The Oxford Anthology of Roman Literature

Oxford University Press
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Though the wonders of ancient Roman culture continue to attract interest across the disciplines, it is difficult to find a lively, accessible collection of the full range of the era's literature in English. The Oxford Anthology of Roman Literature provides a general introduction to the literature of the Roman empire at its zenith, between the second century BC and the second century AD. Two features of this extraordinarily fertile period in literary achievement as evidenced by this anthology are immediately and repeatedly clear: how similar the Romans' view of the world was to our own and, perhaps even more obviously, how different it was. Most of the authors included in the anthology wrote in Latin, but as the anthology moves forward in time, relevant Greek texts that reflect the cultural diversity of Roman literary life are also included, something no other such anthology has done in the past. Roman literature was wonderfully creative and diverse, and the texts in this volume were chosen from a broad range of genres: drama, epic, philosophy, satire, lyric poetry, love poetry. By its very nature an anthology can abbreviate and thus obscure the most attractive features of even a masterpiece, so the two editors have not only selected texts that capture the essence of the respective authors, but also have included accompanying introductions and afterwords that will guide the reader in pursuing further reading. The presentations of the selections are enlivened with illustrations that locate the works within the contexts of the world in which they were written and enjoyed. The student and general reader will come away from this learned yet entertaining anthology with a fuller appreciation of the place occupied by literature in the Roman world.
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About the author

Peter E. Knox is Professor of Classics at the University of Colorado at Boulder. J. C. McKeown is Professor of Classics at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Oxford University Press
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Published on
Oct 31, 2013
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Pages
656
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ISBN
9780199910724
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Ancient / Rome
Literary Collections / Ancient & Classical
Literary Criticism / Ancient & Classical
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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J. C. McKeown
The ancient Greeks were a wonderful people. They gave us democracy, drama, and philosophy, and many forms of art and branches of science would be inconceivable without their influence. And yet, they were capable of the most outlandish behavior, preposterous beliefs, and ludicrous opinions. Like its companion volume, A Cabinet of Roman Curiosities, this is an uproarious miscellany of odd stories and facts, culled from a lifetime of teaching ancient Greek civilization. In some ways, the book demonstrates how much the Greeks were like us. Politicians were regarded as shallow and self-serving; overweight people resorted to implausible diets; Socrates and the king of Sparta used to entertain their children by riding around on a stick pretending it was a horse. Of course, their differences from us are abundantly documented too and the book may leave readers with a few incredulous questions. To ward off evil, were scapegoats thrown down from cliffs, though fitted out with feathers and live birds to give them a sporting chance of survival? Did a werewolf really win the boxing event at the Olympic Games? Were prisoners released on bail so that they could enjoy dramatic festivals? Did anyone really believe that Pythagoras flew about on a magic arrow? Other such mysteries abound in this quirky and richly illustrated journey into the "glory that was Greece." "The loveliest thing on the black earth." Sappho of Lesbos "Well worth getting a copy." Pisistratus of Athens "Meticulously written, a must for every library." Ptolemy of Alexandria "Unputdownable." Atlas the Titan "Fantastic! Incredible!" Cassandra, priestess of Apollo "The ideal gift." Laocoon of Troy "Not too long." Callimachus of Cyrene "I find something new every time I dip in." Archimedes of Syracuse
J. C. McKeown
Here is a whimsical and captivating collection of odd facts, strange beliefs, outlandish opinions, and other highly amusing trivia of the ancient Romans. We tend to think of the Romans as a pragmatic people with a ruthlessly efficient army, an exemplary legal system, and a precise and elegant language. A Cabinet of Roman Curiosities shows that the Romans were equally capable of bizarre superstitions, logic-defying customs, and often hilariously derisive views of their fellow Romans and non-Romans. Classicist J. C. McKeown has organized the entries in this entertaining volume around major themes--The Army, Women, Religion and Superstition, Family Life, Medicine, Slaves, Spectacles--allowing for quick browsing or more deliberate consumption. Among the book's many gems are:
? Romans on urban living: The satirist Juvenal lists "fires, falling buildings, and poets reciting in August as hazards to life in Rome."
