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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Carpe librum!
A librarian from Long Island sent this to me as a birthday present (thanks, Nephele) and I love it! With sections on Getting There, The Environs of Rome, Settling In, Out and About, Shopping, Law and Order, Entertainment, Religion, Must-See Sights and Roman Walks, it is accurate and fun. I especially like the quotes from Latin primary sources sprinkled here and there,...
Published on 10 Jun 2007 by Caroline Lawrence

versus
8 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Boring
I'm a huge fan of Ancient Rome. So you can imagine how I jumped from joy when I discovered this book. Imagine, a "travel guide" that describes Rome as if you were a tourist in ancient times. Awesome!

So how come I found this book boring? I don't know. I just did. I can't put my finger on it, but the fact is that I read this book and it felt like nothing. It...
Published on 23 Jan 2010 by Printul Noptilor


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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Carpe librum!, 10 Jun 2007
A librarian from Long Island sent this to me as a birthday present (thanks, Nephele) and I love it! With sections on Getting There, The Environs of Rome, Settling In, Out and About, Shopping, Law and Order, Entertainment, Religion, Must-See Sights and Roman Walks, it is accurate and fun. I especially like the quotes from Latin primary sources sprinkled here and there, and the sidebars with fun facts relating to each section. There are also some great full colour CGI illustrations of 2nd century Rome by my pals at Altair.

This book would make a great 'Vade Mecum' for anyone travelling to Rome and a great resource for any secondary-school classroom.

Carpe librum!
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gem of a book!, 2 Mar 2008
By 
Nicky (God's Country) - See all my reviews
What a quirky little book! I discovered it quite by accident but what a find. It basically tells you what to expect if you had the ability to travel back in time and found yourself a tourist in Ancient Rome. Based around AD200 but the author has borrowed from sources ranging over 300 years. It gives you an informative guide at every stage of your journey from getting there to eating out, where to stay, shopping and what sights every tourist ought to see and avoid! The book has lots of quotes from the likes of Cicero, Horace and Petronius but perhaps most amusing of all is the pages of useful phrases. The author has taken modern phrases and translated them into Latin - In hac tunica obesa videbor? This book should appeal to history buffs and travellers alike and anyone who has ever wished they could travel back in time to see what Ancient Rome was really like.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another worthy success from a consummate and witty author, 27 April 2014
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The perfect companion to this excellent work is THE ROMA VICTRIX WINE beaker,Calix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker the author himself is the proud owner of one. This is what he has to say:
! The details on the panels is exquisite, the overall effect is both handsome and impressive, overall this beaker has proven to be both a highly practical drinking vessel and an ornament to whatever surface it rests on!

Thus begins a delightful travel guide for time-travellers to the Ancient Rome of about 200 A.D. The author starts from scratch, by laying out in detail how a sea journey is to be planned, with plenty of warnings and a distance chart, and he recommends the port of Puteoli as first destination point and carriage or foot travel from there to Rome. He concludes the guide book with a map and a few "useful phrases," such as, noli me necare, cape omnias pecunias meas, Don't kill me, here's all my money.

In between, there is all you wanted to know and more. This is great light fare to read at odd moments, light though it might look, the book is meticulously researched, drawing on sources ranging over 300 years. The pages are sprinkled with ancient quotations: from epigrams, satires and other writings by the Latin poets and playwrights; from philosophers, historians and letter writers; tomb inscriptions; graffiti from Pompeii; and inscriptions from Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum. And each chapter has artistically designed sidebars, headed RES ROMAE and containing related trivia. Page numbers, by the way, are in Roman numerals, but not to worry, the decimal ones are shown in brackets.

As can be seen from the Table of Content below, the book is well organized. After the above-mentioned initial planning, the intrepid traveller lands in Puteoli, and on the way to Rome does some initial educational sightseeing. (I & II). Then the basics of staying and surviving in Rome are explained, with plenty of warnings what not to do and a reminder, this is a different age with different standards. (III). "Meeting People" (IV) has a discourse on patrons, amici, clients and the salutatio, and the aside, "It helps to clarify the situation by considering that `patronus' literally means `big father', but has also been memorably translated as `Godfather'." Domestic life and strain are also given some space, including a letter from Cicero to Atticus about that long-suffering couple Quintus and Pomponia. There is also etiquette advice for dining out. You learn all about the ins and outs of shopping and money in Rome (V), and Law and Order (VI) tells you about the difference between Praetorians, Urban Cohorts, and Vigiles: "...By now you will have gotten the idea. If you come across any Praetorians, don't avoid them like the plague. The plague is most certainly the better option." Law courts, prison (or the lack thereof), and punishment are explained in great detail.

Once you have absorbed all this, it's time to go out and about. Entertainment (VII) apparently trumps Religion (VIII), as the former comes first. As to entertainment, we meet all the usual suspects, and concerning religion, remember that Rome still `swarms with gods,' Christianity has not yet taken hold. There are plenty of temples to visit as well as Hadrian's Pantheon, and the author runs through each month and its religious festivals. He has a lot to say about the Vestal Virgins, but glosses over the kind of punishment a straying Virgin would receive - whereas earlier on, the penalty for parricide is described in all its gruesomeness. Must-See Sights (IX) and Roman Walks (X) are nicely guided tours through Ancient Rome, with a lot of ancient lore and gossip told.

