Why the ancient Romans can rightfully be considered the first Goths in history, and how they flirted with the "lady with the scythe"
Why the ancient Romans can rightfully be considered the first Goths in history, and how they flirted with the "lady with the scythe"

The people of the Roman Empire are usually remembered as fans of gladiatorial combat and amazing builders of roads, temples and aqueducts who loved to drink a lot of wine and sleep with their siblings. Much less often, the Romans are thought of as a civilization obsessed with a culture of death. It turns out that they were no less creepy than the Victorians and treated death as a daily routine and even entertainment. Isn't it really similar to the modern subculture "ready" …

Perhaps the Romans can be called the forerunner of the modern Goths, given how common death was in their culture. “Out of sight, out of mind” is largely Western philosophy, and the Romans simply had no choice but to look unrelenting death in the eye.

Survival rates in the Roman Empire were very low. The infant and child mortality rate was nearly 50%. Even during the triumphal processions of the commanders who returned with victory, slaves were placed behind them, who periodically had to remind the triumphant that he was also a mortal, whispering “memento mori” (“remember death”) in his ear.

The dice that the Romans enjoyed

It is worth remembering the famous "Portonaccio sarcophagus", which was decorated with skillful carvings - portraits of the dead and elaborate battle scenes. As can be clearly seen from the images on the sarcophagus, the Romans, instead of wishing their loved ones “rest in peace,” glorified the afterlife and life in it. In their culture, the praise of deceased ancestors was felt literally everywhere and in everything. Even at funerals, a “funeral mime” was often hired to imitate the deceased, and everyone around him congratulated and honored him.

All this sounds a little strange and depressing, but down with the prejudices of the XXI century. It cannot be said that Roman women did not tear their hair out of grief at the funeral, but they also saw joy in the death of a loved one. There was even a February festival, Parentalia, a sort of commemoration and offerings for the dead, which was celebrated for nine days in a row.

That is why the Romans built such complex tombs, in which the relatives and friends of the deceased cooked food, and also organized feasts. Moreover, the banquets in the cemeteries were so noisy that somehow even the same Saint Augustine filed an official complaint with the authorities.

The so-called parental festivities

An interesting Roman mosaic from the 3rd century BC has been found in Turkey. It depicts a collapsed skeleton with an amphora of wine and an inscription above his head: "Have fun and enjoy life." But the Romans weren't just gluttons. They were essentially trying to come to terms with the fear of death, trying to have fun, dance, and not wallow in the grave.

And finally, we give a recipe for the Roman delicacy Ossa dei morti ("skeleton fingers"). Perhaps comments here will be superfluous.

Those very fingers of the skeleton


- 3 eggs;

- 300 grams of almonds;

- 300 grams of sugar;

- 300 grams of flour;

- 1 teaspoon baking powder.

Beat the eggs in a bowl, add sugar and stir. After that, ground almonds and sifted flour with baking powder are added to the mixture. From this, the dough is kneaded, which is then rolled out with a rolling pin to get a sheet about 3 cm thick.Strips a couple of centimeters wide are cut from a sheet of wood, rolling into small rolls, flattened at both ends to resemble bones. "Skeleton bones" are baked at a temperature of 160 degrees in a preheated oven for 30 minutes.

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