About the author
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Latin Texts and English Translations
The original unedited version of Pliny, Letters VII.24
Translation of the original unedited version of Pliny, Letters VII.24
At almost 80 years old, Ummidia Quadratilla would have been considered by the Romans to have had a long life.
In fact, while many studies give the life-expectancy for a Roman at 25-30 years (in contrast to modern UK lifespan of 81 for a man and 76 for a woman), this is misleading because of the very high infant-mortality rate in Rome (about 30 times more than what it is in the West today) which dramatically lowers the "life-expectancy at birth" figure.
In fact, if a person suvived past infancy to, say, 5 years, it seems likely s/he would survive into their 50's. Therafter, the natural degeneration of the body increasingly takes over (which modern medicine can forestall somewhat), but it was of course still possible for a Roman to live to 115 years - the apparent life-span of a human being, both ancient and modern.
The old woman's expression and the fact that she's clutching a wineskin leads her to be known as "Drunken Old Woman", a subject-type known to have been sculpted in antiquity. Whether Ummidia Quadratilla ever got tipsy is debateable!
Roman copy of a Hellenistic bronze original of 3rd- or 2nd-century BC. In the Munich Glyptotek.
Terrific Roman statue in the Metropolitan Museum, New York, reportedly discovered beneath a cellar in Rome in 1907.
Quadratus married in time so he didn't lose his inheritence but couldn't produce the children to get more tax and social advantages....
The Emperor Augustus imposed strict sanctions on unmarried men of 25 and above; additionally, having children gave one tax breaks and speedier advancement in public life. These series of laws were known as the "Lex Julia et Papia Poppaea".
Luxurious, sumptuous Roman banquet that is today often considered as the epitome of Roman decadence.Such lavish banquets were often followed by entertainments such as mimes, dancing and singing.
Fresco from the House of Chaste Lovers in Pompeii.
YouTube videos from The National Trust explaining the rules of Latrunculi, Duodecim Scripta, Jactus and Morris.
A scholarly look at the history of some of the more famous board games played in Roman times, which although concentrating on the finds in Romanaia/Bulgaria applies, forgive the pun, across the board!
A note warning about the inaccuracies of two particular websites that commonly pop up when searching for Roman board games.
Playing dice games was an extremely popular pastime in Roman times.