The ancient Roman orator and politician Cicero once wrote poetry! And it was notoriously poor, too.
Over a hundred years after Cicero’s death, the Roman historian Tacitus quipped that Julius Caesar and Brutus wrote poetry too, and “though they were no better poets than Cicero, they were more fortunate, because fewer people know about their poetic endeavors.”
In the Roman Republic from 450 to 445 BCE, intermarriage of patricians and plebeians was banned. It was unpopular with the people and quickly lifted.
Over 400 years later, in 18 BCE, Emperor Augustus introduced a similar set of laws that were more widely accepted, and remained in place for centuries. The new laws limited some senatorial and equestrian individuals from marrying outside their rank. It also more generally limited marriages across class boundaries by limiting the marriage of Roman citizens with people who were registered as immoral – actors, adulterers, prostitutes, and those living off prostitution like pimps.
In about 250 BCE, a Celtic tribe known as the Parisii first settled Paris
on the Île de la Cité. In 52 BCE, the Parisii settlement was conquered
by the Romans and their general, Julius Caesar.
The Romans named the city
Lutetia, from an earlier Greek name
Lukotokía, whose origin is unknown. But the renaming did not stick. So the city of lights is known today as Paris, the name of its first founders, from over 2,200 years ago.
Did you know that Julius Caesar holds the record for most Roman triumphs at four? Almost exactly 15 years earlier, Pompey the Great had held his then-unprecedented third triumph. Caesar surpassed Pompey’s record in opulent style – he held all four triumphs in one four-day span!
“Succession of the Plebians” was a common form of revolt in the early Roman Republic. Everyone except the hereditary aristocrats (called patricians) would leave the city. The patricians would be left to fend for themselves. No servants, no shopkeepers, no farmers.
It was a very effective way to make the patricians negotiate.
A man who beat his wife or child laid violent hands, Cato the Elder said, on what was most sacred. A good husband he believed to be more worthy of more praise than a great senator. He admired the ancient Socrates “for nothing so much as for having lived a temperate and contented life with a wife who was a scold, and children who were half-witted.”