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Lives of the Romans
Lives of the Romans
by Philip Matyszak and Joanne Berry

Publisher: Thames & Hudson (September, 2008)

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    A vivid and lavishly-illustrated portrait of a lost world. Lives of the Romans reveals the mightiest civilization of antiquity through the eyes of its citizzens. As never before, the book gives a voice not just to Rome's most famous generals and rulers, such as Sulla, Caesar, Augustus and caligula, but also to her builders and sculptors, her poets, historians, gladiators, shepherds, courtesans and slaves.
    At its height Rome's empire stretched across europe Africa and the middle east, yet it started as a primitive encampment above a riverside marsh. Here you come face-to-face with with some of those who created the empire, from consuls and commanders to ordinary soldiers, voters and taxpayers.
    An extraordinary range of viewpoints is explored in these 100 biographies. A centurion and a plasterer's wife share pages with the orator Cicero and the scholar Pliny, while a vestal virgin shares a chapter with Antinoos, the boy lover of Hadrian. Augustine, the church patriarch, and constantine, Rome's first 'Christian' emperor, rub shoulders with Julian the Apostate and Vetus Agorius Praetextatus, leader of the pagans.
    Roman women were the most liberated in the ancient world. They could wield massive power and influence, yet are often overlooked. Meet Servilia, Caesar's lover, and Agrippina, the murderous wife of Claudius, and Antonia Caenis Vespasian's mistress. Meet also Sulpicia, the teenage poet, and Amazonia the sword-swinging gladiator.
    Exploring every level of society and using the latest archaeological evidence as well as ancient texts, Philip Matyszak and Joanne Berry build a picture of what it meant to be a Roman citizen. Magnificent portrait sculptures, mosaics and Renaissance paintings of Roman scenes add visual impact to the real-life stories behined the rise and fall of Rome, currently so much in the public eye thanks to recent blockbuster movies and television series.

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