Ancient Rome: Unexpected Daily Life & Strange Customs

Ancient Rome, an era of mysteries and bizarre customs, from using spider webs for healing to the gladiatrixs. Let’s explore together the fun, funny and bizarre Ancient Rome you would not believe!

15 Bizarre Hygiene


Why would you ever need to rub on your mouth the left tooth of a hippopotamus? Or would want to eat the ashes of wolves’ heads? According to historian Pliny The Elder, this was Ancient romans description of a good toothpaste. Oh, and if you ever travel back in time, remember to use sheep’s excrement to strengthen your teeth, grab the front bones of a lizard hunted during the full moon as a tooth pick but don’t use vulture quills, it will give you terrible breath… I could not make this up…

14 “Love Potion # 9”


Have you ever wondered if herbal mixes and potions worked? Ancient romans sure thought so. Magicians were readily available to make all kinds of tinctures and potions. Anything form attracting love to curse rivals… How do you think that would go in our society?

13 The Taxable Waste


When we go to the bathroom, we flush the toilet right after we are done... But in ancient Rome, Urine was a major commodity from tooth whitening to a cleaning product. Therefore, it was a taxable commodity! Historically in the US urine was also valued to soften leather… What other uses you know of?

12 “The Amazon Women”


Gladiators in ancient Rome, we are familiar with who they are, strong men forced to fight to entertain the masses. But how about the gladiatrix? Gladiatrix where female fighters and were often called “The Amazons”. Wealthy women who enjoyed a good fight. Different form the men, gladiatrix wore no helmet. Often to show their hairstyles and feminine side.

11 The Atheist Christians


Most of us have heard of countries where there is a separation of church and state, The USA being a good example of it. But the ancient romans did it very differently. A Polytheistic religion was supported by the government and therefore Christians where called atheists, since Christianity was not state supported… It may have looked boring to the romans to only have one god to pray too…  now a day, we have a very different definition of atheism…

10 One Million Residents!


As you are walking on a busy street, you may feel that only modern-day cities have this many people in very few sq. miles. But again, Ancient Rome is here to surprise. For a brief time in about 200 AD there were 1 million people living in Rome! It took almost 2000 years for another city to surpass that number.

9 Lower Floor, High Class


Most buildings we have walked into, have the upper floors as the larger and more expensive real state. In ancient Rome, the opposite was true. Up to 9 story high buildings where popular and the higher the floor, the more cramped the space was! Also running water, bathrooms and even heating was available only to the lower floors… So different from what we are accustomed to now a day.

8 Healthy Mind, Healthy Body


We see the commercials promoting all kinds of gadgets and diets to lose weight in order to be healthy and we may think is a new thing... Ancient romans thought that if you have a healthy body you will fight illness better. As a result, Romans where the first civilization to offer public health programs for all its citizens, regardless of wealth. Socialized health care… a very old concept we are still trying to figure out.

7 The Roman Ying-Yang


Have you gone to get massage and seen the yin yang symbol? And even assumed is from china… but the ancient Romans where the first to use it as an insignia of the empire and a symbol decorated in the roman army shields.  Unfortunately, he meaning of it is lost from records during the dark ages…

6 Of Webs and Wounds


Although Ancient Romans could just open up a medical practice without much previous training, they were at the fore front when it came to thinking outside the box and trying new healing techniques. There were many accounts of soldiers using a mixture of cobwebs, vinegar and honey to bandage wounds. New research is finally interested in spider webs as a natural bandage since its stronger than steel and may even possess antibacterial properties… another great reason to let the 8-legged friends roam safely!

5 Erasing History


Haven’t we all seen documentaries or heard of a public figure who has done terrible things? In ancient Rome that would never happen. The Roman senate would pass a “Damnatio Memorie” it’s a sanction that literally makes a person be erased from history... That would not fly to well in modern times…

4 Concepts Of Beauty


In modern days, anyone born with a crocked nose, what would be the most common solution? Have it fixed. But in ancient roman times, being born with a crocked nose was a sign of leadership… Another bizarre concept of beauty has to do with the sweat of a gladiator. According to the fashion of the era, women would apply the sweat to improve their beauty and the skin complexion. I understand the regal nose, but the smell?

3 Getting The Shopping Done


Have you gone to a mall on a Saturday afternoon and spend a time walking around and window shopping? We may think couple story high malls are a modern-day invention. But the ancient romans had it all figured out. 4 story high shopping malls where built with over 150 stores as well as offices. That sounds as large as modern malls…

2 Gods And Goddess Of Toiles


If the waste being taxed did not make you wonder what else was happening in ancient Rome, the following gods will… there is the sewer goodness, a toilet God, and if that was not enough a god of excrement! Now we know where the saying Praying to the porcelain God came from…

1 Not A Very Holly Holyday

The Ancient Rome You Won’t Believe

Around the world Christians celebrate Christmas. Besides the crazy shopping, most of us enjoy spending time with family and friends. But in ancient Rome, the holyday began not so holy. The origins are said to sprout from Saturnalia. A lawless week celebrated by pagans. Everything was possible and crimes committed during that time where not prosecuted. Christians wanted to take advantage of the pagan celebration, but modified into a more holy and religious one.



Ancient Rome discovered, what else should we explore?

You may also like...