? On enhanced interrogation: "If we are obliged to take evidence from an arena-fighter or some other such person, his testimony is not to be believed unless given under torture." (Justinian)
? On dreams: Dreaming of eating books "foretells advantage to teachers, lecturers, and anyone who earns his livelihood from books, but for everyone else it means sudden death"
? On food: "When people unwittingly eat human flesh, served by unscrupulous restaurant owners and other such people, the similarity to pork is often noted." (Galen)
? On marriage: In ancient Rome a marriage could be arranged even when the parties were absent, so long as they knew of the arrangement, "or agreed to it subsequently."
? On health care: Pliny caustically described medical bills as a "down payment on death," and Martial quipped that "Diaulus used to be a doctor, now he's a mortician. He does as a mortician what he did as a doctor." For anyone seeking an inglorious glimpse at the underside of the greatest empire in history, A Cabinet of Roman Curiosities offers endless delights.
J. C. McKeown
Here is a whimsical and captivating collection of odd facts, strange beliefs, outlandish opinions, and other highly amusing trivia of the ancient Romans. We tend to think of the Romans as a pragmatic people with a ruthlessly efficient army, an exemplary legal system, and a precise and elegant language. A Cabinet of Roman Curiosities shows that the Romans were equally capable of bizarre superstitions, logic-defying customs, and often hilariously derisive views of their fellow Romans and non-Romans. Classicist J. C. McKeown has organized the entries in this entertaining volume around major themes--The Army, Women, Religion and Superstition, Family Life, Medicine, Slaves, Spectacles--allowing for quick browsing or more deliberate consumption. Among the book's many gems are:
? Romans on urban living: The satirist Juvenal lists "fires, falling buildings, and poets reciting in August as hazards to life in Rome."
? On enhanced interrogation: "If we are obliged to take evidence from an arena-fighter or some other such person, his testimony is not to be believed unless given under torture." (Justinian)
? On dreams: Dreaming of eating books "foretells advantage to teachers, lecturers, and anyone who earns his livelihood from books, but for everyone else it means sudden death"
? On food: "When people unwittingly eat human flesh, served by unscrupulous restaurant owners and other such people, the similarity to pork is often noted." (Galen)
? On marriage: In ancient Rome a marriage could be arranged even when the parties were absent, so long as they knew of the arrangement, "or agreed to it subsequently."
? On health care: Pliny caustically described medical bills as a "down payment on death," and Martial quipped that "Diaulus used to be a doctor, now he's a mortician. He does as a mortician what he did as a doctor." For anyone seeking an inglorious glimpse at the underside of the greatest empire in history, A Cabinet of Roman Curiosities offers endless delights.
J. C. McKeown
The ancient Greeks were a wonderful people. They gave us democracy, drama, and philosophy, and many forms of art and branches of science would be inconceivable without their influence. And yet, they were capable of the most outlandish behavior, preposterous beliefs, and ludicrous opinions. Like its companion volume, A Cabinet of Roman Curiosities, this is an uproarious miscellany of odd stories and facts, culled from a lifetime of teaching ancient Greek civilization. In some ways, the book demonstrates how much the Greeks were like us. Politicians were regarded as shallow and self-serving; overweight people resorted to implausible diets; Socrates and the king of Sparta used to entertain their children by riding around on a stick pretending it was a horse. Of course, their differences from us are abundantly documented too and the book may leave readers with a few incredulous questions. To ward off evil, were scapegoats thrown down from cliffs, though fitted out with feathers and live birds to give them a sporting chance of survival? Did a werewolf really win the boxing event at the Olympic Games? Were prisoners released on bail so that they could enjoy dramatic festivals? Did anyone really believe that Pythagoras flew about on a magic arrow? Other such mysteries abound in this quirky and richly illustrated journey into the "glory that was Greece." "The loveliest thing on the black earth." Sappho of Lesbos "Well worth getting a copy." Pisistratus of Athens "Meticulously written, a must for every library." Ptolemy of Alexandria "Unputdownable." Atlas the Titan "Fantastic! Incredible!" Cassandra, priestess of Apollo "The ideal gift." Laocoon of Troy "Not too long." Callimachus of Cyrene "I find something new every time I dip in." Archimedes of Syracuse
