What have the romans done for us facts
Jul 07, · The Romans set about expanding the cuisine to suit their tastes, introducing at least 50 new species of plant foods, most originating in the Mediterranean Basin. These included fruits, such as peach, pear, fig, mulberry, sour cherry, plum, damson, date and pomegranate, along with almond, pine nut, sweet chestnut and walnut. The Romans first had the idea of selling hot food from shops and bars. They invented take-away food. The Romans did gave us our calendar, with seven days in a week, in a year, and in a leap year. Many of the months are names after Roman gods and emperors. Back to Ancient History.
Rabbits hit the headlines earlier this year. A fragment of tibia, unearthed in the s during an archaeological dig at Fishbourne Roman Palace in West Sussex, was radiocarbon dated by researchers at the University of Exeter.
The analysis showed it to be almost 2, years old, suggesting its owner was last hopping during Roman times. This remarkable discovery pushes back the presence of the European rabbit — a native of the Iberian peninsula — in Britain by more than a millennium. But the question remains: were the Romans responsible for introducing rabbits to Britain, rather than the Normans, as was previously thought? The Exeter research now shows that at least one rabbit was brought to Britain during the Roman occupation, but the species does not seem to have established in the wild.
It seems most probable that the Fishbourne rabbit was a cossetted and likely short-lived pet, rather what have the romans done for us facts the outrider of a mammalian invasion. Notwithstanding the odd amphora of wine, olives, shellfish and other rarefied menu items that some pre-Roman elites are known to have imported, the locals subsisted on a diet heavy in oats and barley. A modest range of vegetables was cultivated, but dairy products were seasonal treats and meat a luxury.
The Romans set about expanding the cuisine to suit their tastes, introducing at least 50 new species of plant foods, most originating in the Mediterranean Basin. These included fruits, such as peach, pear, fig, mulberry, sour cherry, plum, damson, date and pomegranate, along with almond, pine nut, sweet chestnut and walnut.
They brought vegetables, from cultivated leek and lettuce, to cucumber, rape and possibly turnip, and new varieties of cabbage, carrot, parsnip and asparagus, in addition to the varieties which already grew wild in Britain. Black pepper, coriander, dill, parsley, anise and black cumin brought new seasonings and the oil-rich seeds sesame, hemp and black mustard were also among the arrivals.
How many of these species were grown in Britain during the occupation rather than imported as ready-to-eat crops is unclear. By the time the Romans left, however, several introductions, including walnut, carrot and cherry, are known to have fully established themselves. Built in about AD 75, Fishbourne is now believed to have been the residence of a loyal Briton, Tiberius Claudius Cogidubnus, chieftain of the Regni tribe; if true, it was a handsome reward indeed for his allegiance.
Analyses of the deer teeth at both Fishbourne and Thanet indicate well-established breeding populations. Various other animals were imported to Britain for nutrition, status and religious reasons, with the remains of pheasant, peafowl, guinea fowl and donkey all turning up at Roman sites.
Sheep, cattle, pigs and goats were all established in Britain before AD 43, but the chicken was still a rarity, judging from its absence in the archaeological record. Chickens and their eggs have always been eaten, but for much of history the cocks have been as prized for their pugilistic prowess as for their gastronomic qualities. Chickens held a religious significance too, the males symbolising the sun god in the Roman cult of Mithras. Caged fowl would be taken on military campaigns and studied for divination; if a sacred chicken, when offered food, guzzled it down, all augured well for the impending battle.
Elephants were the most impressive creatures to cross the Channel; in AD 43 Emperor Claudius used them to intimidate his new subjects soon after his victory — their stink had the added benefit of panicking enemy horses — although their visit seems to have been fleeting. Sometimes creatures were kept for company alone, which seems to be true both for native species, such as ravens and crows, which were popular pets among the soldiers in Iron Age and Roman Britain, and for the more exotic: bones of the Barbary macaque have been recovered from Roman sites at Wroxeter, Dunstable and Catterick.
Invertebrates came over too. New species of snail were introduced as a delicacy. The pot lid, or Burgundy, snail remains the most popular of several edible types that now support a multi-million-pound global escargot market.
Most insects arriving and spreading during Roman times, however, probably came as hitch-hiker species. A classic example is the grain what tax form to file for 1099. The earliest British remains of these and other insect pests show up at sites in London and York from the first decades of the Roman occupation, suggesting that infested grain was imported from Europe soon after the invasion.
