While excavating for Bloomberg’s headquarters, archaeologists have discovered a ancient Roman stylus inscribed with (roughly) “I went to Rome, and all I brought you was this pen.”
Despite ancient Roman bridges being the first large and lasting bridges ever built, many are still used despite being around 2,000 years old.
Ancient Rome had no concept of a limited-liability corporation, so entrepreneurs got around it by appointing a slave as the CEO. A master was not legally liable for a slave’s debts, so this allowed the owner to control the company while avoiding personal liability in case of bankruptcy.
In Ancient Rome, commoners would evacuate whole cities in acts of revolt called “Secessio plebis”, leaving the elite in the city to fend for themselves.
There’s an 1,800 year-old Roman version of present day Swiss Army Knife, complete with folding spoon, fork, spatula, pick, spike and knife. It was made mostly from silver, so it has held up pretty well. The spike might have helped in extracting the meat from snails, and the spatula in poking sauce out of narrow-necked bottles: the pick could have served as a tooth-pick.
Gladiators in Ancient Rome used to carry product placements out in the arena; This was present in an early script for Gladiator (2000), but was removed out of fears that it would be viewed as anachronistic.
The first Roman fire brigade was created to be very lucrative. Arriving at the scene the fire fighters did nothing while a price was negotiated. Failing to reach a deal, the structure was allowed to burn to the ground after which an offer was made to purchase it for a fraction of its value.
Black people in ancient Rome were not discriminated against because of their skin color or physical features. They were not excluded from any profession and there was no stigma against mixed race relationships. Classical writers did not attach social status or degree of humanity to skin color.
When Julius Caesar died, he left today’s equivalent of about $270 to each and every Roman citizen.
Ancient Romans had to get tickets to go to the Colosseum. The tickets had the section, row, and seat number written on it for assigned seating, just like stadiums do today.