Life in Ancient Rome

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Where Was Ancient Rome?

The Italian peninsula juts into the Mediterranean Sea and is located centrally in the area. Rome’s city state began as a village in central Italy, on one of seven hills along the Tiber River. As more villages were established, they united as one city.

Who Were the Ancient Romans?

The Roman Empire began as a small town on the Tiber River, at a convenient crossing point. Rich agriculture attracted Latins and started to settle on the Palatine Hill in 1000 B.C.E. Their simple villages of thatched huts slowly united to form Rome in 753 B.C.E.

Rome became a wealthy city, during the Etruscan monarchy. Engineers have constructed drainage systems, aqueducts, and huge stone temples. Trade has expanded to include Northe Africa, Greece, Anatolia, France, Spain, and the Black Sea countries. Rich mineral deposits of Etrurian copper, silver, and iron were traded to the Greeks and the Phénicians. They learnt pottery making, fighting methods, and adopted brightly colored clothing as a result of their trade with Greece. Etruscans had been skilled craftsmen and engineers.

Daily Life in the Roman Empire

Most Roman citizens lived in huts made of sun-dried bricks within the country. Smoke from cooking fires rose across a hole in the roof center. The first peoples were shepherds and farmers, and were the Roman army’s backbone. In the spring, they planted crops, harvested in the fall, and served in the Summer Arm .They spent so much time away from home as the empire expanded, that they had to sell their farms. Common people had very little of their own property and grown food for their families and for sale on leased land.

Wealthy men bought land from the farmers, cultivated crops, and raised livestock for profit. The landowners were constructing grand homes, or villas, and servants and slaves were working on their large properties. The hole in the farmer’s roof was an atrium, or courtyard, around which many small rooms without windows were located.

Most of the townspeople lived in apartment buildings. As land became scarce, the landlords began building upwards. The buildings were restricted by law to no more than six stories, so most of them were just four or five stories high. Many people were crowded into small spaces by the landlords, and even whole families could live in one room.

Roman cities were planned in an orderly pattern, with buildings. Sewage and water systems, pools, arenas, and theaters were installed. An open space, or forum, was in the center of the city surrounded by markets, government buildings, and temples. The wealthy had lived in fine brick or stone houses. Romans constructed aqueducts to bring fresh water to the city from the hills, and canals to carry waste away and drain lakes so that land could be farmed. Entertainment was offered in large arenas called amphitheater. Slaves were trained as gladiators and battled one another or animals cheered as crowds.

What Did Ancient Romans Eat?

Workers supplied a variety of foods on big country estates. In the valleys they cultivated maize, rye, barley, vegetables, and fruits. Olive groves and vineyards were planted on less fertile hillsides. To keep them cold, the olive oil and wine were stored in half buried pottery pots. On the estates sheep and goats grazed, and pigs, cattle, and poultry were raised by farmers.

Food was abundant, but the diet of the laboring man differed from that of the wealthy. Breakfast was a simple cheese meal and stale bread dipped in wine but most likely poorer families ate little before going to work. Families living in the apartments didn’t have a place to cook.

What Did Ancient Romans Wear?

Romans wore simple clothing made from linen or wool. Each man, woman and child wore a tunic hanging to or below the knees. The ankle-length tunic of a woman, called a stola, was fastened to the shoulders and arms with buttons. The edges of patrician tunics were trimmed in bands of blue, yellow, or gold fringe. For a belt a leather thong can be tied around the waist.

The Architecture

  • The Romans constructed bridges to carry drinking water into their cities, called waterways.
  • In ancient Rome, the lives of the people were focused on the seven hills that built the town on.
  • The water channels are supported on the rows of strong arches to take the weight of all the water which flows with them.


  • Epics of Roman military history are some of the oldest Roman literary works.
  • In the following years Roman authors began experimenting with various types including tragedies, history, comedy and even poetry.

The Codex: the First Bound Book Ordered by Caesar

  • Throughout the Roman Empire, people stored texts in rock or clay slabs, which were heavy to carry and also fragile in nature.
  • The use of papyrus or prehistoric paper has also been limited to their storage problem.
  • It was here that Julius Caesar wanted to make a collection of papyrus to create a codex.
  • This provided a safer and more manageable way to safeguard the information.

Social Care and Welfare

  • Ancient Roman administrations also developed programs of the welfare type.
  • The first initiation was the Lex Frumentaria, and it was by this regime that the Romans gave grains to the poor at a low price.
  • Such an act had a profound impact on the low income group’s citizens


  • Music in ancient Rome was influenced by the Greeks as was much of the culture.
  • Music from a number of instruments, such as Corno and Toba, used for military orders, trumpet and trumpet to be used during ceremonies, was an important part of Roman life.
  • The Roman amphitheaters, which often featured fights and wrestling, were also places to perform musically.


The ancient Romans were able to build an Empire that stretched across the known world through their brilliance, common sense and skill on the battlefield. Nevertheless, Roman influence can be felt most strongly today in law and in politics. A great deal of European legislation still derives from Roman law. Ideas of fairness (true justice), equality before the law, the rights of people and elected official.


Cite this paper

Life in Ancient Rome. (2021, Jul 18). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/life-in-ancient-rome/

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