How well do you read Latin? Because if you’re not all that good at reading Latin or other dead languages, good news: you could have still had a job as an 1800s historian. Fun example: there’s a story claiming the Roman emperor Caligula was SO CRAZY, he sent a whole army to a beach to pick up seashells for him. However, the Latin word ‘musculi’ means both “shells” and “military huts”, so he likely actually told his troops to pack up their campsite. Which is normal. That’s a completely different kind of emperor, right? And here’s a fun thing: your pop cultural understanding of the Roman Empire is approximately that far off of the truth, in a lot of fascinating ways.
On this week’s episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by Siobhan Thompson (CollegeHumor, BBC America) and Patrick Wyman (Tides Of History, ‘Jeopardy!’) for a trip through the inaccurate lies you’ve been fed about the ancient Romans, and also the much more interesting true things you never knew about them. Get your head straight about everything from mighty gladiators to ancient fast food to the stunning economic benefits of living near a former Roman road.