Memorable Deeds and Sayings: One Thousand Tales from Ancient Rome

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Hackett Pub., 2004 - History - 392 pages
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Popular in its day both as a sourcebook for writers and orators and as a guidebook for living a moral life, this remarkably rich document serves as an engaging introduction to the cultural and moral history of ancient Rome. Valerius' "thousand tales" are arranged thematically in ninety-one chapters that cover nearly every aspect of life in the ancient world, including such wide-ranging topics as military discipline, child rearing, and women lawyers. As a whole, the work gives the reader fascinating insights into what it felt like to be an ancient Roman, what the ancient Romans really believed, what their private world was like, how they related to one another, and what they did when nobody was watching.

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We sometimes wonder about times long gone and the people who built and inhabited ancient civilisations. It is also sometiomes amazing to find that they are not so different from we who inhabit modern times. Human Nature doesn't seem to have changed much over the millennia and the problems people face today are very similar to those of yester year. Works such as this one have been left to us so we can understand better who we are and understand better what are the foundations of our won society.
Reading the tales of ancient Roman life by Valerius Maximus leaves one wanting more and more. Reading it is at times little like reading the gossip columns of a glossy magazine form a 21st century metropolis. At other times it is like reading the transcripts of a modern law review as Romans deliberated the fate of citizens, slaves and empire.
The ametuer historian and the academic alike should give thanks that posterity has left us this valuable reference.
 

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About the author (2004)

Henry John Walker is Lecturer in Classical and Medieval Studies, Bates College.

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