What was shopping like in ancient Rome?

Trajan’s Market is one of the first known shopping malls

Image Credit: Getty Images

Silks, spices, meat – the Romans could buy all this and more from Trajan’s Market. This multi-storey, semi-circular complex of 150 shops and offices, was built during the reign of Emperor Trajan, who ruled from 98 to 117 CE.

This early shopping centre was likely designed by Apollodorus of Damascus, the same architect who had designed Trajan’s Forum (the city centre) to commemorate the Emperor’s victory in war, built with the loot he brought back. The market was constructed using brick and concrete, which contrasted with the marble magnificence of the nearby Forum.

Reconstructing Trajan’s Market 

We can discover much about Roman daily life from the ruins of the market

Image Credit: Future PLC

This article was originally published in How It Works issue 115

For more science and technology articles, pick up the latest copy of How It Works from all good retailers or from our website now. If you have a tablet or smartphone, you can also download the digital version onto your iOS or Android device. To make sure you never miss an issue of How It Works magazine, subscribe today!