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5 Things Considered Extremely Valuable in Ancient Rome

Roman civilization was an extremely privileged one. Even then, the Romans had access to imported goods from all over the world. Whale oil from the North Sea, ivory from Africa, spices from India or silk from China… each of these things were available to Roman citizens. Especially if they came from a wealthy family, they would get whatever their heart wanted. What were the most valuable things to the Romans who lived in abundance? From exotic spices to wild animals, we’ve researched and compiled the most valuable things for the Roman people. Here are 5 things that were considered extremely valuable in Ancient Rome…

Purple fabric or silk clothes

Silk was an extremely valuable material at that time. It was manufactured in China and took time to reach Rome. As if the Silk Road was not dangerous enough, various wars were taking place on the sea route. In those years, an average Roman earned 25 dinars a day, while 12 thousand dinars had to be paid for 450 grams of unprocessed white silk. Silk dyed purple was very, very valuable. Because the production process of purple dye was very difficult. According to some historians, 8,000 snails were needed to produce one gram of purple dye. People preferred to add purple stripes to the ends of the fabric rather than dyeing all their clothes purple. You will appreciate that it is a much more economical option! 😊

slaves

Unfortunately, throughout history, people have been bought and sold like a commodity. Slaves were very valuable, especially in the Roman period. But unlike the Atlantic and Arab slave trade, religion and race were not important in Rome. The only concern was whether you were Roman or not. Even rich people could only buy a few slaves. Although the prices varied over the years, 20 thousand dinars were calculated for a male slave between the ages of 16 and 40. This price could increase if the slaves had various skills. The reason why slaves were so expensive was that the Roman state did not conquer new lands. As the number of prisoners of war decreased, so did the price of slaves.

race horses

Rome

Racehorses were priced quite high compared to war horses. This also hints at how much the Romans were fond of fun! 😊 While the price of a first class war horse was 36 thousand dinars, the price of a race horse could reach 100 thousand dinars. Their owners loved their racehorses to death. Emperor Caligula even kept his horse in a stable covered with purple blankets. You see, having a good racehorse meant you were an important person. Whatever the case, we can say that the Romans valued entertainment more than war. 😊

wild hunters

Rome

The animals were used in various performances held at the Collesium. The reason why these wild animals were so valuable was the process of their transportation. Because it was very difficult to capture predators such as leopards or lions alive. A first-class lion was priced at 150,000 dinars, while for leopards 100,000 dinars were asked. Of course, there are also the costs of feeding and keeping these animals. However, herbivores were much cheaper. For example, ostriches cost only 5 thousand dinars and wealthy people could choose to keep an ostrich in their garden.

exotic spices

Rome

Another important characteristic of the Roman people was their love for food. The wealthy wanted only exotic delicacies on their tables. Giant red kidney beans, whole roasted peacock or camel’s foot… Of course, various spices were used to flavor these dishes. Most of these spices came from India. Sometimes it would come from more distant areas. For example, ginger was 400 dinars, while pepper was 800 dinars. These spices, which can be found in almost every home today, were a status indicator back then.

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