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WATCH: A day in the life of an Ancient Roman teenage boy

J-P Mauro - published on 01/09/18

TED-Ed's animated shorts are quick lessons full of fascinating details.

TED-Ed has produced this wonderful animated video which takes us through a day in the life of a teenage boy from Ancient Rome. The lesson was written and narrated by Ray Laurence, Professor of Ancient History at Macquarie University, who has made another video for TED-Ed, which


The lesson follows Lucius Popidius Secundus who is not from a poor family, but from a lesser neighborhood called the Subura, near the center of Rome. The conditions are overcrowded and house fires are commonplace. As a 17-year-old boy living in Rome in 73 AD, Lucius has almost completed his education. He has learned to read and write in Latin and Greek, as well as public speaking, and mathematics. His father saw to his physical education, teaching running, swimming, and basic warfare tactics.

At 17, Lucius has grown to an age half the people born in Ancient Rome never reach. He is old enough to join the military as an officer, but there are many aspects of society in which he is not considered an adult. In ancient Rome, young men are not trusted with matters of business until they are 25 years old. Until then the Paterfamilias, or the male leader of the family, calls the shots.

He also has no control over who he will marry; his father will pick a suitable wife from another family of his same station, and he might select a girl who is as much as 10 years younger than Lucius. While the marriage is arranged early, the ceremony will take place when both children are of age. However, the age of lawful consent to a marriage is 12 for girls.

Some of Lucius’s daily activities include visiting the Forum Augustus, where families go to see statues of Roman heroes and hear of past glories, visiting the bathhouse to be cleansed, massaged, and oiled, and a making a trip through the bazaar to take care of any shopping.

The day would end with dinner, where the members of the family recline around a low table and are tended to by slaves. The Romans drink wine to excess and often vomit so they can return to the party and drink more.

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