10 Disgusting Facts About the Ancient Romans

The ancient Romans may have been ahead of their time in many regards, but personal hygiene wasn't one of them.

The Romans established one of the most powerful empires in the ancient world, but their habits are pretty disgusting. Here are some of the worst. 

1. Emperor Nero passed a urine tax, which everyone had to pay when they wanted to use a public bathroom. The urine was then recycled and used for cleaning. 

2. Instead of toilet paper, the Romans used a sponge on a stick. This is pretty disgusting considering, the patrons shared these in the public restrooms. 

Roman toilet paper

3. The Romans believed that drinking the blood of a fallen gladiator was good for purifying the soul and curing epilepsy. 

4. Gladiator’s blood wasn’t the only bodily fluid prized by the Romans. Many women purchased gladiator sweat and used it as a face cream. 

 5. In the public bathhouses, people would cover themselves in olive oil and scrape it off to remove dirt and dead skin. The oil was then saved and used on the next patron.


6. Camel brain and animal dung were often considered a cure-all for any ailment, except I guess epilepsy, which is why they need the blood.

7. Charioteers drank goat’s dung as an energy drink. 

8. A form of birth control was to smear your uterus with a mixture of olive oil, honey, or cedar resin. Okay, nothing too outlandish there, but the final ingredient was white lead. 

A Love Scene

9. In the public restrooms, there would often be a build-up of methane gas. It would get so bad that sometimes the toilets would explode and kill people. 

10. This final habit is greatly debated, but Romans would allegedly vomit during large meals so they could keep eating. 



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