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.
The coin is a Parisii gold coin, by the way. It dates to the 200s BCE.
In this cross section of a Roman road, you can clearly see the layers that went into creating a road that lasts for millennia:
And that was hard – like “k” in English today. So Caesar? Should be pronounced “kaeser.” Hence the modern descendents “tzar” and “kaiser.”
Interestingly, the Roman pronunciation was maintained in English in the name “Octavian” and “Cleopatra.” Try saying them out loud!
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.”
A lot of Romans simply didn’t believe lesbians existed. The poet Ovid called lesbianism “a desire known to no one,” musing that, “among all animals, no female is seized by desire for female.”