Walk a day in a Roman’s sandals.
What was it like to live in one of the ancient world’s most powerful and bustling cities – one that was eight times more densely populated than modern day New York?
In this entertaining and enlightening guide, bestselling historian Philip Matyszak introduces us to the people who lived and worked there. In each hour of the day we meet a new character – from emperor to slave girl, gladiator to astrologer, medicine woman to water-clock maker – and discover the fascinating details of their daily lives.
Author: Philip Matyszak
Publisher: Michael O’Mara
Release Date: 5/10/2017
My Chosen Format: Kindle
My Rating of ’24 Hours In Ancient Rome’: 5 out of 5
Ancient history is a huge passion of mine. Much of my time is spent watching documentaries and sinking countless hours into games such as Assassin’s Creed Origins/Odyssey. Seeing this series of books (24 Hours in Ancient Rome, Egypt, Athens and China) all on sale for 99p each on the kindle store got me super-excited.
When most people think of Ancient Rome they think of legionaries, of great armies waging war on other civilisations and firmly grinding them beneath the sandals of Rome and the ever-watchful gaze of the Imperial Eagles. What we don’t think of is the baker, the lawyer, the mother to a sick new born or even the prostitute.
In this book we learn of all of these people and many more. It isn’t a book that strives to tell you of Rome’s great military might, it’s a book that strives to tell you of the people that made Rome great, that kept it going whilst the armies were off doing their thing on the field of war. The book describes Rome as a heart and the people as the lifeblood that pumps through it and keeps it beating.
Every chapter is an hour in the Roman day and is from the viewpoint of a different person with a different role within Rome. Each chapter is centred on one person and their daily duties and the aspects of life that affect their duties and are affected by them. Some of these characters are fictitious, purely for the point of showing you how that particular role may have lived. Others are based on real people from true accounts of the time.
Throughout, the book is threaded with excerpts from Roman texts (be it satires, speeches, naturalist texts or even recipes complete with modern day equivalents for those near impossible to get Roman ingredients.)
The writing is presented in an approachable way and I firmly believe that anyone, of any level of historical learning will be able to pick it up, enjoy and, indeed, take something away from it. If you have the slightest interest in Rome’s past, this book is essential in broadening your understanding of that once great empire capital.
Each chapter is presented in a way that sort of passes the baton on to the next, making them all feel connected. This is a great way of telling the daily life of Rome as, to some degree or another, everyone’s lives were connected inside the walls of Ancient Rome. It also shows just how different classes of people within Rome were treated as opposed to others, and how some of the more powerful people were not quite as free to do as they pleased as many might think.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this and look forward to getting to the others in the series.