Well judging by Grumio’s quote, they are not very articulate or mannerly! Plebeians were Rome’s poor. Rome was very densely populated with plebeians. It’s similar in many countries today, very rich few vs. very poor many
The Life of a Pleb!
Plebeians lived in apartment blocks called insulaes. These are not exactly a high standard apartment that you would see today! These blocks were 5 or 6 storey buildings. The lower storeys were built of stone, while the upper storeys were built of timber. Guess which storeys the very poor lived? The street level rooms were usually rented as shops. Better off families would live here with furnished rooms while the Plebs would live in bare rooms above them. Usually there were no toilets in the insulae, so tenants had to use public toilets. There was no running water so they would have to bring water from the public fountains. Rubbish was generally thrown out the windows onto the street. Wood-burning stoves provided heat in the insulaes but there was always a risk of fire! Plebeians depended on bread or wheat biscuits for their breakfast and lunch. They also ate a type of porridge made from wheat and barley. They could not cook in their apartments (insulae) for fear of fire, so their evening meals were either cold, or taken from inns or take-away shops. The Price of Wheat was so important to the poor because it was an ingredient that they were very dependant on. If wheat got too expensive, it would make the populace unhappy. Poverty was a huge problem in Rome, so much that the Emperors gave a free supply of grain to 200,000 people. This was known as the dole Education was not for everyone like it is today! You were only educated if you could afford it. For many poor families, their children would not be given the opportunity to read and write because they had to work. Here is hoping few turned out like Grumio did!
So there you go, being a Pleb in Rome was not very fun! For more information on life in Rome, why not check out other blogs under “Romans” For information on Grumio check out this website: www.comedy.co.uk/guide/tv/plebs
For more info on Roman life, check out this website under the category “Romans”