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The Roman Family by Suzanne Dixon

Book Review by FLavius Valerius Constantinus

The “Roman Family” is a book from series called , “Ancient Society and History”, that compromises about ten books published so far. The author of this interesting novel is Suzanne Dixon , a senior lecturer in the Department of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Queensland, Australia and she also happens to be the author of “The Roman Mother“. The focus and that of the author’s purpose in the writing of the book is strictly be centered on what defines a true “Roman family” in the ancient world.

The book is divided into six major parts, each with many important subtopics. The categories as such are “in search of the Roman family“, “Roman family relations and the law“, “Marriage“, “Children in the Roman family“, “the family through the life cycle“, and a Conclusion. The navigation of this book is really easy thanks to its very useful index in the back. Other wonderful features that are included in the back are the plates (visual imagery), notes, bibliography, and a chronological guide to Roman History which are very detailed and accurate.

The contents of this book are very intriguing and always informative. This book is a somewhat intensive read . New information is constantly introduced in almost every sentence or paragraph for the reader to learn, so this is not for the feint-hearted lazy reader. If one has above average knowledge about Roman history , along with a sizeable knowledge of Latin terms, understanding this book will by relatively easy. Quite often, the author makes good comparisons between a modern and classical Roman family to help the reader understand the content. Many examples of notable figures and historical events are also given to present a clear directive of the main message. Most helpful in understanding the content is the author’s conclusion on what was discussed at the end of every major part.

The subjects covered in this book are comprehensive. One can count on reading about every aspect possible about a Roman family, but don’t expect each to be described in ten or more pages. It covers many interesting things such as the feelings between a husband and wife, the relations between each family member, how love is understood, and dispelling the myth of the archaic Roman family. It goes on to describe a slave family, a soldier’s family, the effect of aging and dying, and many other life events.

In many ways, the life cycle of a family or how the family progresses forward in life, especially its children, is effectively described and noted. It also includes the defining forces of a family, meaning what events affect the family and what is the result, ( though one has to remember that this book is about the family, not the household and its material possessions).

The mood of this book is neither dull nor entertaining (maybe for an eager learner). Its just pleasantly plain and peaceful. The informative nature with the output of interesting facts help to make the reader move forward for more information. That is to say, this book is meant for”learners“. Also in many ways, this book can maybe fit into the frame of psychology since it covers the mind and feelings of the members of a family towards each other. So in the end, this book is definitely a good read, perhaps four out of five stars. Again most importantly about this book is its ability to define what is a Roman family.

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Book Review of The Roman Family - Related Topic: Daily Life in Ancient Rome


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