42 Awe-Inspiring Facts about Ancient Romans That Are Hard To Believe

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1Claudius

Claudius, a Roman from a noble family, had severe disabilities and survived the assassination of his family because nobody thought he was a threat. Claudius became the Emperor after the death of Caligula, began the conquest of Britain, and is widely regarded as a great ruler of Ancient Rome.


2. Roman Emperor Augustus witnessed a man attempt to feed a slave to lamprey eels as a punishment for breaking a cup. Augustus freed the slave and had the rest of the man's cups broken.


3. Claudius was one of the first 15 Roman emperors to not take a male lover. Others considered him strange for only being attracted to women.


4. When Julius Caesar had Cato the Younger removed from the Senate for going against him, many other senators left as well. When Caesar asked one why he was leaving, the Senator said he'd rather be in jail with Cato than in the Senate with Caesar.


5. When Roman Emperor Nero's wife died, he found a boy (Sporus) who looked just like his wife, had his testicles removed and made him appear in public with him as his wife.


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6Concrete

After the fall of the Roman Empire, the technology to make concrete was lost for 1000 years.


7. Julius Caesar was kidnapped by pirates, who demanded 20 talents of silver for his freedom, however, Caesar told them to ask for 50. When the ransom was paid and he was released, Caesar raised a fleet, pursued and eventually captured the pirates and had them crucified.


8. The Roman Pantheon, built in 118 A.D., is still the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world.


9. A Roman legionary recruit trained by regularly marching for 18 miles in 5 hours and then speed marching for 21 miles in 5 hours in a single day, all while carrying a backpack of 45 pounds and armor of 20 pounds.


10. January is named after Janus, the Roman God of two faces, one that looks back to the past and the other that looks forward to the future.


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11Fart

A Roman soldier once farted, which caused a riot and led to the deaths of 10,000 people.


12. The word cereal comes from the Roman goddess Ceres, and her association with edible grains.


13. A Roman politician named Tiberius Gracchus and over 300 of his supporters were beaten to death with clubs by the Roman Senate for trying to redistribute land to the poor that was illegally acquired by the wealthy landowners.


14. As Ottoman cannons breached the once-mighty Theodosian Walls of Constantinople, Constantine XI Palaiologos, the last Roman Emperor, donned the appearance of a common soldier and led his remaining men to one last valiant charge in the name of Rome and their home.


15. When Julius Caesar landed in Africa, he tripped and fell on his face. This would have been considered a fatal omen by his army, but instead, he shouted: "Africa, I have tight hold of you!". The expedition proved to be a success.


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16Caesarion

Julius Caesar and Cleopatra had a child together name Caesarion, which translates to "Little Caesar".


17. A Roman politician named Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus was twice given near-absolute authority over the Roman Republic and he gave it up twice.


18. Julius Caesar's body was the subject of the earliest known recorded autopsy. Of the 23 stab wounds recorded, only one was potentially fatal on its own. The physician ruled his death due "mostly to blood loss."


19. A Roman merchant who sold fake jewels was sentenced to face a lion in the arena. When the gate finally opened, a chicken walked out. Emperor Gallienus proclaimed “He practiced deceit and then had it practiced on him.”


20. Roman Gladiators rarely fought to the death or against animals and were considered celebrities of their time.


21Roman civilization

The Roman civilization technically lasted for 2,200 years. It was founded as a monarchy in 753 B.C., became a republic in 509 B.C., turned into an empire in 27 B.C., shifted capital to Constantinople in 330 A.D., and finally fell only in 1453 A.D.


22. There is a legend that flexible glass was invented around 20 A.D. when a craftsman presented Tiberius Caesar a bowl of this glass, whereupon he threw it to the ground and it did not shatter. Fearing the implications of such a material, the Caesar had the man beheaded, with the formula now lost forever.


23. Gaius Gracchus, the ancient Roman politician, had a bounty put on his head to the price of the head's weight in gold. Although the head was delivered, the prize was never paid, as it was discovered that Gaius' captor had emptied out his brain and replaced it with molten lead.


24. The Roman Empire was not the largest empire in history. It is in fact only the 28th largest empire in history.


25. The Roman Emperor Nero married two men, once as the bride (Pythagoras (freedman)) and once as the groom.

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