The Pages contain drawings as well as illustrative images from various kinds of monuments, supporting the text. Eleven full size and double page colour plates which show lavish virtual reconstructions of temples, baths and other buildings. The 144 pages number is a bit deceptive, as the font is smallish.

All in all another worthy success from a consummate and witty author. Highly recommended.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, 31 July 2008
By 
S. Maxwell "Sam Maxwell" (Newark England) - See all my reviews
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This is a gem of a book! Witty, engrossing and erudite (It taught me more of the geography of ancient Rome than any other "general" overview I have read.
The author has managed to blend all the various changes from the early republic to late empire into one coherent overview of life in Rome. Simply a must buy book.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a Roman Baedeker, 17 Dec 2010
By 
P. Beelen (Eindhoven, Netherlands (Europe)) - See all my reviews
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When in Rome, do as the Romans do. With Mr. Matyszak's book in hand, it wouldn't be hard to blend in when visiting ancient Rome. Of course, the book isn't a real tourist guide. But in several chapters, dealing with, among other things, travelling to Rome, finding a place to stay, what to wear, where to go to, the author succeeds in giving a lot of information. Much of this concerns topics which may be generally known, but though being a teacher of Latin and Greek I came upon some things I didn't know before. This is especially the case in the short paragraphs throughout the general story, which give details and anecdotes on a wide variety of subjects and historical figures.
I have come to know Mr. Matyszak as being an entertaining writer on serious subjects, and his tongue-in-cheek way of sharing his knowledge with his readers is refreshing. It's fun to read this book, and it would serve as a good introduction on Roman life. I wouldn't be surprised if this book were to encourage readers, having finished this book, to read more detailed ones on Ancient Rome.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lovely little book - but I wish the print was a bit bigger, 14 Oct 2011
By 
Fren (Northumberland, England) - See all my reviews
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I have really enjoyed this, unfortunately it has taken me ages to read because the print is so small. I think Amazon should give some indication of print size as well as the number of pages in the product descriptions. I cannot fault the content, just the appearance
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pack it in your bag, 9 Aug 2011
By 
RR Waller "ISeneca" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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SAFE READING - NO SPOILERS

There is a complete series of these thoroughly enjoyable books written in the style of a modern travel guide, e.g. Blue Book or Lonely Planet. I have all of them and have enjoyed each one. Having discovered them after I visited all these cities, they helped to take me back to the modern and ancient cities; worth it just for that.
Rome, Athens, Egypt and Florence are all fixed on my memory like a photographic plate and I can recapture steps at the turn of a page; seeing pictures or hearing or reading descriptions fills my memory instantly, reminding me and bringing alive to my mind the exotic and captivating places themselves. I can easily re-live them until I return.
These books are perfect for me and the glory, excitement and majesty that was Rome comes flooding back from previous reading, documentaries and tramping the streets so often.
Highly recommended.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaing and educative parody of modern guidebooks., 9 Sep 2010
You will recognise the structure of this book if you've ever consulted a Rough Guide or Lonely Planet book.This one uses that modern book structure to portray Rome in about 200 AD,when it was at it's height,or so the author believes.
It's a very funny parody of a modern guidebook,just because Rome was in some ways similar to our society,but so different in others.Listing brothels and gladiator fights in the "Entertainment" segment of the book is one example.
The author depicts well the Roman attitude to death and violence,so different from ours.He explains how criminals were crucified in the break between wild animal fights and gladiator shows in the Coliseum-I suppose a modern analogy would be the halftime break in a football game.
As far as I can tell,the research is faultless,I couldn't spot one error of fact.It made a trip to Rome I made in October 2009 much more enjoyable.Recommended for ancient history buffs and visitors,or would-be visitors, to today's Rome.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The quirky and alternative Rome guide........, 30 Mar 2009
What a fantastic book! I came across this in a little book shop one day and bought it on impulse as I was visiting Rome the following weekend. I spent a week dipping in and out of this easy to read and highly entertaining book. Matyszak takes you by the hand and guides you through the streets of Ancient Rome, pointing out where to stay, where to eat, what to look out for, who to avoid as well as giving you many humourous and fascinating facts along the way.

There are many pictures within the book as well as sidebar areas with lists of interesting facts so it makes it fabulous for just dipping in and out of and I can imagine it would be really appealing to older children too. It is divided into 10 sections: Getting There, Environs of Rome, Settling In, Out and About, Shopping, Law and Order, Entertainment, Religion, Must-See Sights, Roman Walks.

With the rich descriptive text and numerous facts; this really must be the closest thing to going back in time and experiencing Ancient Rome for yourself. This gave the facts like a local would have at the time, all of the quirky knowledge, the streetwise facts and the ancient gossip. You really feel that you are at the baths listening in to all of the whispers and giggles of town life.

All in all a fantastic buy, if you have even the faintest interest in Ancient Rome then definitely buy it! I must admit that it was because of this book that I looked like rather an expert when my husband and I went to Rome. Even the odd tourist who overheard me looked impressed! This book really does tell you what the others dont...
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Schott's Almanac of Ancient Rome, 18 Sep 2008
Once you pick it up you wont be able to put it down again. Full of fascinating facts about Rome and a wonderful centre spread of how Rome would have looked. Great little book with good illustrations.
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Ancient Rome on 5 Denarii a Day (Traveling on 5)
Ancient Rome on 5 Denarii a Day (Traveling on 5) by Philip Matyszak (Paperback - 26 Oct 2008)
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