Ancient Rome is one of those places that tends to get lots of attention. That’s because the Roman Empire had a vast influence on contemporary culture all around the world. When people think about the Romans today, they tend to have a certain image in their minds. They think of Romans sitting around, leaning back and eating lots of delicious food all year long. The reality of ancient Rome is a lot more complicated. It is also a lot more terrifying than many people imagine. Life here was often hard and made harder by the rules the emperors had in place.
Public toilets were very scary
Today, people like to use the bathroom in private. Even stores and other places that offer public baths want to keep it private, clean and inviting. This was not what it meant to use the facilities when the Romans were in charge of things. There were no separate stalls. Instead, people used toilets at the same time. That was not a good thing. The people were not the only ones using the toilets. It was not uncommon to find rats and mice right there. A person could be sitting down minding their own business only to be bitten by a rat or mouse. Gases like methane also built up over time. This gas could explode leading to dangerous and life threatening flames.
Urine was commodity
Urine was not something to throw away. The ancient Romans valued valued it as an acid that could do a lot of things. For example, they would use urine to tan hides to make leather clothing. Another use for urine was in the fields where it was added to grow things like fruit. The Romans also traded it to other communities and parts of their empire. In addition, it was often used for home hygiene. For example, they would mix into a paste as a form of tooth paste. They would also use the substance for mouthwash. This was the product that Romans used in order to whiten their teeth. Urine contains ammonia. It’s a relatively powerful chemical that can bleach things clean. Fortunately, the science has advanced today. We know how to brighten our clothing and smile without the need to resort to unwanted bodily fluids in the process. Consider yourself lucky you’re not stuck with it in your medicine cabinet.
Goat dung was a thing
Goats have many uses. They produce milk that people can drink. This milk can be turned into a creamy cheese. The hides can also be turned into varied types of leather. Goat meat is prized in many parts of the world. Goats are easy to feed. They tend to have large litters that can be nurtured into herds of goats. The wool they give is very fine and often used to create blankets and other items that people love. The ancient Romans found another way to make use of the goats they kept around their communities.
Goat dung was used in order to treat wounds. Medical doctors would dry the dung out and then use it to staunch bleeding cuts. Sometimes, they didn’t wait until the dung died. They would take the fresh stuff and pack it right in. Charioteers went so far as to ground it into a powder and drink it.
Vomiting in front of you
Imagine you’re sitting at a table enjoying a nice Roman holiday meal with friends. You reach for the bread and butter and then grab a few pieces of ripe fruit. Unfortunately, your neighbor is stuffed. They can’t eat anymore. But they’re still wanting to sample the banquet’s joys. You turn around and they’ve thrown up on the table. This was an all too common practice at ancient Roman feats. They didn’t do it privately. They did it right in front of their compatriots in plain sight.