The World of Ancient Rome
A Daily Life Encyclopedia [2 volumes]
by James W. Ermatinger
August 2015, 813pp, 7x10
2 volumes, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-2907-9
$210, £162, 183€, A288
Please contact your preferred distributor for pricing.
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-2908-6
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The roots of modern technology can be found in ancient Rome.

This study of Ancient Rome offers a fascinating glimpse of what Roman society was like—from fashion, to food, to politics and recreation—gathered from literary works, art, and archaeological remains.

While the political history and prominent figures of Ancient Rome are well known, accounts of daily life in that time and place often remain untold. This fascinating encyclopedia explores this period from a social and cultural perspective, digging into the day-to-day activities of how Romans dressed, what they ate, how they worked, and what they did for fun.

Drawing from recent archaeological evidence, author James W. Ermatinger explores the everyday lives of Roman citizens of all levels and classes. This book is organized into ten sections: art, economics, family, fashion, food, housing, politics, recreation, religion, and science. Each section contains more than two dozen entries that illuminate such topics as slavery as a social movement; the menus of peasants, slaves, and the elite; and the science and engineering solutions that became harbingers for today’s technology. The work contains a selection of primary documents as well as a bibliography of print and Internet resources.


  • Focuses on daily life rather than dates and wars, making for engaging content for all readers
  • Offers a bibliography of important works as well as online and print resources for further reading
  • Includes coverage of a breadth of topics ranging from performing arts to town planning and military uniforms to banquets
  • Features approximately 250 entries with topics arranged alphabetically
  • Connects to national standards for world history
James W. Ermatinger, PhD, is dean of the college of liberal arts and sciences and professor of history at the University of Illinois Springfield. His published works include several titles from ABC-CLIO—The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Daily Life of Christians in Ancient Rome, and Daily Life in the New Testament. He received his doctorate in ancient history from Indiana University Bloomington.


"The World of Ancient Rome: A Daily Life Encyclopedia gives researchers looking specifically into the lives and customs of ancient Roman citizens, as well as the interested reader, a good starting point. This work would be a useful addition to public and undergraduate libraries."—Booklist, January 13, 2016

"[O]verall, the writing style is accessible, thus recommending the book as a general introduction for high school or beginning college students. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates; general readers."—Choice, May 2, 2016

"It is a very good overview of life in the Roman Republic and would be useful for secondary and undergraduate students researching the topic or for general interest."—Reference & User Services Quarterly, December 12, 2016

Daily Life

What was life really like for ordinary people in other cultures throughout history? How did they raise their children? What did they do for fun? From sexual mores in ancient Egypt to resistance music in modern Latin America, and from the fashion sense of the Mongols to the importance of film in modern India, the world comes alive in the indispensable hands-on volumes of this award-winning series. A truly interdisciplinary resource, the Daily Life series covers arts; religion; food; literature; language; romance; rites of passage and coming of age; marriage customs; social and government structure; sickness and cures; warfare; sports and games; holidays; festivals; and more. Supported by the most current research, these authoritative volumes provide an in-depth exploration of daily life throughout history.

Each volume provides:
• An exploration of complex eras in history on a level accessible to students and general readers
• Authoritative coverage stemming from the most current scholarship and recent discoveries
• A focus on social rather than political history in key curricular areas, providing an in-depth understanding of the nuts and bolts of daily life
• Interactive, exciting details such as recipes, sheet music, rules for games, song lyrics, and more
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