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Libation bowl A libation bowl was used to pour liquids into the fire on top of the altar. The smoke from this and from the burned flesh would ascend to the heavens to please the god. Above are some of the chicken bones. Curse tablet One way to seek revenge on enemies was to place a curse on them at the local temple. This lead plaque from the temple at Ulcy in Gloucestershire, England, asks Mercury to make the thieves who stole a valuable animal become sick until they return it.
Offering a sacrifice On this relief from Italy, a Silenus, or Greek woodland spirit, is shown making an offering at an altar. Sileni were companions of the god Bacchus Dionysus, p.
You can see the fire on the altar and the libation being poured. Divine messenger Above is a little bronze statue of Mercury, messenger of the gods, which was left as an offering at his temple at Uley. Perhaps it was a thank you offering for a favor granted, or a gift and reminder of a request not yet fulfilled. It was thought to be bad if the organ was deformed in any way. Sacrificial altar The way that the sacred chickens ate showed whether or not the gods approved of a plan Roman altars stood in the open, outside the front of the temple.
The cult figure of the god was kept inside. Boar to the slaughter An attendant leads a boar to the altar for sacrifice. Its inner organs would be burned on the altar as offerings to the gods, while the good meat was cooked for the faithful in a sacrificial meal. Roman religion could be very practical! Most Romans believed that illness could be caused by the gods, witchcraft, and curses.
Many sought supernatural cures for ailments, and traveled to distant healing shrines or spas such as Bath, England p. Doctors, almost all men and mainly Greek, were expensive and some were frauds.
Even skilled physicians could not save people from afflictions that today can be cured by a course of antibiotics or a few days in that hospital. Appendicitis, for example, today remedied by a routine operation, was always fatal. Romans had some very effective drugs, but with no real anesthetics, surgery was terrifying, agonizing, and dangerous. Despite the efforts of the best doctors, it is not surprising that people sought miracle cures from the gods!
Signet rings The rings above depict Asklepios see opposite , and Hygeia, an angellike figure symbolizing health. The rings were probably worn to ward off illness. Votive ear When visiting a temple to ask the god for a cure, people often left votive offerings of the afflicted part in this case a model of the right ear to remind the god of the requested cure.
Votive leg The bronze model leg above was dedicated to a god by a man called Caledus, probably in gratitude for a cured leg injury or infection. Physician and child This marble tombstone left shows a Greek doctor examining a child. Elecampane was used to help the digestion Fenugreek was used for treating pneumonia Healing herbs Many plant materials were known to have medicinal properties and were used to make drugs and ointments.
Fennel was thought to have calming properties Sage, a powerful healer, was sacred to the Romans Rosemary was widely used in Roman medicine 54 The Roman writer Pliny listed 40 remedies with mustard as the main ingredient Roman soldiers were fed a daily ration of garlic for health The saw has lost its handle Medical instruments On this page is a range of surgical and other instruments used by Roman doctors, mostly made in durable, well-finished bronze.
A spoon for giving liquid medicines Insula tiberina After a plague in the third century bce, a temple to Aesculapius, the Greek Asklepios , god of healing, was established at Rome.
It was sited on this small island in the Tiber River, which remained a center of healing right into medieval times. Decorative handle of probe Saw and forceps The very fine-toothed saw above was used for cutting bone during amputations.
Tweezerlike forceps left were used to extract splinters or fragments of tissue. End of bronze catheter Scalpel the iron blade has rusted away This is going to hurt… Folding knife Probe Before operations, probes like the one on the left were used to explore the wound.
The Roman wall-painting below shows the legendary hero Aeneas having an arrowhead removed from his thigh with pincerlike forceps. The Roman army had doctors skilled in the treatment of such wounds. Handle of speculum Central pivot Hooks Above is a double-ended traction hook for holding sinews and blood vessels out of the way during operations. On the left is a smaller hook to hold the incision open. Speculum This device was used by doctors for internal examinations. Catheter Fine bronze curved tubes like this were used for draining the bladder of patients who had difficulty passing urine.
