The Roman empire was huge. It was so huge that now, everywhere you turn in what was the empire, there are Roman ruins. Which is quite surprising seeing that the empire was founded 2,000 years ago.
Legend says that Rome (the capital city) started with two brothers, with the names of Romulus and Remus. Apparently, their uncle didn’t like them, so when they were still babies, he chucked them into the river Tiber. Luckily, they were washed to shore and looked after by a female wolf. They grew up big and strong and went and killed their uncle. Then they built a city where the wolf found them, Romulus killed Remus and named the city after himself. The Romans did have a very high opinion of themselves so this story is most likely untrue.
The Romans were the first to make water systems. The Romans built aqueducts to carry water from a water source to a city or town.
The Romans needed aqueducts because they had so many baths and fountains everywhere, so they used a lot of water. Aqueducts are still commonly found and probably the most famous one is the Pont du Gard, in the South of France.
It is definitely worth a visit, not only for the amazing photos and magnificent views. You can also swim in the freezing-cold river that runs under the aqueduct and jump off some rocks too, like we did.
Villa Amerini is another cool site to see. It is in the countryside in a typically French village. The special thing about Villa Amerini is the mosaic tiles. On the baths you could still see the squid and fish patterned on the bottom (the squid looked really cute).
The amazing thing was you could still see all the colours on them. The many patterns were comprised of blue, yellow, red and white. It is very well preserved. The Romans loved their mosaics and they built enormous villas for rich and important families. Sometimes villas were built in the countryside and used as holiday houses, like Villa Amerini might have been.
If you’re wondering how people got their food in ancient Rome, the Imperial Fora is the answer. The Military Dictator Caesar built a forum (a forum is a bit like a market) in 51BC and over the years emperors Augustus, Vespasian, Nerva and Trajan added more on.
We did not go inside the Imperial Forum because it was very hot and we had had a long day, but we did get to see the outside. It must have been a very grand site in Roman times.
The Colosseum is a wonderful site to see, inside and out, but it wasn’t so nice in Roman times, at least not on the inside anyway.
In Roman times, it was a battle-ground, where gladiator vs gladiator, animal vs animal or animal vs gladiator fought in deadly fights. All this blood and gore was the emperor’s way of entertaining the people. If there was an animal fighting it was let up though a trapdoor in the floor, unless it was a big animal like a elephant then it was let up though a bigger entrance. The Colosseum was grand and coated in marble, but very gory for blood spattered everywhere quite frequently.
You probably know that ancient Rome was a very strong empire and won almost all of its battles, but what about the people? Well there were six different classes of people in ancient Rome:
- Patricians – were the richest and poshest
- Equites – were businessmen and bankers
- Plebeians – were the poorest but still citizens
- Provincials – were people who live in the empire, paid tax and were not citizens
- Foreigners – were not citizens and included everyone who lived outside of the empire
- Slaves – who were owned by others and bought and sold like property.
As you probably can see, the Roman empire was really something special. The Romans really made their mark and left us with many clues of how they lived their lives.