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Dining Posture in Ancient Rome: Bodies, Values, and Status Hardcover – July 23, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Roller can justifiably claim to have pulled the cloth from under an old and inadequate model of ancient dining, and in the process drawn important conclusions about the wider issue of the self-definition of elites and non-elites in Rome. . . . [T]his stands out as a devoted, sophisticated and ambitious study of a central aspect of ancient culture."--Emily Gowers, Times Literary Supplement

"Roller's book not only achieves its goal of disproving the communis opinio regarding dining posture but also shows that a detailed study of such a topic has much to teach us about the Roman world."--Carolyn Shank, Gastronomica

"Dining Postures addresses a fascinating aspect of Roman social life which has never been given this amount of direct attention before. Its conclusions raise interesting questions and will open further debate; it is a provocative addition to the ever-growing bibliography on body language and social manners."--Mary Harlow, Journal of Roman Studies

From the Back Cover

"A scholarly and significant book on an important aspect of Roman conviviality, written with clarity and elegance."--Oswyn Murray, University of Oxford

"Matthew Roller is refreshingly challenging in his unwillingness to accept the communis opinio of scholarship while candid about the speculative character of many of his own conclusions. The book engages consistently and persuasively with past and current work on Roman dining and the topic is timely and sure to be of interest."--Anthony Corbeill, University of Kansas

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (July 23, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691124574
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691124575
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,639,207 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By TammyJo Eckhart VINE VOICE on November 5, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Matthew Roller's study of dining posture in Rome seemed to be initially a correction of "handbook" views on Rome practices. Instead of simply looking at the literature of a few elite men who complain about their period and praise the past, he looked at a wide range of evidence. He expands upon the literature to include 48 different authors. He also looks at visual evidence from dining rooms, funerary monuments, and also the layout of houses themselves. The book is split into three primary parts, each looking at the free or freedperson in Rome: men, women, and children. Slaves show up throughout these chapters at appropriate times to demonstrate that the entire dining experience may have partly been theater to portray social status. While some of the assumptions about slaves in particular are not rigorously supported, over all this is a minor part of the book so I think it is an excellent piece of scholarly research and writing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ann Margaret Russ on January 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Really enjoyable, fascinating, in depth treatment of dining customs represents the structure and habits of Roman society beautifully. It's fun, and relevant, to think about how manners have and haven't changed.
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Format: Hardcover
I don't really have the background to judge the book. I happened to read a review of it and was struck by the connections to the Passover seder, especially the four questions. The book, which does not discuss the seder or cover Jews specifically, did not disappoint. I can see that it will supply me with insights and material (from an unexpected angle) for discussions (once a year) for years.
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