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Roman Society & Culture

Explore the rich and complex society and culture of ancient Rome through this series of articles. From the role of women in society to the significance of family and religion, gain a comprehensive understanding of the beliefs, practices, and customs that shaped Roman society.

Sex scene in ancient fresco in Pompeii in the Casa delle Lupanare. Source: BlackMac/Adobe Stock

Roman Brothels, the Controversial Ancient Societal Hubs

Ancient Rome had a very vibrant and complex society, where prostitution played a major role. It was legal, licensed, and very common. In fact, brothels occupied a unique and controversial position in...
Detail of the Roman cellar found in Frankfurt. Source: Thomas Flügen / Archäologisches Museum Frankfurt

A Roman Wooden Cellar Unearthed in Frankfurt's Nida

In the heart of modern Frankfurt, Germany, a new window into the past has been uncovered. The recent archaeological discovery of a full, well-preserved Roman wooden cellar in the ancient Roman city...
Left; Cimex lectularius, bedbug. Center; Wing casings (elytra) of Oryzaephilus surinamensis found at Vindolanda. Right: Almost complete wing casing (elytron) of Aphodius sp. Source: Left; Daktaridudu/CC BY-SA 4.0, Center and Right; Katie Wyse Jackson/Vindolanda Trust

Romans Look to Have Brought Bedbugs to Britain

In a fascinating addition to our understanding of ancient Britain, recent archaeological work at Vindolanda, a key Roman garrison south of Hadrian's Wall in Northumberland, has unearthed evidence...
Representation of Roman god Bacchus, renowned lover of Roman wine.

Toasted Bread and Walnuts: The Secret to Sophisticated Roman Wine Revealed

Of the many cultural and physical remnants left behind by the Romans, along with everlasting concrete, a love of wine also endures. When the Roman poet Horace contemplates death, he was more...
Composite of excavations, burials and artifacts from the Roman necropolis recently uncovered near Rome. Source: Soprintendenza Archeologia Belle Arti Paesaggio Etruria Meridionale

Opulent Tombs & Untold Wealth Revealed at Newly Found Roman Necropolis

Archaeologists involved in a two-year-long excavation project at the site of a planned solar energy plant near Rome unearthed something astonishing and totally unexpected. While exploring under a...
Roman parties were all about grand displays of wealth, power and status. (Public Domain)

The Truth About Secret Ancient Roman Parties (Video)

In ancient Rome , extravagant parties were not just about revelry; they were grand displays of wealth, power, and social status. These gatherings encompassed various types, including dinner parties,...
Archaeologists discovering roman era makeup and jewelry at the Aizanoi archaeological site and, right, an example of the makeup. Source: Anadolu Agency

2,000-Year-Old Roman Era Makeup & Jewelry Unearthed in Ancient City of Aizanoi

In the ancient city of Aizanoi, located in Turkey's Kutahya province, archaeologists have unearthed remnants of cosmetic products, which include jewelry items and makeup materials, dating back over 2...
‘Pompeii pizza’ fresco shows a flatbread with items on top. Source: Parco Archeologico Pompeii

Archaeologists Excavating In Pompeii Find Ancestral Pizza Revealed in Fresco

Earlier this year, a team of archaeologists delved into some delicious secrets hidden within the volcanic tomb that is Pompeii. Guess what? They have uncovered a fresco showcasing what looks like an...
Dies Sanguinis, meaning “Day of Blood,” was a Roman celebration dedicated to the goddess Bellona, associated with war, bloodshed and violence. Source: Михаил Решетников / Adobe Stock

Dies Sanguinis: Rome's Day of Blood, Sacrifice & Military Might

Dies Sanguinis , meaning “Day of Blood” or “Day of the Bloody Sacrifice,” was an intense, yet sacred, day in the Roman calendar. Celebrated annually on March 24th, this day was dedicated to the...
Study reveals Romans bred bulldog-like canines 2,000 years ago. Source: svetography / Adobe Stock

Romans Bred Bulldog-like Canines 2,000 Years Ago, But Why?