Invertebrate parasites of livestock and people flourished as new forts, towns and cities sprang up and human population density grew. The widespread prominence of fish tapeworm, a gut parasite attaining nine metres in length, is something of a puzzle, since the species is rarely evidenced in earlier, Bronze and Iron Age, sites.
Here, the Roman weakness for garum may have been the cause. This fermented sauce, a blend of raw freshwater fish and herbs, left to rot in the sun, was traded across the Empire and could have helped spread fish tapeworms. From the late fourth century, the Roman Empire began to wither and by AD the northern outpost had been abandoned. Fresh colonists — the Anglo-Saxons, the Vikings and eventually the Normans — made their own what makes vitamins organic compounds on the fauna and flora of Britain.
Sooner or later rabbits would be back. History Matters. Roman Empire. Related Articles. Migration in Roman Britain. Popular articles. The Marriage of Mary, Queen of Scots.
What the Romans did for us
Jun 26, · But apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh-water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us? The quote above, from the film Life of Brian, is a fair start to a discussion of Roman contributions to the development of modern Western civilisation. We tend to think of the Roman Empire as having died out long, long . Jun 01, · The Romans are all bastards, / they have bled us 'till we're white, / they've taken everything we've got / as if it was their right, / and we've got nothing in return / though they.
Rather than thinking of the Romans as great inventors, perhaps a more appropriate analogy would be to think of them as the Apple of their day. The Romans did exactly the same thing — they took an idea and developed it to the next level. Here are just a few examples:. The oldest paved road in history is in an Egyptian quarry and is around 4, years old. The Romans could see potential in these early roads, so they borrowed the idea and enhanced it.
At the peak of the Roman empire there were 29 military highways radiating from the capital, with provinces interconnected by roads — nearly a quarter of a million miles in total. At the time, and for years to come, this was the best-connected empire the world had ever seen.
Straight, paved roads improved communication, trade and the movement of armies. However, they were also expensive to build and maintain. Only 20 per cent of Roman roads were paved in stone, meaning that 80 per cent were either dirt tracks or covered only in gravel, which degraded over the winter months. What did the Romans ever do for us?
Famously they gave us roads, which began the job of turning us from parochial bumpkins in huts into an international trading community. Or did they? Justin Pollard explains more…. There was a dense network of roads in the late pre-Roman Iron Age and probably long before.
The main difference seems to have been that Iron Age roads serviced local communities and thus had a filigree appearance across the country, whereas Roman roads were trunk roads between large centres. Roman roads might have had a side-effect of stimulating trade, but their initial purpose was the imposition of Roman rule. Nor were these Iron Age roads necessarily just dirt tracks.
In a team of archaeologists working at the greywacke sandstone quarry at Sharpstone Hill, near Bayston Hill in Shropshire uncovered a seven-metre-wide, cambered and metalled road. Analysis of the silts and brushwood foundations of the road suggest that it was created in at least four separate phases beginning around BC with the last metalled and cambered phase possibly dating from the first century BC, long before the Roman invasion.
Roman civilisation only really got into its stride in the third century BC. By then, the Greeks had been cultivating their culture for centuries. By the second century BC, Macedonia was still the main military power in the Greek world, but Rome was a greedy neighbour and fought four separate wars against it. Roman architecture is an interesting example of Greek influence. The very first structures in Rome were circular, implying a Celtic influence , but over time that all changed.
Instead, the columns and triangular pediments that had been all the rage in Greece for centuries began to emerge. Another example of the Greek influence on Rome is the pantheon of gods, renamed by the Romans but, in terms of myths and imagery, completely interchangeable with the Greek gods.
Zeus was Jupiter and Aries was Mars, while soothsayers and oracles both also appeared in Greek culture. The Olympic Games flourished under Roman rule and even chariot racing seems to have originated in Greece. There is a form of concrete that is naturally occurring, so technically it predates humans. Yet in around BC, the Mycenaeans made floors in concrete. Independently, Bedouins in north Africa also created their own concrete before the Roman era.
However, it was the Romans who were to use concrete — made from a mixture of water, quicklime, sand and volcanic ash — extensively and consistently from around BC, right up to the fall of Rome in the fifth century AD. The Romans recognised that building arches and domes using a quick-drying, liquid material was far easier than trying to build the same features in brick or stone.
It was also far cheaper and quicker than building a large structure from solid marble. It was also the Romans who developed the idea of making a framework in concrete, before cladding it with stone. The Colosseum in Rome is an example of a large, mainly concrete, Roman structure.
