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.
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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.This handy reference provides full access to the 1,200 years of Roman rule from the 8th century B.C. to the 5th century A.D., including information that is hard to find and even harder to decipher. Clear, authoritative, and highly organized, Handbook to Life in Ancient Rome provides a unique look at a civilization whose art, literature, law, and engineering influenced the whole of Western Europe throughout the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and beyond. The myriad topics covered include rulers; the legal and governmental system; architectural feats such as the famous Roman roads and aqueducts; the many Roman religions and festivals; the Roman system of personal names; contemporary poets and historians; even typical Roman leisure pursuits. Each chapter includes an extensive bibliography, as well as more than 125 site-specific photographs and line drawings. Maps chart the expansion and contraction of the territory from the foundation city of Rome itself to the Byzantine Empire and the ultimate decline of the West.
Roy and Lesley Adkins are writers and archaeologists. They are Members of the Institute for Archaeologists and Fellows of the Society of Antiquaries of London. They have both written several books. They both worked as field archaeologists for the Museum of London and later became freelance archaeological consultants, authors, and editors. After 2000 they moved to Devon and began to write full-time.
Book Review of Handbook to Life in Ancient Rome - Related Topic: Roman History
Edited by Viggen