Manchester Historian

Student newspaper for the University of Manchester's History Department

Wednesday 22nd November 2017 | Manchester, UK

10 things you never knew about the Romans

The Romans used powdered mouse brains as toothpaste.

Julius Caesar gave us our modern calendar of 12 months. Originally there were only 10 months, running from March to December, but then they added two more. This meant that September (from the Latin for seven) became the 9th month. October (from the Latin for eight) is now the 10th. This is shown also in November (nine) and December (10).

Sometimes, if Roman parents didn’t like their children, they sold them to be slaves.

Emperor Caligula (AD 12 – AD 41) made his favourite horse Incitatus not only a Roman citizen but also a member of the Senate.

The Romans needed solid foundations for a lighthouse at the mouth of the River Tiber near Rome. So they sank a ship loaded with lentils and built the lighthouse on top of it.

The Romans started the marital tradition of dressing brides in white and the groom carrying the wife over the threshold of their new home.

Alongside their more famous ingenuity, the Romans also invented: caesarians, the postal system, street lighting, steam engines and umbrellas.

A vomitorium was not a room where Romans vomited in order to continue eating. It was the passage through which the crowds could enter and leave the amphitheatre.

While the toga was predominantly associated with free-born Roman citizens; it was also worn by prostitutes; who were deemed unfit to wear the traditional female garment; the stolas.

When the Romans built Hadrian’s wall, a moat was built not only around the outside of the wall, but also around the inside. The exact purpose of the inside moat has never been determined, as only a few years later the Romans decided to fill it in. This cost them a million days of pointless labour.

Comments are closed.