A Cabinet of Roman Curiosities

A Cabinet of Roman Curiosities : Strange Tales and Surprising Facts from the World's Greatest Empire

3.72 (157 ratings on Goodreads)
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The ancient Romans have left us far more information about themselves than has any other Western society until much more recent times. But what we know about them is sometimes bizarre, and hardly fits the conventional view of the Romans as a pragmatic people with a ruthlessly efficient army and a very logical and well ordered language. A Cabinet of Roman Curiosities is a serendipitous collection of odd facts and opinions, carefully gleaned from the wide body of evidence left to us by the Romans themselves. Each highlights a unique and curious feature of life in ancient Rome. Readers will find a plethora of trivial but fascinating facts about Rome, from the fantastical (a description of werewolves) to the quotidian (styles of chamber pots), and from the refined (dining etiquette of Pompeiians) to the crude (punishments for mutineers). The author has organized the entries around major themes-e.g., The Army, Women, Education, Foreigners, Spectacles, etc.-making the book easily accessible for quick browsing or for more deliberate consumption. Throughout, the purpose of the enterprise is to amuse and to stimulate an interest in the ancient world's most remarkable and abundantly documented empire.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 272 pages
  • 147.32 x 213.36 x 25.4mm | 430.91g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • numerous halftones
  • 0195393759
  • 9780195393750
  • 154,947

Review quote

McKeown's scholia are tersely informative, enlivened by pertinent modern analogues, myth puncturing ... and dry witticisms. Barry Baldwin, Fortean Times Enjoyable surendipitous rummage. Michael Kerrigan, The Scotsman A fascinating social history which should appeal to a wide readership. Anthony Looch, Oxford Mail Anyone dipping into this serendipitous book,,,will find enough surprising facts and strange tales to satisfy the most voracious quizzer. Daily Mail, Michael Simkins The book could persuade the most history-hating student to fall in love with ancient Rome. James McConnachi, Sunday Times Even for confirmed classicists, it's a highly entertaining read. James McConnachie, Sunday Times McKeown has provided us with an amazing jumble of information ... This amusing little collection would make a nice gift for graduating Classics majors or friends interested in Rome. William K. Freiert, International Journal of Classical Traditionshow more

About J. C. McKeown

Professor of Classics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.show more
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