3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
An Anoraks Guide - or where and how to recognise how to spend a denarius.
, 23 May 2010
This review is from: Latrinae Et Foricae: Toilets in the Roman World (Paperback)
I might as well say "does exactly what is says on the tin" except of course that particular phrase is probably already trademarked and I'll get sued for using it.
I bought it primarily because I have an interest in the roman era and the idea that someone would write a book about such a narrow topic area was fascinating to me.
I thought that the book would probably be something that I would only ever be able to read in short bursts because the writing style would of necessity be overly analytical, dry, academic and a host of other adjectives of a similar nature. I had a text book when I was a student in the eighties called 'A Guide to Organic Chemistry' that was guarenteed to put me to sleep before the end of the first page, and if I'm totally honest expected this to be the same, even though I really did want to read it
However, I found this to be a very well researched book. Whilst it could never be described as 'a thrilling page turner that keeps the reader glued to an explosive narrative from the first page to the last' it didn't have the hypnotic affects I expected and kept my interest. I could see why people go into archeaology, apart from wanting to be seen with Baldrick on Time Team, and what drives them.
If you want to gain an insight into what life might have been like on a day to day basis, how problems were overcome and just appreciate the sheer ingenuity of man, then you could do worse than to read this book and use your imagination.
The Romans had a fully functioning system for sanitation inside houses (inclduing upstairs) at a time when the British tribes were still living in wattle and daub houses. That's got to be worth buying the book for.
Dr Hobson has managed to pique my curiosity about other aspects of Roman daily life. I can't wait for the sequel - Latrinae et Foricae II: Return of the Sponge.
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