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Invisible Romans : Prostitutes, outlaws, slaves, gladiators, ordinary men and women ... the Romans that history forgot
Robert Knapp brings invisible inhabitants of Rome and its vast empire to life. He seeks out the ordinary men, housewives, prostitutes, freedmen, slaves, soldiers, and gladiators, who formed the fabric of everyday life in the ancient Roman world, and the outlaws and pirates who lay beyond it. He finds their own words preserved in literature, letters, inscriptions and graffiti and their traces in the nooks and crannies of the histories, treatises, plays and poetry created by members of the elite. He tracks down and pieces together these and other tell-tale bits of evidence cast off by the visible mass of Roman history and culture, and in doing so recreates a world lost from view for two millennia.We see how everyday Romans sought 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. Chapters on each of the main groups reveal how their worlds were linked in need, dependence, exploitation, hope and fear. Slaves and ex-soldiers merge into the world of the outlaw; slaves become freedmen; the sons of freedmen enlist as soldiers; and the concerns of women transcend every boundary. We see them all at last in the tumult of a great empire that shaped their worlds as it reshaped the wider world around them.
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Profile Books Ltd.
June 16, 2011
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