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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Anoraks Guide - or where and how to recognise how to spend a denarius., 23 May 2010
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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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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 6 Oct 2010 18:14:21 BDT
A denari-as? These aren't all ultra-posh '50p' or £1 places, you know.
Anything more than an 'as' (or maybe a minim) and your average roman would go p**s elsewhere.
[Just thought I'd point that out, one anorak to another]
BTW
Sesterti-AS = 2 1/2 x AS
Denari-AS = 10 x AS

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Oct 2010 06:48:04 BDT
John says:
I know, but it just didn't read right. I'm usually a pedant but I sacrificed accuracy for artistic license. However, your 'posh' roman might stump up a denarius for the chance to sit in marble lined halls or warm his/her as on a wooden board!

And to be fair, most Roman men would pee in pots that littered Roman shop and tenement fronts so the fullers had a ready suppy of bleaching agents. But why spoil a good line.

It is a good book, though this might sound masochistic even for an anorak, I really enjoyed reading it and my academic background is not history/arts/classics. With a passing interest in that time it's just nice to see someone take the trouble to identify and explain.
regards,
Andy

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Oct 2010 15:52:54 BDT
Last edited by the author on 7 Oct 2010 15:54:26 BDT
Yep - I totally concur with your thoughts there.
"Anoraks of the world unite! We have nothing to lose ..." etc

I still think "... how to spend an AS" works better, though.
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