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Working IX to V : Orgy Planners, Funeral Clowns, and Other Prized Professions of the Ancient World
Vicki Leon, the popular author of the Uppity Women series (more than 335,000 in print), has turned her impressive writing and research skills to the entertaining and unusual array of the peculiar jobs, prized careers and passionate pursuits of ancient Greece and Rome.
From Architect to Vicarius (a deputy or stand-in)--and everything in between--Working IX to V introduces readers to the most unique (dream incubator), most courageous (elephant commander), and even the most ordinary (postal worker) jobs of the ancient world. Vicki Leon brought a light and thoughtful touch to women's history in her earlier books, and she brings the same joy and singular voice to the daily work of the ancient world. You'll be surprised to learn how bloody an editor's job used to be, how even a slave could purchase a vicarius to carry out his duties and that early Greeks had their own ghost-busters with the apt title of psychopompus.
In addition to stand-alone profiles on callings, trades, and professions, Leon offers numerous sidebar entries about actual people who performed these jobs, giving a human face to the ancient workplace. Combining wit and rich scholarship, Working IX to V is filled with anecdotes, insights, and little-known facts that will inform and amuse readers of all ages. For anyone captivated by the ancient past, Working IX to V brings a unique insight into the daily grind of the classical world. You may never look at your day-to-day work in the same way!
Remember that Metropolitan gala in The Devil Wears Prada, where Miranda Priestly has someone whisper in her ear the name of everyone she meets? Well, ancient Roman politicians had such an aide, too: he was called a nomenclator. Le�n entertainingly introduces us to this and other colorful professions held by men and women in Greco-Roman society. With short, humorous anecdotes, she describes the daily grind of scribes, vestal virgins, fishmongers, astronomers, sophists, hoplite slaves, sellers of purple, curse-tablet makers, funeral clowns, sycophants and orgy planners. Scribes, for example, were speed writers who not only recorded public information but also acted as journalists jotting down juicy tales of love, death and political intrigue in the Daily Record. The beast supplier, or praepositus camelorum, tracked, captured and supplied all the animals used in gladiatorial contests and circuses in Rome. Le�n weaves sketches of actual people employed in these professions. Banker's son Apollodorus, a rich-kid-turned-lawyer, litigated a 19-year lawsuit after his father willed his fortune to an ex-slave. Drawing on the same outrageous sense of humor that's made her Uppity Women series so popular, Le�n demonstrates how uncannily similar the workaday experiences of the ancient world are to ours. Illus. (June)
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May 27, 2007
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