Skip to main content

The Romans

The Romans came from Italy and their capital city was Rome. The Roman Empire lasted from around 146 BC to AD 476. They built many defensive walls along the border of the whole empire. Hadrian's Wall in northern England and the Raetien border in Germany are two famous frontiers and they form part of a network of forts and towns that covered the whole roman Empire.

A centurion was in charge of a unit of 80 men called a century. Each century had a second-in-command called an optio, a trumpeter and standard bearers. Six centuries made a cohort and often included cavalry. Centurions and decurions had their own quarters at the end of each barrack block.  The cavalry soldiers often shared with their horses! A soldier's life was tough. Deserters could be badly beaten, or even stoned to death. The soldier's daily ration of food was about 1.5 kgs (3lbs) pf bread. 1 lg (2.25lbs) of meat, 1 litre (4.5 cups) of wine and 400 millilitres of olive oil.  

Romans built straight roads, so the army could march quickly and easily from place to place, making it safer for everyone.  Roads were kept as straight as possible but they did bend around burial grounds and holy places because the Romans were superstitious. Roman engineers also built bridges and aqueducts. They used shovels, just like the ones you can find today in any hardware store. By mixing broken tiles and small stones with cement, Romans made strong concrete. Concrete is still used by modern builders.

Romans could stitch wounds, mend broken bones and even do amputations. But sickness and infection were the biggest killers.

Going to a Roman toilet is a time for a chat - no one is embarrassed or shy. a short roof keeps the rain off the seats but allows fresh air in. running water trickles along the floor.  A typical toilet could seat many people at a time.  Sponges on sticks to wipe your bum and you was your sponge stick and put it back for someone else to use. There is a stone trough to wash your hand - but no soap!

The bath house is another important socialising place for Romans. The bath has decorated plaster walls and cold plunge pools. It has warm baths and steamy sauna rooms. It even has a changing room with board games and music. Romans used olive oil instead of soap. The scrape off the muck with a metal scraper called a "strigil".

The bath houses  were kept warm with an under-floor heating system called a hypocaust. Warm air from a special fire circulated under the stone floors and earmed the rooms. Some floors got so hot that people had to wear wooden shoes to protect their feet. Hollow clay bricks in the walls let the warm air circulate. The windows were double-glazed too!

Romans built many arenas, the most famous arena in the world was the Colosseum in rome, but small arenas were built all over the Empire.  At the Colosseum, unarmed prisoners were often fed to hungry lions to entertain the crowds. Most gladiators fought to the death and usually survived for only 2 or 3 fights.



Popular posts from this blog

Panic or panick

There is only one spelling for panic ; the verb is inflected 'panic, panics, panicked, and panicking’. The form panick is used for progressive tense, past tense and past participle. We don't write panick today, though English speakers from a few hundred years ago might have (in the same way they might have written musick). When the alternate spelling “panick” is used for the past participle: "I panicked last night at the disco." When it’s use for progressive tense: “Invariably, when markets are panicking, they sell the stocks quickly.” It's the rule for root words ending in "c" is that you have to add “k”, so the spelling is related with the pronunciation. If we don't add the <k>, it looks as if the <c> has to be pronounced /s/. If the "k" was not there, “panicing” would look like the word which is supposed to be pronounced as if it is ended in "sing," while “paniced” would be pronounced like “panised”. The same

Penny Hang

In Victorian times, many people flocked into the city, the cheap houses were badly built, cold and damp. In London, as many as forty people could have been found living in a tiny terraced house, with ten, or more, people in a single room. Unable to find rooms, many lived in cellars, under bridges, or even in sewers. Homeless people or drunks out on the street could hire a 'penny hang'. This was a space on a thick rope. Two hooks fixed in the walls,  ropes strung in parallel from one side to another at about shoulder height. You would enter the penny hang, after paying a penny. There was no room to lie down. You hung across it. In the morning, the proprietor could come down and untie one end of the ropes, so that the clientele who had not managed to wake up and stagger out already would collapse together in a heap on the floor.

Sans Foy, Sans Joy and Sans Loy

Sans: without The origin of sans was Old French sanz, from a variant of Latin sine 'without', influenced by Latin absentia 'in the absence of'. Sans Serif, a typeface without short line at the top or bottom of a letter. In the long poem 'The Faerie Queene' by Edmund Spenser, three dark knights  called Sans Foy, Sans Joy and Sans Loy, meaning "Faithless", "Joyless" and "Lawless",  they fought Red Cross Knight Sir George, they are brothers. sans-culotte, literally 'without knee breeches', was a lower-class Parisian republican in the French Revolution. an extreme republican or revolutionary.