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The Common People of Ancient Rome Studies of Roman Life and Literature   By: (1860-1924)

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In "The Common People of Ancient Rome: Studies of Roman Life and Literature," author Frank Frost Abbott delves into the fascinating world of everyday individuals during the time of ancient Rome. Abbott's comprehensive exploration provides readers with a well-researched and engaging account that goes beyond the usual focus on prominent figures and historical events.

One of the book's strengths lies in Abbott's meticulous examination of various aspects of Roman life. From marriage customs to education systems, he meticulously uncovers the intricacies of everyday existence in ancient Rome. Moreover, Abbott skillfully combines historical evidence with references from Roman literature to offer a well-rounded understanding of the common people's experiences. By drawing on an array of sources, including plays, poetry, and personal letters, Abbott paints a vivid and dynamic picture of Roman society.

Abbott's expertise in the field of ancient Rome is evident throughout the book. His clear and accessible writing style makes it easy for readers of all backgrounds to grasp the intricacies of the subject matter. He avoids excessive jargon, opting to provide explanations and definitions where necessary. This thoughtful approach not only ensures that readers will not feel overwhelmed, but also encourages a wider audience to engage with the material.

Perhaps one of the book's most notable attributes is its ability to challenge prevailing assumptions and stereotypes about ancient Rome. Abbott shatters the illusion of a monolithic, lawless society by highlighting the cultural diversity and social complexities that existed within the common people. By examining different social classes, gender roles, and occupations, he creates a multifaceted portrayal of Rome's inhabitants, debunking the notion that they were solely driven by debauchery and excess.

However, some readers might find the abundance of detail and scholarly analysis overwhelming at times. While Abbott's extensive research is commendable, it occasionally detracts from the overall readability and flow of the narrative. In certain sections, the book can feel dense and heavily focused on recounting historical data, which may deter those seeking a more casual or leisurely read.

Despite this minor drawback, "The Common People of Ancient Rome" remains an invaluable resource for anyone studying or interested in Roman history and culture. Abbott's dedication to presenting a comprehensive view of everyday Roman life is evident throughout the pages, and his rich analysis helps readers comprehend the intricacies of Rome's common citizens. As a scholarly contribution, this book succeeds in shedding new light on an often overlooked aspect of ancient history, elevating our understanding of the Roman world beyond mere emperors and conquerors.

First Page:

[Transcriber's note: This book makes use of the Roman denarius symbol. Because this symbol is not available in Unicode, it has been replaced by the ROMAN NUMERAL TEN (U2169) with a COMBINING LONG STROKE OVERLAY (U0336) in the UTF 8 version.]

The Common People of Ancient Rome

Studies of Roman Life and Literature


Frank Frost Abbott

Kennedy Professor of the Latin Language and Literature in Princeton University

New York Charles Scribner's Sons

Copyright, 1911, by Charles Scribner's Sons

Printed in the United States of America

Dedicated to J. H. A.

Prefatory Note

This book, like the volume on "Society and Politics in Ancient Rome," deals with the life of the common people, with their language and literature, their occupations and amusements, and with their social, political, and economic conditions. We are interested in the common people of Rome because they made the Roman Empire what it was. They carried the Roman standards to the Euphrates and the Atlantic; they lived abroad as traders, farmers, and soldiers to hold and Romanize the provinces, or they stayed at home, working as carpenters, masons, or bakers, to supply the daily needs of the capital.

The other side of the subject which has engaged the attention of the author in studying these topics has been the many points of similarity which arise between ancient and modern conditions, and between the problems which the Roman faced and those which confront us... Continue reading book >>

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