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Rome, Volume II: Dictionaries of Civilization series

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Rome. Volume II: Dictionaries of Civilization series. By Ada Gabucci. Translated by Jay Hyams. (University of California Press, Berkeley: 2007. Pg. 384. 367 Color Illustrations.) ISBN 10: 0-520-25265-9. ISBN 13: 978-0-520-25265-3.

Reviewed by Herbert White - June 25, 2007

In Rome, the second volume in the Dictionaries of Civilization series, Ada Gabucci presents an edifying historical and cultural survey of Ancient Roman civilization. Gabucci is a noted archeologist and historian, and she brings her years of experience to this book. Her informative narrative is enhanced by the inclusion of copious illustrations of Roman era artifacts ranging from reliefs and statuary to everyday household items and pictures of archaeological sites.

While not exhaustive in scope, this handy travel-sized book presents a detailed and illuminating overview of Roman history interlaced with a survey of everyday life in Rome, including Roman religion, culture, politics, architecture, and educational system. An overview of major Roman archaeological sites and monuments is also included.

The text is this volume is organized thematically, with vivid multi-page spreads for each entry. The entries in this dictionary include not only a definition or overview of the subject under discussion, but also excerpts from classical literature that highlight the topic, as well as accompanying illustrations, and a handy list of major points or dates related to the given topic. In addition, all the illustrations in this book are accompanied by informative commentaries that describe the item illustrated as well as providing relevant historical data related to the item.

A sampling of the entries that you will find in this volume include: Written in a clear, non-academic jargon, Rome is a reference guide that will serve students of all ages, and which will delight anyone with an interest in ancient Rome. This book can also be used as a guidebook by physical and armchair travelers interested in visiting ancient Roman sites.

Related Reviews:

Ancient Rome: Art, Architecture and History, By Ada Gabucci.
This book contains 200 color illustrations covering all aspects of Ancient Roman art, architecture, and history. In addition, the text offers a general overview of the history of Ancient Rome.

The Colosseum, Edited by Ada Gabucci.
This is an outstanding work that provides a comprehensive overview and history of the Colosseum. It not only looks at its architectural significance and the uses to which it was put, but it also examines the infrastructure and auxiliary personnel needed to run and manage the establishment.

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