Tuesday, 14 June 2005
A Snapshot of Ancient Rome
The streets of Rome were incredibly noisy all day. They were crowded with people and animals and ere not very clean either, in fact in modern terms we would be accurate if we said that they were filthy.
Rome was full of people from all over the empire, most of them there to find their fortune and many had lost alot in the process or ended up as slaves. The majority of the people lived in high rise tenement flats (up to 6 stories high) which were usually very badly built. The buildings were almost entirely made of wood as well, which meant that they were extremely susceptible to fire. It was not unusual to see buildings like this collapse all of a sudden. Landlords would allow bad workmanship and would use cheap materials, as they could make alot of money by the whoel process of re-building. Most landlords were so corrupt like this and would also employ thugs which they would send to beat up unfortunate tenants who had not paid their rent.
There were pleanty of baths to go to and it was cheap to go too, so all Romans made good use of them. Sanitation was not the best, despite the famous Cloaca Maxima which dealt with the sewage, and emptied it all into the Tiber. During the summer the river was fetid as the tides did not really carry any of the waste away; a nasty stench rose from the river. Due to the location of Rome, malaria was very common and many people died of it. During the winter, there were many floods and the houses on the banks of the Tiber were flooded and often destroyed. Typicaly poor people lived in these, but there were some villas in the lower risk areas.
The emperors of course lived on top of the Palatine Hill and didn't have to worry about any of this. They even had a connection with the Circus Maximus, so they did not have to leave the palace to go and watch the chariot racing but would rather just walk through the passage leading to the venue. The Circus Maximus by the way, was 1000 metres long (1 kilometre) so it was massive. Of course Rome was filled with huge buildings, most of them temples to the Gods and to deified emperors.
Posted by Anna at Tuesday, June 14, 2005