Spatula for mixing and applying ointments 55 Squeezing the handles together above opened these prongs Death and burial The romans lived closer to death than we do today—their life expectancy was generally short, and disease was common. This was because of a combination of poor diet, lack of medical care, and hard living conditions. Children were particularly at risk, with perhaps one in three dying in infancy. There were many hazards even for adults; women were especially vulnerable to the risks of childbirth.
It is unlikely that more than half of the population survived to be fifty, although a few lived to their eighties and beyond.
Not surprisingly, death was commonplace in Roman communities, and there were many rites surrounding it. Funeral fashions changed, from a favoring of cremation burning to burying the body intact inhumation in later times. Today, study of these burials and the remains of the people themselves can reveal many details about them. In the catacombs In Rome, Christians buried their dead in catacombs—a series of underground tunnels and chambers with niches in the walls for coffins.
The underground chapels were there for holding funeral services rather than hiding from persecution p. Marble urn The ashes of the cremated dead were put in containers and deposited in family tombs or in larger cemeteries. The ivy leaves carved on it were sacred to Bacchus, and probably symbolize hope of rebirth. Remembering avita Many Roman tombstones echo their sadness across the centuries. The tombstone above is that of a year-old girl named Avita, shown as her parents wanted to remember her, with her books and her pet dog.
The Romans followed the Greek belief that the dead were ferried across the River Styx to Hades the Underworld , and so they often put a coin in the mouth of the body with which the soul could pay the ferryman.
The funeral would consist of a solemn procession to the cemetery for burial, or to the place of cremation. After burning, the ashes were collected and put into an urn below.
Buried under ash Street of tombs Roman religious law forbade burials within towns, a rule that also reduced the risk of disease. Cemeteries grew up outside the gates. The best spots were next to the road, where passers-by would see the graves and remember the people buried there, so giving them a kind of immortality.
Remembering the dead, especially the family ancestors, was very important to Romans. Pompeii is the most famous of these buried cities, which were frozen in time by the deep blanket of pumice and dust. Life ended so suddenly in Pompeii that we are able to learn a lot about the lives of the people there, and many bodies of people who failed to leave in time have been found.
It is not just the bones which survive. There is no inscription shapes are still to be found.
Often the shape of clothes and shoes can be made out. The shapes of animals, including a dog, have been preserved in the same way. These figures speak for themselves of the horror experienced—frozen in struggling poses, or desperately trying to shield themselves from the ashes and fumes. Fragments of burned bone from the urn 57 Country life Although roman life was centered in cities, most Plowing the land The bronze model above shows a British plowman at work with his team of cattle, preparing the ground for sowing grain.
He is well wrapped up and hooded against the cold. The farmworkers produced the food, materials, and fuel on which the splendid cities depended. It was a backbreaking life of endless toil for men, women, and children, many of whom were slaves. Much of Italy was divided into huge estates owned by very rich people whose main interests were in town, but whose wealth mostly came from their farmlands. The rich liked to escape the heat of town in the summer, and retreated to their estates where they could enjoy the countryside.
They built themselves fine houses villas on their estates or by Reaping hook the sea, with all the luxuries, Sickles like this were such as baths p. Bending down all day to use such a short-handled tool must have caused back pain. Emmer wheat A range of cereals was grown in Roman times, including emmer, an ancient variety of wheat, seen here both as ripened ears and as threshed grain ready to make into bread and other foods. Emmer has twice as much protein as modern breadwheats, and so is a good food.
Bringing the grain in from the fields, threshing, winnowing, and storing it, were jobs as toilsome as cutting it. The thrill of the chase Roman huntsmen enjoyed the thrill of chasing the wild boar with its great speed and razor-sharp tusks.
Its ferocity is well captured in the bronze statuette above. It could be very dangerous, as this mosaic from Sicily shows. A roman villa This finely preserved wall painting is from the villa of the empress Livia p. It reveals the elegance and magnificence of the very richest Roman country houses, with imposing and shady colonnaded corridors, gardens, and pools.
