A photo from open sources
Information of people about the ancient civilizations of Rome and Greece usually run out of half-forgotten school curriculum or popular TV shows. But it so happens that their creators do not bother to check the facts or just distort them for the sake of entertainment – this it is as if future generations judged our era by comics and movies about superheroes. 1. Crazy orgies and debauchery It seems to many that in ancient Rome the inhabitants constantly whiled away time between military campaigns and unbridled festivities during which crazy orgies took place. However, the insatiable love of the Romans for such an “active rest” strongly exaggerated. As a rule, we learn about what happened at the celebrations from rumors that went among ordinary citizens who were not allowed to “sacrament”, and later retells heard from supposedly “members”. Most of the poor inhabitants of Rome were extremely chaste in the manifestations of intimate life, having sex exclusively at night or in total darkness, almost undressing. Of course, nobility sometimes indulged in passion right in front of servants, but only because she considered the plebeians to be something like furniture. Who needed to heat up rumors about a sexually-transmitted promiscuity? It’s simple – to early Christians: adherents of the new faith it was necessary to create an image of a totally corrupted and through and through rotten Roman society, and the first authors in the records fantasized zealously on the subject of “Look at what they are doing!” Christianity spoke of highly spiritual virtues and morality: preachers called to renounce depraved pagan rituals and take care, first of all, of the immortal soul, and therefore stigmatized all the Romans indiscriminately. 2. The Romans were white-faced Europeans If you are asked to imagine a typical Roman, the result will be something like this: white broad-shouldered European-style man in a helmet with a bun of red hair and dressed in toga – this is how they are portrayed in contemporary art (sometimes documentary) films. If you pay attention to which the territory was occupied by the Roman Empire on the map of the Ancient World, it turns out that most of the ancient inhabitants look more likely total, was quite far from the “average European.” The peoples of North Africa and Western Asia, Jews, Greeks, the Romans themselves and others, smaller tribes and cultures. Moreover, the Roman invaders almost never insisted on the renunciation of the conquered peoples from their customs, religions and languages. The tolerance of the inhabitants of the empire is also indicated by the fact that, according to at least two of their rulers were from North Africa – Lucius Septimius Sever (born in Leptis Magne on the territory of modern Libya, the emperor from 193 to 211 year n. e.) and Mark Oppelius Macrinus (originally from Caesarea of Mauritius, now the city of Sherchel, Algeria; reigned from the 217th to the 218th year of N. e.). Empire spent flexible policies regarding all of these many Celts, Jews, Moors and Gauls – the main thing is that they regularly pay taxes, observed Roman laws and served in the Roman army: for development and settlement of the annexed lands in the capital was not volunteers, no financial means. There is currently no data on the exact ethnographic composition of the Roman Empire, but considering developed contacts with Africa and the Middle East, it can be assumed that he was very motley. 3. The early Christians in the Coliseum were fed wild animals There is a widespread belief that the upper class Roman society regularly staged bloody performances, driving members of objectionable religious cults into the arena of the chief of amphitheaters, where hungry tigers and lions dealt with them. How much no matter how terrible such information is, there is not one documented it recorded confirmation: for example, during the persecution ancient Christians by Nero, the Colosseum was not yet built, and after completion of its construction (80th year A.D., board Emperor Titus) the policy of religious oppression has ceased, giving way to the tolerance of the authorities in this regard. But what about images of martyrs tormented by predators for the fun of raging the crowd? These compelling “horror stories” were again composed by many authors of Christian annals and canonical texts. In the 2nd century stories about the heroic martyrs of the faith were widely popular, which heartless Caesars threw for eating to lions and in every possible way tortured to make them deny Jesus Christ – gaining the power of the new religion needed role models, saints and the righteous. For lack of such spiritual guidelines, preachers began to “invent” them: from the 18th century, the Pope regularly talked about the Colosseum’s timelessness, as it is sprinkled by the blood of the great martyrs. Well, be that as it may, this monument architectural heritage still stands. 4. Ancient Olympic the games were fair. As you know, now the Olympic Games – gigantic event with space advertising, bureaucracy, corruption and other phenomena, bad combining with the competitive spirit of the ancient Olympians, but two thousand years ago everything was honest and fair. If! Cheating, bribery and numerous scandals have accompanied the Olympics since appearances. Moreover, the athletes fought not at all for the idea – Olympic glory almost always turned out to be ringing for them coin: large cash incentives were commonplace, gratuitous lifelong food and paid indicative performances. The “stars” of ancient sports could receive amounts per day, comparable to the annual salary of a simple soldier. Application idea various doping is also not new: since ancient times, competing tried get at least a slight advantage using all kinds of spells, oils, herbs, potions, and even alcoholic drinks. Because punishments for disclosing unfair play were very cruel (from flogging before execution – this is not a modern life for you disqualification), the participants did their best to cover the tracks: neither the judges nor the rivals disdained bribery. Cities didn’t fight for holding games – their center has always been Olympia, which in the time of the sport was in power tens of thousands of spectators, athletes, traders, speculators and adventurers, which, in general, resembles the current state of affairs. 5. Ancient Greece was the focus of all world science Ancient Rome is almost always drawn as one big an institution where debauchery and satiety reigned. Antique Greece – another thing, it seems to many that there, at any moment, leaving to the street, one could meet Aristotle, Plato, Diogenes or of some other great thinker – verily, that era Now it seems like a Golden Age. But let’s not forget that Ancient Greece was not even a country in the full sense of the word: it was a lot (more than 1 thousand) of policy cities gnawing among themselves, each of whom imagined himself independent. Each region had nobody considered their laws, government, beliefs and customs themselves Greek – all were patriots of their cities, and some of the best scientists fell victim to these endless petty feuds. Moreover, with all the right ideas about freedom and democracy, the Greeks were slaveholders, which absolutely did not bother any of them: there have been many cases of enslavement by the Spartans, for example, residents other less protected regions of Greece, and philosophers at the same time preferred to be silent. Most slaves were in the “democratic” Athens, where the “power of the people” continued, by the way, in total less than 200 years: every new city ruler sought as much as possible rather gain sole power and at all costs remove from social management.
Progressive scientific views were not popular with the Greeks – less than 5% of the total population knew the letter, and the permanent conflicts did not contribute to the dissemination of knowledge. Most the Hellenes were shepherds and farmers who did not leave their cities, they were not interested in theater, literature and high matters – too there were many other pressing problems.