Life and Leisure in Ancient Rome Author:J.P.V.D. Balsdon What did a Roman do between getting up in the morning and going to bed at night? What was the shape of his year? How and why did the seven-day week come into existence? What was the nature of Roman family life? How were children brought up and educated? What of slaves in the household - were their prospects as unexciting as those of nineteenth-c... more »entury domestic servants, or worse, or better? What work did people do? How did they occupy their leisure? What games did they play? How did they relax? Was there any such thing as retirement? What do we know of the country-house life of the rich? How much did people travel and in what conditions? What were their entertainments? What was on at the theater? What was the appeal of gladiatorial fighting? How were gladiators trained? Did any of them survive to make old bones? Were Romans intelligently interested in horse-racing, or was the circus a kind of mania?
The material for the answering of these questions and dozens of similar ones comes from a wide variety of sources: from Latin writers, inscriptions, papyri, mosaics, stone reliefs, graffiti. It has been Dr. Balsdon's aim to amass a vast store of information, some of it extremely out-of-the-way, and then to present it attractively so that the reader's appetite is continually stimulated. He has succeeded brilliantly in this enterprise, and his book will surely be the standard work on this fascinating subject for years to come.« less