Bronze bull Keeping livestock for eating, dairy produce, and leather was a major part of Roman farming. Some areas of Italy were turned into huge slave-run cattle ranches, where bulls like this splendid beast were kept for breeding.
Winemaking Vine-growing, and also the cultivation of olive trees, were and still are very important in sunny Mediterranean lands like Italy. Olives and grapes were of course eaten, but the olive oil and grape juice were perhaps more important. Fermenting alcohol from grape juice to make wine was already an ancient art in Roman times, and in a world without coffee or tea, wine was even more widely consumed than it is today p.
Sheep shears Iron shears like these have been used for sheep shearing and cloth manufacture ever since Roman times. Fishing and catching fowl were a way of life for many. The Romans exploited the natural resources of the lands they ruled in many ways. Bronze goat Goats were kept by farmers for their milk, cheese, and meat. They pulled carts and wagons, or carried loads on their backs.
This bronze statuette shows that Roman donkeys were as stubborn as modern ones! For the only time in history, the whole Mediterranean and the lands around were at peace, and under one government.
The Roman navy suppressed pirates, and the army built the famous network of great highways. These were built with military needs in mind, but they helped to open up the Empire, and with the open seaways helped to tie the many peoples and provinces together. Trade and prosperity grew. Merchant ships carried the wines of Italy and Spain to Gaul and Britain, while huge freighters, the supertankers of their day, bore the grain harvest of North Africa to feed the people of the city of Rome.
Wild animals for the amphitheater were collected from many countries p. Soldiers, politicians, traders, and even some tourists traveled across the Empire, and with them spread new fashions and ideas. For instance, the Roman Peace helped Christianity to spread from its eastern homeland, along the roads and seaways, to the cities of the west.
Storage vessels These pottery jars, called amphorae, held Italian wine, mostly for selling to other countries. Their shape allowed them to be tightly packed together in the holds of merchant ships.
Other shapes of amphora were used to carry olive oil or fish sauce for cooking p. Dupondius, worth two asses As Aureus, worth asses A merchant ship Sestertius, worth four asses Ready money Coins were minted by the emperor mainly to pay the soldiers and to collect taxes. Almost everyone across the Empire used this common money, which made trading simpler. Well-preserved silver denarii can be found today as far away as India. Denarius, worth 16 asses A stone relief from Carthage shows a small coaster and its steersman.
Laden freighters sailed the seas in the summer months, as far as Britain and India. Lacking compasses, they hugged the coast, but feared to get too close in case the wind wrecked them on the shore. Sailing was dangerous, and almost stopped during the winter months. Both types are still used in many countries. Joints of meat hang from the rail above. The seated woman is probably a customer, holding a shopping list on her lap and waiting for her order.
Bronze steelyard Hook for weighing bags The weight is shaped like an acorn Official weight This bronze weight from Turkey is decorated with a bust of Hercules. It bears the names of two local officials.
Weights were checked by officials to stop traders from cheating with false measures. The item to be weighed was attached to the lower hook on the left, and the weight on the right was moved along until the arm balanced horizontally.
The weight could then be read off from a scale inscribed along the arm. The twilight of Rome Great changes overcame the Roman Empire after ce. There was economic chaos, and frequent civil wars, as generals once more struggled for power. Eventually Diocletian and his three coemperors managed to restore peace, but at a price; the Empire groaned under the weight of a growing and corrupt administrative system and an increasingly powerless army.
By ce, paganism was declining and being repressed. In ce the Empire was finally divided into two states, east and west.
They were to have very different fates.
The latin west… Below is a silver statuette representing Rome, the old, pagan, western capital. Both figures come from the fourth-century Esquiline treasure found in Rome.
Christ on the cross The 30 pieces of silver paid to Judas for his betrayal Below is a fanciful view of the baptism of Constantine, the first Christian emperor A detailed design on an ivory box depicts the crucifixion of Christ, and, on the left, Judas hanging himself. It dates to about ce. Christ was often shown without a beard in Roman times. The decline of the west As Christianity triumphed, the western Empire was beginning to break up under the strain of military defeat and economic crisis.
