Beware of the dog!

We usually believe that Romans were only mighty soldiers, cunning politicians and skillful generals. Nevertheless we don’t think that they were truly like us. In this post I will shortly explain one fact that make Romans more similar than you would think.

Cave Canem For instance, reflect about the sign “beware of the dog”. Where did it come from? Why do we put this sign in our houses?

The answer is pretty simple. Romans started to use that sign! In fact not only they used guard dogs to guard their houses, but they also wanted to point out if there was a dog. Petronius, a Latin writer who lived during the first century AC, wrote in his masterpiece “Satyricon” that “there on the left as one entered…was a huge dog with a chain round its neck. It was painted on the wall and over it, in big capitals, was written: Beware of the Dog.”

Surprisingly this statement is confirmed by the archeological findings in Pompei, Naples. Here in factCave Canem there are two mosaics, respectively in the House of the Tragic Poet and in the House of Paquuius Proculus. There it’s written “Cave Canem“, which in Latin means “beware of the dog”.

I always feel amazed when I see a fact like this. It’s so nice to have similarities with Romans, althought they lived two thousands years ago. They survive in our every day culture, and we don’t know that.

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