J.C. McKeown
There are few disciplines as exciting and forward-looking as medicine. Unfortunately, however, many modern practitioners have lost sight of the origins of their discipline. A Cabinet of Ancient Medical Curiosities aspires to cure this lapse by taking readers back to the early days of Western medicine in ancient Greece and Rome. Quoting the actual words of ancient authors, often from texts which have never before been translated into English, J. C. McKeown offers a fascinating glimpse at the origins of surgery, gynecology, pediatrics, pharmacology, diet and nutrition, and many other fields of medicine. This book features hundreds of passages from Greek and Roman authors, with gentle guidance from McKeown, giving a vividly direct picture of the ancient medical world, a world in which, for example, a surgeon had to be strong-minded enough to ignore the screams of his patient, diseases were assumed to be sent by the gods, medicine and magic were often indistinguishable, and no qualifications were required before setting oneself up as a doctor. On the other hand, McKeown reveals that some ancient medical attitudes were also surprisingly similar to our own. Beyond the practice of medicine, McKeown highlights ancient views on familiar topics, such as medical ethics and the role of the doctor in society. A fascinating exploration of the bizarre - and sometimes grotesque - medical beliefs of the past, A Cabinet of Ancient Medical Curiosities will delight anyone with an interest in the history of medicine or the ancient world.
J.C. McKeown
There are few disciplines as exciting and forward-looking as medicine. Unfortunately, however, many modern practitioners have lost sight of the origins of their discipline. A Cabinet of Ancient Medical Curiosities aspires to cure this lapse by taking readers back to the early days of Western medicine in ancient Greece and Rome. Quoting the actual words of ancient authors, often from texts which have never before been translated into English, J. C. McKeown offers a fascinating glimpse at the origins of surgery, gynecology, pediatrics, pharmacology, diet and nutrition, and many other fields of medicine. This book features hundreds of passages from Greek and Roman authors, with gentle guidance from McKeown, giving a vividly direct picture of the ancient medical world, a world in which, for example, a surgeon had to be strong-minded enough to ignore the screams of his patient, diseases were assumed to be sent by the gods, medicine and magic were often indistinguishable, and no qualifications were required before setting oneself up as a doctor. On the other hand, McKeown reveals that some ancient medical attitudes were also surprisingly similar to our own. Beyond the practice of medicine, McKeown highlights ancient views on familiar topics, such as medical ethics and the role of the doctor in society. A fascinating exploration of the bizarre - and sometimes grotesque - medical beliefs of the past, A Cabinet of Ancient Medical Curiosities will delight anyone with an interest in the history of medicine or the ancient world.
J. C. McKeown
Here is a whimsical and captivating collection of odd facts, strange beliefs, outlandish opinions, and other highly amusing trivia of the ancient Romans. We tend to think of the Romans as a pragmatic people with a ruthlessly efficient army, an exemplary legal system, and a precise and elegant language. A Cabinet of Roman Curiosities shows that the Romans were equally capable of bizarre superstitions, logic-defying customs, and often hilariously derisive views of their fellow Romans and non-Romans. Classicist J. C. McKeown has organized the entries in this entertaining volume around major themes--The Army, Women, Religion and Superstition, Family Life, Medicine, Slaves, Spectacles--allowing for quick browsing or more deliberate consumption. Among the book's many gems are:
? Romans on urban living: The satirist Juvenal lists "fires, falling buildings, and poets reciting in August as hazards to life in Rome."