The Rhine frontier was overrun in ce, and the German peoples poured into the Empire. In ce Rome itself was sacked, and in ce the last western emperor lost his power.
Rome itself had fallen, but the eastern Empire lived on. Today it is called Istanbul. Some were skilled craftsmen, and made spectacular jewelry like the brooches on the left.
These were made by the Ostrogoths in about ce, from silver, gold, green glass and red garnet. When they finally burst into the western Empire they settled in the newly conquered lands and founded many of the states of modern Europe; the Franks turned Gaul into France, while the Angles and Saxons turned Roman Britain into Saxon England. Attila and the pope The Huns from central Asia were the most feared invaders of all, and devastated fifthcentury Europe.
This medieval drawing shows the Pope negotiating with their leader Attila in ce. It was believed that this saved the city of Rome from further destruction. Weapons of war These arms, an iron spearhead and two arrowheads, come from the grave of one of the Frankish conquerors of Gaul. By the time these were buried during the sixth century the new Frankish kingdom was established. During these centuries the barbarians were also gradually converted to Christianity.
The east survives The heavily populated and wealthy east also experienced wars, but it survived, more and more precariously, until Artemis, the Greek goddess of hunting Byzantine emperor Medallion The Christian Byzantines preserved the heritage of their Greek and Roman ancestors in their libraries and treasuries, and their artists still sometimes used pagan images, such as the figure on this sixthcentury gold medallion.
The bronze steelyard weight p. He looks more like a medieval king than a Roman emperor, and the style of art is also very different from earlier times; Byzantium was a medieval state.
Did you know? August, for example, honors Emperor Augustus, while March gets its name from Mars, god of war. The Romans believed that a goddess of chance, called Fortuna, controlled their lives.
Since she was permanently blindfolded and so unable to see them, her decisions were randomly made. The goddess Fortuna After the advent of Christianity, the events at the Colosseum declined in popularity, and large sections of the building were removed to provide construction materials for other projects.
This was still happening in the Middle Ages. If rebel Roman slaves were caught, they were crucified—nailed to a cross and left until they died. In the revolt led by Spartacus the gladiator in 73 bce, 6, slaves were crucified. On his journey over the Alps to invade Rome, in bce, the Carthaginian general Hannibal lost 14, men and 25 elephants. Nevertheless, it took Roman soldiers 17 years to defeat him.
When Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 ce, it buried the seaside town of Herculaneum under 65 ft 20 m of ash and debris. One Emperor, the mad Caligula 37—41 ce , tried to have his horse appointed as a senator. He also claimed to be a god, and had statues of himself placed inside the temples.
Many skilled artists, craftspeople, musicians, dancers, actors, and teachers in ancient Rome were slaves. Fontana della Fortuna in Fano, Italy Romans washed their dishes by rubbing them with sand, then rinsing them in clean water.
In a Roman household, the father had absolute power: Ornamental bust of Hercules Mount Vesuvius erupting In addition to military training, legionaries in the Roman army were given instruction in surveying, engineering, and building so they could construct camps, forts, and defensive walls.
The Roman culture and civilization owed a great deal to those of ancient Greece, which preceded it. The Romans worshiped many of the same gods as the Greeks, they developed their alphabet from the Greek one, they fashioned their coins on Greek prototypes, and much of their art and theater was based on Greek models.
The Romans invented an early form of concrete, which they made from lime mixed with volcanic soil. The language of ancient Rome was Latin, but many of the people the Romans ruled had their own languages or dialects. The Oscans, for example, who lived in Campania the area around Naples , had their own distinctive script.
At the Colosseum in ancient Rome, up to 5, pairs of gladiators fought and 5, animals could be slaughtered during a single event. To construct just the outside walls of the Colosseum, it took , cartloads of travertine stone, carried along a specially built road from Tivoli, in the hills outside Rome. If it were not for the teams of medieval monks who painstakingly copied out and illustrated them, however, many of these texts would have been lost forever. Information about politics, history, religion, and culture comes largely from Roman documents; their writing was very sophisticated, with an alphabet much like ours.
