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A Day in Ancient Rome

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If I had to choose an ancient time or civilization to live in I would choose Rome. I would choose Rome because I find their lifestyle to be more down to earth then most other ancient civilizations, specifically the Greeks. Their artwork, building, and excellent military are major points of interest to me. Further, in examining what daily life would be like for me in that time I chose to research both the life of a patrician, or upper class man, and the life of a soldier. In the following paragraphs I will try to depict what life was like in ancient Rome for both an upper class/patrician man and/or a Roman soldier. I will cover activities such as eating habits, clothing, housing, marriage and family life, and hobbies.

For starters Rome was a busy place to live; it had an intricate road system, wonderful elaborate buildings including both temples and public buildings. It also had wealthy homes, which were known for their entrance atriums, where family life took place. Whatever strata of life you belonged to there was always something to do such as festivals, fights, worship, and even theatre.

For the most part soldiers ate well as did the patricians. They enjoyed fruits and vegetables, different types of bread (sometimes dipped in wine), and fresh meat and fish. What I found most interesting about their diet was that they used honey as a sweetener. They also didn't use forks and knives and instead ate with their hands. In the case of most patricians they had their food cut up by slaves. In contrast, soldiers, when eating with their legion, tended to be a bit more savage, at least in regards to how they ate their food. However, dinner parties were a bit more elaborate. They were characterized by having entertainment; heavy wine drinking and relaxing on couches for hours (Steele 29). These diner parties were usually attended by men only.

Clothing in ancient Rome, at least for men, was quite simple. Most men wore togas, which were white sheets that were arranged in some sort of fashionable way. However, togas were short lived for a multitude of reasons. The biggest problem was that they weren't very weather friendly and secondly they weren't very comfortable. Romans then switched to tunics, which almost resembles a short dress (Dupont 261). The advantages of these tunics were that they were more comfortable and were being made in both linen for the heat of the summer and wool for the colder winter weather. Other then togas and tunics there wasn't much variety in fashion amongst Roman men. The only variable that I discovered in my research was hair styles. In early Roman times men were more prone to having longer hair and facial hair. However, as times progressed Romans opted for a clean shaven look with shorter styled hair.

Soldiers, on the other hand, had quite different attire and although they weren't always in need of the protection this attire offered they still wore it on a daily basis. There were three basic styles of armor in Roman times. First, and most popular, was called mail, or more appropriately described as chain mail. This type of armor was made of iron rings each riveted with four other riveted rings. This material was not easily breached by most sharp objects but was still somewhat light which made it very popular amongst soldiers. The next type of armor is scale armor which was made of small iron plates which had a leather backing. This armor also covered your entire chest and shoulders and had a locking construction in front of the stomach plates. The last type of body armor used in Rome was called segmental armor which was very similar to scale armor but was lighter and allowed the soldier to be more mobile. This type of armor became available to soldiers a few centuries after mail and scale armor was.

Although the home life of a patrician man was not quite as clean and organized as is in today's modern societies it may have helped lay the groundwork for how we live today. Most patricians had single family homes with multiple generations of the family (i.e. grand parent and even great grandparents). The majority of these houses were decorated with paintings right on the walls and even sometimes artwork on the floor as well. Homes however, usually had little to no furniture and bare, sometimes even dirt floors. Most of these homes were equipped with bedrooms, a kitchen, a dining room and an atrium for family time. Yet, only the richest citizens of this society had toilets and baths in their home. Because of this Romans relied heavily on public baths.

At first thought these public baths might seem inconvenient and unsanitary. However, the Romans viewed them as quite the opposite. These public bath houses were looked upon as a place not just to bath but to shop, read, get your hair cut, or even eat. They were so popular that at one time there were more then 800 public baths in Rome (Dupont 262). Both men and women enjoyed these bath houses and, most, on a daily basis. The only stipulation was separate hours for both men and women.

After a bath, your average patrician man might be headed for the forum which was the major marketplace and center of commerce in



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