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The Ancient Roman City (Ancient Society and History) Paperback – May 1, 1988

ISBN-13: 978-0801836923 ISBN-10: 0801836921

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Product Details

  • Series: Ancient Society and History
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press (May 1, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801836921
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801836923
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #701,759 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Stambaugh aims at a comprehensive view of urban life in the ancient Roman world. Offering an overview of political history, liberally seasoned with a survey of the architectural development of Rome, he incorporates a catalog of the best known statesmen and authors; these figures are later invoked for the light they can shed on urban values and perspectives. The book's latter half provides a panorama of various aspects of Roman city living. The topography and the city's architecture provide a distinctive emphasis for an introductory account much like L. Richardson Jr.'s Pompeii: An Architectural History , which joins Stambaugh's in the new series "Ancient History and Society." James S. Ruebel, Iowa State Univ., Ames
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

The Ancient Roman City is so full of novel facts, useful synthesis and insightful summations, that the non-specialist is frequently drawn to dwell on the footnotes, track down the intriguing references and generally to reflect on what has been read... Likely to become a standard reference work for undergraduate and high school libraries, a popular supplementary textbook, and a well-worn occupant of that handy shelf near your desk.

(Classical World)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By SPQR Blues on February 24, 2005
Format: Paperback
When I first read this book some years ago, as a classics major and student of ancient domestic architecture, I found it easy to read and digest. The caveat for this review is that it has been a few years since I last referenced the book--although I always make certain it's handy on my library shelf. It walks the line between detailed scholarship and accessibility, which led me at first to wonder how it could be both a pleasant read and so informative. It helps that this is a topic of special interest for me, but I remember it so fondly that I still think of it as a model for writing on the topic. I recommend it as an introduction or overview, and direct readers to the footnotes and sources for further reading and study.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Hippolytos on May 8, 2004
Format: Paperback
The bottom line is that Stambaugh offers up a lot of information in a reasonably small volume, making it interesting and accessible. The only fault, besides an overtly unapologetic Romanocentric view, is that his prose style is somewhat redundant and pejorative. With each chapter he lays out the information he plans to present, and then drifts back and forth between examples. At the end of each chapter he presents a succint and very readable summary of his findings. That is, essentially all of the information you need is available in approximately one-tenth of the text. Nevertheless, this is a fascinating account of the architecture and engineering of the ancient city of Rome; most interesting are his accounts of the representation of the city in the Hellenistic Era. Recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By P. Troutman on March 13, 2012
Format: Paperback
This overview of ancient Rome -- only the last forty-some pages explore other cities -- attempts to bring the metropolis to life in every way it can, from architecture to government to prostitution to religion to food to holidays, and attempts to engage as many senses as possible in the process. (I can't think of any other book on Antiquity that seems so interested in smells.)

On the whole, the book is quite accessible. The writing style is easy, given the alien quality of such a remote time. (I thought I had the impression because I have been reading such difficult materials, like Herodotus and a primer on congressional procedures, but the other reviews say the same thing.) Likewise, the book doesn't presume too much familiarity with the Roman Empire, though a passing knowledge of the religion and emperors would help. The only place where I found it hard to visualize what was being described was a section that attempted to link variations in architecture styles to specific emperor's personalities. There, the onslaught of names of specific buildings that I didn't know limited the effectiveness of the arguments -- but also made me want to visit the city.

I'm not an expert on Rome, so I can't answer the big question about this book. This work is a synthesis of research on the city. If we figure that it took several years to find a publisher and get published, at least several years to write and then several more years for the articles and books upon which it is based to get written, then this work represents cutting edge 1970s archaeology. In some fields, a lot has happened over the last 35 years. In others, surprisingly little. (To take modern urban studies as an example, the Reagan-Bush era saw a dazzling array of theories and books.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By anonymous on June 3, 2006
Format: Paperback
Stambaugh's decision to begin with a political overview of the city's development and then to focus individual chapters on particular topics related to urban history is an excellent solution to presenting his material. This book works very well in undergraduate courses on ancient history, and I'm sure would be a very satisfying read for anyone with a targeted interest in the city of Rome.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Britt on December 27, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had to have it for a class. It worked. Can't really say much more about it, not sure who reads this kind of stuff for pleasure. Seems to me if you are ordering it it is probably cause you don't have a choice so even if I said it was a horrible text, you still have to order it.
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