Now, here is an interesting one we bet you never knew. Yes, much of Rome was built by those who were enslaved. With a city and empire dependent on this kind of labor, it is estimated that as much as 30% of the population was made up of those enslaved.
However, for one day in the year – before Christmas – the slaves had a turn to be the masters and the masters a turn to be the slaves. And believe it or not, it was quite a popular celebration. So popular was it, that they extended the festival from one day to a week.
You may not have heard of Emperor Domitian, but he was an extremely influential ruler during the 1st century CE. This Emperor spent much time bolstering the Roman economy, investing in the empire’s defenses, and undertaking a major restoration of the city of Rome. However, like most emperors, Domitian had his quirks.
Domitian introduced females into the gladiator arena, making them fight against other female gladiators. Of course, there had been these types of fights in the past, but they were very rare. Female gladiators were called gladiatrixes. Interestingly, these gladiatrixes also were made to fight dwarves, amongst others.
Concrete Is Pretty Old
There are some inventions, such as nails and even nail clippers, believe it or not, that are pretty old. For instance, the creation of nails dates back to approximately 3500 BCE, and nail clippers back to the 8th century (yeah, it was that long ago!). And the massive, dome-shaped Pantheon is proof that cement is almost 2000 years old.
Considering that the construction of this giant structure goes back to 31 BC, it is definite proof that cement is rather old. While this invention might be everywhere, we should not overlook that it was a gift from the Romans to us.
All Roads Lead Out of Rome
The Romans took civil infrastructure and city planning seriously – very seriously. So seriously did this civilization take city planning that they made sure that all roads led out of the city, meaning that troops could easily rally outside the walls to defend the city from invasion.
And it must have been an effective method for the Roman Empire to be known for its military dominance. "All roads" is not just a cliche. It is sophisticated methods such as these which gave the Empire the upper hand. Roads like Milliarium Aureum or the Roman Forum (Foro Romano) were specifically constructed to allow soldiers easy exit.
The Largest European University
European Universities have a lot going for them. Not only are they some of the oldest universities in Europe (the one in Bologna, Italy, being the oldest), but they are also some of the prestigious, including Oxford University, the Sorbonne, and Cambridge University.
In Italy, more specifically, Rome, there is La Sapienza University which was formally known as Università Degli Studi di Roma "La Sapienza." This university was originally opened in 1303, making it ancient, and this public research university is the largest in Europe. It is also considered one of the best universities in Italy and has students from all over the world.