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What Were The Five Features of Ancient Roman Cities?

Award Winning Author-Celebrity Chef Maria Liberati guides us thorugh the five features of ancient Roman Cities.


The five features of ancient Roman cities are the hippodrome, the cardo, the temple, the theater, and the bath house. All of these  can be still  visited today as ruins of what once existed and make for a truly  fascinating traveling experience.


The hippodrome was for entertainment purposes such as chariot racing. In olden times, people would wear their favorite color of their favorite racing team. This is similar to what most of European soccer fans wear in modern day soccer games. Today one can go visit the biggest Roman hippodrome ever located in Tyre (Five Millennia of History).


The cardo was the main street at the heart of the city, it ran directly through town.

Everything is along the cardo. This is why today the majority of the main shops run along the main strip. Anyone can visit an ancient Roman cardo in Jerusalem today. Remains of this specific cardo were excavated around throughout the 1970s and 1980s (“Cardo remains in the old city”).


The purpose of the temple was to make the roman religion a civic religion. Back then every town had a specific patron god or goddess and the temple served as a gathering place for people. It was part of your civic duty to make sacrifices to the god or goddess. Many of the temples built in Roman times were enormous. For example, the Temple of Artemis is HUGE and some consider it to be one of the Seven Wonders of the World even today.


The theater was constructed for entertainment purposes and some political meetings and public gatherings took place there. There were specific days of the year designated for plays, the entire town shut down and everybody went to the plays. Major play competitions were held to discover who the best playwright was. Many Romans loved the allegorical plays that took place, which is probably why allegories are still being taught today. The themes of the plays instilled civic values of lessons of Rome and plays filled the people with civic pride.


The bath house was a primary establishment that served many purposes. Rome had approximately 900 baths at one given time. The elite would spend their days there. Even the poor would go at least once a day to keep up with appearances. The purpose of the bath house can be broken down into a few segmented parts: it acted as a board room – business meetings were held there, it acted as a day spa, it acted as a hygiene facility, it acted as a library, it acted as a health club, it was a place that people gathered. The bath houses were also popular because Otium (leisure/free time) was held in such high regard because everyone, especially the elite Romans, wanted to live in leisure. Bathing was one of thefavorite activities of the Romans. Even workers would conduct much of their business in the bath house. Some ancient Roman bath houses can still be visited even today- Caracalla in Rome, Italy and one of the most infamous bath houses outside of Rome was ironically in Bath, England.



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