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Interesting Facts about the Roman Empire I
Posted In: Ancient Civilizations  9/2/12
By: Yona Williams

The Roman Empire played a significant role in the expansion and advancement of the Western civilization. When it was at its height, the Empire covered more than 2 million square miles that occupied land at the Rhine River and continued onto Egypt, and stretched from Britain to Asia Minor. In this article, you will learn more about the Roman Empire.

The Circus Maximus

When it came to entertainment, the ancient Romans gathered at the Circus Maximus to view chariot racing – among other things. Julius Caesar would rebuild the attraction so that it could accommodate 150,000 people. During the early empire, it underwent renovations which allowed an extra 100,000 people to attend the events.

Denied Last Wishes

One of the greatest poets in ancient Roman days was Vergil, who wrote the infamous Aeneid. However, he did not want the rest of the world to see this manuscript and left instructions that when he died, the work should be burned. He did not want it released since he did not have time to add his finishing touches. However, the Roman emperor Augustus ignored his final wishes and did not destroy the tale. He instead, had others polish the work, and then ordered it published.

Little Boots

When Gaius Caesar was a young child, he traveled throughout Rome with his parents, famous Roman general Germanicus and his wife, Agrippina. Along with the legions of Rome, they were a hit with the people. The soldiers nicknamed the boy Caligula, which translates into "Little Boots." The nickname stuck with the child into adulthood, but the things that he accomplished were no little feat.

Caligula became the Emperor of Rome from 37 to 41 AD, but there was nothing likable about his reputation. The man was a ruthless leader known for his cruelty, torture, and excessive execution. Others believed that he was insane. For instance, Roman historian Suetonius wrote that Caligula appointed his favorite horse named Incitatus as one of his consuls. The people hated the leader so badly that one of his own guards assassinated him.

The Life of a Consul Horse

Caligula's horse was treated like royalty when the leader was alive, and even after his death, Claudius (the successor of Caligula) kept the horse in a manger made out of ivory, where it drank from a golden goblet filled with wine.  

Ancient Roman Cooking

In 62 AD, the first volume of recipes to exist was by the Roman Apicius. The book was called De Re Coquinaria, and gave descriptions of the feasts that the Emperor Claudius ate.

Slaughtered Animals at the Colosseum

In 80 AD, the opening games of the Colosseum in Rome lasted for 100 days, and involved the killing of more than 5,000 animals. Some of the victims that lost their lives were lions, elephants, tigers, elks, hyenas, hippopotamuses, and giraffes. Crowds between 45,000 and 50,000 would gather to see the entertainment unfold at the arena.


 

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