What do discoveries at Rome and Pompeii tell us about daily life in the Roman Empire and in what significant respects did it differ from life today?

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The great contribution that the discovery of Pompeii gave to our understanding of Ancient Roman history was that it allowed us to see the daily life of those living under Roman rule in a way in which the grand buildings, left open to the air, perhaps could not. Life in the capital city of a grand empire could not be compared to life of common people in a town like Pompeii, whose way of life was preserved forever when Vesuvius erupted to cover it.

Evidence of the ways of life of common people from the Roman era have been best shown by discoveries from other parts of the empire. From the ruins of the Roman Baths at Bath in England, for example, we are able to see not only that attending public baths was a common part of daily life for Romans all over the Empire, but also see evidence of how their under-floor heating system worked. Roman graffiti, surviving on clay tablets and on the walls of the buildings at Bath, tell us about the everyday concerns of those who visited. Another...

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