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How to Survive in Ancient Rome

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3.69  ·  Rating details ·  16 ratings  ·  14 reviews
Imagine you were transported back in time to Ancient Rome and you had to start a new life there. How would you fit in? Where would you live? What would you eat? Where would you go to have your hair done? Who would you go to if you got ill, or if you were mugged in the street?
All these questions, and many more, will be answered in this new how-to guide for time travellers.
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Paperback, 176 pages
Published December 11th 2020 by Pen and Sword History
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Mark Porton
How to Survive in Ancient Rome by L.J. Trafford is a snappy, all encompassing digest of Ancient Rome during the reign of Emperor Domitian (81-96 CE). Our hosts are a former imperial slave and now secretary to Domitian and a 'lady of leisure' one of the ultra-rich ruling elite. It would've been nice to have the perspective of a slave or a low-born Roman Citizen from the Subura - but the sources are a bit light on with first hand accounts from this cohort.

This is a good, basic introduction to pret
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Emma
Oct 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
This is one of those intro level history books that’s accessible and funny, as well as being genuinely informative. It could well be more amusing to those who know the context, or just to history geeks like me, but however much you do or don’t know, the book offers a great way in to Ancient Rome. Filled as much with day to day details as with high politics, this is the kind of stuff you’re not always taught. All the little things that give you a sense of what life was like. I’d love to use it in ...more
ella 🥀
Oct 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, 4-star-reads
I received this book from Netgalley for an honest review.
This was a really fun, quick read about life in Ancient Rome, from politics to hairstyles, medicine to food. It is deceptively informative, because the writing style is informal and funny so you don't realise how much you actually learn! This book is accessible to everyone, no matter how much you know about the Romans. If you do want extra information, I recommend you read the author notes throughout. However, there were a few aspects that
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Kristine
Nov 01, 2020 rated it liked it
How to Survive in Ancient Rome by L.J. Trafford is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in early November.

Trafford answers a reader's prospective questions on fulfilling roles in society, one's family and their gender, what to do, believe in, eat, to be law-abiding, and to keep safe and healthy. However, they speak quite simply, like a children's Saturday morning show on the History or Discovery channel, but with witty adulty jokes scattered throughout.
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Jessica Rodrigues
Dec 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, adult-nonfiction
A spritely hop through deep and heavy history of ancient Rome, touching on several different topics with a lightness that will irritate the hardcore history crowd and delight casual readers. As someone with a light-to-moderate interest in ancient Rome (as in, I'll watch a documentary, but it's unlikely I'll read a book larger than this) it was just enough to keep me entertained and give me a handful of fun facts to spout off when there's a lull in conversation.

(Like, did you know ancient Romans
...more
Bill
Dec 23, 2020 rated it liked it
How to Survive in Ancient Rome is a light, informal introduction to Roman history that moves along sprightly and with some tongue-in-cheek humor. The book is divided into several sections: Social Structure, Family, Clothing, Accommodation, Shopping, Food and Diet, Entertainment, Health and Medicine, Work, Warfare, Religion, Law and Order, and Politics.

As you can see from the listing and the placement of the political at the end, this is less a typical history and more one that focuses on day-to
...more
Brenda
Oct 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Hilarious, witty and full to the brim of absolutely fascinating information, this book is unlike any other I've read on ancient Rome, and I've read a LOT. There is so much I want to blurt out but don't want to spoil the fun for anyone.

We are taken on a wondrous journey by foot through Rome 2,000 years ago learning about emperors, wars, punishments, clothing, food, slaves, corruption (fire fighters wait to be bribed before putting out fires and no policing), how years and months are determined, p
...more
Anne Morgan
Oct 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
"How to Survive in Ancient Rome" is an entertaining look at daily life in ancient Rome (specifically in 95 CE under the Emperor Dominitian). Homes, food, travel, shopping, and entertainment are all covered in an irreverently British-style humor that had me imagining the book read to me by Stephen Fry (or often Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc of the Great British Bake Off). Dry wit combines with stories told to us 'by a Roman' help readers learn how to navigate visiting the greatest city in the worl ...more
Darius Ostrowski
Oct 18, 2020 rated it liked it
A fun and interesting guide to everyday life in ancient Rome, “How to Survive in Ancient Rome” by L J Trafford is a quick read that answers many questions about how people actually lived 2,000 years ago.

Like any good guidebook, there is a bit of history to start: the founding of Rome and how it grew from a city on the Tiber to a large empire, from kings to republic to empire. Then we get into the interesting stuff that one would need to know if one was to move to the capital: politics, social cl
...more
Zoe
Nov 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is an engaging, witty, and informative guide to 1st Century Rome for the prospective time traveller. Should you be planning a trip to The Eternal City during the reign of Domitian you will have lots of burning questions about the history, culture and social structure plus concerns about how to stay safe. This fascinating book tells you all you need to know and provides great entertainment too. LJ Trafford clearly has a wealth of knowledge and ample enthusiasm for the subject; great for both ...more
Dawn
Oct 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
It takes real skill to turn the facts of history into pure fun, and L. J. Trafford has managed it with style and class. A book hasn't made me laugh so much for a long time, though I have come to the conclusion that life in Ancient Rome isn't for me... I'll settle for reading about it instead! "How to Survive in Ancient Rome" is amusing, witty, laugh-out-loud funny at times, and heaped with information that I'll never use (I hope!).

My thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley. This review wa
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Eileen Iciek
Jan 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A fun exploration of some of the more arcane elements of Roman society, told with the author's usual sense of humor. I've spent many years reading about the Romans, but I never knew about their habit of keeping eels for pets, even providing them with jewelry. They also might drink perfume or eat flamingos. On the other hand, reading about their politics - buying votes, hecklers, elected officials forgetting about voters the day after the election - all appeared to be depressingly familiar in mod ...more
Beth Younge
Oct 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was an interesting read i liked it for the most part. The information was handled well but it did seem a bit surface level at times and it was a lot shorter than i thought it would be. This was accessible for everyone which makes it a good entry text for those who are newer to Roman history but for those who need a deeper look, there are better books.

I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Alexandra
Dec 19, 2020 rated it it was ok
A decent look at how people would live in certain categories. Informal writing. Different areas of life - not a month to month type of book.
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L. J. Trafford worked as a tour guide, after gaining a BA Hons in ancient history. This experience was a perfect introduction to writing, involving as it did the need for entertainment and a hefty amount of invention (it’s how she got tips!). She now works in London doing something whizzy with databases.

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