Handbook to Life in Ancient Rome by Adkins and Adkins
Book Review by Ursus
The two Adkins (husband and wife team of Roy and Lesley) have produced a wonderful compendium on the totality of life in Ancient Rome. This delightful tome serves an excellent introduction to Rome for beginners, or as a handy quick reference for more experienced students.
The Book is divided into nine major areas: Government, Military, Geography, Municipal affairs, Travel and Trade, Language and Writing, Religion, Economics, and Everyday life.
Each of these broad categories is furthered reduced into logical sub-categories. The articles are concise but by no means lacking. There are plenty of photographs, illustrations and maps to provide visual aids. Every library should have a copy; it would be a wonderful resource for students researching subjects on Ancient Rome.
Obviously the book is meant to be a brief reference, not an encyclopedia of minute details. Those wishing more in-depth study on any section will have to consult more scholarly reading. Extensive bibliographies at the end of each section suggest resources to do just that! This book, which already serves as a great introduction, handily provides references to more advanced study.
This is honestly the first book I would recommend to a blossoming Romanophile. After reading more than the four hundred pages cover to cover, an individual will garner enough sense to know whether or not they wish to continue their studies. They will already have in their possession a bibliography to continue those studies if they so chose. To those of us already well versed in the subject, it is still sometimes necessary to have an accessible aid on general topics.
- ...more Book Reviews!
- Why We Romans by C. Richard
- Roman Life by John R. Clarke
- Experiencing Rome by Huskinson
The Adkins Lesley and Roy produced a similar book on Ancient Greece (Handbook to Life in Ancient Greece), and I highly recommend that as well. Every good Romanophile should be conversant with Hellenic culture, after all.
Buying the two books (Handbook to Life Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece) together will be a brilliant introduction to classical society.