A team of scientists measured a damaged 2,000-year-old dog skull discovered at a Roman site in Turkey. They discovered that not only did Romans breed a small flat-faced dog, similar to a French...
Roman soldier with hairless body, now found to be achieved using tweezers. Source: Gabi Moisa/Adobe Stock

Caesars Loved Tweezers! Plucking Romans Were Obsessed With Hair Removal

More than 50 pairs of tweezers have been found at one of Roman Britain’s largest settlements, providing a link into the deep-rooted history of hair removal practices! Wroxeter City Shropshire is the...
Skeletons from a vaulted chamber in Herculaneum.	Source: L. Fattore, Sapienza University of Rome / Sciencemag

Roman Diets Exposed: Who Ate Best? Elite Roman Men, Or Women?

Archaeologists in Italy have discovered significant ‘dietary gender differences’ in an exclusive pocket of the ancient Roman Empire. Skeletons found at Herculaneum have provided new insights into the...
A boy holding a platter of fruits with a bucket of crabs, in a kitchen with fish and squid, on the June panel from a mosaic depicting the months (3rd century)

Eating Like a Roman: Healthy Greens, Gritty Bread and Fish Paste – The Evolution of Ancient Roman Cuisine

While the reputation of ancient Roman dining features decadent drinking and feasting to a point of excess – leading to notorious purges in the vomitorium – those stories were largely anecdotal, or...
An ancient Roman road at Leptis Magna, Libya

Ancient Journeys: What was Travel Like for the Romans?

It was not uncommon for the ancient Romans to travel long distances all across Europe. Actually during the Roman Empire, Rome had an incredible road network which extended from northern England all...
Roman baths in Bath, England

Why the Romans were not quite as clean as you might have thought

Prior to the Romans, Greece was the only part of Europe to have had toilets. But by the peak of the Roman Empire in the 3rd century AD, the Romans had introduced sanitation to much of their domain,...
Roman wine was sweetened with toxic 'sugar of lead'

Savoring the Danger: Romans Loved Toxic 'Sugar of Lead' Wine

How far did ancient people go to enhance the flavor of their food and drinks? Would they consume toxic substances if it made things a little more appetizing? The Romans did, by adding a sweet version...
A portrait of the Severan family, with the face of Geta removed due to the damnatio memoriae ordered by Caracalla

Damnatio memoriae: Purging People from Public Memory

In the United Kingdom, Remembrance Sunday is observed annually on the second Sunday of November. This solemn occasion is meant to commemorate the contribution of British and Commonwealth military and...
Roman Law and Homosexuality

Roman Law and the Banning of ‘Passive’ Homosexuality

In ancient Rome, there was no vocabulary to distinguish between homosexuality and heterosexuality. Sexuality instead was defined by behavioural mannerisms , whether active or passive, in both gay and...
‘The Roman Festivals of the Colosseum’ by Pablo Salinas shows people of different Roman social classes. Source: Public Domain

The Strict Rules Dividing Ancient Roman Social Classes

Ancient Rome was both a class-conscious state as well as strictly hierarchical. However, this did not rule out the opportunity for people to move between ancient Roman social classes. Before the 2nd...
A Pompeii brothel mural.

Spintriae, The Roman Sex Coins That Showed What Was on The Menu

There is a curiosity that belongs to ancient Roman history which historians are yet to solve; there exists a collection of Roman brass coins or tokens that depict sexual acts on one side and a...
Remains of the Roman toy dog reveal its tiny stature and a healthy diet similar to its owners. Source: Martínez Sánchez / University of Granada

Ancient Remains Reveal the Romans Had ‘Toy Dogs’ Too

Research in Spain reveals that the Romans loved miniature or toy dogs. In antiquity, many members of the elite had pampered pets. Just as today, many celebrities have ‘toy dogs’ such as chihuahuas...
Vatican City’s Necropolis Shows How Roman Non-Elites Lived and Died

Vatican City’s Necropolis Shows How Roman Non-Elites Lived and Died

Beneath Vatican City, excavations of a Roman era necropolis have revealed fascinating details about Roman burial rituals and funerary practices from the first through to the early fourth centuries AD...
What was daily life like in ancient Rome?

Dawn to Dusk: The Highs and Lows of Daily Life in Ancient Rome

Living in the Mediterranean, daily life in ancient Rome revolved around the climate. Unlike the more northern Europeans of the past and today, the ancient Romans started their days early in the...
Top image: Romans believed that gladiator blood cured epilepsy. Source: Mariyana M / Adobe Stock

Romans Drank Gladiator Blood as an Epilepsy Cure!

The ancient Romans were known for enjoying violent forms of entertainment - public executions, animal hunts, chariot racing, and gladiatorial games. However, the blood and gore didn’t stop with the...

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