Interesting Facts about the Roman Empire II
Ancient Civilizations 9/3/12
By: Yona Williams
From the ruthless Roman emperor Commodus to a host of successful Roman generals, the Roman Empire was an ancient civilization with a lot of intriguing accomplishments and history. In this article, you will encounter interesting facts and trivia about the Roman Empire, including famous last words and the number of people that lived in the region.
How Large was the Roman Empire?
When the Roman Empire was at its best, it was the 2nd century. The land that the empire occupied was about equal to that of what the United States looks like today. At one time, the population reached at least 70 million people, but could have been more than 100 million. The city of Rome was home to more than 1 million people on its own.
The Road Most Traveled
During the days of the ancient Roman Empire, there were more than 18,000 miles of roads that one could travel on.
Commodus the Gladiator
Ruling between 180 and 192, Commodus was a Roman emperor that constantly participated in gladiator battles. He fought and won 1,031 battles in the arena.
Conquerors at Heart
Roman generals spent centuries conquering other lands and over a more than 600-year time period, Rome took over and ruled the entire Mediterranean region. The rulers of Rome introduced the people they conquered to their politics, laws, culture, currency, and language.
A Sickeningly Sweet Sweetener
If the ancient Romans knew then what we know now, they probably wouldnâ€™t have used poisonous lead as a sweetening agent for their foods and drinks.
The Tunnels of Cyprus
In ancient times, Cyprus served as one of the most important mining centers in the world. However, historians are unable to answer why the Romans stopped production and sealed the tunnels. In the 20th century, a majority of the tunnels were uncovered and reopened. A mining engineer from America went hunting for the tunnels after coming across an ancient account of the mines at the New York Public Library. After the discovery of the tunnels, Cyprus once again started to mine again.
Famous Last Words
When the unpopular Roman Emperor Nero died, his last words were "Qualis artifex pereo" which roughly translates into "What an artist dies in me."
Not Our Nameâ€¦
During ancient times, the Byzantines did not go by this name, as the term was created during the Renaissance. They called themselves Romans and the Western Europeans referred to the people as Greeks.
An End to Endless
When the Roman Empire and Persia both agreed to stop warring with one another, they signed "The Endless Peace" treaty in 533. However, this agreement did not last long, as they were battling once again just seven years later.