Title of the work
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Simon Adams, Romans, Ladybird Histories. London: Ladybird Books Ltd. (part of Penguin Books), 2014, 64 pp.
Instructional and educational works
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Author of the Entry:
Sonya Nevin, University of Roehampton, firstname.lastname@example.org
Peer-reviewer of the Entry:
Susan Deacy, University of Roehampton, email@example.com
Hanna Paulouskaya, University of Warsaw, firstname.lastname@example.org
Simon Adams (Author)
Simon Adams is a prolific British writer and editor of children's non-fiction books. He specialises in history and politics, although he has written on a wide and varied range of topics. After studying history and politics, Simon Adam went into publishing, before becoming a full-time writer.
His other ancient world titles include Romans (published by Carlton), Archaeology Detectives, Project Ancient Egypt, a biography of Alexander the Great (published by National Geographic), and, with Kingfisher, The Kingfisher Atlas of the Ancient World, Ancient Rome, and Ancient Egypt.
Official website (accessed: July 5, 2018).
Bio prepared by Sonya Nevin, University of Roehampton, email@example.com
This work is a non-humorous introduction to ancient Roman society aimed at children aged 7+.
Table of Contents:
- Who were the Romans?
- The Founding of Rome
- The Roman Republic
- Fighting Carthage
- The Roman Army
- Roman Roads
- Julius Caesar
- Creating the Empire
- Conquering Britain
- Imperial Rome
- The Colosseum
- A Day at the Races
- Life in the City
- Wonderful Water
- Life in the Country
- The Roman Family
- Roman Children
- Food and Lifestyle
- Roman Religion
- Up in Arms
- Decline and Fall
- What the Romans Did for Us
- Famous Romans
- Roman Timeline
- Places to Visit
This introduction to the ancient Romans offers a broad account of society and everyday life in the Roman republic and empire. References to myth and religion are less frequent than in the equivalent Ancient Greeks Ladybird publication but, nonetheless, they appear in several sections of the work.
The Founding of Rome contrasts alternative versions of the founding of Rome. A 'Romulus and Remus' section summarises their myth (The story says..., with the story of the twins, Amulius, the she-wolf, and the twins' falling-out; erroneously placing events in 753CE – presumably an unfortunate typing error); while Early Rome offers a more historical narrative (The founding of Rome is more likely to have happened like this…) focusing on the actions of "a tribe." A return to mention of Romulus describes him as 'the first king of this new city.' Aeneas does not feature in this publication.
Roman Religion explains that the Romans worshipped many different gods. One page is devoted to the pagan gods and a second, facing page to Christianity and the Battle of Milvian Bridge.
The first of these pages introduces the practice of making sacrifices and offerings; the deification of emperors; the dedication of temples; and the construction of the Pantheon now a Roman Catholic church. Jupiter, Juno, "their daughter Minerva", Cupid, and Mars appear in a separate box with portrait illustrations. Jupiter is white-haired, the others all blonde, creating the impression of a rather Northern European pantheon.
Up in Arms refers to anti-Roman sentiment, citing Boudicca's rebellion and the Jewish Revolt. The revolts are described in political terms, although there is reference to the destruction of "the main Jewish temple."
What the Romans did for us includes a small section on religion; it describes the foundation of the Catholic Church and mentions that services were all held in Latin until the 1960's. Other features in this section are the calendar year and names of months; Roman law; Roman numbers, Latin's influence on modern English; and Politics – describing transition between Roman Empire, Holy Roman Empire, and the EU.
Famous Romans includes 16 key figures: Augustus, Claudius, Constantine I, Diocletian, Hadrian, Hannibal, Julius Caesar, Mark Antony, Nero, Tarquin the Proud, Titus, and Trajan. Romulus and Remus feature, described as "c. 700 BCE. Legendary twins who were rescued by a she-wolf. Romulus became king and founded Rome." There are no Roman women in the list; the women who feature are Boudicca and Cleopatra.
The final section, Places to Visit, includes the names of 13 sites from Roman Britain which can be visited today, offering options for a real-life follow-up to what has been learned in the course of the book.
Main: Emmanuel Cerisier.
Cartoons: Clive Goodyer.
Maps: Martin Sanders.
"History Consultant'" Philip Parker.