Roman art—in the form of mosaics, sculpture, and painting—show us clearly how people and everyday objects looked and what life in ancient Rome was like. Most Roman women were poorly educated. They could not vote or hold office, and few occupations, aside from priestess, were considered suitable for them. Livia, for example, the wife of Emperor Augustus, had no official role, yet it was widely accepted that she ruled alongside him, governed in his absence, and even held a duplicate of his state seal.
Q A How different were Roman homes from modern ones? Roman houses had less furniture in them than modern homes, and more decoration on the walls and floors, in the form of intricate mosaics, wall-paintings, and architectural details such as molding and paneling. Couches like sofas with arms but no back were used not only for sleeping, but also for relaxing and even while eating; meals were often served on small, individual tables and consumed in a reclining position.
Much less primitive than you might imagine, the homes of very wealthy citizens even had running water, flushing toilets, and central heating. Many of the things they ate and drank would be familiar to us: There was less meat in the Roman diet than modern people eat, but lamb and pork were popular and fresh fish, together with exotic birds like cranes, parrots, flamingoes, and peacocks, provided special-occasion treats for the very rich.
What was life like for women in ancient Rome? Roman woman portrayed in an eighteenth-century engraving Roman mosaic Record Breakers architectural triumph The still-standing Roman temple the Pantheon completed in 24 ce has a huge dome that was the largest in existence until the 19th century.
Arranged over several levels, it contained more than outlets selling everything from foods to luxury silks and spices. Between — ce, the cost of a bale of wheat in Egypt rose from 16 to , drachmas.
This comprehensive work was used as a textbook in Roman schools. He restored civil government in 27 bce and was Emperors wore given the name laurel wreaths Imperator Caesar Augustus. G allic rebel states — — — P ostumus V ictorinus T etricus Temporary rebellion A period of foreign invasions and civil wars allowed the growth of rebel states: They were finally defeated by the soldieremperor Aurelian.
Find out more The roman empire was extraordinarily rich in Beneath vesuvius The ruins of Herculaneum and Pompeii are open to visitors, who can glimpse life in the first-century Roman Empire by wandering through the ruined streets and markets, and touring the partly reconstructed villas.
Taken at the site, these plaster casts of a mother and child buried by the volcano right are on display at the Museo Archeologico in Naples. The internet also offers a wide range of Web sites devoted to ancient Rome generally, to specific aspects of the culture such as costume or religion, and to individual collections or visitor attractions. A great many objects—and a significant amount of our knowledge about the culture of ancient Rome—come from the extensive excavations undertaken over the last years at Pompeii and Herculaneum, two towns at the foot of Mount Vesuvius, near Naples.
The towns were completely devastated by the volcano in 79 ce. The blanket of volcanic fallout that killed thousands of people and buried their homes also preserved buildings, rooms, and possessions virtually intact, enabling archeologists to put together an illuminating picture of how the ancient Romans lived. Open to visitors, the villa is situated west of the hilltop town of Tivoli, just outside Rome. Such ornately decorated urns would have been owned only by the rich Double-edged sword called a gladius Arms and armor Ancient artifacts This spiral-handled urn would have been used to hold oil or wine.
Decorated in the free style associated with the fourth century bce, it is on display at the Villa Giulia outside Rome, a 16th-century country retreat that now houses the Museo Nationale Etrusco, a collection of early antiquities. Some also display reconstructions like this short double-edged sword, which was very effective for stabbing. It has its own ornate scabbard made from thin wood covered in leather and decorated with bronze. Worth seeing are: Museo archeologico nazionale, naples, italy This historical museum, remodeled in , has on display: City of bath The finest Roman remains in Britain are in the city of Bath, named after its original public baths.
