The ancient Romans adopted every good idea that they saw. If other people were doing something better then the Romans, the Romans changed their way to the better way. They copied anything if they thought it was good. A perfect example of this would be the myths of the Greek gods.
The Romans heard the myths of the Greeks. They loved the stories so much that they took these stories and changed the names of the Gods and made them Roman gods. The Romans had their own religious beliefs. They just added the Greek gods to them. But they didn't copy the Greek gods exactly. They added Roman personalities to the Greek gods, and insisted they had always been Roman gods. The Romans never gave any other civilization credit for inventions. According to the ancient Romans, everything was invented in Rome. You can learn more about the similarity of the Greek and Roman gods here: The Truth About Myths.
Another idea they copied from other people was probably the idea of lipstick and cosmetics. Which was the first ancient civilization to use cosmetics to enhance natural appearance? The answer is: Nobody knows. But the Romans were not first. Most probably, the first would be the people in the Indus Valley, or perhaps the people in ancient Egypt, or in far away China.
There were many occurrences like that.
The Romans were very good at copying other peoples ideas. And, they did invent some things themselves.
- Architecture: The ancient Romans developed many new techniques for buildings and construction of all types including concrete, Roman roads, Roman arches, and aqueducts.
- Public Health Programs: The Romans were great believers in healthy living. They made sure that all the people of Rome were able to get medical help.
- Public Welfare: The Romans also believed that all Romans should have food and shelter so they developed welfare programs for the poor.
- Latin: The Romans spread across Europe, Southwest Asia, and North Africa bringing their traditions and their language. man language (Latin), the root of all the romance languages including English, French, and Spanish.
- Religion: The Catholic faith, which kept learning alive after the fall of the Western Roman Empire.
- Roman Law/Politics, including the law that states a person is innocent until proven guilty (from the Twelve Tables), and propaganda campaigns including coinage with the current emperor's picture on it, to remind everyone who was in charge of the empire.
- Literature, Theatre, Art: Satire, which was a loud and rude sort of sarcastic approach to comic theatre, works of literature including Virgil's Aeneid, realistic statues, ornate jewelry, masks, mosaics.
- Customs, including the use of rings to denote friendship, engagements, and weddings, and the use greenery to decorate during winter holidays, and other holiday customs.
- Clothing: Socks (called soccus by the ancient Romans) worn by both women and men. Shoes, all kinds of shoes, including the hobnailed shoe that made such a scary racket when worn by the common soldier - along with shoe construction that adjusted for left foot, right foot variance in shape, which made wearing any shoes a lot more comfortable. And a bunch of neat hats.
- Games: Many board and ball games including knuckleball (jacks) and hoops.
- Rome - a city of "firsts"