Ancient Rome was much more than just a city, it was the name of one of the greatest ancient empires - the Great Roman Empire. In its heyday (II century AD), Ancient Rome had extensive borders - from the territory of modern England in the north to Ethiopia in the south, from the land of modern Portugal in the west to Iran in the east. Such powerful empire must have had its own secrets and plenty of interesting facts to explore. To learn more about the life of ancient Romans is always fun. So, let's dive deeper into the ancient Rome facts!
City of Rome was the first among European cities that reached the population of 1 million people by the year 50 BC! The record was beaten by London only 18 centuries later! A city of such sizes had its own rules. For example, due to the density of the population and absence of room to grow things Roman people could only buy food from the sellers at the food shops and markets. Another rule of this great city was that Romans of every status could not bury the dead inside the walls of the city. Rome was rich and impressive, which attracted immigrants from different corners of the world to live in this ancient megapolis.
Rome is thought to be founded in 753 BC by Romulus. Legend says that a she-wolf raised Romulus and his brother Remus after they were intentionally abandoned in the Tiber river. A shepherd found the boys and saved them. After growing up, Romulus fought and killed Remus, becoming the first ruler of Rome.
Apart from the famous legend there are historical sources that suggest that the territory of Rome was well-settled already in VII century BC.
By AD 117 the Roman Empire included the whole of Italy, all the lands around the Mediterranean and much of Europe, including England, Wales and parts of Scotland. In fact, it was the biggest empire in history.
Among the essential Roman inventions there are a lot of things that we take for granted today. For example, the Roman numerals, the first newspaper, modern plumbing and sanitary management, air condition, aqueducts and numerous others.
In the ancient world Rome was the first city with a developed water system. Back then water was treasured as the blood of life which was hard to find in abundance and good quality. Ancient Romans solved this problem and provided all of the city with water. They created aqueducts, fountains and numerous basins. For those times such progress was a miracle and this miracle had to be framed appropriately. Romans created the first fountains in the European world and these fountains became the prototypes for the fountains in other countries (even those built many centuries later).
A sign of a free Roman citizen in Ancient Rome was wearing a toga whereas the women wore stolas. Learn more interesting details about ancient Romans' fashion. The rules about what you could wear back then were very strict. People had to wear clothes according to their status.
The modern 12 month calendar, which we use today, was introduced by Julius Caesar, the emperor of Rome in 46 BC. Since then we have 3 years of 365 days and a fourth "leap" year of 366.
As Rome was the first megapolis of those days, Romans had to solve a problem of toilets. Thus, the citizens of Ancient Rome were the first in the world to have public toilets. And it may seem odd today, but back then Romans used the toilets to socialize in the same way nowadays some of us use smoking rooms.
Not only Ancient Rome had the first public toilets, the government also charged money for its usage. Interestingly, only people of upper class could enter such places.
First highways were built also in Ancient Rome. Roads were very important for those times, because they united even the furthest regions of the Empire with its center. As they were the means of control of the vast Roman territories, they were built as thoroughly as possible. The quality of those highways was so good that today we can still evidence one of the most wonderful landmarks of Rome - the first Ancient Road, called the Appian Way. It is also called Via Appia Antica and it is still in use.
There is a popular belief that Roman Gladiators fought to the death only to entertain the public and were treated as animals outside the arena. Actually, although many of them died in fights, they were real celebrities of those time. Their fame did not bring ease into their lives. They lived in hard conditions and many of them were slaves. Because of that there were a lot of rebellions, one of which was led by the famous Spartacus, whose story is told in many books and films. For more details, see our article about gladiators.