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As the Romans Did: A Sourcebook in Roman Social History, 2nd Edition 2nd Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195089745
ISBN-10: 019508974X
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Editorial Reviews

Review


"Rich....Very much a collection for today's English-speaking investigator of the Roman world....Should find a very wide and happy audience."--New England Classical Newsletter & Journal (on the previous edition)


"Will be useful in college courses and high-school classrooms alike."--The Classical Outlook


"The most lucid account of daily activity thus far constructed....A wonderful sourcebook of everyday life...will become a short classic of the past."--Ronald T. Marchese, University of Minnesota


"A wonderful book! The best introduction to the Romans that I have seen. The Romans speak to the students in their own voices, but the clear organization, excellent introductions and cross-referencing make the book accessible and informative."--Kathryn Argetsinger, University of Rochester


About the Author


Jo-Ann Shelton is Professor of Classics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is the author of several books and articles on the social and cultural history of Rome in the early imperial period, including Hercules Furens: The Madness of Hercules (1991).
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 483 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 2nd edition (January 9, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019508974X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195089745
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 0.9 x 6.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,512 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I must say this was an incredibly fun sourcebook to read. At times it had me laughing with humorous quotations such as; "I am amazed, o wall, that you have not collapsed and fallen, since you must bear the tedious stupidities of so many scrawlers" and at other times I would shudder; "Good God, what scrawny little slaves they were! Their skin was everywhere embroidered with purple welts from their many beatings. Their backs, scarred from floggings... their complexions were an ugly yellow..."

Using a slew of both primary and secondary sources, Jo-Ann Shelton takes us through the life of the Romans. Covering topics as varied as slavery, provincial administration, the family unit, the magistrates and occupations, we are brought directly into Roman life with all of its practices, norms, values and peculiarities. The key feature of this book is the focus on the common Roman and how they lived with a section devoted entirely to woman in Roman society, a much overlooked topic. From dinner parties to funeral clubs, all aspects of the common Romans life are discussed.

In all a very worthwhile book to own and use as both a source of reference and entertainment!
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Format: Paperback
An extraordinary book, it alternates concise, cogent discussions of every aspect of Roman life with equally concise, cogent and elegantly translated short selections from Roman sources that illuminate the topic, serving both as a window on the lives of the Romans and as a comprehensive introduction to the wealth of Roman literature and documents that have survived. I was always entertained and often surprised and moved by the insights the book offered into Roman attitudes about government, religion, family life, economic striving, military affairs, and much, much more. Ranging from the laments of dramatists about the short attention spans of their audiences to the complaints of neighbors about the noise of early morning classes for school children, the book is so comprehensive - and Rome has so pervasively influenced our lives today - that a selection even explains why for over two thousand years grooms have traditionally carried their brides across the threshold.
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By A Customer on January 14, 2004
Format: Paperback
I had to read this book for one of my University courses on Roman history (the first half), and while the other books I was forced to go through were dry and rather boring, unless your mind was concentrating hard, this book managed to bring Roman history and life ALIVE.
The footnotes given are an absolute gem - to me, they WERE the high point of the book. Shelton does a fantastic job of explaining what certain words, phrases, rituals or just ideas the Romans held in the past.
As stated previously, the book isn't "dry", by this I mean there isn't an action by action replay of things that don't really illustrate the true life they lived. Instead, there are bits and pieces of writings from various Romans about their life - such as a Roman writing a letter to a friend to tell him why no one attends his dinners anymore, (even with the lure of free food) because they can't stand to hear him recite his boring poetry before, during and after dinner! The humour in some of these pieces really made it all come alive.
Excellent read.
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By A Customer on April 27, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book truly makes the ancient Romans come alive. The passages Shelton includes were written by ancient Romans themselves, so it is as though they are able to speak to us and tell us of their everyday lives. In this book it becomes clear that they were really not so different from people today, having many of the same problems and concerns. Shelton also uses very helpful cross referencing, as well as a thorough appendix and index, which aid the reader in fully understanding the book, which is not a difficult read at all.
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Format: Paperback
Although this book was recquired reading for a Roman History class I took, I found myself really enjoying the read. Shelton does a superb job in collecting sources to paint an engaging and colorful picture of Roman society. I've read a lot of books about Roman history(due to the sweetness of its action), but few make the Romans seem to come alive quite like this one. If you like Roman history like me, this would be an excellent choice for your collection.
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Format: Paperback
reads like a novel, concentrates on everyday life rather than great historical events. Truely the mose informative and pleasant book to read for anyone with a desire to learn more on ancient Roman life.
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Format: Paperback
Excellent. You will actually have a good time reading this if it is required for a class. There are plenty of funny antecdotes throughout. Many of the examples of people interacting seem like they could be happening now. The great thing about this book is that more than half of the material is ancient sources. Letters about marriage, politics, superstition, it is all taught by example, which takes you into the history much more. Wonder what the people actually thought about gladitorial combats? What happened when someone had to go travelling? If there's two sides to the story, both sides are presented in this book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was required reading for a Roman Civilization class, but we only read a few selections from it as supplementary evidence for other things we were studying, but since graduation I’ve had the opportunity to read it cover-to-cover and am surprised to find what enjoyable reading the book is on its own. Basically the book is a collection of excerpts from primary sources. In addition to the selections from contemporary writers, the author also includes inscriptions from gravestones and architectural monuments, graffiti, and personal correspondence of ordinary people. Some of the excerpts are funny, but a number of them are surprisingly moving and very disturbing, such as the letter from a soldier on the frontier to his pregnant wife at home. He writes that if she has a boy that she should keep it, but if it is a girl that she should expose it. The reader gets a really good idea of how the Romans thought and what their values were from their own words. The author has provided extensive footnotes, serviceable maps, and a comprehensive bibliography. This book, in tandem with Charles Boren’s ROMAN SOCIETY, provides an excellent foundation for further studies in the culture of Ancient Rome. Highly recommended! Five Stars!
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