Gladius handles were made of wood or bone Roman britain The Roman occupation of Britain left behind a number of well-preserved sites, including: Statue of Apollo Belvedere Roman france gaul Southern France is particularly rich in remains such as: Vatican museums The Vatican Museums are located in a number of different buildings, one of which is this 18th-century extension, built especially for their collection of classical statuary. Highlights of the collection include: Vatican museums, rome, italy Housed in palaces built for Renaissance popes, the Vatican Museums have an important collection of Roman artifacts, such as: Hermitage museum, moscow, russian federation This collection spans the era from the late Republic first century bce to the late empire fourth century ce.
Of particular interest are: Glossary Amphitheatre Oval-shaped arena, open to the sky, where gladiatorial contests were held. Catapult Military machine used by the Roman army during siege warfare for hurling stones and darts over enemy walls.
Amphora Two-handled jar with a narrow neck and often a tapered base, designed for wine, olive oil, or other liquid. Cavalry Mounted soldiers who were skilled at both scouting and fighting on horseback. Dictator A special Roman magistrate appointed with absolute power during state emergencies. Censor Government official who kept a record of all Roman citizens, awarded contracts for government projects, such as roads and temples, and revised the membership of the Senate.
The officer who commanded each century was called a centurion. Chariot Wheeled vehicle originally used in war, then in Roman races. Chariots pulled by two horses were called bigae, and those that were pulled by four horses were called quadrigae. Circus Long stadium with tiered seating where chariot races were held. Aqueduct City-State A conventional city that, with its surrounding territory, is also an independent political state.
Aqueduct Specially built channel underground or raised through which water was brought into Roman towns. Cohort Subdivision of the Roman army. Each cohort was divided into six centuries. Consul One of two elected officials who shared the highest position in the Roman Republic. Baldric Belt hung from the shoulder, across the body, to the opposite hip to hold a dagger or a sword.
Barbarian Originally a Greek term, later used in Rome for unfamiliar people living outside the Empire, whom they considered to be coarse and uncultured. Chariot race illustrated in mosaic Distaff Tool used to hold raw linen or wool fibers ready to be spun. Domus Private townhouse, often with a colonnaded back garden. Equestrian Originally a member of the Roman cavalry, equestrians had to be wealthy enough to afford the upkeep of a horse, and the term later came to mean a rich soldier or administrator whose rank was second only to that of a senator.
Couch Backless seat, sometimes with ornate ends, on which Romans relaxed and reclined to eat formal meals. Fasces Ceremonial bundle of rods with a projecting ax, which symbolized legal authority. Democracy A system of government in which all the people being governed have a voice, usually through elected representatives. Fibula Decorative brooch used to fasten cloaks and other items of clothing.
A wealthy Roman Forum Market square surrounded by public buildings in a Roman town. Public business and trade were carried out there. Catapult Basilica Imposing public building, often located in the forum where legal business and ceremonial events took place. Galley Ancient Roman or Greek warship powered by one or more rows of oars.
Caligae Sturdy military sandals with hobnail soles for reinforcement, designed for frequent long marches. Stone to be thrown went in here 70 Garum Strong-tasting sauce made from fish, salt, and flavorings.
Genius The personal protective spirit of a man ancient Roman meaning. Gladiator Trained fighter who battled other gladiators in public contests, sometimes to death. Gladius Short, comparatively light, sword worn by Roman soldiers on their right-hand side. Plaque Small slab made of clay, porcelain, or metal and decorated with either an engraving or a raised motif.
Plebian Roman citizen outisde the old aristocracy the patricians. Praetor High-ranking Roman magistrate, elected annually. Governor Top-ranking official, usually a senator, who administered a Roman province. Hypocaust Central heating system installed in grand Roman houses that worked by circulating warm air from a fire under the floor and through cavities in the walls. Insula Sizeable accommodation block made up of multiple rented units.
Juno The personal protective spirit of a woman. Lararium Shrine dedicated to household gods lares , which was found in every Roman home.
Laurel Leaves from the bay plant woven into a circlet or wreath and worn on the head to symbolize power. Laurel wreath Procurator Official responsible for collecting taxes and paying the army and civil service in Roman provinces. Province Roman territory that lay outside Italy. Pugio Double-edged dagger worn by Roman soldiers on their left-hand side.
