Daily life for Rome’s citizens was a constant noisy and busy society. Daily life for Rome’s citizens was a constant noisy and busy society


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Daily life for Rome’s citizens was a constant noisy and busy society.

  • Daily life for Rome’s citizens was a constant noisy and busy society.

  • The poet Martial wrote, “Before it gets light, we have the bakers. Then it’s the hammering of the artisans all day. There’s no peace or quiet in this city.”



Forum: the center of most Roman cities was a big open space. People met there to do business, to sell things and buy things, to see their friends, to find out about the news, and even to go to school

  • Forum: the center of most Roman cities was a big open space. People met there to do business, to sell things and buy things, to see their friends, to find out about the news, and even to go to school





Despite overpopulated streets in Rome, citizens considered it an honor to be a citizen. During the republic, only citizens of Rome itself were citizens.

  • Despite overpopulated streets in Rome, citizens considered it an honor to be a citizen. During the republic, only citizens of Rome itself were citizens.

  • Every five years, Roman men registered for the census – official count of people living in Rome. If a man didn’t register, he risked losing his property and being sold into slavery.

  • Women, girls, slaves, and freed slaves were not counted as citizens.





  • As the Roman Empire expanded, people beyond Rome (city) gained citizenship.

  • Even though people in Roman provinces were gaining citizenship, the people of Rome still considered themselves to be the greatest Roman citizens.





Roman society was made up of a small number of ___________and many __________ and slaves. There was a huge difference between the lives of the rich and the poor.

  • Roman society was made up of a small number of ___________and many __________ and slaves. There was a huge difference between the lives of the rich and the poor.

  • Most of Rome’s poor people only survived because of government handouts.



4 staples: grains, vegetables, olive oil, wine

  • 4 staples: grains, vegetables, olive oil, wine

  • ________: seafood, cheese, eggs, meat, fruit

  • Ientaculum: breakfast- bread, fruit, cheese

  • Prandiuum: lunchtime meal of fish, eggs with vegetables

  • ]Main meal- cena midday meal





Could range in size from very small house to huge mansion

  • Could range in size from very small house to huge mansion

  • Usually 8 domus per insula (city-block)

  • Included storefronts & places to live



Rich had villascountry estates

  • Rich had villas – country estates

    • Atrium with pool, shrine to family god, libraries, office, garden
  • The rich often had feasts with partridge or boar

  • Special occasions might bring flamingo or ostrich.





  • Tenements: poor lived in rundown, poorly built apartment housing.

    • didn’t have running water, toilets, or kitchens.
  • All waste had to be carried down to the street or – as often happened – dumped out of a window.





The poor needed wheat to survive. When the harvests were bad or when grain shipments from overseas were late, the poor often rioted.

  • The poor needed wheat to survive. When the harvests were bad or when grain shipments from overseas were late, the poor often rioted.

  • To prevent this from happening, emperors supplied free grain and provided spectacular shows. The shows were held in circuses (arenas), which eventually became their name.



Romans packed these events which often included animals fighting each other, humans fighting animals, or humans fighting other humans.

  • Romans packed these events which often included animals fighting each other, humans fighting animals, or humans fighting other humans.

  • Other circuses might include clowns for entertainment, or public execution of criminals.

  • The main events of the day were between gladiators – people who fought to the death.





Before the battles, the gladiators paraded onto the floor of the arena. They would approach the emperor’s box, salute, and shout “Hail, Caesar! We who are about to die salute you!”

  • Before the battles, the gladiators paraded onto the floor of the arena. They would approach the emperor’s box, salute, and shout “Hail, Caesar! We who are about to die salute you!”

  • Men who performed well might be spared with a thumb’s up from the crowd.





The Roman government provided family support, usually to the upper classes, in various ways.

  • The Roman government provided family support, usually to the upper classes, in various ways.

    • under Julius Caesar, fathers of 3 or more children received land.
  • Unmarried men over 20 and couples with no children suffered penalties

    • designed to make sure the upper class continued their family names.


Head of household was paterfamilias which meant “father of the family.” The family was everyone below this rank (women, children, and slaves).

  • Head of household was paterfamilias which meant “father of the family.” The family was everyone below this rank (women, children, and slaves).

  • The father owned everything in the house (including people) and in order for a son to own property or do business he had to be emancipated – freed.



married Roman women’s only goal was to produce children

  • married Roman women’s only goal was to produce children

  • level of freedom depended on the husband’s wealth and status.

  • Some women took jobs away from the home. Some were doctors, cooks, dressmakers, or actors.



Slavery was common in ancient Rome.

  • Slavery was common in ancient Rome.

  • Almost all wealthy families owned slaves.

  • Household slaves were much better off than other slaves.

  • slave jobs included working in fields, in mines, or as gladiators

  • Rebellions: fight for freedom not overthrow system of slavery



Early beliefs: polytheistic- included Greek gods, foreign cults, and animistic (belief that spirits inhabited everything)

  • Early beliefs: polytheistic- included Greek gods, foreign cults, and animistic (belief that spirits inhabited everything)

  • Patron Dieties: temples honoring the gods, and “home” gods in that city

  • Important gods: Jupiter (Zeus) king of all gods, Juno (Hera) childbirth, moon, Mars (Ares) war



Belief in Jesus of Nazareth-son of God the Father

  • Belief in Jesus of Nazareth-son of God the Father

  • Christians were persecuted by Romans

      • Nero: blamed them for Great fire of Rome in 64 CE
      • Diocletian: burned all churches
  • Constantine I: had vision of a cross in the sky and fortold him of victory in battle and became emperor of Rome

    • issued law of toleration (Edict of Milan in 313 CE)


The Roman Emperor Claudius II waged many difficult and unpopular campaigns. Due to the problems he had recruiting soldiers, he banned marriages and engagements in Rome, believing single men were more likely to enrol for the army that married men who had family ties.

  • The Roman Emperor Claudius II waged many difficult and unpopular campaigns. Due to the problems he had recruiting soldiers, he banned marriages and engagements in Rome, believing single men were more likely to enrol for the army that married men who had family ties.

  • Saint Valentine ignored Claudius II's ban, and secretly married many young Roman couples.

  • Inevitably, Saint Valentine was arrested, thrown in jail, and sentenced to be put to death. Legend has it that, whilst in jail, Saint Valentine befriended his jailor, and performed the miracle of restoring the sight of the jailor's blind daughter. Legend also has it that, on the night before his execution, Saint Valentine wrote a card to the jailor's daughter, and signed it "From your Valentine".

  • Read more at Suite101: Valentine's Day: Saint Valentine – History and Legend http://www.suite101.com/content/valentines-day-saint-valentine--history-and-legend-a333730#ixzz1DJ0uOdDz




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