“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.”

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

In this new blog series, we aim to entice you into the history of countries around the globe to broaden your experience with international studies!

By: Kristina Dong

First stop on our ‘History Around the Globe’ series is Italy! Home to eloquent art, delicate pastries, and dreamy cities, Italy has a history as long spanning as its never-ending list of trademarks.

Roma – Rome

Italy’s capital city – Rome holds the history of one of the greatest civilisations recorded in history, the Roman empire (625 BC – AD 476). From the tale of its founders, Romulus and Remus to becoming one of the most powerful empires reigned by emperors still remembered in today’s world, half of Italy’s history is captured in Rome’s rise and fall.

Rome, Colosseum | Photo by Davi Pimentel on

Historical Figures

From Julius Caesar to Mark Antony, prominent figures under this period are still remembered even today.

As the adopted son of Julius Caesar, the rival to Mark Antony, Caesar Augustus – the first Roman emperor became a legacy referenced throughout Latin literature. His autobiographical writing, The Deeds of the Divine Augustus, details a first-person record of his life and accomplishments.

Amongst his achievements, Augustus emphasises the founding of the Roman Principate, which is embedded in his legacy and today he is remembered as one of the most effective leaders in human history.

Augustus Prima Porta statue | Sergey Sosnovskiy (CC BY-SA 4.0)


The Roman Empire was mainly composed of a polytheistic population, worshipping a large group of Greco Roman gods including Jupiter, Juno, Neptune.

Jupiter is thought to have originated from the Greek god Zeus and was the sky-God who Romans believed to have overseen all aspects of life and protected the Roman state.

Juno was the Roman goddess equivalent of the Greek goddess Hera. She was Jupiter’s wife, Goddess of marriage and childbirth, and watched over women and all aspects of female life.

Neptune was identified with the Greek god Poseidon and is the god of freshwater and the sea in Roman religion.

Left to right: Jupiter, Juno, Neptune

Traditional Clothing

These garments were commonly spun from linen and wool. Besides the iconic white colour, togas and tunics alike were dyed in a variety of colours such as purple, red, and yellow.

Ancient Romans wore two types of basic garments, tunics, and togas. Tunics were informal and worn for day-to-day activities, while togas were worn for official occasions and in religious settings.

Traditional Greco-Roman Garb (togas on left and shorter tunics on right)
Photo from

Do you want to know more about life in ancient Rome?

Look no further! From the assassination of Julius Caesar to the Battle at Actium showdown between Caesar Augustus and Mark Antony, there has been numerous remakes of the stories and historical tales centred around the Roman empire.

Our recommendation is the 2000 film ‘Gladiator’ directed by Ridley Scott and starring Russell Crowe. The movie is said to have been based on real events that occurred in the latter half of the 2nd century AD in the Roman Empire.

Scott, Ridley. 2000. Gladiator. United States: DreamWorks Distribution.

Keen to go on exchange to Italy?

Want to know more about ancient Rome and Italian culture by applying for exchange to an UNSW partner university? Check out UNSW’s list of partner universities spanning across Italy!

Check out our Lockdown Around the Globe series – Italy for more interesting experiences around the region.

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