Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Facts about Rome!

1-The Capuchin Crypt in Rome consists of five chapels and a corridor 60 meters long—and it is decorated with the bones of 4,000 deceased monks. The coffee drink Cappuccino takes its name from this order of monks who were known by their custom of wearing a hood or cappucio with their habits.

2-Some ancient Romans placed a phallic symbol over a door as a symbol of good luck and fertility, and miniature phalluses were often worn as lucky charms.

3-Roman physicians had a wide range of surgical tools, including catheters and speculum. Many modern medical terms still have Latin roots. The knee cap, for example, is the patella, which is Latin for “shallow dish.”

4-In English, to “decimate” means to completely destroy. The word comes from the Latin decimare, which evolved from the practice of killing every tenth Roman soldier if they tried to mutiny.

5-The snake was a common image in Roman art and jewelry and was believed to have powers over a family’s well-being.

6-Purple, the most expensive dye from Murex seashells, was reserved for the emperors’ clothes or senators. It became treason for anyone other than the emperor to dress completely in purple.

7-Sometimes gladiator blood was recommended by Roman physicians as an aid to fertility.

8-The Romans were the first civilization to use concrete and the arch with any notable skill.

9-Rome’s first university, La Sapienza (est. A.D. 1303), is the largest in Europe and the second largest in the world.

10-Ancient Romans believed that seeing an owl was a bad omen, sniffing cyclamen flowers would prevent baldness, and ringing bells eased the pain of childbirth. The presence of bees, which were considered sacred messengers of the gods, were seen as a sign of good luck.

11-In ancient Rome, an infant was placed at the father’s feet shortly after birth. If the father took the child into his arms, it showed he accepted responsibility for its upbringing. If the baby was not accepted, it was be abandoned and left to die.

12-Roman statesman Cato the Elder urged that babies should be bathed in the warmed-up urine produced by an adult who had eaten cabbage. If a child would not settle to sleep, he recommended placing goat dung in its diaper.

13-Contraception and abortion were well known in Rome. For example, a woman might insert olive oil, honey, or any clogging fluids into the vagina or use pessaries of wool. One doctor suggested “wearing the liver of a cat in a tube on the left foot.”

14January is named after the Roman god of beginnings, Janus, who has two faces—one looking back to the old year and the other looking forward to the new year. April is from the Latin aperire which means “to open,” perhaps referring to the opening of flowers.

15-Wealthy Roman women would smear lead paste on their faces to look fashionably pale. They might also use ass’ milk or crushed snails as a facial moisturizer. Crushed ant eggs were often used to highlight women’s eyebrows.

16-Toothpaste was regularly used by those who could afford it. Nitrum, probably either potassium or sodium carbonate, was burned and rubbed on the teeth to restore color.

17-The Romans did not use soap. To get rid of sweat and grime, they would cover themselves with oil and then scrape off the oil with special a scraper made of metal, wood, or bone called a strigil

18-Romans invented central heating and would warm rooms from under the floor using what was called a hypocaust, literally “heat from below.” Homes of some rich people had both running water and central heating.

19-Some wealthy women often wore wigs made from the blond hair of foreign slaves. Slaves could also dye a woman’s hair blond or red by blowing powder onto it. Slaves could be tortured for a styling hair poorly.

20-Some men were advised to use hippopotamus skin to make hair grow. Men and women would remove hair with bat's blood or hedgehog ashes, or keep hair from turning gray by coloring their hair with oil mixed with earthworm ashes.

21-The Romans had special toga cleaners called fullers. They would hang the togas over a round wooden frame, bleach them with burning sulfur, and press them in a large vat of water to get them clean.

22-Girls were expected to marry at the age of 13 or 14 in arranged marriages. Strewing nuts, symbolic of the casting off of childish toys and of fertility, was an important part of the wedding. The bride wore a saffron-colored wedding gown with a flame-red veil over her hair.

23-After the fall of Rome, Latin continued in a variety of dialects which later developed into the Romance languages such as Portuguese, Romanian, Italian, French, and Spanish. Though not directly related, Latin has also significantly influenced English.

24-The Romans had gods for doors (Forculus), hinges (Cardea), and thresholds (Limentinus).

25-The diet of ordinary Romans consisted mostly of starchy food and did not include many green vegetables, fresh meat, or fats. Hence, many children suffered from malnutrition.

26-Theories as to why Rome fell include political weakness and corruption, immorality, Christian pacifism and superstition, racial mixing, class conflict, environmental problems, a divided capital (Rome and Constantinople), plagues, and mass migrations of wild Germanic people. Another theory is that water supplied by lead pies caused widespread health problems including brain damage and impaired intelligence. Some scholars speculate that Rome never fell, it just adapted to a changing world.


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