Books of the month

May - 2021

THE RURAL POOR

The Roman Peasant Project 2009-2015: Excavating the Roman Rural Poor (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2021, 824 pages, US$ 120), edited by Kim Bowes and divided into two volumes, presents the results of an innovative archaeological project, specifically aimed at understanding the lives of the rural poor in ancient Italy. Conducted by an Italian-American team in Cinigiano, in Tuscany, between 2009 and 2015, the project addressed different aspects of peasantry life between the 2nd BC and 6th AD centuries: the land uses, diets, markets and mobility. The results offer a more complex view of the Roman peasants than suggested by the written documents or by the dominant models, revealing sophisticated land use systems, access to consumer goods, but also the constant movement of these populations.

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PROFESSIONAL IDENTITIES

In Carving a Professional Identity. The occupational epigraphy of the Latin West (Oxford, Archaeopress, 2021, 119 p., £25.00), Rada Varga studies social relations in Western Roman provinces through self-representations of workers in epigraphic records, between the first and third centuries AD. Through of a qualitative and quantitative analysis, focused on occupations, spatial distribution and the forms of monuments, Varga analyzes the identity specificities of each professional category. In the end, there is an extensive catalog with all epigraphic records used, with names, profession, province and dating. Each record also counts on indication to your entry into the Romans 1by1 database, with free access, where you can explore more details and bibliographies about each particular registration.