Ancient Roman FAQs

Minerva Leech

Writing

To be able to write at all in Rome, you had to be rich and have a good status. If you weren't, you couldn't buy papyrus or even have enough knowledge to write. It was a very elite activity.


Because Romans didn't have access to paper as we know it, they used papyrus, thin sheets made from an Egyptian plant of the same name. With the papyrus they used a quill and ink. There was another way of writing, on wooden tablets covered in a layer of wax. The wax was then carved away with a wooden stylus. These were not meant to be permanent.

Family

In the ancient days of Rome, families were structured much different than they are now. For instance, it was regular practice for families to own slaves that did the majority of the work. Fathers had legal control over their whole family and everyone in them, even having the chance to leave babies to die in nature if he didn't want them. Most women were under the control of a man their whole lives, being passed from their fathers to husbands. Though their were men who took advantage of their absolute power, there were certainly also some who loved their families and gave them more lineage.


Names were also different. Men had three names, a nomen (family name), praenomen (first name) and a cognomen (a type of nickname). Women only had the first two and slaves only had one. Daughters always took a feminine form of their fathers name, if there were more than one in a family, then they were numbered.

Boys' and Mens' Clothing

Free men wore togas, long pieces of fabric wrapped around a person's body. Tunics were worn underneath. Tunics were all slaves had to wear. As clothes were a big part of social status, the length of a man's toga had was a sign of their wealth. Rich men would have long flowing togas sometimes decorated with color, and poorer men had short, simple ones.


Boys would wear rings, broaches, and amulets meant to be protective. When they turned to men they got a personalized ring that had their name and some sort of image, used to stamp the wax on documents, authenticating them.

Girls' and Womens' Clothing

As children girls wore togas, but once they got married, they would wear a sleeveless stola with another tunic underneath. High status women wore a palla over their stola, a long rectangular piece of fabric that got draped over one shoulder. The color purple was used to ward off evil.

Citations

Text


"Writing and Language." World Eras. Ed. John T. Kirby. Vol. 3: Roman Republic and Empire, 264 B.C.E.- 476 C.E. Detroit: Gale, 2001. 170-172. World History in Context. Web. 8 Oct. 2015.


"Family." The Greenhaven Encyclopedia of Ancient Rome. Don Nardo. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2002. 153-155. World History in Context. Web. 8 Oct. 2015.

"Children." World Eras. Ed. John T. Kirby. Vol. 3: Roman Republic and Empire, 264 B.C.E.- 476 C.E. Detroit: Gale, 2001. 304-305. World History in Context. Web. 8 Oct. 2015.

WEISS, JESSICA. "Fathering and Fatherhood." Encyclopedia of Children and Childhood: In History and Society. Ed. Paula S. Fass. Vol. 2. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2004. 348-353. World History in Context. Web. 8 Oct. 2015.

"Names, Roman System of." Ancient Greece and Rome: An Encyclopedia for Students. Ed. Carroll Moulton. Vol. 3. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1998. 66-67. World History in Context. Web. 8 Oct. 2015.

"Names." The Greenhaven Encyclopedia of Ancient Rome. Don Nardo. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2002. 181-182. World History in Context. Web. 8 Oct. 2015.

Tortora, Phyllis. "Toga." Encyclopedia of Clothing and Fashion. Ed. Valerie Steele. Vol. 3. Detroit: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2005. 329-331. World History in Context. Web. 8 Oct. 2015.

"Clothing." Ancient Greece and Rome: An Encyclopedia for Students. Ed. Carroll Moulton. Vol. 1. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1998. 148-153. World History in Context. Web. 8 Oct. 2015.

McManus, Barbara F. "Roman Clothing, Part I." Roman Clothing, Part I. VROMA, Aug. 2003. Web. 8 Oct. 2015.

"Roman Clothing." Fashion, Costume, and Culture: Clothing, Headwear, Body Decorations, and Footwear Through the Ages. Ed. Sara Pendergast, et al. 2nd ed. Vol. 1: The Ancient World. Detroit: UXL, 2013. 157-174. World History in Context. Web. 8 Oct. 2015.

McManus, Barbara F. "Roman Clothing, Part I." Roman Clothing, Part I. VROMA, Aug. 2003. Web. 8 Oct. 2015.


Images


"Roman military diploma". Digital image. Wikipedia. Wikipedia, 1, Dec, 2008 Web. 11, Oct. 2015


"Pompeii family feast". Digital image. Wikipedia. Wikipedia, 13 Aug. 2011 Web. 11, Oct. 2015


"Tiberius Capri". Digital image. Wikipedia. Wikipedia, 13 Dec. 2011 Web. 11 Oct. 2015


"Fresco of woman with tray". Digital image. Wikipedia. Wikipedia, 20 Oct. 2008 Web. 11, Oct. 2015