The writings of great men like Plato and Marcus Aurelius are studied today with the same fervor and admiration they enjoyed thousands of years ago. However, we often overlook the poor folk who lived ordinary lives and dealt with ordinary problems. Etchings from some of these men have survived thousands of years and give us extraordinary glimpses into everyday life in ancient empires.
10. An Egyptian Soldier Abroad Just Wanted To Go Home
In AD 214, an Egyptian man named Aurelius Polion left his home to fight in the Roman legion. He was stationed in Pannonia Inferior near modern Hungary, which was 1,600 kilometers (1,000 mi) from home. The boy was terrified—not of dying in battle but of being forgotten by his family.
“I sent six letters to you,” Polion wrote to his family, “but you never wrote to me.”
He believed that his family had forsaken him. Still, he wanted to be with them more than anything else—so much so that he would have abandoned his post if they had written him a single word.
“The moment you have me in mind,” he promised, “I shall come to you so that you may know that I am your brother.”