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I am currently reading...

PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2005 12:37 pm
by Quintus Pomponius Atticus
Salvete omnes,

A topic to tell other sodales which Romanitas-related book(s) you are currently reading, what they are about and what you think about them.

I currently have Michel Meslin's "L'homme romain" on my desk.

The flap text :

Ni histoire de la civilisation, ni vie quotidienne à Rome, ce livre est d'abord un essai d'anthropologie: quel fut I'homme romain ? Comment le saisir dans ses comportements publics et privés, ses appétits de domination et de bonheur, dans ses assurances comme dans ses craintes ? Comme le ferait un ethnologue, on a voulu considérer cet hamme dans sa totalité vécue, en se référant aux structures fondamentales de sa pensée, de ses rituels, en réfléchissant sur ses attitudes psychologiques et sur ses réactions devant les grands problèmes de l'existence: le pouvoir, l'amour, le bonheur, la mort,les dieux. En situant toujours cet hamme romain dans Je déroulement de sa propre histoire on s'est efforcé d'analyser les motivations profandes de ses conduites sociales et individuelles, Au terme de telles analyses, l'homme romain apparaît comme se voulant responsabie du monde ou il vit. C'est avec profit que nous pouvons encore l'interroger. Par-delà les siècles, c'est un peude notre être que nous comprendrons mieux, en le découvrant.



PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2005 12:54 pm
by Horatius Piscinus
Salve Attice

Hm, at my feet at the moment are a few books on Roman archaeology, at my desk are the Loeb Classic Libary editions of Minor Latin Poets and Seneca's dramas. At my bed are a couple volumes by Proclus. And on order is "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" due out in July.

PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2005 2:05 pm
by Primus Aurelius Timavus
Ouch! That question reminds me of how little time I have for personal reading. The only book that I have open right now is "Venture Capital Investing". I did read a history of Iraq about a month ago that touched on Roman incursions.

The last book I read with a purely Roman theme (about three months ago) was the Harvard Classics commentaries on The Meditations. About the same time, I reread (OK, re-scanned) the Nag Hammadi Library.

Looking forward to joining Piscinus in retirement.


PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2005 3:27 pm
by Gnaeus Dionysius Draco
Salve Attice,

Amidst studying, I'm trying to read "Cloud Atlas" by David Mitchell (a Dutch translation exists under the name "Wolkenatlas"). It doesn't paint a very positive picture of mankind. It's an interesting narrative, but apart from general pessimism, I've yet to see the general picture. It has been written with a lot of knowledge though.

Vale bene,

PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2005 4:33 pm
by Q Valerius
The Tanakh, the Septuagint, the Greek texts (though I'm saving a denarius to buy the United Bible Society's 4th Edition of the Original Greek Text...$50 bucks. That and another $50 for the Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition - food and shelter be damned!)

And gathering up source materials for my first lesson from Ecce Romani series for my student. Wee! I just love being the Magister.

PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2005 4:53 pm
by Primus Aurelius Timavus
Salve Sceri,

Check out I've always been able to find very reasonably priced original language, interlinear, historical, and commentary materials there (even for hardcover editions). I purchased the Nag Hammadi text that I refered to in my earler post from Christianbook, for example.

It was difficult to sort through all the "devotional" stuff to get to the "academic" when the company's catalog was only available in a newspaper format, but the website's search function now makes it easy.

Happy hunting,


PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2005 8:54 pm
by Quintus Aurelius Orcus
Salvete sodales

I'm currently reading 40 short stories written by Herodotus. Its really fascinating stuff. I was originally going to check out the Theogony, but it wasn't available in the library. It was already checked out.
I'm also planning on reading the book of Daan Kampenhout on sjamanism.
Not really Roman related, but still interesting stuff.


PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2005 10:24 pm
by Curio Agelastus
Salvete omnes,

Currently I'm reading James Minahan's "One Europe: Many Nations". A fascinating book, about the many different ethnic peoples of Europe. More relevantly, I'm making my way through Friedrich Munzer's great work also.

Bene valete,
Marcus Scribonius Curio Agelastus.

PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2005 10:55 pm
by Marcus Pomponius Lupus
Am I the only one reading "normal" fiction around here ? It's Robert Jordan and his "The Eye of the World" for me, though I could throw in some more Roman related ones:

Lucan - Pharsalia - Jane Wilson Joyce
Lucano - La Guerra Civile (Farsaglia) - Giovanni Viansino
Lucan - Civil War - Susan H. Braund

But those are for my thesis, which, you may have guessed, will be about Lucanus :wink:


PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2005 11:59 pm
by Curio Agelastus
Salve Lupe,

ah, that's a great series. Have you read it before? If not, you're in for many surprises... Not least of which that you have another nine books of the same size to read, and it's not even finished yet...

Bene vale,
Marcus Scribonius Curio Agelastus.

PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2005 12:56 am
by Marcus Pomponius Lupus
Salve Curio,

I haven't read them yet, I'm about 400 pages in the first one and I like it a lot so far. The next six books are waiting on the shelf (the Christmas season has been good, books from everyone :wink: ).

I heard Jordan is now writing a few prequels first, so it's going to be a while when the series is finished I guess. Oh well, gives me time to catch up; with exams starting in 10 days I'm going at about one or two chapters a day.

Have you read the entire series so far, and if so, is he keeping up the high standard in the following books ?

Vale bene

PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2005 1:13 am
by Q Valerius
Salve Tergeste,

Thanks for the recommendation. The books there that I need are beyond my price range so far. I'd probably choose over them for the simple reason of at I might find a pretty cheap used copy. Who knows?

Oh, and as of tonight (post laborem) I'll be reading the Septuagint in Greek. I'm making that my official book read until further notice.

Valete omnes,


Marius' Reads?

PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2005 8:08 am
by Aldus Marius
Salvete amici...

Bene, in my case it's more like what Romanish books I have unearthed in the last week or so. The move, ya know...most everything's still in boxes, and the daily sorties to find my buried favorites in themselves make little time left to read them.

But I've one Roman shelf out now; mostly favorites, general surveys of daily life--but none of my Legion-specific stuff just yet. Of these, I have actually read bits of:

-- Chronicles of the Roman Emperors (Chris Scarre)
-- Chronicles of the Roman Republic (Philip Matyszak)
...both published by Thames & Hudson; year-by-year or reign-by-reign accounts of their eras

-- A Traveller's Guide to Roman Britain (Patrick Ottoway; Routledge & Kegan Paul, pubs.)
...Great (and non-bulky) collection of Roman sites, what's to be seen there, and evocative photographs. Keyed to the Ordnance Survey Map of Roman Britain.

-- Understanding Roman Inscriptions (Laurence Keppie; Johns Hopkins UP)
...The really good way to get started with these

-- Daily Life in Ancient Rome (Florence Dupont; Blackwell)
...The most intriguing recreation I have ever read of the subjective experience of being a Roman of the Republic

-- As the Romans Did (Jo Ann Shelton; Oxford UP)
...Quotes from primary sources about every conceivable facet of Roman life, daily, political, religious, scientific or otherwise.

-- The Romans (ed. Andrea Giardina; U. of Chicago Press)
...Collection of essays about sorts of Romans who usually get overlooked: the merchant, the peasant, the craftsman, the outlaw, the poor.

-- Rome: Its People, Life and Customs (Ugo Enrico Paoli; David McKay Co.)
...General survey of daily life, profusely illustrated with line drawings and b/w plates; an old Library favorite

-- Roman Coins and their Values (David R. Sear; Seaby's Numismatic Publications)
...Not as dry as it sounds! --Lively writing brings across the author's enthusiasm for coins as objects of several kinds of interest. Considered the classic short reference on the subject.

-- Law and Life of Rome (J.A. Crook; Cornell UP)
...Excellent, readable intro to Roman Law as it impacted daily life.

I also discovered, just this morning, my Who was Who in the Roman World and my nearly century-old Cicero primer, neither the worse for wear! >({|:-D

Back to the dig site,

PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2005 5:23 pm
by Quintus Pomponius Atticus
Salvete omnes,

For my thesis, I am looking for a book that thoroughly analyzes Roman elite morality in its differents aspects (what were the elite's values, how were they socialized, enforced, how and in what measure where they influenced by tradition/philosophy/religion etc.).

Does anyone know of a book that would fit this description ?



PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2005 7:12 am
by Lucius Tyrrhenus Garrulus

Life in Ancient Rome, by F.R. Cowell



PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2005 2:23 am
by C.AeliusEricius
I've just finished Barry Cunliffe's -The Extraordianry Voyages of Pytheas the Greek- ~~~ Interesting, informative, though wandering around almost as much as Pytheas did, and I've added another name to my list of famous ancient jerks, Strabo. But that may be a personal thing [damn landlubber]. After that I've done some poking around in my old copy of Rob't Wilken's -The Christians as the Romans Saw Them-. More of a reread, with attentino to thte part on Julian with dips into Pliny and Celsus. I've been having fun with Dan Peterson's photo book -the Roman Legions-. For bed time soporific duty I've been working through Austin & Rankov's -Explorator- (I do not like books that will to read books that I want to stay on for the next page when I want to go to sleep). I am planning to start Michael C. ford's novel -The Last King- soon. It is about Mithradates the Great and I hope it is a decent read. A non-fiction work I think is way off base is one thing (I can write it up to seeing what the other brains think), a bad novel can be a waste of time and money. Before this spurt of Romanitas I indulged in two Honor Harrington space operas. And that says something else about me.

Bene valete.

PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2005 5:35 pm
by Anonymous
I am currently reading... Asterix and Obelix! Does that count? :wink:

PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2005 2:52 am
by Curio Agelastus
Salvete omnes,

Lupe: Opinion is divided on just how well Jordan keeps up the pace, although most agree he fails to do so throughout the series. In my opinion, the first five books are excellent, the sixth isn't bad, the seventh is good, the 8th is poor, the ninth is good, and the tenth is appalling. So, do keep reading, but bear in mind that some of the books may be tedious in places. :)

Mari: I was unimpressed with Matyszak's Chronicle, to be honest. It was a good general chronology, I suppose, but there were several times where I was left thinking: "And what grounds do you have to make an assertion like that?" :x

Erici: I've had Cunliffe on my shelf for a while, but there's always been something more pressing to read... I think next in the queue is Tom Holland's Rubicon, a work of historical fiction that does at least look vaguely interesting - have you read it?

Lucia: Asterix and Obelix is the single greatest scholarly work ever done on the ancient world, and don't let anyone tell you differently. 8)

Bene valete,
Marcus Scribonius Curio Agelastus.

He actually said...

PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2005 7:25 am
by Aldus Marius
Salve, mi Curio:

I must agree with your assessment of the Chronicle of the Roman Republic. The Chronicle of the Roman Emperors, which came out several years previous, is excellent; being by a different writer helped. But the Republican one reads like it was written by a U.S. political Republican: all full of value judgements that are given equal prominence with the actual history. Of my great-great-ancestor he wrote:

"Gaius Marius first saved the Roman Republic, and then helped to destroy it. Had he not existed, others would have delivered the state from harm, but only a man of Marius' character could have done the damage he did. In the tragedy of the late Roman Republic, Marius is, on balance, a villain."

Now how friggin' scholarly is that??

Of course I take issue with several of these assertions. (My own take on the career of my distinguished adopted ancestor is posted on the "Fall of the Roman Republic" thread; I wrote a longish little essay about him.) But my real beef is with the author's passing of simplistic judgements: How dare he?! Where does he get off?? Does this man Matyszak go around insulting peoples' mamas, too? Who the hell does he think he is!?

I bought the book because it had just come out, because it went with the other one, and because the other one was excellent. I was disappointed upon getting this one home to find it so much the inferior of its predecessor. I shall hurl a large, soft object at the head or chest of the author if I ever see him in person. He will go to his grave wondering why.


In disgust,

Re: Marius' Reads?

PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2005 3:15 pm
by Cleopatra Aelia
Aldus Marius wrote:

-- The Romans (ed. Andrea Giardina; U. of Chicago Press)
...Collection of essays about sorts of Romans who usually get overlooked: the merchant, the peasant, the craftsman, the outlaw, the poor.

That's funny that some one here listed the non-fiction book I'm reading at the moment. So far I just read the chapter about the craftsman. It's quite an interesting book.

Before that I was reading "The Complete Roman Army" by Adrian Goldsworthy which I could recommand to everybody interested in the Legions of Rome. I thought it was very interesting and loved this book.

As it goes for fiction I'm reading at the moment Colleen McCullough's "Caesar's Women" which is the fourth in the series of her novels about the Roman Republic. A great read, too.