Monday 4 December 2023

SPQR Rings a Bell

This is worth a read.  
Bought through one of last years vouchers in W. H. Smith, not my favourite store, it took a while to read as I have several books on the go at one time.
Mary Beard, famous for her unkept appearance, which she emphasises for publicity, has studies the classics as they are called for over 50 years, so she must know something.  
Beginning at the beginning, Romulus and Remus, and all that, she attempts to discover what was in between the seven hills on which Rome was built.  The several thousand years or so of constant construction do however make this difficult.  We may never know what the actual origin of Rome was.
Mary attempts a brief history of Rome, through the Kings, the Republic, and onto Augustus time.  
The very nature of her task makes this difficult, all those years, far too little evidence in the far distant past, and the deductions of later historians who may not always be reliable do not help.
Cicero, Augustus, and other famous men, and a few woman, she would not miss them out, get a short hearing, and descriptions of housing, citizenship, punishments, Emperors, family life, wars at home and abroad, the Games, daily life for rich and poor, are all covered to some extent.  Even Christians are mentioned in passing, though it is clear Mary has little knowledge of their writings or purpose.  
All in all this vast book cover a vast number of years quite well.  As an introduction to Rome, at home and abroad, it is a good start.  Many areas require a deeper investigation and further reading suggestions are found at the back with other aids. 
Altogether a worthwhile book to read, but while readable it is not a short book!

On a dreich morning I forced myself out and up to the ironmongers shop.  Here I purchased a wee clock to sit beside me, I cannot see the time on the laptop as it is right in front of me, so I place a suitable clock slightly to the right and I can see that perfectly!  Why?  I don't know!
Anyway, I actually went for a new doorbell, one of those cordless ones that ought to beep when the postman rings the bell.  The previous bell was lying wounded on the ground the other day as it had taken too much punishment over the years from postmen, Amazon and Evri drivers.
So, I spent almost an hour fighting to remove the old one, who tightened that screw?  And screwing in the new one, back and forth until it all worked well.  A variety of tunes can be played on this one, almost all slushy Christmas tunes!  I just have the Bing-Bong thanks.
That done there has been no-one ringing it since, so I am yet to know if I can hear it if they do.  The suspense!  Of course I tried it, but the noise from the road made it difficult to hear.  It appears not so loud as the previous bell.  1st world problems.
They may not hear bells in Gaza today, too many bombs crashing down for that.


the fly in the web said...

The book sounds like a reasonable introduction to the subject...rather than a scholarly work.
Good luck with the need here, we have dogs.

Adullamite said...

Fly, Aye, the books worth a read. The dog downstairs aids me when the postman comes, usually.