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Roman Citizens

 Daily life for Rome’s citizens was a constant

noisy and busy society.

 The poet Martial wrote, “Before it gets light,

we have the bakers. Then it’s the hammering
of the artisans all day. There’s no peace or
quiet in this city.”
The Average Roman Day
Being Counted as a Citizen
 Despite overpopulated streets in Rome, citizens
considered it an honor to be a citizen. During the
republic, only citizens of Rome itself were citizens.
 Every five years, Roman men registered for the
census – official count of people living in Rome. If a
man didn’t register, he risked losing his property and
being sold into slavery.
 Women, girls, slaves, and freed slaves were not
counted as citizens.
Example of a Roman Census
Citizens and City

 As the Roman Empire expanded, people

beyond Rome (city) gained citizenship.
 Even though people in Roman provinces were
gaining citizenship, the people of Rome still
considered themselves to be the greatest
Roman citizens.
The Path to Roman Citizenship
Roman Social Classes
 Roman society was made up of a small number
of rich people and many poor people and
slaves. There was a huge difference between
the lives of the rich and the poor.
 Most of Rome’s poor people only survived
because of government handouts.
Life of Luxury
 The rich often had elegant homes in the city.
Many other rich people enjoyed villas –
country estates.
 The rich often had feasts where they served
game such as partridge or wild boar. Special
occasions might bring flamingo or ostrich.
These feasts also often had musicians or
The Roman Feast
Roman Villa
Another Way of Life for the Poor

 Unlike the rich, the poor lived in rundown,

poorly built apartment housing. Most didn’t
have running water, toilets, or kitchens.
 All waste had to be carried down to the street
or – as often happened – dumped out of a
Roman Sanitation
Bread and Circuses
 The poor needed wheat to survive. When the
harvests were bad or when grain shipments
from overseas were late, the poor often rioted.
 To prevent this from happening, emperors
supplied free grain and provided spectacular
shows. The shows were held in circuses
(arenas), which eventually became their name.
Bread and Circuses, cont.
 The circuses could often be violent. Romans
packed these events which often included
animals fighting each other, humans fighting
animals, or humans fighting other humans.
 Other circuses might include clowns for
entertainment, or public execution of
criminals. The main events of the day were
between gladiators – people who fought to the
Gladiators Armor and Weapons
Bread and Circuses, cont.
 Before the battles, the gladiators paraded onto
the floor of the arena. They would approach
the emperor’s box, salute, and shout “Hail,
Caesar! We who are about to die salute you!”
 Men who performed well might be spared with
a thumb’s up from the crowd.
Gladiator Battles
Support from the Government
 The Roman government provided family
support, usually to the upper classes, in various
ways. For example, under Julius Caesar,
fathers of 3 or more children received land.
 Unmarried men over 20 and couples with no
children suffered penalties. This was designed
to make sure the upper class continued their
family names.
Roman Household
 Head of household was paterfamilias which
meant “father of the family.” The family was
everyone below this rank (women, children,
and slaves).
 The father owned everything in the house
(including people) and in order for a son to
own property or do business he had to be
emancipated – freed.
Role of Women in Society
 A married Roman women’s only goal was to
produce children. She was considered a
daughter in terms of the household.
 A women’s level of freedom depended on the
husband’s wealth and status. Wealthy women
had a great amount of independence.
 Some women took jobs away from the home.
Some were doctors, cooks, dressmakers, or
Valentine's Day: Saint Valentine –
The Legend
 The Roman Emperor Claudius II waged many difficult and unpopular
campaigns. Due to the problems he had recruiting soldiers, he banned
marriages and engagements in Rome, believing single men were more
likely to enrol for the army that married men who had family ties.
 Saint Valentine ignored Claudius II's ban, and secretly married many young
Roman couples.
 Inevitably, Saint Valentine was arrested, thrown in jail, and sentenced to be
put to death. Legend has it that, whilst in jail, Saint Valentine befriended
his jailor, and performed the miracle of restoring the sight of the jailor's
blind daughter. Legend also has it that, on the night before his execution,
Saint Valentine wrote a card to the jailor's daughter, and signed it "From
your Valentine".
 Read more at Suite101: Valentine's Day: Saint Valentine – History and
Slavery in Rome
 Slavery was common in ancient Rome.
Almost all wealthy families owned slaves.
Although few paid their slaves for work, they
took good care of them.
 Household slaves were much better off than
other slaves. Other slave jobs included
working in fields, in mines, or as gladiators.
Some were eventually able to buy their