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A Lucan Reader: Selections from Civil War

Lucan's epic poem, Civil War, portrays the stark, dark horror of the years 49 through 48 BCE, the grim reality of Romans fighting Romans, of Julius Caesar vs. Pompey the Great. The introduction to this volume situates Lucan as a poet closely connected with the Stoics at Rome, working during the reign of the emperor Nero, in the genre inherited from Virgil.


A Martial Reader: Selections from the Epigrams

Martial's more than 1,500 epigrams, published in fifteen books over several decades, have long been valued for the richly varied glimpses they give into the urban landscape in which the comfortable upper classes of Roman society lived at the end of the first century ce. From public bathhouses, latrines, and brothels to private dinner parties with lavish foods and wines, from the amphitheater's violent entertainment and the use and abuse of slaves to coddled lapdogs and parrots who spontaneously exclaim "Hail Caesar!"—all are subjected to Martial's observant eye and witty, sometimes biting commentary. The poems in this volume range from gossip and crude jokes to lofty celebrations of brotherly love and reflections on what makes life livable, illustrating the kaleidoscopic array that is the hallmark of Martial's work.


A Plautus Reader: Selections from Eleven Plays

The comic playscripts by Plautus—the earliest Latin texts we have—made it through the ancient world to reach ours because the moves and verbal jousting found in them have always made people laugh. Plautine comedies span a wide range of idioms, extending from saucy adventures in the sex trade with Father as the fall-guy who foots all bills, to the trouncing of bigmouth trooper by Ms. Hot Stuff; from the fairytale wishes come true of faraway foundlings fished up on a surprise romantic shore, to the caricature gospel that re-stages the myth of the birth of the hero, in true panto style, gods and all.


A Propertius Reader: Eleven Selected Elegies

The erotic elegy of Propertius reveals the work of a consummate artist, one who deftly weaves public themes into the emotional experiences of a first-person narrator. The poems in this selection reflect an evolution from a private focus on erotic love to more public and political themes, charting a gradual if ambiguous accommodation to the interests of the Augustan regime. Compelling portraits of passion are entwined with varied features of Rome’s momentous historical transition from republic to empire: the trauma of recent civil wars, nostalgia for an irrecoverable past, the stirrings of social legislation, and the opulence of foreign luxuries from trade and conquest. Selections also display Propertius’s innovative treatment of gender and the psychology of desire, and provide insight into the origins of Western attitudes toward erotic feeling.


A Roman Army Reader: Twenty-One Selections from Literary, Epigraphic, and Other Documents

This edition offers a compact portrait, in peace and in war, of the ancient Roman army, one of history’s most famous and successful military organizations. Twelve literary passages combine with nine epigraphic and other documents to show soldiers who don’t merely fight: Between battles, they march, drill, camp, construct public works, eat, drink, and—sometimes illegally—marry and have children. At times, and invariably with bloodstained results, troops also involved themselves in Roman politics. With selections from a variety of sources and a time span ranging from the First Punic War to the reign of M. Aurelius, this compact reader is like no other currently available.


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