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Interesting facts of the Roman Empire

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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Interesting facts of the Roman Empire
    Posted: 10-Nov-2005 at 12:41
I am just wondering if anyone knows any little known
or interesting facts about the Roman Empire. Im
teaching a class, and I just would like to have little
interesting things to comment on.

I know some things

It was a sign of power if you were born with a
crooked nose.

The english term Penis comes from the word for a
dagger, and the word Vagina comes from the sheath
for the dagger.
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Imperator Invictus View Drop Down
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  Quote Imperator Invictus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Nov-2005 at 15:56
One of the emperors who reigned during the Crisis of the third century was named "Pupienus" (Pronounced as "Poopy-A-nus"), which is probably the sh*tt*est name in Latin.


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  Quote Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Nov-2005 at 20:22

There's no 'V' sound in the Classical Latin language.

So when Caesar made the rather magnificent sounding declaration 'Veni Vidi Vici'

What he actually said was the rather foppish 'Weni Widi Wici'

More Monty Python than Gladiator I think.



Edited by Paul
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  Quote Constantine XI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Nov-2005 at 02:54
Romans were typically very superstitious, always consulting their augeries. But there were some exceptions.

An augery was attempted during the First Punic War, but to the great distress of the Romans the sacred chickens refused to eat so that the augery could be taken. This of course meant that the Romans were not supposed to engage in battle that day. When the Roman commander, Pulcher, saw this he became incensed and yelled "if these chickens will not eat, then they will drink!" and threw them off his ship and into the sea. As it turns out the Romans went straight to battle and had a crushing defeat.
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  Quote Heraclius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Nov-2005 at 04:30

^^^ I was thinking about that just last night and was going to post it here now  the fact they even had *sacred* chickens is enough to make me laugh out loud.

 On Roman superstition during the Punic wars Rome on more than one occasion buried Gauls and Greeks alive in an attempt to pacify the Gods or to avert catastophe according to the Syballine books which Rome consulted just before the Gallic invasion in 226bc is stated Rome "must twice be held by a foreign enemy". So a couple of Gauls and Greeks were swiftly gathered up and buried alive, thankfully the Romans were realistic at the same time they raised an army and prepared for war.

 Also religious practices had to be performed with meticulous detail according to Plutarch two priests from noble families were deprived of their offices when during such ceremony one apparently failed to present the entrails of sacrificial victim properly and the other because his peaked cap fell off during the ceremony. No doubt assuming a minor detail would upset the Gods and Rome would suffer.

 Another example which could of been extremely costly for Rome, was I think during the Gallic wars between the 1st and 2nd Punic war, the guys who read bird signs believed that the omens given were bad ones. The Senate hastily sent a letter  ordering its consuls Gaius Flaminius and Furius to return to Rome immediately and abort their expedition against the Insubres. Flaminius refused to open the letter no doubt expecting what was inside and began his campaign. Even when he returned to Rome laden with booty the Roman people refused to meet him and he was only after much argument I expect, given his triumph but he and Furius were afterwards forced to renounce their Consulships.

 To quote Plutarch in summing the Romans up in this;

 "Such were the scruples of the Romans in referring all their affairs to the Will of the Gods, nor would they tolerate the smallest oversight in the observation of omens and traditional rites, even if the omission were followed by the most brilliant success. In short they regarded as more important for the safety of the state that their magistrates should honour religious observances then that they should defeat their enemies"

 With such an obsession over omens and bird signs and sacred chickens of all things its almost a mystery how the hell Rome survived this period 

 

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  Quote Aurelian Ambrosianus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Nov-2005 at 02:47

Another weird thing about Roman history is their belief in animals as the "deus ex machina" of several incidents that almost obliterated the roman state. Again, this might be attributed to their fanatical belief in superstitions and omens...a good example of this is would be the sacred geese of JUNO.
These geese actually saved Palatine hill from the invading party of gauls. They quacked so hard that the guards woke up from sleep and in time sounded the alarm. this one really cracks me up...sacred geese hehehe....
There is no doubt, in fact, that the gods use certain men for the purpose of punishing the evil of others, turning them into slaughterers,before they, too, are destroyed
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  Quote Belisarius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Nov-2005 at 15:12

Something interesting...

Well it's not about the empire, but I find it interesting how the pagan faith of the Romans was so varied that they had a deity named Robigus who presided over mildew and grain dust.



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  Quote Heraclius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Nov-2005 at 15:16
^^^ ................why??!?!?!
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  Quote Belisarius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Nov-2005 at 14:13
Well he wasn't seen as a good god. However, that he had a following surprises me.
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