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How often do you think about the Roman Empire?

How often do you think about the Roman Empire?

If you’re an avid watcher of TikTok, you or your child would probably have heard about the recent Roman Empire videos that have been circulating on social media platforms, where people ask their partners, “How often do you think about the Roman Empire?” What exactly is this trend? 🤔

Surprisingly, this trend reveals a general consensus that many men think about the Roman Empire - more often than we think. This trend has even become a phrase in itself. People are starting to use ‘my Roman Empire’ to describe things they think about daily, such as: This show is my Roman Empire. This is highly likely due to the fact that many of the things we use today were invented during the Roman Empire.

So with that, here are some wonderful inventions that you might not know descended from ancient Rome!

1. Cement

The opus caementicium, or Roman concrete, was a precedent of the modern cement we use today. It was made from quicklime, pozzolana (a type of volcanic ash found in Italy), and a pumice aggregate and is known to be better and stronger than the cement we use today. Roman concrete was used in many of the impressive structures still standing to this day, such as the beautiful Pantheon in Rome which is almost 2,000 years old!

2. Newspapers

The ancient Romans were the first to distribute a form of daily news to their citizens. Unsurprisingly, they were all handwritten in those early days and publicly displayed in Rome. These early newspapers covered a spectrum of news from political developments to military updates to scandalous stories. Though they were all only a page long, they served as an important source of information for citizens who had no other way of keeping themselves informed.

Julius Caesar, one of the most prominent Roman dictators, was the one who ordered the establishment of the Acta Diurna (translated from Latin as ‘Daily Gazette’), the daily Roman newspapers.

3. Postal Service

Besides homing pigeons, ancient Romans did send mail to each other through a state-mandated postal system called the Cursus Publicus (translated from Latin as ‘the public way’). It was set up by Emperor Caesar Augustus in 20 BCE to deliver mail for official and governmental correspondences, such as taxes and intelligence reports.

This ancient postal service was powered by mailmen riding their own horses and oxen. A surviving map called the Tabula Peutingeriana (translated from Latin as ‘the Peutinger Map’) shows the extent of the system’s reach - over a whopping 500 Roman cities!

4. Toilets

The public toilets in ancient Rome (known as ‘foricae’ in Latin) consisted of long stone benches with key-shaped holes every few feet for people to sit on, an invention that definitely resembles our modern toilet bowls! A channel of water, usually fed by wastewater from nearby baths, ran underneath these long stone benches. These were often built with donations from charitable upper-class citizens.

In a nutshell

The ‘Roman Empire’ phrase may just be another passing trend on social media, but it actually offers a fascinating look into the history and inventions of one of the world's most influential civilisations. So the next time you see a ‘Roman Empire’ TikTok, take a moment to appreciate the fascinating and enduring legacy of this ancient civilisation!

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