As a child, teen, even now.. I suppose I just ‘think’ I know about the history of the world. I had history lessons, we went on schools trips and hell.. I’ve watched, what feels like, every documentary going!
Sowhy do I feel like… I don’t know much (or) anything about the world?
I’m going away in less than a week, to explore the Mediterranean. We’re going Florence, Rome and Greece, Thea in particular, and I’ve spent the last six weeks trying to brush up on my history so I’m not overwhelmed by names and places I’ve never heard of. I want to be able to say “Look! that building was Pythagoras’s study, where he developed his ideas of philanthropy(?)” But, I can’t. I literally have no recollection of greek and roman history.
How can that be?
I spent 18 years in education and we merely brushed the surface of the 1000’s of years of history they had. Like I said though, I’ve spent a few weeks trying to learn a bit more about Greece and Rome and I wanted to share my findings, maybe you can teach me something in the comments?
Things I didn’t know about Rome
Ancient rome had 80% slaves – Most slaves were bought with their groceries! Pop down for your local bread and bring back a slave.
Not all of them died young – It might seem obvious but for me, when I see a statistic that the average lifespan was 25, I assume that most people died at 25 or younger. The statistics were that most women died from childbirth and many children died in infancy, causing the stats to be extremely low! Most people who manage to surpass 25 did so right up until their 80’s.
Emperors poisoned themselves every day – This should definitely tip the scales in favour of my previous point. At the end of the first century AD, Roman emperors would take a small amount of every known poison in an attempt to gain immunity, every day! They would drink from a cup made of the horn of the one-horned horses or donkeys, believed by the Romans to have lived in India. It was thought to be the antidote of poisons.
€3,000 land in the Trevi Fountain every day. – I’m packing my bikini for Rome, anyone fancy a dip? Legend says that throwing a coin over your shoulder into the Trevi Fountain will ensure a return to Rome, so everyone does it. Not to mention, who doesn’t want to visit the fountain? *The money goes to support Rome’s poor.
Rome wasn’t always Italy’s capital. – It’s the same as Athens (in greek) in that regard. When Italy first became a unified country in 1861, the capital city was Turin. Then in 1864, it was Florence’s turn…It wasn’t until 1870 that
the capital was moved to Rome.
Things I didn’t know about Greece
Cleopatra was Greek! – I’m a huge history geek and Egypt is a mass of history just waiting to be unearthed and discovered so Cleo was going to be a big hit for me. She’s Greek! It explains so much, she wanted to take over Rome by marrying Cesar and Marc Anthony but Rome was hesitant because she’s greek,she’s a powerful woman and perhaps they worried she’d have more say in Rome if she tried to encroach on their territory. Being in Africa (egypt) it was a bit further away, but Greece? That’s almost Rome territory!
The greek gods had little arguements – almost seems ‘human’ to me! Posiden (god of the sea) wanted to take over Athens, Athena, trying to keep her city had to try hard to keep her mits on it, whilst posiden offered the locals a beautiful foutain, Athena gave them the olive tree! Needless to say, she won.
Athens wasn’t the capital city – Well, not for a long time after they first settles in Greece anyway. They eventually moved it to Athens as it had more defences and ports for trade.
Greece has over 2,000 islands and only 170 of them are populated– So, I can just..like take one, right?
Greek gods even had servants – Zeus (The king of the gods) Aka Papa Bear had two servants. Force and violence. Seriously, that’s what they were named. Not a god I’d mess with!
Hermes took souls! – You know, the god with the feather boots and hat? The flying one! He was always thought of as the messenger but he was also postmaster and deliver-er, delivering souls to hades in the underworld. Grim-reaper-esque!
Much like the Romans, they had hundreds (thousands) of gods. It’s said that they had “more gods than people to
worship the gods”, so you can imagine.There really was a god for everything and I think that’s why I didn’t learn much else about Greece. As a teacher you focus on the interesting points of history and that’s all we were ever given.
Not to say I don’t love greek mythology and religion but there’s so much more Greece than their ancient gods.
Hope you learnt something, hope you can teach me something else too! Have a brilliant week, hope you have a good summer chao!