Thermae Roman public bath. Thermopolium Stall selling hot food on the street in a Roman city or town. Toga Formal garment worn by male Roman citizens, which consisted of a length of fabric wrapped around the body and draped over one shoulder.
Togas were usually white; those worn by senators had wide purple borders. Tribune A representative in government, elected by the plebeians to protect their interests, see also PLEBEIAN Triumph Procession of honor into Rome by a victorious general and his soldiers, along with their prisoners and plundered treasure.
Tunic Simple sleeveless shirt, tied at the waist and reaching to the knees, worn by Roman men. Villa Luxurious country home belonging to a wealthy Roman family. Quaestor Elected government official responsible for the finances of the state.
Republic A state where power is held by the people or their representatives, rather than by an emperor, monarch, or tyrant. Mosaics are made from thousands of tiny pieces of colored stone Legion Main division of the Roman army containing 3,—6, men legionaries , organized into 10 smaller units called cohorts. Mosaic Floor or wall decoration made from small pieces of glass, stone, or tile cemented into position to make a picture or a pattern.
Murex Type of mollusk from which precious purple dye was distilled.
Orator Skilled and commanding public speaker. Papyrus Egyptian water reed whose stem was pressed to make the paperlike sheets on which Roman documents were written.
Paterfamilias Male head of the family and household, who had absolute power over his wife, children, and servants.
Peristyle Colonnaded garden, usually at the back of a Roman house. Mosaic Scabbard The sheath that holds and protects a sword. An officer in the Roman army might wear a highly decorated sword and scabbard as a symbol of his position. Senate Council of rich noblemen who advised the Roman consuls on matters of law, government, and administration. Members of this council were called senators. Slave Man, woman, or child who is owned by another person as their property, to do work of some kind.
Standard Distinctive flag or statuette, especially of a military unit. Louis for the wall chart; Margaret Parrish for Americanization. Picture credits: Berlin 22cr, 25br, 32cl, 39tl, 46bl; British Film Institute: Allan Cash Photolibrary: Peter Bill, p. DK Images: Bridgeman Art Library fbr Jacket: British Museum, London, England: Ermine Street Guard: For further information see: Read more.
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People learned long ago just how useful this black substance, called bitumen or pitch or tar , could be. Stone Age hunters used it to attach flint arrowheads to their arrows. At least 6, years ago, people living in the marshes of what is now Iraq learned to add bitumen to bricks and cement to waterproof their houses against floods. Soon people realized that bitumen could be used for anything from sealing water tanks to gluing broken pots.
Over 2, years ago in Sichuan, the Chinese began to drill wells. Using bamboo tipped by iron, they were able to get at brine salty water underground. They needed the brine to extract salt for health and preserving food. When they drilled very deep, they found not just brine but also oil and natural gas.
It is not known whether the Chinese made use of the oil, but the natural gas was burned under big pans of brine to boil off the water and obtain the salt. They coated their reed boats with bitumen inside and out to seal them against leaks. The idea was eventually adopted by builders of wooden boats throughout the world. Known as caulking, this method was used to waterproof boats right up until the days of modern metal and fiberglass hulls. To King Nebuchadnezzar reigned — bce , it was the most important material in the world—a visible sign of the technological achievements of his kingdom, used for everything from baths to mortar for bricks.
Nowhere was it more crucial than in the Hanging Gardens, a spectacular series of roof gardens lush with flowers and trees. Bitumen was probably used as a waterproof lining for the plant beds, and also for the pipes that carried water up to them.
This was known as iddu, after the city of Hit or Id in modern Iraq where bitumen was found. A thinner form called naft giving us the modern word naphthalene burst into flames too readily to be useful. By the 6th century bce, the Persians had realized that naft could be lethal in battle. Persian archers put it on their arrows to fire flaming missiles at their enemies. Much later, in the 6th century ce, the Byzantine navy developed this idea further. The first known use of boiling oil was by Jews defending the city of Jotapata against the Romans in 67 ce.
