Journals Higher Education



Published: 08 November 2008

376 Pages

6 1/2 X 9 1/2 inches

ISBN: 9780859898232

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Unwritten Rome

T.P. Wiseman

Liverpool University Press

In Unwritten Rome, a new book by the author of Myths of Rome, T.P. Wiseman presents us with an imaginative and appealing picture of the early society of pre-literary Rome-as a free and uninhibited world in which the arts and popular entertainments flourished. This original angle allows the voice of the Roman people to be retrieved empathetically from contemporary artefacts and figured monuments, and from selected passages of later literature.How do you understand a society that didn't write down its own history? That is the problem with early Rome, from the Bronze Age down to the conquest of Italy around 300 BC. The texts we have to use were all written centuries later, and their view of early Rome is impossibly anachronistic. But some possibly authentic evidence may survive, if we can only tease it out - like the old story of a Roman king acting as a magician, or the traditional custom that may originate in the practice of ritual prostitution. This book consists of eighteen attempts to find such ma