Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Artifacts from Ancient Rome

Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Artifacts from Ancient Rome

Article excerpt

Artifacts from Ancient Rome. By James B. Tschen-Emmons. Daily Life through Artifacts. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood, 2014. 321 p. Acid free $100 (ISBN 978-1-61069-619-7). E-book (978-1-61069-620-3) available, call for pricing.

Greenwood has launched a new series, Daily Life through Artifacts, which acts as companion of sorts to its Daily Life Series. It is intended to teach students to use material culture with primary sources to investigate historical life and societies. Artifacts from Ancient Rome is the first published volume in the series. Its author, Dr. James B. Tschen-Emmons, is a former special collections librarian, now historian and archaeologist, who teaches history at North Idaho College.

The volume itself presents black and white pictures of artifacts from ancient Rome grouped in categories by topics such as communications and record keeping, entertainment, household items, and religion and funerary practices. Dr. Tschen-Emmons has chosen several representative items for each category and gives a brief introduction and description, followed by a section explaining the significance of the item in Roman society. Sidebars give excerpts from Pliny the Elder, Livy, Quintillian, and other Roman historians and commentators translated into English, putting the artifacts into contemporary context and tying material culture to primary resources. There is a brief introduction on the history of Rome and a chapter on "How to evaluate artifacts," which aids students in interpreting and analyzing artifacts and using them to explain Roman life, culture, and customs. …

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