Later the idea was adopted to defend castles against attack in the Middle Ages. However, the technique was probably not used very often, since oil was extremely expensive. Until recently, scholars believed that bitumen was never used for mummification, and that the name came simply from the way mummies turned black when exposed to air.
It was shipped to Egypt from the Dead Sea, where it could be found floating on the water. Sited on the coast of North Africa, in what is now Tunisia, Carthage was so powerful in its heyday that it rivaled Rome.
Under the great leader Hannibal, the Carthaginians invaded Italy. Rome recovered and attacked Carthage in bce. Oil for light For millions of years, the only light in the long darkness of night aside from the stars and Moon came from flickering fires or burning sticks. Then about 70, years ago, prehistoric people discovered that oils burn with a bright, steady flame. They made the first oil lamps by hollowing out a stone, filling it with moss or plant fibers soaked in oil, and then setting the moss on fire.
The oil could be animal fat, beeswax, or vegetable oil from olives or sesame seeds. Sometimes it was actually petroleum, which prehistoric people found in small pools on the ground. Oil lamps remained the main source of lighting until the invention of the gas lamp in Victorian times. Other popular sports include gymnastics and ping-pong, as well as basketball, baseball, and soccer.
Many still practice calligraphy, using special brushes for writing characters, and the drama and costumes of Chinese opera have thrilled audiences for more than 1, years. These days, modern pop music is becoming more popular, especially among young people. Droughts and floods often make even this land difficult to farm. Chinese farmers working in waterlogged paddies 24 More rice grows in China than anywhere else in the world, especially in the warm, wet climate of the south.
Rice grows in wet fields called paddies. They may be located on flat river basins or on terraces cut into hillsides. Many farmers wade into the wet paddies to plant the rice seedlings by hand. Other important crops include wheat, soy beans, sweet potatoes, and many kinds of fruit. In fact, apples were first grown in ancient China.
Life is often difficult in the country. People can earn more in the city and then send money home to help their families. Most of these minority groups live in the countryside. Moving to the city usually means living far from home, and perhaps only visiting once a year.
In some families, both parents find jobs in the city. Grandparents or other relatives care for the children back in the country. A grandfather takes his grandson home from school. The biggest city, Shanghai, has almost 17 million people, including several million residents who live there temporarily for work.
The population of Beijing, the capital city, is 14 million. Shanghai business center 28 At least 50 cities in China have populations of one million or more. As more people move to the cities, the cities grow upward and outward. In some cities, too many people have moved in too quickly, and there are not enough homes and jobs for everyone.
Chongqing More than 30 million people live in the city of Chongqing [chong-ching], and the surrounding area. This very large city is in central China.
Once, China was known as a nation of bicycles. However, with millions of new cars on the roads each year, there are massive traffic jams and high levels of pollution. Maglev train The Maglev train in Shanghai is one of the fastest trains in the world. It takes less than eight minutes to travel along the mile 30 km track. Homes are arranged around the sides of the courtyards. Due to the rapid growth of cities, many hutongs are being knocked down to make way for modern apartment buildings that can house more people.
Many work in factories, making goods that are sold around the world. Factory workers often live in rooms on the factory site. Some factory sites are so big, they are like small cities. New hotels and restaurants are opening all the time, due to the increase in tourism, and they need workers as well.
Unfortunately, many others still struggle to get by. The Yangtze flows 3, miles 6, km across the center of China, from the Qinghai [ching-hi] Plateau in the west to the East China Sea near Shanghai. It is ideal land for farming. Along the riverbanks are large cities, such as Chongqing, Wuhan, and Nanjing. Many boats sail along the eastern part of the Yangtze, from Chongqing to the coast. Traditional fishing nets are often used to catch fish in the Yangtze.
This enormous dam prevents flooding in areas downriver and uses river water to generate electricity. However, to build the dam, an area of spectacular natural beauty was purposely flooded, and entire towns and villages disappeared under the water.
Several million people had to move away. The dam has also harmed wildlife and the environment. The Three Gorges Dam has changed the Yangtze forever—both for the better and for The Lesser Gorge before the floods raised the water level the worse. These creatures were white and had long, narrow beaks.