What time is it? Adventure time for students!
It is easy to see why the City of Rome is so popular with visitors. It has a certain charm and sophistication about it that not many other cities have. The history of Rome is engrained into every schoolboy and girl, and as a result we tend to know a lot about it from an early age. However here are 20 interesting facts that you may not know about the capital.
- For many years the city of Rome had the highest population in Europe. With over 1 million people it remained this way until the mid-19th century when London overtook it.
2. The Capuchin Crypt in Rome is a popular tourist destination and contains the bones of over 400 Capuchin monks. The popular Italian Coffee drink Cappuccino was so named because the Capuchin monks wore a type of hood known as a Cappuchio with their robes.
3. In Roman times Phallic symbols were often placed on doors as a sign of good luck. In addition miniature Phalluses were worn as a good luck charm.
4. The word decimate comes from the Latin ‘decimare’ which meant to kill every tenth Roman soldier if they attempted any kind of mutiny.
5. Emperor Trajan built the first ever shopping mall. It consisted of over 150 outlets over several levels selling everything from spices to clothes.
6. On the Coliseum’s official inauguration, over 5,000 animals were slaughtered and during its lifetime it is estimated that over 500,000 people have also been put to death or killed in gladiatorial combat
7. In ancient Rome divorce used to be extremely quick and easy. Either party has to say the phrase “keep what’s yours to yourself’” (in Latin of course). The children always remained with the father and provided the woman hadn’t committed adultery, the dowry was returned to her
8. The largest church ever constructed is St Peters Basilica located in the Vatican city
9. Rome has the only museum in the world which is entirely dedicated to Pasta, detailing its origins and a variety of very old pasta making machines.
10. St Peter’s Basilica had stood for over 1000 years until it had to be rebuilt in the 1500’s due to near collapse
11. The city of Rome was founded in 753 BC and is known as the ‘Eternal City’
12. The founding of the city is celebrated on the 21st April every year. Celebrations include fireworks, Roman Banquets and vast parades
13. Ancient Romans did train female slaves to fight as gladiators
14. For all the cruelty that Romans dealt out to other humans, they were deemed to be very affectionate towards their pets. Some even wore bronze tags. One read ‘hold me and take care of me if I have strayed and once I have had a good night’s sleep and a full stomach, return me to my master’
15. In AD 64 a large fire destroyed over half the city. It was said that the emperor Nero had it started on purpose so that he could rebuild the entire city as he wanted it to be. The saying ‘fiddling whilst Rome burns’ refers to Nero Playing his Lyre whilst the city burned down
16. There were only twelve hours in a Roman day and they were measured by a sundial.
17. Many Roman children suffered from malnutrition because they consumed a mainly starch based diet.
18. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the city’s population fell from 1 million to less than 50,000. Today Rome has around 2.7 million inhabitants
19. After Rome fell the once magnificent Coliseum became overgrown with tropical plants. The reason for this was said to be that exotic animals transported seeds when they were used for fighting.
20. During the Middle Ages Rome’s Coliseum became a fortress for the cities two warring families.