The Culture of the Roman Plebs
February 24, 2010
The Culture of the Roman Plebs by Nicholas Horsfall delves into the everyday life of the common man in Ancient Rome. What did he do for entertainment? What songs did he sing? What plays did he watch? What did he talk about at the tavern? These are but a few questions that the author proposes to answer.
...read the full review of The Culture of the Roman Plebs by Nicholas Horsfall
Surnames of the Livii
February 16, 2010
The Livii were a plebeian gens which attained noble status and prominence as early as the 4th century BCE, when the first of the Livii Drusi (who acquired his surname due to legendary single combat with a Gallic champion) was made Master of the Horse for the dictator Lucius Papirius Cursor (324 BCE). Barely a generation following this, the first of the Livii to attain the consulship was Marcus Livius Denter (302 BCE)...
...read the full article of the Surnames of the Livii
Great Battles of the Hellenistic World
February 08, 2010
As all at UNRV know, I`m more of a philhellene than a romanophile even though I did study both civilizations during my studies and had more courses on the latter than on the former. I did also concentrate on warfare, a topic which of course would lead to some cross-civilization studies, especially around the 2nd and 1st century B.C. In the book currently under review this experiences is quite helpful because it does examine, among other, fights which happened between the two cultures, be it the campaigns of Pyrrhos of Epeiros or the battles against the Macedonian and Seleucid forces...
...read the full review of Great Battles of the Hellenistic World by Pietrykowski Joseph
The Fires of Vesuvius: Pompeii Lost and Found
January 27, 2010
In 79 CE, Vulcan pounded his forge beneath Vesuvius a little too harshly, and fiery destruction was rained down on several communities in its wake. Bad for the people living there, but good for us: Towns like Pompeii have yielded innumerable archaeological treasures about life in Roman towns in the first century. In Fires of Vesuvius, Mary Beard lends the latest voice of classical inquiry into this subject, furnishing a cautionary and skeptical account of the material remains of Pompeii and what we can conclude from them...
...read the full review of The Fires of Vesuvius: Pompeii Lost and Found by Mary Beard
The Day of the Barbarians
January 14, 2010
Historians love to identify “notably rare moments” in history – symbolic dates that mark the end of one era and the beginning of another, states author Alessandro Barbero. World War II had its D-Day. Napoleon had his Waterloo. Was the Battle of Adrianople that notably rare moment in Roman history? “The Day of the Barbarians – The Battle that Led to the Fall of the Roman Empire” is a tightly written, 146-page review of a key moment in ancient Roman history, but Barbero argues that it’s not that “rare moment” that lends itself to such dramatic interpretations...
...read the full review of The Day of the Barbarians by Alessandro Barbero
Surnames of the Aemilii
January 04, 2010
The Aemilia gens (originally "Aimilia") was one of the most prominent of the gentes in producing the greatest number of magistrates for the Roman Republic. Plutarch, in his Life of Numa (VIII.9-10, Loeb Classical Library edition, translated by Bernadotte Perrin) offered this origin of the gens name: "Another proof is that one of the four sons born to king Numa was named Mamercus, after the son of Pythagoras. And from him they say that the patrician family of the Aemilii took its name, Aemilius being the endearing name which the king gave him for the grace and winsomeness of his speech..."
...read the full article of the Surnames of the Aemilii
The Eagle of the Ninth
November 30, 2009
Rosemary Sutcliff’s 1954 classic “The Eagle of the Ninth” is an archetypical tale of human connections, self-discovery, redemption and choice. In tone and emotional scope, one is reminded of John Knowles’ “A Separate Peace” or J.D. Salinger’s “A Catcher in the Rye”. The book will resonate with fans of Roman Empire-era fiction; and those that are familiar with the story from their youths, will reconnect warmly and fondly with Marcus Flavius Aquila and his cadre...
...read the full review of The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff
Roman Conquests: Italy
November 18, 2009
“Roman Conquests: Italy” is the first book in a new series by history publisher Pen & Sword Books. Ancient Roman military historian Ross Cowan provides a detailed accounting of pre-Republican Roman expansion across the Italian peninsula. Emphasizing the importance of this era, Cowan points out that “the famous Caesar would have accomplished nothing if the groundwork in Italy and the creation of a solid base for overseas expansion had not been achieved by the likes of the lesser-known Torquatus, Corvus, Cursor, Rullianus and Dentatus in the fourth and third centuries BC...”
...read the full review of Roman Conquests: Italy by Ross Cowan
Osprey Books Giveaway
November 10, 2009
We are happy to announce that Osprey Publishing is giving away five books. All you have to do is reply to firstname.lastname@example.org that you are interested… (and which title you would prefer) and winners will be chosen in a random draw. Osprey has long been a leading publisher of ancient historical works and is offering the following titles to UNRV visitors:
Spartacus and the Slave War 37-71BC,
Roman Battle Tactics 109BC - AD313,
The Roman Army: The Civil Wars 88-31 BC,
Rome and Her Enemies
Additionally, if you use the promotional code 'roman' on any title in the Ancient Warfare section of the Osprey bookstore, all customers will receive a 25% discount.
November 08, 2009
How pre-Modern ideologies have coloured our perceptions on Roman History
During my first year as an undergraduate, I remember having a meeting with my personal tutor in the Classics department. The sixth-form education I had received prior to this meeting had taught me a fairly two-tiered approach to history: ‘this source says this; another differs; make compromise with the two sources, and you have the ‘historical truth’.
While this may sound like a flippant dismissal of my college education – truth be told that the courses I took during this time forged the backbone of much of my historical understanding – historical context was something that was not high up on my academic agenda...
...read the full essay of Intrusive Ideology (How pre-Modern ideologies have coloured our perceptions on Roman History)