A History of Private Life: From Pagan Rome to Byzantium v. 1

A History of Private Life: From Pagan Rome to Byzantium v. 1

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This book reveals what life was really like in the ancient world. The emergence of Christianity in the West and Christian morality with its emphasis on abstinence, celibacy and austerity is contrasted with the undisciplined private life of the Byzantine Empire. Tracing particular motifs that illuminate this hidden history of life in antiquity, the authors provide an account which takes into account new research.

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  • Paperback | 704 pages
  • 177.8 x 226.06 x 35.56mm | 1,088.62g
  • Cambridge, MassUnited States
  • English
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • 16 color illustrations, 417 halftones, 33 line illustrations, 3 maps
  • 0674399749
  • 9780674399747
  • 444,140

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Author Information

Georges Duby, a member of the Academie Francaise, is Professor of Medieval History at the College de France. Paul Veyne is Professor at the College de France. Arthur Goldhammer received the French-American Translation Prize in 1990 for his translation of A Critical Dictionary of the French Revolution.

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Review quote

The new emphasis on the history of everybody has now been consecrated in [this] ambitious five-volume series...Copious illustrative materials--paintings, drawings, caricatures, and photographs, all cannily chosen and wittily captioned to display domestic life...Magnificent. -- Roger Shattuck New York Times Book Review Together these five compact volumes cover much of the history of the classical world, and do so with both ease and authority. Washington Post Book World This first volume is one of the most arresting, original, and rewarding historical surveys to be published in many years, and its value is enhanced by the hundreds of illustrations, which present almost every conceivable detail of private life as it was lived in the centuries. -- Bernard Knox The Atlantic Private life has always been a matter of public conjecture. This admirable book brings it intelligently into the web of social history and is a model for historians and readers alike. Beautifully produced, it adds apt and rare illustrations to a text by experts who presuppose human curiosity, but no undue knowledge. Its range and level of argument will intrigue anyone who has wondered about past attitudes to such matters as sex and the family, households, social inferiors, dress and even undress. -- Robin Lane Fox Washington Post The five essays collected here...treat readers to a vast array of anecdotes and conjectures about the private life of our forebears. -- Roger Kimball Wall Street Journal This is a long, demanding and very rewarding book. If the remaining four volumes are of this quality, the series will indeed, as the editors claim, be "a milestone in historical research." -- Jane F. Gardner Times Higher Education Supplement A book which makes the reader think, teasing and encouraging with spicy details, long views, a capacity for the unexpected insight. Now for something completely different. -- Jasper Griffin London Review of Books This absorbingly illustrated series is intent on presenting the past with both physical immediacy and with as little academic fuss as possible. The illustrations in the first volume have a subjective penetration of the text that is like an inner musical accompaniment. This volume does not pretend to roll out a complete rug of civilization...Few readers, even of I, Claudius, will have experienced pagan Rome with quite the freshness evident here...History-to-touch. Kirkus Reviews A stimulating--indeed a provocative--and beautiful book on a difficult subject...It's a treasure. Christian Science Monitor

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