History book about social life of Roman Republic?
September 9, 2018 3:05 PM   Subscribe

What is the best book -- readable but not-dumbed-down -- about the social life of the Roman Republic?

Particularly looking to learn about the following topics:

*the lives of women from the lowest rungs of the social ladder (whether slave or free)
*the life of a woman in the highest level of the aristocracy
*how elements of daily life worked, such as food, work, love, sex, the patron-client relationship, and social mobility

I'm also interested in how much average people would be involved with/interested in/knowledgeable about the political events of the time, but most want to learn about the things you don't learn about in survey courses.

Ideally looking to learn about the 200 BC - 100 BC range but doesn't have to be.
posted by lewedswiver to Human Relations (6 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
As the Romans Did: A Sourcebook in Roman Social History by Jo-Ann Shelton was good
posted by thelonius at 3:37 PM on September 9, 2018 [4 favorites]

'SPQR' by Mary Beard. An overview of Roman culture.
posted by ovvl at 4:50 PM on September 9, 2018 [12 favorites]

Women's Life in Greece and Rome: A Source Book in Translation by Mary R. Lefkowitz and Maureen B. Fant. Has sections on a variety of topics and points-of-view.
posted by wellifyouinsist at 4:51 PM on September 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

Seconding 'SPQR' by Mary Beard, but also take a peek at her previous book 'The Fires of Vesuvius: Pompeii Lost and Found' aka 'Pompeii: The Life of a Roman Town.'
posted by kmkrebs at 8:07 PM on September 9, 2018 [2 favorites]

++ Mary Beard. Her forte is the domestic detail behind the broad brush strokes of standard fare.
posted by freya_lamb at 10:19 AM on September 10, 2018

An oldie but goodie is Daily Life in Ancient Rome, by Jerome Carcopino. It's got some strikes against it - written in 1940, it has that old-classics vibe, and assumes some bit of familiarity with Roman history in general, but the second half of the book has a good 'day in the life' arrangement, and has a whole section on women, marriage, the household and domestic matters. I may not be your cuppa tea, but I liked it.
posted by eclectist at 2:22 PM on September 10, 2018

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