Daily Life in Ancient Rome by Florence Dupont

The author is obviously enamored of the ancient Romans, and I suspect that she projects her own preferences and prejudices onto them. But this is a fascinating book that takes a look at what kind of people the Romans were, apart from the endless wars of conquest and political intrigues that historians typically dwell. Dupont makes them out to be virtuous to an extent that strains the reader’s credulity, but she also accurately describes them as a people whose lives were lived in public and who had very little sense of the solitary or introspective life. As with most classical historians, she tends to focus mostly on the habits of the upper classes; it would be refreshing to get a glimpse into the lives of the common people of Rome, who are mostly neglected by historians. I am probably more Greek than Roman in my attitudes and preferences, but the Romans have never failed to fascinate me, and this book adds much to my knowledge and appreciation of them.

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