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The Ancient Romans: Their Lives and Their World

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The Ancient Romans: Their Lives and Their World
By Paul Roberts. (Los Angeles, The J. Paul Getty Museum: 2009. Pg. 80. 180 Color Illustrations.) ISBN: 978-0-89236-986-7.

Reviewed by Auggie Moore - September 9, 2009

Although technically written for children ages twelve and up, The Ancient Romans; Their Lives and Their World will serve as an outstanding introduction to the world of the Ancient Romans, for readers of all ages. The book was written by Paul Roberts, the curator of Roman antiquities at the British Museum. He brings not only his wealth of knowledge to this lavishly illustrated book, but also his obvious love for Roman history. The Ancient Romans will not only introduce you to how the Ancient Romans lived their lives, but it will also teach you a bit about their history, culture, artistry, and technological innovations.

Roberts has organized this book into fifteen thematic chapters covering such subjects as Kings, Emperors, Gods and Goddesses, Women, Soldiers and Sailors, Children, Charioteers, and Gladiators. The book also includes a concise introduction to the Roman world, a map of the Roman Empires circa AD 117, and a timeline covering some of the major events in Roman history. The chapters themselves are brief, yet vibrant, and they offer not only an overview of the subject under discussion, but also intriguing insights into the role that the various 'subjects' played in Roman life and history. Throughout, the narrative is enlivened by the inclusion of numerous illustrations depicting statutes, pictures, coins, household and personal objects, buildings, mosaics, clothing, and other items that help to expand the readers understanding and appreciation for the Romans' way of life. Roberts has also included some intriguing factoids that also help to introduce readers to the Romans, including a recipe for Stuffed Dormouse and short excerpts from the writing of such famed Romans as Suetonius, Tacitus, Juvenal, Martial, and Pliny.

Entertaining and informative, The Ancient Romans will encourage younger readers to explore the wonders of Roman history in greater depth. As well, Robert's engaging narrative will intrigue readers of all ages. This book is an essential addition to elementary and middle school libraries, and it is a 'must have' for aspiring historians.

Related Reviews:

Life, Myth, and Art in Ancient Rome, by Tony Allan.
An illustrated, general guidebook to the world of the Ancient Romans - for readers of all ages.

A Pocket Dictionary of Roman Emperors, by Paul Roberts.
A collection 27 brief, biographical sketches of a cross-section of Rome's Emperors. Written for children ages twelve and up.

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