The Romans fought a lot of wars, including a particularly grisly series of wars called the Punic Wars, against Carthage, in North Africa.
One of the more famous series of engagements was against the Germanic tribes, who took nearly a decade to be ground down into the dirt. (If you have watched the movie Gladiator with Russell Crowe, then you have seen some of the last battles in that war recreated.)
Where the Romans went, their culture followed. Even if a country was victorious over the Romans, they were not immune to Roman influence. Many of the so-called “civilized” customs that we follow these days have a direct connection to Rome and its influence.
For example, it has often been said that the reason everyone in Europe drives on the right, and Britain has everyone driving on the left, is because Julius Caesar never personally visited Britain. He was left-handed, and insisted that everyone drive on the right wherever he went, so that when he used his whip to encourage the horses driving his chariot, he did not hit the chariots passing in the opposite direction. The story is apocryphal, and I cannot find a source for it, but if it is true, it shows the degree to which Rome changed the way we live.
After all, they invented the flushing toilet! And plumbing!
The Romans also left a lot of rubbish behind. Archaeologists have been digging up Roman coins from across the extent of the old Roman empire for centuries.
Far more recently, though, a Roman shoe was found deep in a well in Germany.
The most astounding thing about the shoe, is that despite it being 2000 years old, the shoe was so well preserved, even the laces are intact!
Because I’m constantly looking for hints and tips about how ancient civilizations went about their daily business, it was fascinating to me to see that despite the passage of 2000 years, the shoes they were wearing then actually don’t differ a lot from the shoes we are wearing now.
I mean, look at it! Doesn’t it make you think of modern wingtips?
Here is the modern version, for comparison.
[If you are interested in stories set in Roman times, you might want to check out my Once And Future Heart series, which is set in sub-Roman Britain.]
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