How Long Would You Have Survived in Ancient Rome?

Marie Hullett

Image: Harald Nachtmann / Moment / Getty Images

About This Quiz

Although Ancient Rome was significantly more advanced than any civilization that came before it, living during this period was no walk in the park. The people of this epoch contributed substantially to the modern language, law, politics and warfare, but also cheered on human bloodsport in gladiatorial combat, sacrificed animals to the gods and engaged in the ruthless enslavement of people. Unless you were fortunate enough to be a part of society's most upper-crust, you probably struggled simply to consume the food you needed to survive — which was likely mostly porridge, bread and beans. The poor also faced harsh living conditions in shanty apartments, with landlords liable to evict them at any moment. As a result, many ended up on the streets. 

Of course, living in the most squalid areas might even be preferable to being murdered for sport in the Colosseum or fanning and feeding wealthy members of the ruling class as they sprawled on lavish furniture. Enslaved people suffered deeply during this time, and they were not at all few and far in between — during difficult times, families often sold their own children into slavery. 

So, do you think you could survive in this brutal era under the reign of the likes of Julius Caesar and Claudius? Whether you end up in the military, in the Senate or the gladiator ring, how will you fare? Well, let the games begin — the following quiz will tell you just what you need to know. Benediximus! 

Welcome to Ancient Roman times, where you will reside in the epicenter of urban Rome. Which part of this period do you wish to live in?

You can't usually choose your social class, but let's pretend you can. Which group will you be a part of?

Now that you're settling in, what does your home look like?

Ancient Rome lacked many of the foods we enjoy today, such as potatoes, corn, tomatoes, peppers, oranges, peaches, rice or sugar. What will you choose to eat on an average day?

Everyone from the poor to the very wealthy attended the gladiator games at the Colosseum. Which role will you play in this cruel spectator sport?

Roman emperors and political leaders strived to keep poor people occupied to prevent them from revolting. For that reason, many community events like gladiator games, the Circus Maximus and the baths were free. Still, society as a whole was very unjust. What do you do about it?

Some received an education during Roman times; others did not. If you had the choice, what would you choose?

Time to search for a job. Which profession will you obtain in the Roman Empire?

In Ancient Rome, you must rise with the sun. Now that a new day has begun, what will you wear?

After work (which typically concludes around noon), most Romans head to the baths. What will you do while you're there?

Despite a stark class disparity, Roman society emphasized community. Do you opt to socialize with your fellow villagers much?

For most of Ancient Roman history, the Romans were pagans and worshipped gods and goddesses like Jupiter, Apollo and Diana. Will you join the other Romans in bestowing offerings upon their temples and shrines?

Around 410 A.D., the Visigoths storm the city of Rome, obliterating buildings and killing many. How prepared are you for this invasion?

Which weapons will you own during this time?

Many Romans (soldiers and non-soldiers alike) sparred with wooden swords. Will you take part in this activity?

Large dinner parties were a key component of many Romans' lives. Would you like to host such a gathering?

Some of the food Ancient Romans consumed would seem very strange to us today. They also didn't use forks and knives, so they ate everything with their hands. Which of these ancient foods would you like to dig into?

Romans also indulged in the occasional dessert. Which of these ancient treats will you gobble up?

Speaking of food, will you prepare your own?

Let's play some games. What will you do for fun?

Most Romans worked about six hours per day, so you should have plenty of free time. What else would you like to do for entertainment?

Ancient Rome's military was extremely powerful and played a key role in the civilization's stature. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the military constantly campaigned for new recruits. Do you think you'd join?

Time to enjoy a bit of entertainment. Which event would you like to attend?

Let's fast-forward to the present. Where do your personal strengths predominantly lie?

Which of these Ancient Roman quotes do you most identify with?

Do you know any Latin or Greek?

Are you religious?

Ancient Rome was rife with deadly bacteria and diseases. Since they did not possess the same sanitation standards we do today, you might become ill by doing things like eating food slathered in Garum (a very popular uncooked fish sauce) or heading to the baths. How do you think your immune system would fare?

Food poisoning, worms and other gastrointestinal issues were rampant in Ancient Rome. So, how strong is your stomach?

Finally, how do you think you'll fare without electricity, internet, running water or your smartphone?

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