ANCIENT ROMAN LIFE“INFORMED CONJECTURES”- sources of information based on tax documents, skeletal remains, cemetery inscriptionsGeneral Characters:a.Organized and highly administeredb. Human welfare measured by life expectancyc. Limited medical developmentd.Nasty , brutish and short
LIFE EXPECTANCY IN ROME: 25 years for new born girls, 23 for males. Out of 1,000 new born girls fewer than 50% would live to reach 15 years old.. Out of 1,000 new born boys fewer than 50% would live to reach 5 years old.FACTORS:c. Population’s defenselessness against diseases like typhus, typhoid, malta fever, malaria, tuberculosis, pneumonia, diarrhead. Poor nutrition due to low wages and inability to transport food to famine stricken arease. High violence rate and death by accident not by military death since army population was less than 1% of the populationf. Poor sanitation-waste dumping in the Tiber riverg. Eastern trade which also brought oriental diseases like smallpox and measles.
Despite such factors, why did Rome’s population reach as high as 60 million?• Adult fertility and high reproduction rate-average of 5 to 6 children• Selective preference for males-more males more opportunities for marriage, more marriage more children• Relatively stable domestic life as evidence by monogamy.• Migration as a result of political unification in the Mediterranean and lack of formal barriers-entry of eastern commercial and intellectual classes(Greeks, Syrians,Jews) and slave migrations which amassed to 15% of total population.• ULTIMATE RESULT: GROWTH OF WESTERN EMPIRE
Roman gladiatorial contests• Roman social psychology of violence built after long years of war to build empire• War victories brought in human suffering , carnage, and money, and high taxation to support money and entry of slaves.• Decimation-standard roman punitive means done to terrify recruits.• Public executions helped inculcate valour and fear; children learnt lessons of defeat and notoriety; they were rituals to maintain atmosphere of violence even in times of peace.
• Bloodshed, violence and military glory and conquest were central elements in roman culture.• PAX ROMANA- 31 BC to AD 14 – inner core of empire virtually insulated from the experience of war; artificial battlefields were constructed in memory of warrior traditions and for public amusement--- death games of hundreds of gladiators, mass execution of unarmed criminals & indiscriminate slaughter of domestic and wild animals.
What was so glorious about gladiator games and public killings?• They were Roman rites with overtones of religious sacrifices, legitimated by the myth that gladiator shows inspired the populace with ‘a glory in wounds and a contempt of death’.• Closely associated to funeral beliefs that souls of the dead were propitiated by human blood and so at funerals they sacrificed prisoners of war or slaves of poor quality.• Sponsorship of games by aristocrats showed the social grandeur of public killings; later on became occasions for political grandstanding between ambitious aristocrats who wished to please , excite, and increase supporters( by public betting and distribution of meat.
Were the games never regulated?• In 42 BC gladiator games were substituted with chariot races and were held only twice in a year as part of official obligations of officers of state; officials asked to spend more on their constituents instead of games.
How were the games viewed in the context of Roman governance?• Justice: reinforced through terror and need to satisfy the demand for the condemned• Sovereign Power: reconstituted through spectacular punishment• Extensive labor and organization: the capture and use of wide variety of animals• Immediate, Bloody, and symbolic power— animal slaughter from stands
Choose 1 from the ff questions:• Give a general assessment of the ancient roman life/lifestyle• Why is the study of roman culture important in the understanding of western civilization?