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Invisible Romans by Robert Knapp

Invisible Romans (edition 2011)

by Robert Knapp

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713166,644 (3.68)1
Title:Invisible Romans
Authors:Robert Knapp
Info:Harvard University Press (2011), Hardcover, 400 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:History - Ancient

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Invisible Romans by Robert C. Knapp



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A useful research book looking at the lives of ordinary Romans. Knapp used non-elite sources in drawing his pictures of everyday life: fables, fiction, frescoes, graffiti, tome dedications, and more. Accessible writing and frequent illustrations/pictures enhance the narrative. ( )
  MarysGirl | Aug 22, 2014 |
An accessible attempt to portray the life of common people in Roman times. Knapp's argument is that most of what we know of Roman life comes from accounts from the elites, and that these elites form a minuscule fraction of the totality of the Roman state. The experiences of everyone else are hardly ever recorded, and therefore we know little about them and must engage in a sort of detective work to tease them out of the remaining historical artifacts. By analyzing tombstones, letters, divination books, and so forth, Knapp presents the life of "ordinary Romans": the middle and lower classes, slaves, freedmen, soldiers, prostitutes, and gladiators. The result is an engaging and informative historical description. ( )
  jorgearanda | Jul 22, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0674061993, Hardcover)

What survives from the Roman Empire is largely the words and lives of the rich and powerful: emperors, philosophers, senators. Yet the privilege and decadence often associated with the Roman elite was underpinned by the toils and tribulations of the common citizens. Here, the eminent historian Robert Knapp brings those invisible inhabitants of Rome and its vast empire to light.

He seeks out the ordinary folk—laboring men, housewives, prostitutes, freedmen, slaves, soldiers, and gladiators—who formed the backbone of the ancient Roman world, and the outlaws and pirates who lay beyond it. He finds their traces in the nooks and crannies of the histories, treatises, plays, and poetry created by the elite. Everyday people come alive through original sources as varied as graffiti, incantations, magical texts, proverbs, fables, astrological writings, and even the New Testament.

Knapp offers a glimpse into a world far removed from our own, but one that resonates through history. Invisible Romans allows us to see how Romans sought on a daily basis to survive and thrive under the afflictions of disease, war, and violence, and to control their fates before powers that variously oppressed and ignored them.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:23:00 -0400)

'Invisible Romans' seeks out the ordinary men, housewives, prostitutes, slaves, soldiers, and gladiators, who formed the fabric of everyday life in the ancient Roman world. The author tracks down and pieces together various bits of evidence cast off by the visible mass of Roman history and culture.… (more)

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