On All About Romans – The rise and fall of the mighty ancient empire
Ancient Rome had a problem with crime. Robberies were common, so was violence and rioting. Merchants cheated their customers; desperate slaves escaped regularly and joined other outlaws in their hiding places beneath the city. At the top level of society, the wealthy and aristocratic were often embroiled in secret or subversive plots. From the top to the bottom the city was riddled with criminal activity. Beneath the streets of ancient Rome lurked some of the city’s most dangerous criminals.
The Catacombs that form a warren of tunnels and caves under the city were home to escaped slaves and outlawed religions that used the underground labyrinth as a hiding place. Dark, often damp, riddled with vermin, claustrophobically small in places and stacked with the corpses of previous inhabitants, the Catacombs were not a place where people would want to stay. Escaped slaves would want to move on from there.