ancient rome

Ancient Rome: from an amateur’s eyes

Here is an exhaustive list of everything I know that’s related to Ancient Rome. I can write such a list because it’s laughably brief. Since proper historians always write their sources, if I had any recollection about where I learnt it from, I added it in italics. Otherwise, it was probably trivia from school or pop culture, from so long ago I’ve forgotten how I know it.

Here we go:

I. Rome was/is in present-day Italy.

II. According to legend, its founders Romulus and Remus were fostered by a she-wolf as babies. – I learnt this when I was a child from the book Wolf Children by Sue Isles


She-Wolf Suckling Romulus and Remus by Ludovico Carracci (1555–1619)
Source: Wikimedia Commons

III. Their ruler Julius Caesar named the month of July after himself, and the procedure of a Caesarian section is also his namesake.

IV. He went out with Cleopatra.

V. He was stabbed on the Ides (15th) of March by Brutus – Julius Caesar by Shakespeare, which we looked at in high school

VI. The Romans built aqueducts, which had running water. (Whether this was a sewer system, or drinking water, I am yet to read up on.)

VII. They built pillars.

VIII. They built the Colosseum, where they watched fighting.

IX. They built statues.

X. They got really mad at Jesus. – Monty Python’s Life of Brian

XI. Romans did glassblowing – my partner, who sometimes does glassblowing

XII. When Mount Vesuvius blew up it buried the Roman city of Pompeii in ashes – of which the discovery was, arguably, where Archaeology was born. – Three Stones Make A Wall by Eric H Cline

XIII. Romans had Roman numerals, of which I can work out numbers around I – XX.

…And that is it!

I suppose if I want to be an archaeologist, I should know more than exactly XIII things about a famous ancient civilisation.

The graduate program I am doing at university is geared toward Australian pre-history/history and real-world, practical applications of professional archaeology – unlike the bachelor degree which is, I heard, better for academia and covers world history. So, there will be some self study and catching up to do. This list, then, serves as a bookmark in time, as from today I intend to bulk up what I know just as a bodybuilder beefs up with protein shakes.

Sources I will begin with:

The World of The Romans – book by Dr J F Drinkwater and Dr Andrew Drummond.

The History of Rome podcast by Mike Duncan. The partner was obsessed with listening to this years ago, before I even thought of Archaeology, so the story must be good. It won an award in 2010 as the best educational podcast. It’s available as a free podcast online, and begins with the famous myth of how Rome was founded and ends with the fall of the empire.

• The online course Rome: A Virtual Tour of the Ancient City, which I found on futurelearn.com. It appears to be a series of lectures where the class is taken through a 3D digital model of what Ancient Rome was like. The next run of lessons starts in two days, if anyone is interested in signing up.

Screenshot from the web page

Pretty neat. I bet the ancient Romans never even began to fathom this was how their great(x60) grandchildren and others around the globe would remember them. Probably anyone who time-travels back to ancient times and is discovered with a smartphone would be tried as a witch*, even if they don’t have reception.

I wonder how future generations will study us, if humans are still around?**

*My partner just made the point that the Romans probably wouldn’t have tried the time-traveler as a witch, as trying witches came later as a power trip against Pagans, with Christianity as the primary excuse.

**I read an interesting suggestion on a forum once, that reported UFO/UAP sightings are people travelling from the future, who visit the present day on history excursions. Some accidentally get seen. This explains why so-called aliens don’t communicate with us, to prevent changing the course of history.

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17 thoughts on “Ancient Rome: from an amateur’s eyes

  1. Archeology requires context. I think learning as much as you can is helpful – especially if you are going to study Ancient Rome… What about First People’s history? That seems to be equally important (but probably a paucity of texts and written information)…

    Liked by 1 person

    • So so true. That’s very important! I’ll enrol in those topics via the university come semester. There appears to be a lot of effort to promote understanding First Nations culture at uni, which is great.

      Like

  2. I watched the TV series, “I, Claudius” and it is great. I love it. And I start to show some interest in Ancient Rome since then. I also watched a documentary about Pompeii and it is incredible. Their toilet looks almost like the modern toilet. At least it looks like it. And all those explicit paintings on the interior walls.

    Liked by 1 person

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