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26Roman Gladiators

Roman Gladiators rarely fought to the death or against animals and were considered celebrities of their time. - Source

27. The Roman Empire was not the largest empire in history. It is in fact only the 28th largest empire in history. - Source

28. There is a legend that flexible glass was invented around 20 A.D. when a craftsman presented Tiberius Caesar a bowl of this glass, whereupon he threw it to the ground and it did not shatter. Fearing the implications of such a material, the Caesar had the man beheaded, with the formula now lost forever. - Source

29. A Roman merchant who sold fake jewels was sentenced to face a lion in the arena. When the gate finally opened, a chicken walked out. Emperor Gallienus proclaimed “He practiced deceit and then had it practiced on him.” - Source

30. A Roman politician named Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus was twice given near-absolute authority over the Roman Republic and he gave it up twice. - Source


Roman Emperor Commodus was known to fight exotic animals in the arena, often to the horror of the Roman people. He is said to have once killed 100 lions in a single day. For each appearance in the arena, he charged a million sesterces (ancient Roman coin), straining the Roman economy. - Source

32. According to moderate estimates, the Romans possibly lost over 40,000 men in a single day at the Battle of Cannae (216 B.C.), which may have accounted for somewhere between 5-10% of the total Roman male population during the late 3rd century B.C. - Source

33. The whoopee cushion was invented by a 14-year old Roman Emperor named Elagabalus, who used it frequently on guests. He was assassinated by the time he was 18. - Source

34. The Roman Empire typically avoided using slave rowers, instead preferring freemen, because they were more motivated. - Source

35. The Roman Emperor Nero married two men, once as the bride (Pythagoras (freedman)) and once as the groom.

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36Marcus Licinius Crassus

A Roman general named Marcus Licinius Crassus, also one of the richest men in history used to purchase buildings on fire for a very low price and then put the fires out with his trained army of 500 slaves and rebuild them. If the owners refused to sell their property, he would not engage in firefighting. - Source

37. In 458 B.C., Roman farmer Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus was named the absolute dictator of Rome during a crisis. After achieving victory, he resigned and returned power to the Senate. His resignation of absolute authority is often cited as an example of outstanding leadership, serving the greater good and civic virtue. - Source

38. We have no idea where the body of the last Roman Emperor (Constantine XI Palaiologos) is buried. When Constantinople fell to the Turks, he tore off his Imperial regalia before leading a last stand, making him difficult to identify. He was most likely buried in a mass grave with his men. - Source

39. Tic Tac Toe is a dumbed down version of a game called "Nine Men's Morris" from the Roman Empire. - Source

40. There is a fish named Salema porgy that causes hallucinations when eaten and it was used as a recreational drug by the Roman Empire.

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The Romans had a celebratory day (Saturnalia) where the roles of master and slave were reversed. - Source

42. Unlike most bronze sculptures of Roman emperors, the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius was not melted down during the Middle Ages because Europeans of that time thought it was a statue of Constantine, the first Christian emperor of Rome. - Source

43. During Roman times, salt was worth its weight in gold and soldiers were sometimes paid in salt, hence the word "salary". - Source

44. Emperor Nero competed in the Olympic Games. Nero did terribly and was nearly killed in a chariot race, but was nonetheless declared the winner in every event he competed in. - Source

45. When Julius Caesar discovered giraffes, he named them "Camelopards" since they reminded him both of camels and leopards. - Source


Caligula was not the real name of 3rd Emperor of the Roman Empire. Germanicus’ troops called Gaius Caesar “Caligula” as a boy, meaning “Little Boots” or “Booties.” The nickname stuck and he hated it.- Source

47. The Roman senator Cato the Elder took the threat of Carthage so seriously that he would end all of his speeches, no matter the subject, with the phrase, “And, further, I think that Carthage should be destroyed.” - Source

48. The Roman Emperor Valentinian got so mad at Quadi envoys who blamed the Romans for a recent war between the two that he burst a blood vessel in his skull and died while yelling at them. - Source

49. Romans kept track of the years by naming them after the two consuls that year (e.g. the consulship of Vinicius and Haterius) When Julius Caesar essentially ruled alone during his "co-consulship" with Bibulus, Romans joked by referring to that year as the consulship of Julius and Caesar.- Source

50. A Roman envoy stopped the Seleucid invasion of Egypt by drawing a circle around Antiochus IV Epiphanes and daring him to literally cross the line.- Source


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