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  • It's March the 17th in A.D. 73.

  • We're visiting ancient Rome to watch the Liberalia,

  • an annual festival that celebrates the liberty of Rome's citizens.

  • We're looking in at a 17-year-old named Lucius Popidius Secundus.

  • He's not from a poor family, but he lives in the region known as the Subura,

  • a poorer neighborhood in Rome, yet close to the center of the city.

  • The tenants of these apartments are crammed in,

  • which poses considerable risk.

  • Fires are frequent and the smell of ash and smoke in the morning is not uncommon.

  • Lucius, who awoke at dawn, has family duties to perform today.

  • His 15-year-old brother is coming of age.

  • Half the children in ancient Rome die before they reach adulthood,

  • so this is a particularly important milestone.

  • Lucius watches his brother stand in his new toga before the household shrine with its protective deities

  • as he places his bulla, a protective amulet, in the shrine with a prayer of thanks.

  • The bulla had worked. It had protected him.

  • Unlike many others, he had survived to become an adult.

  • At 17, Lucius has almost completed his education.

  • He has learned to speak well, make public speeches,

  • and how to read and write both Latin and Greek.

  • His father has taught him the types of things you can't learn in the classroom:

  • how to run, how to swim, and how to fight.

  • Lucius could choose, at 17, to become a military tribune

  • and command soldiers on the edge of the Empire.

  • But in other ways, Lucius is still a child.

  • He's not trusted to arrange business deals.

  • His father will take care of that until he is 25.

  • And Dad will arrange Lucius' marriage to a girl 10 years younger.

  • His dad has his eye on a family with a 7-year-old daughter.

  • Back to the Liberalia.

  • As Lucius leaves with his family, the shops are open as the population goes about its business.

  • The streets are full of itinerant traders selling trinkets

  • and people bustling from place to place.

  • Large wagons are not allowed in the city until after the ninth hour

  • but the streets are still crowded.

  • Fathers and uncles take the kids to the Forum Augustus

  • to see statues of Rome's famous warriors

  • like Anaeus, who led Rome's ancestors, the Trojans, to Italy.

  • And Romulus, Rome's founder.

  • And all the great generals of the Republic from more than 100 years earlier.

  • Lovingly, we can imagine fathers and guardians with their now adult childen

  • remembering stories of Rome's glory

  • and re-telling the good deeds and sayings of the great men of the past:

  • lessons on how to live well, and to overcome the follies of youth.

  • There is a sense of history in this place, relevant to their present.

  • Romans made an empire without end in time and space.

  • Rome was destined to be eternal through warfare.

  • Wars were a fact of life, even in A.D. 73.

  • There are campaigns in the north of England

  • and into Scotland,

  • to the north of the River Danube into Romania,

  • and on the frontier between Syria and Iraq to the east.

  • It's now the eighth hour -- time to head for the baths.

  • Lucius and his family head up the Via Lata, the wide street,

  • to the Campus Martius, and the enormous Baths of Agrippa.

  • The family members leave the clients and freedman outside,

  • and enter the baths with their peer group.

  • Baths would change from dark, steamy rooms to light ones.

  • The Romans had perfected window glass.

  • Everyone moves from the cold room

  • to the tepid room

  • and to the very hot room.

  • More than an hour later, the bathers leave

  • massaged, oiled, and have been scraped down with a strigil to remove the remaining dirt.

  • At the ninth hour, seven hours after they left home,

  • the men return for a celebratory dinner.

  • Dinner is an intimate affair, with nine people reclining around the low table.

  • Slaves attend to their every need

  • if the diners, through gestures, demand more food and wine.

  • As the day closes, we can hear the rumble of wagons outside.

  • The clients and freedmen, with a meal of robust -- if inferior -- food inside them,

  • shuffle off to the now tepid baths before returning to their apartment blocks.

  • Back at Lucius' house, the drinking continues into the night.

  • Lucius and his stepbrother don't look too well.

  • A slave stands by in case either of them needs to vomit.

  • With hindsight, we know Lucius' future.

  • In 20 years' time, the Emperor Vespasian's youngest son, Domitian, as emperor,

  • will enact a reign of terror. Will Lucius survive?

It's March the 17th in A.D. 73.

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B1 TED-Ed lucius rome family ancient hour

【TED-Ed】A glimpse of teenage life in ancient Rome - Ray Laurence

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    VoiceTube posted on 2012/12/30
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