about the Roman Empire: Their belief that the dead fed on feces should be the least of your disgust. In ancient Rome, Romans would use communal sponges on sticks in public toilets after relieving themselves. A sponge on a stick was the Roman version of toilet paper. Instead of water or toilet paper, they would use a sponge attached to a stick to wipe their behind after defecating. Additionally, the sponge was not cleaned after each use but was shared by all people using the public toilets.

Communal sponges on sticks
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Urine was a commercial commodity

In ancient Rome, urine was a commodity, meaning it was actually bought and sold. So Romans used it as tooth whitener and also as a bleach and detergent for clothes. This is because they believed that if they soaked their clothes in urine for prolonged hours, their clothes would become clean and bright.

Salt – A good commodity

Interesting facts about the Roman Empire: Their use of urine was ghastly, but they were not entirely uncivilized. They used salt rationally. Salt was a very popular and useful commodity used for purposes other than just flavoring food. Salt was an excellent preservative. This was important since they had no electric preservers like refrigerators back in ancient times. Additionally, salt was used as a disinfectant in ancient Rome.

Salt - A good commodity
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Equality in wages

In ancient Rome, laborers were not paid less wages or unfairly compensated. The high rate of wage inequality in the US today did not exist in ancient Rome. Yes, there were differences in wages but not to an unfair extent. Well, hopefully, modern countries today can learn some lessons from the past.

Roman ritual of Vestal virginity

Interesting facts about the Roman Empire: In the 7th century BC, a Vestal Virgin was any virgin who devoted herself to Vesta by vowing chastity. These virgins had to adhere to their vow of chastity until age 30. Failure to do so resulted in the virgin being buried alive. To prove the virgins’ virginity and adherence to their vow of chastity, their hymen was tested to make sure it was still intact.

Interesting facts about the Roman Empire
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Intricate facts about gladiators

Interesting facts about the Roman Empire: Did you know that gladiator sweat was bought and sold? Although it’s puzzling how they managed to obtain enough sweat for selling. Nonetheless, Roman ladies believed using gladiator sweat as lotion could improve their facial skin, complexion, and beauty. Additionally, gladiator sweat was also used by ladies as an aphrodisiac to enhance their sexual activity and improve intercourse. Would you like to become a gladiator? It was even said that some people in ancient Rome suffering from epilepsy drank gladiator blood to cure it.

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Misconceptions about Christians in Ancient Rome

Interesting facts about the Roman Empire: In ancient Rome, Roman officials were invited by Christians to Christian gatherings. This invitation was only to prove they were not barbarians or blood drinkers. It was important to show Roman officials that the ceremony of eating Christ’s body and drinking his blood was symbolic. They did this because Romans initially thought Christians ate human flesh and drank human blood. Also, since Christians did not pay homage to Rome’s idol gods, they considered them atheists. Ironically, atheism has taken on a different meaning in today’s world.

Insane emperors of ancient Rome

Interesting facts about the Roman Empire: How about we step into the mind of Caligula and try to figure out what’s going on in there? Emperor Caligula had a reputation for madness. He fed his prisoners to wild beasts and had ongoing incestuous relationships with his sisters. Digesting them is easier as such acts were not as frowned upon in ancient Rome. Talking to the moon, however? Or making his horse a senator? He was a true madman.

Insane emperors of ancient Rome
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Roman cement

Modern concrete buildings still do not last as long as ancient Roman structures. These structures are extremely sturdy and can withstand any element like wind, rain or fire. They made cement by mixing dry aggregates with water and letting it set hard. Roman concrete is still the most flexible and strongest concrete in history.

Prominent road network

Interesting facts about the Roman Empire: It can be said all modern cities took their cues from Rome. Rome was connected by the Appian Way and other roads to many cities, making transportation of people, goods, and soldiers very easy. The city even had underground tunnels for said roads. This explains the phrase “All roads lead to Rome.”

Prominent road network
Getty image

The Roman kiss

Unlike the French kiss, the Roman kiss is not exactly romantic. It was customary that husbands in ancient Rome would kiss their wives’ mouths at the end of each day. It sounds romantic but not quite. Husbands only did this to find any leftover wine in their wives’ mouths. This is because they disliked the idea of their wives sitting around together all day doing nothing but drinking wine.

First shopping mall

Interesting facts about the Roman Empire: Emperor Trajan built the first shopping mall in history. When it comes to civilization, it’s no surprise Rome was first in many things. The market had multiple levels and you could shop for nearly all spectra of groceries, goods, and other items. Most of this market was called the “Trajan’s Market” or Mercati di Traiano.

First shopping mall
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The calendar

Speaking of being first in everything, the Romans invented the 12-month calendar that determines the passage of life and time. Julius Caesar invented this calendar in 46 BC and it was previously known as the Julian calendar.

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