Publisher: pports the British MuseumThe Ancient Romans introduces children to the people of the Roman empireThis is a highly visual resource book, packed with authentic pictures, that show first-hand how the people of ancient Rome and the wider empire lived and workedThe wealth of images show the Roman people and the objects they made and usedIt offers supporting information, describing and explaining the images and encouraging children to look at the photographs in detail
Genre: Non Fiction
Age Range: 8-10 Junior/Middle
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According to one Philip Parker, who walked round it, the boundary of the Roman Empire measured 20,000 kilometres. According to Paul Roberts’ timeline, the western part of it lasted just over 1200 years. That’s a lot of Rome, so any short volume concerning it must be either highly selective or a masterly condensation. A mere chronology would be entirely tedious – and long, Gibbon-style – so what approach to adopt?
Roberts answers this question most effectively by concentrating on various ‘typical’ aspects of the Roman way to assemble a picture of society, governance and culture that provides an illuminating perspective of Roman-ness. We examine emperors and what they did, with both mundane and spectacular examples (well, you couldn’t leave out Nero, could you?). We examine the Roman Gods and how their pantheon expanded in sympathy with the spread of empire, and the priestcraft that went with them. And then, of course, there’s the army, women and children, slaves, trade, bread and circuses (not all gladiators were men, did you know?).
Using a highly articulate but simple writing style, admirably seasoned by illustrations of contemporary artefacts, Roberts presents a fully-rounded picture of his subject which is readable, entertaining and informative, and will provide all those interested in it with much gratification. More important, though, it will act as an engaging introduction for those who have yet to discover the glory (and everything else) that was Rome. No Latin scholar – nascent or mature – should be without it.