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Ancient Literacy

2 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0674033818
ISBN-10: 0674033817
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

The subject of this study is in any case the literacy of the Greeks and Romans from the time when the former were first provably able to write a non-syllabic script, in the eighth century B.C., until the fifth century A.D.

About the Author

William V. Harris is Shepherd Professor of History at Columbia University and Director of the Center for the Ancient Mediterranean.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 406 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press (October 1, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674033817
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674033818
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,124,077 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The paperback edition is a very cheap reprint of the hardcover edition, probably after a simple digital scan of the original, and apparently hastily made by a print worker or editor without any previous experience in book printing: the pagination differs from any other published book I have ever seen: you will find all even numbered pages on the right side (rather than to the left), while all odd numbered pages - including the title page! - are placed to the left. Certainly not worth $38.
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Format: Paperback
This book cites and discusses many interesting sources to support the author's thesis that almost no one in antiquity could read. Unfortunately, Professor Harris isn't fair to other points of view. For instance, in the Second Philippic Cicero says that it was customary for people to sell written programmes of gladiatorial matches at gladiatorial exhibitions. This amazing story clearly suggests a high level of literacy in First Century BC Rome, yet Professor Harris never even alludes to it, presumably because it flies in the face of his claim that almost no one could read. It just shows that this book is not a fair and balanced assessment of ALL the evidence.
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Ancient Literacy
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