Books of the month

February - 2021


In Greco-Roman sources, enslaved people were often described as unreliable, capable of telling the truth only under torture. In Slavery, Gender, Truth, and Power in Luke-Acts and Other Ancient Narratives (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019, XXIV, 247 pages, hard cover, €83,19 [Ebook Kindle, €66,99]), Christy Cobb puts in perspective three enslaved women from the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles to analyze, despite their status and gender, their narrative function as truth tellers, confirming Luke's theology to power in different circumstances. This analysis is carried out based on Bakhtin's theory and a feminist approach, as well as by the correlation of the characters with other enslaved women described in the Apocryphal Acts, in the ancient novels and represented in funerary monuments. In general, the author seeks to demonstrate how these marginalized voices contradict old perceptions, breaking conventional hierarchies.


In Life and Death in the Roman Suburb (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2020, 304 pages, hard cover, US$69,53 [Ebook Kindle, US$66,05]), Allison Emmerson starts from the conflicting relationship between funerary monuments and urban spaces in Roman cities to investigate the material characteristics and, therefore, human activities developed in the extra-wall spaces, the suburbs. Spanning the suburbs of dozens of cities on the Italian peninsula, Emmerson understands them as more than interludes between rural and urban worlds, observing the coexistence between tombs and dwellings, taverns, workshops and shops without any paradox (in contrast to the walled city limits). The image of the suburbs that emerges, therefore, is of microcosms whose dead are present, but who are also full of life; characteristics that allow us to reflect on the interactions between different people and activities, from different social strata and characteristics, even if these interactions and activities are not necessarily the focus of the study.

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