10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Informative- a solid platform for others to build on,
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This review is from: Invisible Romans: Prostitutes, Outlaws, Slaves, Gladiators, Ordinary Men and Women … the Romans that History Forgot (Hardcover)
Knapp's book addresses one of the biggest problems we face with ancient history; we only know about the people at the top of society. Millions of silent voices in the Roman world have been given a voice by this book as Knapp goes from group to group (gladiators, prostitutes and outlaws etc) and looks at their lives. He tries to look at their 'mind worlds' (a term that admittedly irritates me) and attempts to recreate their concerns and how they thought. The amount of research is impressive with countless sources being referred to although I did think that there were too many references to The Golden Ass. I realise the work might contain a treasure trove of information about the average poor Roman but Knapp wanders into dull repetition through overuse of the source.
Nevertheless, I enjoyed reading this book and was grateful for the extra touches of a glossary, a word on the sources and index. This book is a very important and unique work in that I believe this is the first time someone has dedicated such effort into solely concentrating on the average joe on the street. The poor man (or woman) just trying to get by. I particularly found the outlaw chapter interesting, especially the discussion on the almost democratic nature of pirates. While this book is not as immensely readable as works by other academics like Mary Beard, it is nevertheless an interesting read and a must for people who just want an idea of what life was like for the average person.