Ancient Roman FAQs

Camilla Needham


The Romans had their own way of writing. They used papyrus as paper, which was provided to them by the Nile River. For a writing on papyrus they used a quill dipped in ink. To write on clay or wood coated in wax, the Romans would used a pointed stick. Another resource they used to write on were skins of cattle, sheep, and goats. They often used calf skin too, called vellum. To make the ink, they used vegetable dye mixed with iron sulfate. Dry reeds were made into pens as writing utensils.


In Roman times, the families were a little different then they are today. In Rome, they had slaves, which they made a part of their family. Their family also consisted of a mom, dad, and children. The father could decide whether they would keep the baby or not by it being placed at his feet. If he picked it up then they would keep it, but if he left it then he did not want it. They included all of their family, cousins, aunts, grandparents, and uncles. Where as today, we just have immediate family. In their households they include everyone. Whoever the eldest man was, he was head of the whole family. Today it is just usually the father. The woman in Roman families usually got pregnant at a young age, like 11 or 12. They also married young in Roman times. Mothers were usually in charge of raising the kids, as well as the slaves.

Roman names were sort of different from modern day names. The Roman men usually had three names. If a woman was to marry, they had an option not to change their names to the man's. If you were a boy, your nomen would end in -ius, but if you were a girl it would end in -ia. Slaves were an exception to three names. They only had one. n If the slave was then freed, he/she would take the praenomen of the liberator and his/her original name.

Clothing- Men's and Boys'

Men and women in Rome dressed differently and according to class. Men wore chiton's with stitching at the top and holes for the arms and head. Wealthy men wouldn't go outside without a toga over their tunic. Poorer men wore much similar clothing, but much lower quality. If you were a wealthy man, then your clothing was marked, and if you were not, then your clothing was not marked. Men wore one piece of jewelry, which was usually a gold personalized signet ring. Some people wore numerous rings and broockes to pin up their cloaks. Boys often wore a bulla, neckchain, and round puches. If the boy was in the upper class, then his bulla was gold.

Clothing-Women's and Girls'

Girls dressed differently than the boys. They wore cloaks called pallas and long dresses called stolas. Girls whose parents weren't slaves wore the same things as free-born boys, which was a tunic over a toga. They usually combed their hair into a braid and tied it with one band. Unlike the men, women wore lots of jewelry. The jewelry consisted of gold necklaces, earrings, and rings.