? On enhanced interrogation: "If we are obliged to take evidence from an arena-fighter or some other such person, his testimony is not to be believed unless given under torture." (Justinian)
? On dreams: Dreaming of eating books "foretells advantage to teachers, lecturers, and anyone who earns his livelihood from books, but for everyone else it means sudden death"
? On food: "When people unwittingly eat human flesh, served by unscrupulous restaurant owners and other such people, the similarity to pork is often noted." (Galen)
? On marriage: In ancient Rome a marriage could be arranged even when the parties were absent, so long as they knew of the arrangement, "or agreed to it subsequently."
? On health care: Pliny caustically described medical bills as a "down payment on death," and Martial quipped that "Diaulus used to be a doctor, now he's a mortician. He does as a mortician what he did as a doctor." For anyone seeking an inglorious glimpse at the underside of the greatest empire in history, A Cabinet of Roman Curiosities offers endless delights.
J. C. McKeown
Here is a whimsical and captivating collection of odd facts, strange beliefs, outlandish opinions, and other highly amusing trivia of the ancient Romans. We tend to think of the Romans as a pragmatic people with a ruthlessly efficient army, an exemplary legal system, and a precise and elegant language. A Cabinet of Roman Curiosities shows that the Romans were equally capable of bizarre superstitions, logic-defying customs, and often hilariously derisive views of their fellow Romans and non-Romans. Classicist J. C. McKeown has organized the entries in this entertaining volume around major themes--The Army, Women, Religion and Superstition, Family Life, Medicine, Slaves, Spectacles--allowing for quick browsing or more deliberate consumption. Among the book's many gems are:
? Romans on urban living: The satirist Juvenal lists "fires, falling buildings, and poets reciting in August as hazards to life in Rome."
? On enhanced interrogation: "If we are obliged to take evidence from an arena-fighter or some other such person, his testimony is not to be believed unless given under torture." (Justinian)
? On dreams: Dreaming of eating books "foretells advantage to teachers, lecturers, and anyone who earns his livelihood from books, but for everyone else it means sudden death"
? On food: "When people unwittingly eat human flesh, served by unscrupulous restaurant owners and other such people, the similarity to pork is often noted." (Galen)
? On marriage: In ancient Rome a marriage could be arranged even when the parties were absent, so long as they knew of the arrangement, "or agreed to it subsequently."
? On health care: Pliny caustically described medical bills as a "down payment on death," and Martial quipped that "Diaulus used to be a doctor, now he's a mortician. He does as a mortician what he did as a doctor." For anyone seeking an inglorious glimpse at the underside of the greatest empire in history, A Cabinet of Roman Curiosities offers endless delights.
J. C. McKeown
The ancient Greeks were a wonderful people. They gave us democracy, drama, and philosophy, and many forms of art and branches of science would be inconceivable without their influence. And yet, they were capable of the most outlandish behavior, preposterous beliefs, and ludicrous opinions. Like its companion volume, A Cabinet of Roman Curiosities, this is an uproarious miscellany of odd stories and facts, culled from a lifetime of teaching ancient Greek civilization. In some ways, the book demonstrates how much the Greeks were like us. Politicians were regarded as shallow and self-serving; overweight people resorted to implausible diets; Socrates and the king of Sparta used to entertain their children by riding around on a stick pretending it was a horse. Of course, their differences from us are abundantly documented too and the book may leave readers with a few incredulous questions. To ward off evil, were scapegoats thrown down from cliffs, though fitted out with feathers and live birds to give them a sporting chance of survival? Did a werewolf really win the boxing event at the Olympic Games? Were prisoners released on bail so that they could enjoy dramatic festivals? Did anyone really believe that Pythagoras flew about on a magic arrow? Other such mysteries abound in this quirky and richly illustrated journey into the "glory that was Greece." "The loveliest thing on the black earth." Sappho of Lesbos "Well worth getting a copy." Pisistratus of Athens "Meticulously written, a must for every library." Ptolemy of Alexandria "Unputdownable." Atlas the Titan "Fantastic! Incredible!" Cassandra, priestess of Apollo "The ideal gift." Laocoon of Troy "Not too long." Callimachus of Cyrene "I find something new every time I dip in." Archimedes of Syracuse
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