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The Latin Inscriptions of Rome: A Walking Guide [Paperback]

Tyler Lansford
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: 15.50 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

17 July 2009 Walking Guide

Rome’s oldest known Latin inscription dates from the sixth century BC; the most recent major specimen was mounted in 2006—a span of more than two and a half millennia. Remarkably, many of these inscriptions are still to be found in situ, on the walls, gates, temples, obelisks, bridges, fountains, and churches of the city. Classicist Tyler Lansford has collected some 400 of these inscriptions and arranged them—with English translations—into fifteen walking tours that trace the physical and historical contours of the city.

Each itinerary is prefaced by an in-depth introduction that provides a survey of the history and topography of the relevant area of the city. The Latin texts appear on the left-hand page with English translations on the right. The original texts are equipped with full linguistic annotation, and the translations are supplemented with historical and cultural notes that explain who mounted them and why.

This unique guide will prove a fascinating and illuminating companion for both sophisticated visitors to the Eternal City and armchair travelers seeking a novel perspective into Rome's rich history.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 600 pages
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press (17 July 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801891507
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801891502
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 15 x 4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 89,385 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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This book is wonderful. My head is full of information I didn’t know about Rome, despite my many years there. Lansford’s evocative depictions of monuments, cityscape, and memorable humans have inspired me anew with the fascination of Rome.

(Mary T. Boatwright, Duke University)

Latin is a less and less common attainment even among educated travellers, so Tyler Lansford has come to the rescue... If this book is not slipped into many a Rome-bound suitcase, there is no justice in the world. I can think of few more enjoyable companions on a prowl through the city.

(Jane Stevenson Times Literary Supplement)

The Latin Inscriptions of Rome is a delight, one to which I shall turn and to which I shall send my students when in Rome, and which I recommend to everyone interested in gaining a wealth of detailed information about 'the epigraphic habit' and its importance to our understanding not just of ancient Rome, but of every era of the Eternal City's incredible history.

(James C. Anderson Classical Outlook)

Tyler Lansford... has put together the most original and stimulating guide to the Eternal City of the hundreds published in recent years.

(Masolino D'Amico La Stampa)

About the Author

Tyler Lansford is an independent scholar and the cofounder of Seattle Language Academy.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book; Joy to read 13 Oct 2010
Full disclosure department: Tyler was my Latin instructor and we went over a lot of these inscriptions in class while this book was being prepared.

The format uses the Latin on the left page and English translation and explanation on the right - similar to the Loeb classical series. What I found enjoyable was the variety of inscriptions - from the Roman era through the Renaissance, and the good directions on finding them.

After reading this, you might want to try "Cyriac of Ancona - Later Travels" (ed. & trans., Edward Bodnar) in the I Tatti Renaissance Library which has copious copies of Latin and Greek inscriptions from the eastern Mediterranean.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lost without translation 16 Oct 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It is hard to walk for long through the streets of Rome without noticing, on its many monuments and embedded into its very walls, inscriptions in Latin. The inscriptions go largely ignored, because, nowadays, most people have little knowledge or understanding of the language. One exception is Tyler Lansford, who has written a very original and endlessly absorbing guide to Rome through its Latin inscriptions.

Lansford divides the city up into fifteen areas and selects a number of key inscriptions from each. In all, he translates more than 350 inscriptions dating from the first century BC to 2006. The book is clearly laid out with the original inscriptions and the author's translations on facing pages. There are maps of each area, clearly pinpointing the location of the chosen inscriptions. The author doesn't simply provide translations of these, useful though this would be; he also mines each inscription to produce an extensive series of very informative notes on numerous aspects of Rome's history.

