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Everyday Life in Ancient Rome [Paperback]

By Lionel Casson (Author)
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Item description for Everyday Life in Ancient Rome by Lionel Casson...

In "Everyday Life in Ancient Rome, " Lionel Casson offers a lively introduction to the society of the times. Instead of following the standard procedure of social history, he presents a series of vignettes focusing on the "ways of life" of various members of that society, from the slave to the emperor. The book opens with a description of the historical context and includes examination of topics such as the family, religion, urban and rural life, and leisure activities. This revised edition of Casson's engaging work, originally published in 1975 as "Daily Life in Ancient Rome," includes two new chapters as well as full documentation of the sources.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Pages   170
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.48" Width: 5.64" Height: 0.34"
Weight:   0.55 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 11, 1999
Publisher   The Johns Hopkins University Press
Age  22
Edition  Revised and Exp  
ISBN  0801859921  
ISBN13  9780801859922  

Availability  6 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 18, 2017 10:10.
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More About Lionel Casson

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Lionel Casson is professor emeritus of classics at New York University and has written many books about life in the ancient world, including Travel in the Ancient World, and Ships and Seamanship in the Ancient World, both available from Johns Hopkins.

Lionel Casson was born in 1914 and died in 2009.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > History > Ancient > General
2Books > Subjects > History > Ancient > Rome
3Books > Subjects > History > Europe > General
4Books > Subjects > History > World > General
5Books > Subjects > History > World

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Reviews - What do customers think about Everyday Life in Ancient Rome?

well written  Apr 4, 2008
Somewhere I read Everyday Life in Ancient Rome had one shortcoming: it is too short. I could not agree more. It is well written, concise and to the point. The only author I know who resembles Caslons authorship is the Dutch Professor in ancient history Fik Meier who also wrote some very readable books about this subject. It was a joy reading it.
Everyday Life in Ancient Rome  Aug 23, 2007
I had recourse to this book to provide background for a series of lectures in historical interior design. As such a vehicle, this is an excellent book, slender though it is. It seems well-researched, and the end notes suggest a keen working-knowledge of the subject. The style is conversational rather than academic, which makes it an ideal point of entry for high school students, under graduates and others who are just looking for a fairly simple backdrop to deeper research in more focussed areas. There are more thorough studies of family life, slavery and religion available, but as a springboard into such studies, this work is perhaps ideal. Finally, anyone look for pertinent illustrations for lectures on the subject of ancient Roman everyday life should look elsewhere: the second-rate illustrations are black and white and few in number.
Engaging study of Roman social history  Jul 9, 2006
Everyday Life in Ancient Rome is a fascinating, engaging, brief study of the social history of Rome during the 1st and 2nd centuries A.D., the period when Imperial Rome was at its height. Casson, the author, provides brief vignettes of family life; farming; the organization, administration, and life of the city; slavery; the life of soldiers; how Romans traveled; the emperor, etc. His history digs deeper into social issues than the typical history book which tends to focus on key individuals and major political events. Each of the vignettes provides fascinating information about how Romans lived; e.g., the life within apartment complexes; the engineering feat of providing water to city dwellers; the various forms of entertainment provided to Roman citizens. Each of the vignettes are quite brief, and I was left with wanting more. It also seemed that the vignette on slavery overemphasized its positive aspects, and the vignette on the Emperor focused exclusively on Hadrian, rather than also commenting on other emperors of the period. Nevertheless, this is an excellent, well written study of Roman times and is highly recommended. Casson's book, Travel in the Ancient World, is also quite good.
SPQR  Jul 27, 2003
Isaac Asimov once told Casson he used to get "wrapped-up" in his books. I fell victim to this with Everyday Life in Ancient Rome. I've read a couple books on this subject of how the ordinary citizen spent their day in ancient Rome. Casson's book is much more readable than any other I've read on the subject. His prose are more personable. He doesn't get bogged down in too much background and footnote information. The subject is relatively easy and Casson makes it seem that way and makes it accessible to the non-academician type reader. The book is divided into subject chapters. The Times, The Family, In The City, The Slave, The Soldier, The Engineer, On The Road. These are some of the chapter titles. It is easiest to read straight through, but you could bounce from chapter to chapter with no problems. Some of the usual big names are in this book like Augustus, Cicero, Pliny the Younger, Dio, Trajan, and Hadrian to name a few. However, he also talks about how slaves fit into everyday society and how important their role was. His description of cities like Ostia and Pompeii are dead-on and he talks about what life was like at each. There are a few illustrations, but nothing really useful. The words are enough to get a good image in your mind. This edition is a revised one of his 1975 Daily Life in Ancient Rome. Enjoy.
What Rome was like, way back when  Jan 16, 2003
History is usually measured by the reigns of rulers, wars, battles, treaties between nations, breaches of treaties between nations, cataclysmic events, shifts in political idealogies and the discovery of new lands. While all of these things are certainly important, what sometimes gets lost is what the routines of life were like for "ordinary" denizens of the remote past.

Enter Lionel Casson. In this book, Casson attempts to disinter what life was like for the longest-lasting major empire in world history. Rome was founded (according to the Romans themselves) in 753B.C.E., had a meteoric rise in power in the 3rd century B.C.E., and saw the fall of her empire around 473 A.D. The present work details what life was like for her citizens, particularly in the age of the Antonine emperors and just before.

To justify his conclusions, Casson invokes archeology, the literature of the time, coinage, political & legal writings, plus a host of historical anecdotes.

From this array of reference material, Casson sketches for us what life was like for various levels of Roman society, from slaves and gladiators to wealthy patricians to the all-powerful emperor himself. We learn a great deal about the mores of Roman life, what travelling abroad must have been like, what the most preferred forms of entertainment were as well as how sundry religions were interwoven into their way of life.

One of the best chapters deals with archeological excavations of Pompeii and Ostia, the latter being a thriving coastal port during the prime of the empire. As much of these cities remains unchanged over the past 2,000 years, archeologists are able to discern many aspects of the typical activities of its long dead citizens.

[It must be noted Ostia and Pompeii can tell us a lot about ancient Rome. Being a Roman citizen did not NECESSARILY = living in Rome. One could live throughout the Roman empire and still possess the rights and privileges of a full Roman citizen. It was not uncommon, in fact, for full citizens to live in places like North Africa, for instance, and never witness for themselves the pines of Rome. Herein lies the relevance of these two cities in this work.]

Some day, I will see with my own eyes the Pantheon, the Collosseum, Trajan's column, Hadrian's villa, the Baths of Caracalla and all the splendour of modern Rome. As I gaze around, I will wonder what it was like when Romans stood in my spot some 2,000 years ago. Thanks to Lionel Casson, I'll now be able to envision the lives of those remote denizens with far more veracity.


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