Daily Life in Ancient Rome


Mark Cartwright
published on 29 May 2019

The daily life of Roman citizens, at least in the big cities, was anything but dull. Assuming one could get away from one's civic duties and household chores, there were many activities available to distract and entertain. A trip to the baths was cheap and cheerful with the chance to catch up on the latest gossip with fellow bathers. The shops of the forum with their wares from around the Mediterranean world offered a busy and colourful spectacle even if one's purse was a little light. Rarer treats included gladiator battles and animal shows in the amphitheatre that most Roman towns possessed or if there were a circus, thrilling chariot races pulled in the crowds who often violently supported one team against another. Besides all that, there was theatre to watch, public executions to leer at, and perhaps best of all, the great religious feasts on public holidays, top amongst which was the role-reversal mayhem of Saturnalia.

In this collection, we look at all of the above and more - from the public venues to the sell-out performances, the street meals on offer, the private games, public parties, and even the medical practitioners who were no doubt busy on the mornings after.

The chariots themselves were colour-coded (red, white, green, and blue) and could be pulled by teams of 4, 6, 8 or 12 horses. Victorious charioteers not only became rich with large cash prizes but they also became the darlings of the crowd, particularly with those who had placed bets, which were sometimes huge.



3D Images

Questions & Answers

What was daily life like in ancient Rome for the poor?

The daily life for the poor in ancient Rome was likely a bit of a drudge. Low-paid jobs included attending to patrons of Roman baths or working in such trades as the fullers who washed clothes, Public entertainment like gladiator shows would have been affordable to most.

What was daily life like as a woman in ancient Rome?

Daily life for a poor Roman woman was not a lot different from poor men. Some women worked in taverns or as prostitutes. Wives of citizens had better lives but were more restricted to the home and looking after the family. Women could not participate in politics and often had inferior legal rights to men.

What was children's daily life like in ancient Rome?

Children's daily life in ancient Rome involved attending rudimentary schools or learning from a private tutor. Children played with toys like dolls and played sports. Children of poorer parents would have worked, especially in agriculture.

About the Author

Mark Cartwright
Mark is a full-time author, researcher, historian, and editor. Special interests include art, architecture, and discovering the ideas that all civilizations share. He holds an MA in Political Philosophy and is the WHE Publishing Director.

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