MP3 + PDF | Professor Jennifer Tobin, University of Illinois at Chicago
The words âAncient Romeâ immediately conjure up images of crazy emper- ors hosting lavish feasts and orgiastic parties, scenes of chariot races and gladiatorial combat, processions of conquering armies, and legions defending against invading barbarians.Yet on further consideration Ancient Rome was also the genesis for numerous more lofty developments, such as senatorial government, the art of oratory, historical writing, the biography, and, of course, law. From toga parties to the alphabet, from the veto to carrying a bride over the threshold (an ancient Roman custom), in many ways the world of Rome is still with us today. Perhaps this is the reason why the Romans of the past seem so familiar to us. But this familiarity also stems from the nature of the remains left behind by the Romans: graffiti scratched on the wall of a tavern complaining about price gouging, a poignant epitaph carved on a tombstone mourning the loss of a son who died at age three, plates of food left on a table at Pompeii, abandoned in the face of volcanic eruption.