While this may be a great line that underscores his achievements as emperor, he missed out the most important Roman building material of all — concrete. The Julian calendar was not the first calendar, but has been the most influential in European history. The Julian calendar has a regular year of days, divided into 12 months, with a leap day added to February every four years. This system worked well for over a millennium.
Although this was only a tiny discrepancy, over the centuries it began to cause problems — the calendar year gained about three days every four centuries.
So over long periods of time, it needed adjustments, and changes were brought into effect in 46 BC. Once again, what had been in use previously was refined and recalibrated in to become our modern day Gregorian calendar.
It is fair to say that if Roman legions made it as far as an enemy city or fort, the defenders were at a disadvantage, no matter how high or how thick their walls.
Alongside brutal tactics, the Romans had a number of weapons to bring a siege to a successful conclusion. One of these deadly tools was a ballista what the modern world would call a catapult , which hurled stones or sometimes pots of Greek fire, the ancient equivalent of napalm. Depending on circumstances, ballistas could also be mounted on warships. A later version of the ballista was called an onager , which did pretty much the same job but was cheaper and easier to build.
The scorpio , meanwhile, was like a large version of a crossbow. It could fire bolts over long distances well out of the range of enemy archers and was designed to kill careless defenders on the city walls. Another complex and fearsome weapon was the siege tower. This was a moveable wooden tower, designed to be rolled up to enemy walls, allowing the troops inside to descend onto the enemy defenders. Siege towers took time to build and needed ramps, which allowed the defenders to see what was coming and gave them time to prepare a counter-attack.
Nevertheless, when siege towers were deployed, more often than not they got the Romans over the walls. These rams were protected by a wooden gallery covered in wet cowhides to stop them being burnt by the defenders.
Once enemy walls were breached, the Roman soldiers would advance in a testudo tortoise formation. This involved covering their heads with their rectangular shields, with other shields protecting their front and sides. Such a formation absorbed arrows and small rocks, giving the men valuable time to get to the breach relatively unharmed. Not all Roman experiments were successful. In AD , Diocletian, a man of low birth who had risen through the ranks in the army, became emperor.
This meant that local issues could be dealt with locally and that power was shared to a certain extent. Obviously a sub-emperor could go rogue, but after decades of war and strife, the tetrarchy was a welcome idea that brought peace. Diocletian attempted to confront these issues head on. First, he overhauled the tax system, which eliminated ingrained inefficiencies. He also recognised that the coinage had been debased to an extent that confidence in the Roman currency had diminished, so he reminted and revalued all of the coins.
While this may sound like a good idea, costs continued to rise even faster, creating a huge spike in prices. Diocletian responded by setting price caps on most resources.
The penalty for disobeying these imposed price caps? The system of fixed prices was widely despised, and almost as soon as it was introduced, it was generally ignored.
The law of supply and demand dictates that if someone needs something badly enough, they will pay over the odds. Under the circumstances, the black market boomed. Diocletian was also a highly unusual Roman emperor in that, in AD , he voluntarily abdicated in favour of a two-emperor system. He retired to the Dalmatian coast modern day Croatia , where he lived out his days in splendour and spent his time cultivating cabbages.
The first recognisable alphabet, and therefore writing, was developed in ancient Babylon around BC. This writing was done on clay tablets — not the most portable of formats for written literature. The Egyptians made a leap forwards with papyrus, thin sheets made from the pith of the papyrus plant.
Now knowledge could be preserved on scrolls, which were easier to transport, but still bulky. Around the same time that paper was being invented in China, the Romans invented the codex. For the first time, sheets of a uniform size were bound together along one edge, in between two larger, stronger protective covers. And again for the first time, large amounts of written information could be concentrated in one highly transportable volume.
This would become the standard way to write and store information until the rise of the e-book 1, years later. Across the empire both during and after the Roman era , the book became the standard format for writing.
The invention of the book enabled much easier sharing of complex ideas, including everything from Christianity to annals about emperors. Home Period Roman Invention or adaptation: what did the Romans really do for us? Roman art: Chariot race with the charioteers in starting position. Colosseum, Rome. Engraving of Roman war engine the scorpio. Second World War. The sinking of the Bismarck : a cat and mouse chase across the Atlantic.
More on: Europe. You may like. A brief guide to ancient Rome and the Romans, plus 9 fascinating facts. Ancient Greece. What did the ancient Greeks do for us? Mary Beard on why Rome ruled the world. Gladiators in ancient Rome: how did they live and die?
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