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Posted May 7, 2007
In striving to understand the origin and growth of Western Civilization, it is imperative to appreciate the historical changes that Rome has undergone, and F.R Cowell¿s, Life in ancient Rome gives a well written, clearly researched, vision into aspects of daily life throughout Rome¿s historical past. Cowell¿s work provokes readers to consider the linked matters of Rome¿s ancient past to those of present times. The reader is taken candidly through the changing history of Roman people¿s daily lives. From ¿Growing up in ancient Rome,¿ to ¿Earning a Living,¿ and ¿Leisure Hours¿, Cowell covers the many cultural aspects of Roman peoples education, money, clothing, baths, and high society. Cowell also addresses the importance of such cultural interests as music, oratory, and the chariot races, to name a few. Life in Ancient Rome provides insight into what often may be considered irrelevant, mundane aspects of life. For instance, ¿Romans did not cover their floors, in the Eastern fashion, with carpets. It was just as well, because their table manners were primitive and no carpet would have remained fit for use in a Roman dining-room.¿ 'Cowell, 26' Being privy to such a small triviality as knowing Roman people¿s lack of table manners provides us with an affirmation to further understand the Roman people¿s human condition in these times. Another example of Life in Ancient Rome providing us with a glimpse into the human condition of these ancient Romans was Cowell¿s presentation of the importance of the Baths to the Roman people. ¿Romans went to the baths to meet others, to stroll around and talk, some to play ball and others games. The Baths were notorious for the noise coming from them, for Romans liked to sing in their baths, to whistle, to talk and shout at their friends and acquaintances.¿ 'Cowell, 146' With what Cowell writes of Roman bathers 'whistling, talking, and singing in their baths', we are given a more humanistic impression of the Roman people truly enjoying the Baths, and thus we gain an equal understanding of why they were so important to Romans citizens. This book represents the author¿s awareness of important figures in providing much of the information we have on these ancient people. ¿Every one of his pages displays his familiarity with historians, poets, satirists, orators, and letter writers.¿ 'Blease' A perfect example of Cowell using important historical figures to substantiate his concepts would be his use of Virgil, the Poet, Cicero, the Orator, and even Lucretius, a Poet, and Philosopher, in presenting readers with as complete as possible an image of what Roman family life was like. Most history books on Roman life focus on individuals, dates, and the occurrence of significant events of the past without giving contemporary readers a guideline. In contrast, Life in Ancient Rome provides an impression for the origin of many things in the present. A representation of this is offered in Cowells description of Festivals and Games. ¿Romans kept up several traditional religious observances, such as that in honour of Janus, guardian spirit of entrances to towns and homes¿His name survives in the word January.¿ 'Cowell, 187' Another example is Cowell¿s contemporary application of Ancient Rome¿s philosophies is ¿Roman law continued to exhibit a vigour and a vitality that have ensured its survival over large parts of Europe as a basis of that Rule of Law which is among the more enduring titles of the Roman Republic to lasting cultural renowned.¿ 'Cowell, 130'
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Posted April 30, 2000
Wonderful Information on the Life of Romans
I had to write a paper on the social aspects of ancient Rome for a class. This book was just what I needed when other sources gave me the same old information over and over.
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Posted November 29, 2009
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