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A Day in the Life of Ancient Rome: Daily Life, Mysteries, and Curiosities

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Overview


The roar of frenzied spectators inside the Coliseum during a battle between gladiators. A crowd of onlookers gathered around a slave driver. The wondrous plenty of banquets where flamingos are roasted whole and wine flows like rivers. The silence of the baths and the boisterous taverns . . . Many books have dealt with the history of ancient Rome, but none has been able to bring its readers so near to daily life in the Imperial capital.

This extraordinary voyage of exploration, ...

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Overview


The roar of frenzied spectators inside the Coliseum during a battle between gladiators. A crowd of onlookers gathered around a slave driver. The wondrous plenty of banquets where flamingos are roasted whole and wine flows like rivers. The silence of the baths and the boisterous taverns . . . Many books have dealt with the history of ancient Rome, but none has been able to bring its readers so near to daily life in the Imperial capital.

This extraordinary voyage of exploration, guided by Alberto Angela with the charm of a born story- teller, lasts twenty- four hours, beginning at dawn on an ordinary day in the year 115 A.D., with Imperial Rome at the height of its power. The reader wakes in a rich patrician home and discovers frescoes, opulent furnishings and richly appointed boudoirs. Strolling though the splendors of the Roman Forum, one overhears both erudite opinions from learned orators and local ribaldry floating out from the public latrines. One meets the intense gazes of Roman matriarchs strolling the streets, looks on as a banquet is prepared, and is afforded a peek into the sexual habits and fetishes of Roman patricians and plebs. For all those who have ever dreamed of traveling back in time, Alberto Angela's narrative style will come as a welcome change to dry historical tomes. Rich in atmosphere and historical information, A Day in Ancient Rome is a voyage into a world both distant to us in time and surprisingly near in its habits, mores, and passions.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review.

Many books, documentaries and movies claim to chronicle daily life in ancient Rome, but it's rare to find a narrative so encrusted in detail as this lively offering from an Italian author and television host. Adopting a first person plural voice, Angela takes us on an eagle-eyed tour of the ancient city on an "ordinary day" in the year A.D. 115. Serving as a Virgil-like guide, Angela begins in a Domus, an upper-class home, exploring its meticulous inner workings, from the aqueduct hook-up to the slave labor. Out in the streets, Angela provides a fascinating, nail-by-nail description of Roman construction before schooling readers in the particulars of buying slaves. Next up is a bloody scene at the Coliseum (featuring hungry lions and their worthy meal), and a steamy sunset tour of bedrooms, salons, and sexual mores; Romans viewed sex as "a gift of the gods," something to enjoy, and would "judge our sexuality as excessively complicated... by mental complexes and roles." Angela's rigorous research and populist style, aided by Conti's seamless translation, should fascinate casual readers as well as dedicated Italophiles.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Il Giornale

Alberto Angela makes an important but often complicated subject fascinating and accessible. The reader is catapulted into a day in the Imperial capital and uncovers affinities, secrets, curiosities, and anecdotes about the inhabitants of ancient Rome . . . Angela transforms his book into a kind of three-dimensional set in which the reader strolls, visiting homes, markets, open air school, baths, and even public latrines.

Il Corriere della Sera

One discovers a wealth of details about the curious habits of ancient Romans, from their recipes to their tastes in interior design, from life in the Insulae, the giant Roman housing projects, to the shocking slave markets.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781933372716
  • Publisher: Europa Editions, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/26/2009
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 224,596
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Alberto Angela writes for two of Italy's most important science programs, Superquark and Quark Speciale. He is the author of Life-sized Museums(1988) and, with his father Piero Angela, The Extraordinary Story of a Growing Life (1996), Sharks (1997), andVoyage in the Cosmos(1998).
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 6 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(2)

4 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 16, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A Time Machine to travel to Ancient Rome

    I am an amateur history buff. When I opened Alberto Angela's book I was very leery of what I was reading. First in on the copyright page it states "This book is a work of fiction. Any reference to historical events, real people, or real locales is used fictitiously." I was concerned because I found this book located in the history section at my local Barnes and Noble. Now I have read many historical books on Ancient Rome and I must say that the publishers of the book must have made a mistake in printing this statement because very little of what Mr. Angela writes in this book is fictitious. If anything is fictional in the book it is the author's ability to make you feel as though you are in ancient times by having you visualize a person in an activity. Alberto Angela has a beautiful way of transporting the reader into his writing. He obviously cares a great deal about Ancient Rome.
    Alberto's book is exceptionally well written and filled full of historical and archeological facts. It is by no means a boring book. This book was very enjoyable to read. I highly recommend this book to anyone getting ready to travel to Rome or someone who is interested in Roman history.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Well-written and interesting

    I think this book is excellent, except for one thing: the lack of pictures. There were so many places in the book that just cry out for some photographs. There are a few illustrations, but not nearly enough. I would have given this book 5 stars if it would have had more pictures. I love the idea of this book. It takes you on a tour of Rome to see what daily life was like. It has lots of interesting information and anyone who enjoys learning about ancient Rome will not be disappointed. I also have to say that I am impressed with the author's descriptions and use of language, especially since this was translated from Italian (which doesn't always work so well). I especially loved reading the descriptions of Roman banquets and the public baths. Entertaining and highly readable!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    History that is not boring.

    I love history. I have a ton of history books. People tend to think that it is boring to read about history, but this is written in such a way that the subject is not boring at all. I learned a lot of very interesting things. I'm glad I found this book. I hope he writes one on ancient Greece and one on England.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 10, 2013

    I loved this book.  I really felt like I had taken a time machin

    I loved this book.  I really felt like I had taken a time machine back but nobody could see me and just watched the different tiers of society go about their lives.  Would love to find similar books about other ancient societies.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2009

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews

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