The Roman family in Italy: status, sentiment, space edited by Beryl Rawson and Paul Weaver. Published by The Clarendon Press Oxford 1997. Hardback with dust jacket in very good condition.
The family continues to be seen as a central institution in Roman as well as modern, Western society. The Roman family is often used as a stereotype, sometimes of severity, sometimes of decadence, with its decline often cited as a cause of wider decline and fall. Definitions and concepts continue to be modified and nuanced, however, as the availability of new evidence and new methodologies make possible a much less simplistic picture. In this volume, the study of the family draws on a wide range of disciplines to develop the intertwined themes of status, sentiment, and space. For example, on status there are contributions about Junian Latins and a survey of senators' monuments, while sentiment is represented by a gloomy but convincing picture of old age, and a paper on the sentimental ideal which argues that conflict as well as concord is a feature of Roman life. One of the contributions on space examines who commemorates whom in Roman Italy, pointing up the regional variations in custom and the difficulties in tracing complete families. The final contributions focus on the house: how people lived in the Roman house, the use of the rooms, and the artefacts which might indicate this use. The book makes use of many types of evidence - from the legal and literary to the iconographical and archaeological. Visual and material evidence play an important role in reconstructing real lives in considerable colour and variety. The book moves beyond the city of Rome to the rest of Roman Italy and even into the provinces, just as Roman culture moved outwards and mingled with other cultures. Chronologically too there are new directions, towards the later Empire and Christianity. So, although the contributors do not abandon any of the territory already gained in Rome, literary and epigraphic sources, and the late Republic or early Empire, there is an exciting sense of new discovery.