More than 2,000 years ago, the famous Roman politician Marcus Tullius Cicero once accused his enemy Clodius of incest with his brothers and sisters.
But far from being shocking to people living at the time, this type of insult was just a part of normal everyday life, according to one prominent historian.
Professor Dr Martin Jehne of the Technische Universität Dresden says modern insults are nothing compared to those flung around ancient Rome.
According to the historian’s findings, Romans could be even more cruel than the trolls of today and would often stoop to sexual slurs to insult their opponents.
Professor Jehne said withstanding and overcoming insults can ultimately have a politically stabilising effect in society, with those who exchanged vile taunts often working together in the near future.
Likewise, the common people were allowed to insult the elite – who could not retort – helping to curb their ‘omnipotence fantasies’, Professor Jehne claims.