The World of Rome: An Introduction to Roman Culture Paperback – 6 Mar 1997
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'With 400 richly illustrated pages, it is the most up-to-date general introduction to Roman life, history and culture available.' Daily Telegraph
'Books entitled 'An introduction to … ' can so easily fail, if only because of the wealth of material to be covered. As an introduction to the Roman world, this volume succeeds and should be essential reading.' The Times Higher Education Supplement
'… stimulating and up-to-date … I am sure many generations of students to come will have cause to be very grateful for the insight into the mindset of the Romans offered by this book.' JACT Review
Following the same model as The World of Athens, this book opens with two chapters outlining the history and identity of Rome 1000 BC–AD 476. Subsequent chapters examine how Rome was governed (from Republic to Empire), economic and social life, and Roman attitudes towards the rest of the world as reflected in the arts. Written by experts in the field, beautifully illustrated and with copious sources, this is the essential introduction to the Roman world. It serves as a background to Reading Latin (CUP 1986).See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
However, its claim that "The World of Rome is particularly designed to serve as a background book to Reading Latin" may be somewhat misleading - certainly to anyone who has previously used the Reading Greek course.
In the Greek course, each study section *is* carefully keyed to relevant paragraphs in The World Of Athens, meaning that as the student studies each section of Greek text, it's very easy to flip open to the precisely relevant sections in World of Athens.
There is nothing comparable to this in Reading Latin, so the editors of World of Rome have *tried* to remedy this by including an appendix of cross-references to the lessons of Reading Latin.
Sadly, it's an attempt which fails miserably. Instead of directing readers to the relevant paragraphs, it gives only a rather vague key word ('marriage', or 'comedy')
and suggests that the reader look them up in The general index, the Topographical Index and Index of Personal Names, the Index and Glossary of Latin Words, and a separate appendix on Writers.
In practice, this quickly becomes so incredibly tedious that I can't imagine anyone sticking with it for long.
Also the 'key words' are so obvious as to be unnecessary (if you're studying a Latin text about a marriage, you don't need this 'helpful' key to suggest that you hunt through the index for 'marriage'). It's just plain unhelpful, whereas a direct link to the relevant numbered paragraphs WOULD be extremely helpful.
In other words, when it comes right down to it, World of Rome is no more suitable for users of Reading Latin than any other introductory text on Roman culture.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This book concentrates on a lot of important and accurate information. If you want a very good book on the subject, one that really unites both in depth descriptions of some very relevant matters and conciseness, I think you should buy this book and I don't think you will regret it.
Mostly, I was very afraid to buy this book because of its table of contents, which doesn't tell that much about the book and can be misleading. If that's your case also, don't trust the table of contents. The book is much better than the table of contents may suggest.
I also recommend this book if you already know a lot about Roman History and want to read a relatively short book that helps you organize many different ideas, one that enables you to remember things that we naturally forget after time. If that's what you are looking for, I believe this is a great book for that also.
The core of the book provides an excellent overview of Roman culture in Geertz's sense of culture as what one would need to know to exist in everyday life as a member of the society. Despite the ambition of such a scope, I found the book to be extremely well organized with minimal repetition. There are very interesting discussions of such things as the economy, family, class, and slaves/freedmen. Each is a very solid introduction to the topic and interesting enough to provoke further inquiry through specialty works -- though unfortunately the lack of bibliographic or footnote references to secondary scholarship means the reader must discover such expansions independently. On the other hand the multiple indices (Latin concordance, general subjects, proper names) are excellent.
In contrast to the core of the book on Roman culture, the beginning few chapters on chronological history are rushed and muddled with debates about whether the Gracchi were good or bad that may be lost on a new reader. The historical aspect of the book is good to provide context to the discussion of culture but someone primarily interested in, say, the dictatorship of Sulla would be disappointed by the abbreviated treatment.
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