Books of the month

November - 2020


Leandro Dorval Cardoso brings to Portuguese one of the best known comedies by the Roman playwright Plautus (3rd century BC), O Anfitrião (São Paulo, Editora Autêntica, 2020, 176 pages, 54.90 reais). Mythological farce about the birth of Hercules, it tells how Jupiter takes on the form of Amphitryon, commander of the Theban army, during his absence to spend a night with Alcmena, his wife, causing confusion on his return. In his career, Amphitryon is accompanied by his slave Sosia, whose protagonism is striking in the play. Through Sosia, we can glimpse aspects of Roman slavery that range from public opinion on how a slave should behave to the slaves' fears and aspirations, always present in his speeches. The edition has a bilingual format and the translation, poetic and rhythmic, is made directly from the original.


In Public Opinion and Politics in the Late Roman Republic (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2017 [paperback, 2020], xii+270 pages, 39.99 dollars), Cristina Rosillo-López investigates the mechanisms of public opinion functioning in the Late Roman Republic as part of informal politics. The author explores the interaction and political opposition between the elite and the people through means such as rumors, gossip, political literature, popular verses and graffiti. She proposes the existence of a public sphere in the period, analyzes the public opinion as a control system and studies sociability and informal meetings in which public opinion circulated. What emerges from this study is a concept of political participation by the people that is no longer restricted to elections or participation in assemblies.

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