Two Romans living at the same time in the same city could have very different lives.
For wealthy Romans, life was good. They lived in beautiful houses – often on the hills outside Rome, away from the noise and the smell. They enjoyed an extravagant lifestyle with luxurious furnishings, surrounded by servants and slaves to cater to their every desire.
Poorer Romans, however, could only dream of such a life. Sweating it out in the city, they lived in shabby, squalid houses that could collapse or burn at any moment. If times were hard, they might abandon newborn babies to the streets, hoping that someone else would take them in as a servant or slave. Poor in wealth but strong in numbers, they were the Roman mob, who relaxed in front of the popular entertainment of the time – chariot races between opposing teams, or gladiators fighting for their life, fame and fortune.
Some things the Romans did for fun were horrible. They enjoyed fights between gladiators, and fights between people and animals. These bloodthirsty shows were put on in front of crowds in large arenas called amphitheatres. Roman emperors paid for free shows at theatres and amphitheatres.