A Cabinet of Roman Curiosities
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.