The book's only drawback is its size and weight. It is a fairly hefty tome and not ideal for lugging about the streets of the Eternal City. Otherwise, very highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Latin Lovers 4 Dec 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
OK, so you don't remember a thing about the latin you took at school. No matter. This book is sort of an alternative guidebook to Rome. You'll look at Rome with different eyes if you bring this along with you on your next trip. It brings you to some off beat places as well as familiar ones. Loads of insights and trivia. Impress your friends!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Latin inscriptions 23 Mar 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A very useful book with many latin inscriptions covering a wide range of time from Roman times to more recent times in Rome.
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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rome in her own Words 27 Aug 2009
By Michael J. Hart - Published on Amazon.com
Rome is a magnificent city and for centuries the Romans have been leaving us messages about who they were and what they did. Unfortunately they are in Latin. Even with my four years of Latin, I was never able to make out more than a few words of these wonderful inscriptions, so I just walked by.

Tyler Lansford has given us the key to unlock these echoes from the past in his book, "The Latin Inscriptions of Rome. A Walking Guide." My family (including two high school Latin students) took this book to Rome on vacation this summer. Grouping the inscriptions along walks around Rome made it the perfect companion for our trip. Instead of walking past the inscriptions we sat down with Lansford's book and were amazed by the stories they told. From the poetry of the Latin on Raphael's tomb in the Pantheon to the more mundane Tiber flood markers on buildings, Lansford leaves few inscriptions untreated. Each section begins with a general introduction to the area you are going to enter, then it leads you from inscription to inscription, telling the story of Rome. It is a great excuse to buy a gelato and mull over the inscriptions at the Trevi.

The book is well-designed with Latin on the left and English on the right. The Latin side also includes the frequently missing letters of the abbreviated inscriptions and explanations of the words and constructions. If you've ever suffered through a Latin class, you can take a crack translating it. When you give up, you can check out Lansford's wonderful translations on the right.

Some Latin texts exclude the 2000 years of Latin since the Classical period but Lansford's book includes Latin from all centuries. I especially appreciated the coverage of the Vatican and St. Peters.

I came away from Rome this time with a much deeper appreciation for the people who built it and made it great over the centuries. Even if you haven't had any Latin instruction in your past, you can use the English side alone to hear the voices of the Romans through their own writings.

I can't wait to go back to Rome, I have a few walks still to go.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a must-have for fans of Rome 20 Aug 2009
By Jenninrome - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is a must-have for fans of Rome. It will be of interest to scholars, tourists ... and to anyone interested in getting to know a new "layer" of the Eternal City. Lansford doesn't just translate Rome's Latin inscriptions; he puts them in historical context, bringing them to life. The organization of the guide into walking tours will turn even the most well-known neighborhood of Rome into an off-the-beaten track discovery.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Blend of Scholarship and Travel Writing 9 Sep 2009
By David Heitman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is quite an impressive tome with its unique blend of scholarly precision and highly accessible, travel-related material. The introduction to each major area of the city is a robust and engaging history, followed by the relevant Latin inscriptions and their English translations. Whether you literally follow in Lansford's footsteps, or take in the Roman inscriptions from the comfort of your own study, this is great history brought to life, well written, and thoroughly enjoyable. I think this is the kind of book you can pick up and open to any page and enjoy as much as reading cover-to-cover.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have for ANY fan of Rome!! 19 Nov 2010
By Albert Slap - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
My stepson was bragging to me about a Roman History class what a great and extremely knowledgeable Classics teacher he had at the University of Colorado, so I curiously asked to see the syllabus to the class. Immediately I read name Tyler Lansford on the top of the page and realized my stepson was taking a class from our "personal" guide, my stepson and I had just traveled to Rome the summer before and used Lansford well crafted book as a virtual tour guide of Rome and its timeless inscriptions by foot!! A must have for all ages of those who wish to understand the ancient city of Rome, and to those who wish to see hidden marvels in the city of Rome that they would otherwise be unaware of.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A "Must-Have" Guidebook for Rome 27 Dec 2009
By Gifford Combs - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I cannot praise this work highly enough and I would recommend it as an essential item for anyone interested in the Eternal City. Lansford has managed in one volume to pack in a huge amount of fascinating history and information that will keep even the most experienced tourist interested. The streets of Rome are filled with Latin inscriptions that are difficult for even a serious student of Latin to understand. In this book, the key to reading these inscriptions is revealed in a fun and lively way. If you are headed to Rome, you need this book. And if you want to have a vicarious armchair "visit" to Rome, you'll love this book.
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