Daily Life in Ancient Rome (Peregrine Books) by Jérôme Carcopino; H.T. Rowell (ed.); E.O. Lorimer (trans.)

By Jérôme Carcopino; H.T. Rowell (ed.); E.O. Lorimer (trans.)

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The scantiness of furniture at least reduced the gravity of each of these catastrophes. 60 The rich had more to lose and could not, like Ucalegon, stuff all their worldly possessions into one bundle. Apart from their statues of marble and bronze, their furniture, however, was sparse enough, for wealth displayed itself not in the number of items but in their quality, the precious materials cmployed, and the rare shapes which bore witness to their owner's taste. In the passage of Juvenal quoted above,61 the millionaire he pictures was taking precaution to save not what wc nowadays would call 'furniture', but his curios and objets d'art.

79 The drainage system of the Roman house is merely a myth begotten of the complacent imagination of modern times. Of all the hardships endured by the inhabitants of ancient Rome, the lack of domestic drainage is the one which would be most severely resented by the Romans of today. The very rich escaped the inconvenience. If they lived in their own domus, they had nothing to do but construct a latrine on the ground level. Water from the aqueducts might reach it and at worst, if it was too far distant from one of the sewers for the refuse to be swept away, the sewage could fall into a trench beneath.

C. insulae of three storeys (tabulata, contabulationes, contignationes) were so frequent that they had ceased to excite remark. 11 By the end of the republic the average height of the insulae indicated by this anecdote had already been ex­ ceeded. 12 The Rome of Augustus towered even higher. 14 It followed that avaricious and bold owners and contractors vied with each other in exploiting to the full the freedom still left them under this decree. Proofs abound to show that during the empire period the buildings attained a height which for that epoch was almost incredible.

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