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Daily Life in Ancient Rome - Book Report/Review Example

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Daily life in ancient Rome  1. A brief summary of the books content. In the classic book “Daily Life in Ancient Rome” published in 1939, Jerome Carcopino depicts the Roman culture and daily life routines during the reigns of Trajan (98-117), Hadrian (117-138), Marcus Aurelius, and Commodus.  The Roman social life and culture were at the apex in power and prosperity in this period…
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Daily Life in Ancient Rome
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Daily Life in Ancient Rome

Download file to see previous pages... While portraying the physical and moral background of Roman life he mentions the contradictions in the mundane characteristics of Imperial Rome. The book endows with the highly sophisticated features of the Roman society, epitomised by the modern aspects of the Roman house, public baths, the public parks, the theatre, and the dinners hosted by the wealthy for their friends. With the same intensity he also describes the hauntingly dark side of Roman society, in particular, slavery, cruel games with man and animals. The book is divided into two parts, "The Physical and Moral Background of Roman Life," and "The Day's Routine." Part I is a narration of physical and moral life of Roman society which deals with the characteristic of the population of the city, the architectural aspects of Roman houses, the lay-out and traffic of its streets. The nature and divisions of populations, Romans and foreigners, are also dealt with. He portrays the slavery and manumission cases prevailing at that time, confusion in the social values and also living standards of a plutocratic society. There is a vivid description of life both in family and society existing at that time. It goes on describing, status of women, weakening of paternal authority, betrothal and marriage, role of a Roman matron, feminism and demoralisation, divorce and instability of the family. There is also depiction of the system of education and theological factors. In the second half of the book it covers the ordinary daily routine life of an average Roman. While exposing the morning life of Romans he states that they were early risers and they never wasted their time in washing in the morning and were going to bath at the end of the afternoon either in their private bathroom, if they were rich enough to have had one installed in their own house, or else in one of the public bathing places. Though it may seems to be queer to the present day world certain social customs and ceremonies observed by ancient Romans are noteworthy. For instance shaving was for the Romans a sort of religious right. The occasion in which a young man goes to the barber for the first removal of his beard the Romans observed it as a religious ceremony. 2. The author was trying to accomplish. This book provides the reader a clear depiction of the life of Roman people at the time giving details about their city layouts, streets, houses, their way of life, how they earned money, what were their social customs, amusements, their educational system, their religion and gods they worshipped, etc. Over and above the basic facts and figures from history, the author delivers heartrending observations on the people and their time. The author never hesitates to thrust his opinion on ancient subjects throughout this book. To substantiate his opinion on these subjects he often quotes the observations of contemporary scholars as well as ancient sources. 3. The authors writing style. It is also interesting to note that Carcopino’s usage on certain things do not hold good in the contemporary world. In the book he refers to a play using a ball filled with air like a basketball, which the Romans played elegantly. In that comparison his view on basket ball play stood as one of comparatively substandard ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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