Roman Pastimes

Intellectual people and philosophers came from all over to listen and be part of the Ancient Roman culture.  Not only were they smart, they had many traditions, cultures and a powerful army.

There were many pastimes that the Ancient Romans would take part in but they weren’t always pastimes like we have today and many of them had to do with education and other things that would not be considered pastimes.


Many of the pastimes that the Ancient Romans had was to talk about things such as philosophy, mathematics, science, literature and even astronomy.  The Ancient Roman philosophers had trained their mind in order to be good public speakers and to be able to debate with the people.

Sometimes the philosophers would gather around the atrium or the courtyard and would debate about philosophical things and people would gather around to listen to them and to cheer them on.

These types of activities help to build the minds of the people and to give them something to do that help to strengthen them.  Being a public speaker was considered one of the greatest job that an Ancient Roman man could have.


Sports were another pastime that Ancient Romans participated in.  Many of the sports during this time were bloody and would be battles that would last until death, while other sports were just for fun and entertainment.

Sports was not just entertainment, but it was part of the Roman lifestyle.  When people would win at gladiator games, they would even become rich and famous for their win, even though many died while playing this sport.

Chariot racing was another very popular sport.  The people would sometimes pick teams and they would race to the finish.  Many people died during these because the chariots would flip over.  More than 50,000 people would sometimes participate in these races and more than 250,000 would watch the races.


Saturnalia was one of the national holidays that the Ancient Romans held.  During this holiday, slaves could change their status with their masters for a day.

The slaves would enjoy the things that the masters got to do, and they would even get to eat at a fancy banquet.


Religion was a pastime that the Ancient Romans spent much time participating in.  Most of the Ancient Romans believed in the gods and goddesses that the Ancient Greeks had believed in.

They would worship the gods, have festivals for them and celebrate them.

The Ancient Romans saw Christians as atheists because they believed in God and not in the gods and goddesses that the Ancient Romans believed in.

They also thought that they were cannibals because they would drink the “blood” and eat the “body” of Christ when doing communion.

Eating and Banquets

Eating and banquets were a big thing for the wealthier Ancient Romans.  They would have banquets for many reasons where they would eat rich foods such as meats, vegetables, breads, fruits and they would drink wine.

A banquet would be held for many reasons and sometimes the wealthier Romans would even have a banquet just to have dinner.

Children Pastimes

Children of Ancient Rome enjoyed pastimes when they were not helping their families or going to school.  They would enjoy playing with their toys, playing board games and going outside to play sports.

Facts About Ancient Roman Pastimes:

  • The chariot races were held in the colosseum which the Ancient Romans called “circuses.”
  • Thousands of people would gather to watch the armored gladiators fight to the death.
  • Theater was a big part of Ancient Roman pastimes.
  • The public baths in Ancient Rome were a place where people would gather together to exercise, study and to relax. This was an important pastime for most Romans.
  • Many of the games that the Ancient Roman children played were games that we play today such as tic-tac-toe and hopscotch.
  • Other Ancient Roman pastimes included reading, swimming, wrestling, archery, running, comedy, magic, and even Olympic games.

What Did You Learn?

  1. What were some of the more known Ancient Roman pastimes?  The Ancient Romans loved to go to gladiator games and to do chariot racing.
  2. What did education have to do with pastimes? The Ancient Romans loved to speak publicly.  Many of the philosophers would get together and would speak publicly and debate with each other.  They would talk about educational things such as math, science and more.
  3. Why was public speaking important? One of the best jobs that an Ancient Roman could have was to be an orator or public speaker.
  4. What kinds of pastimes did children have? Children would play with toys, play ball games, play board games and go outside and have fun when they weren’t in school.
  5. What were some lesser known pastimes that the Ancient Romans had? The Ancient Romans would also spend time swimming, going to public bath houses, exercise and read.