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Leisure and Ancient Rome 1st Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0745614328
ISBN-10: 0745614329
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Toner's book is at its best in discussing the leisure of the poor. Toner offers an illuminating study of the cultural significance of betting, with reference both to the circus and to other forms of gambling." The Classical Review

Book Description

This book provides a fascinating look at the nature & role of leisure in ancient Roman society. As leisure was central to social life & therefore an integral part of history, this highly innovative text represents a significant contribution to what has been called a more "human" history. The book examines the imperial games & the baths, as well as the forms of leisure associated with popular culture, such as gambling, the taverns, theatre, & carnivals. It illustrates how these activities, which were central to the imperial program, were also a focus of tension between social classes & between traditionalist & modern elements in Roman culture.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Polity Press; 1 edition (August 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0745614329
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745614328
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,787,474 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Jeri VINE VOICE on April 30, 2016
Format: Paperback
This is a relatively small book that still covers the subject in depth.

"The cruelty and the strangeness of the Roman spectacle are plentiful...animals...hunted...set loose on men... bulls...gilded with gold...Criminals tied to a stake and left to be mauled...Scenes from history, mythology, and literature...the castration of Atys was reproduced,..and the union ...between Pasiphae and the bull became a reality" (p 37),

As more and more countries were occupied, gold and slaves flowed into Rome. Rome had originally been a poor and mostly agricultural village, with stern men and the virtuous wives that obeyed them. Whatever the exact truth of this founding myth, by the time Rome had become the greatest city in the world it was filled more with lurid pleasures than stern and virtuous people. Augustus famously tried to reform the wealthy upper class by laws which urged them to marry and have children. The laws had no effect.

Romans had slaughtered their way to empire, and the people enjoyed the slaughter in the Coliseum. The games represented Roman masculinity, eager to fight, to do so courageously, and, if forced to die, to do it with calm Stoicism. Gladiators were trained to turn their necks upwards for the fatal cut, and to do so with no fear, or any emotion. .

Rome had created an entirely new class eager for pleasurably spent leisure, the unemployed citizen. Taverns sold wine and food, prostitutes and gambling. Roman moralists were untiring in their lamentations about taverns, to no effect.

The old, moral, rigorous world of a rural Rome had died, and in its place "personal freedom was emerging from its ruins...people influenced by popular culture placed their own pleasures...above ...obligations...
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Format: Paperback
Of relevance to sociologists and cultural theorists as well as classical scholars and historians. Written in a distinctive, engaging style
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