The sociological circumstances of people today will definitely influence an individual’s perception of the world in the Roman Empire. This will impact on how people react to learning about life in Ancient Rome.
Looking at race, the slave trade might be perceived differently depending on what racial background a person has. The slave trade was very common in Ancient Rome. This might remind African Americans, for example, of slavery in America, which was practiced until the 19th century. People whose origins are linked to slavery in America might feel a lot more empathy with the slaves of ancient Rome, as they would know from their own family history how horrible and dehumanizing slavery often was.
Gender will also definitely impact a person’s reaction to life in the ancient Roman world. Women in the Western world of today lead a life of equality. For example, they have the same career options as men, and they are allowed to vote. Women in ancient Rome, however, would not have been able to vote, as this was reserved solely for men. In general, a woman’s role was mainly to take care of the house and to raise the family. This might seem very shocking for women today, who have a lot more options open to them.
For someone coming from a poor social background, it may well be surprising to hear that there was no financial help or protection available for the poor in ancient Rome. There was no unemployment benefit and no pension that would help finance retirement. Poor people in ancient Rome lived under horrible hygienic conditions and often had to resort to begging in order to survive. Their life expectancy was therefore much lower than that of Romans who were better off financially. This might surprise people who live under financial restraints in today’s society, as they would be receiving a lot more financial help and support compared to the people in ancient Rome.