Monday, March 08, 2010

As I'd mentioned earlier - had been reading a very interesting book on Ancient Rome by this fellow. The first couple chapters on the structure of the urbs as well as the distribution of domii to insulae (houses vs apartment buildings) and water rights was fascinating; it sort of gave lie to what I'd previously learned about these things in the past.

Where it gets *really* interesting, though, is when we break away from the urban planning study of the eminent Archaeologist and start to look at his interpretation of primary source materials to paint a picture of family life, education, religion, women's roles in society, etc. Even before learning of his placement in Vichy, had a Blink moment where images from Olympia were flashing behind the words. "Hmm, interesting," I thought. "Am learning an awful lot about the writer, too." Anyway, am about 1/2 way through, and am enjoying it on a number of levels.

This has kind of spurred me on to look again at works of the Progressives (the folks who, among other things, brought us the all-white, pro South view of Reconstruction among other things), some of the post-Progressives (like Hofstadter - love how he writes. He makes very clear his prejudices, and very entertainingly so. Will argue forever that The American Political Tradition is one of the best post WWII histories out there - take my praise with a huge grain of salt; I'm new to the History thing), as well as some of the older interpretations of the Middle Ages I'd read in the past life (namely Bedier, Huizinga - scored a copy of his Waning of the Middle Ages at a library sale recently for a quarter. Remembered loving that book as a kid.)

From there, it'd probably be good for me to check out a copy of Howard Zinn's People's History of the United States, if only to see how much I can pick up on him and what I think might be the modern equivalent to Fascist European interpretations of history. (Again, take this with a huge grain of salt; might be totally valid. Then again, fifty to 100 years from now, maybe there'll be another girl sitting reading her dollar copy of the book with the same bemusement that I feel lying in bed with Carcopino's Daily Life in Ancient Rome.)

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