Veni, Vidi, Vici: Everything you ever wanted to know about the Romans but were afraid to ask


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Our Ancient and Modern columnist has written a book with something to relish on every page

One bewilderingly, we might think was pure Greek. Information — what you wanted to know — comes with much to amuse. Take the story of Pyrrhus, the Greek king of Epirus.

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Asked what he would do when he had beaten the Romans, he said he would conquer Sicily, Libya and Carthage and regain Macedon and Greece. What next? Which got the response it deserved: that he could do that now, without all the bloodshed and misery.

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The Romans were superstitious, always consulting oracles and taking the auspices. Pretty silly, you may say, and Cicero agreed with you.

The Republic gave way to empire, at which point, or in the years leading up to the transition, Latin literature blossomed. He is good on Horace and Virgil, better still on Ovid, whom he adores.

Roman baths were not, sadly, as hygienic as we may suppose. Houses stank of sewage. That, in practice, means that they rely on the local bigwigs to do what local bigwigs have always done, but under the direction of their new masters. The Romans understood this, which was why their empire lasted so long.

‘From diabetes to haemorrhoids’ – ancient Greek medical language & practice, a talk by Peter Jones

Nevertheless, good emperors worked hard. Any who did rarely lasted long. Then along came Christianity and the nature of things changed. It was not a matter of what you believed or felt, but of what you did, i. Professor Jones does not say whether this was a good thing, but his book is unquestionably that. Overview The Romans left a long-lasting legacy and their influence can still be seen all around us, from our calendar and coins to our language and laws, but how much do we really know about them?

Help is at hand in the form of this book which tells the remarkable, and often surprising, story of the Romans and the most enduring empire in history. Fusing a lively and entertaining narrative with rigorous research, Veni, Vidi, Vici breaks down each major period into a series of concise nuggets that provide a fascinating commentary on every aspect of the Roman world, from plebs to personalities, sauces to sexuality, games to gladiators, poets to punishments, mosaics to medicine, and Catullus to Christianity.

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Veni, Vidi, Vici: Everything you ever wanted to know about the Romans but were afraid to ask Veni, Vidi, Vici: Everything you ever wanted to know about the Romans but were afraid to ask
Veni, Vidi, Vici: Everything you ever wanted to know about the Romans but were afraid to ask Veni, Vidi, Vici: Everything you ever wanted to know about the Romans but were afraid to ask
Veni, Vidi, Vici: Everything you ever wanted to know about the Romans but were afraid to ask Veni, Vidi, Vici: Everything you ever wanted to know about the Romans but were afraid to ask
Veni, Vidi, Vici: Everything you ever wanted to know about the Romans but were afraid to ask Veni, Vidi, Vici: Everything you ever wanted to know about the Romans but were afraid to ask
Veni, Vidi, Vici: Everything you ever wanted to know about the Romans but were afraid to ask Veni, Vidi, Vici: Everything you ever wanted to know about the Romans but were afraid to ask
Veni, Vidi, Vici: Everything you ever wanted to know about the Romans but were afraid to ask Veni, Vidi, Vici: Everything you ever wanted to know about the Romans but were afraid to ask
Veni, Vidi, Vici: Everything you ever wanted to know about the Romans but were afraid to ask Veni, Vidi, Vici: Everything you ever wanted to know about the Romans but were afraid to ask
Veni, Vidi, Vici: Everything you ever wanted to know about the Romans but were afraid to ask Veni, Vidi, Vici: Everything you ever wanted to know about the Romans but were afraid to ask

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