Chapter Five The Life of the City.docx

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Published on 8 Feb 2013
Chapter Five: The Life of the City
8:48 PM
The roman city [Rome] is best approached through two apparently contradictory statements
o Roman society, culture and civilization were urban
o Rome cannot be understood without taking the whole country into full account
Rich and powerful in roman life, pace setters- were active in both town and country at once
Roman upper classes would make long journey's with their families
The end of the summer was a season in which you would expect to be on the move, with all
the families, friends, slaves of rich moving too it must have been fairly chaotic
The end of winter and onset of pleasant spring weather formed another season of visitation
your home town (most people not originally from Rome)
With all the families, friends, slaves of rich moving too it must have been fairly chaotic
Really important facts about roman life we can begin to imagine how Rome worked if we
imagine the year divided into seasons for travel and work
o The sailing season began in april and ended in september
Attracted large amounts of skilled and casual labour
o The harvest, principly july attracted workers to move out of Rome
o Life in the country became a carefully cultivated alternative to life in the town and this
is what gives rise to much of the imagery of rustic bliss in Latin literature
In both town and country the rich called the tune and shaped much of what went on
o By their movements
o By their tastes
Romans did not have weeks/weekends but roman year was divided in smaller section
o Kalends (1st)
o Nones (5th/7th)
o Ides (13th/15th)-occurred 12 times a year
o Nundinae (9th) when markets were held, came in frequent intervals
Such days related to life in the countryside
The parilia and even the ludi roman were also related to country life: in origin at least, they
reflected the cycle of tasks in the year of the agriculturist
One important set of festivals was tied to the beginning and end of the summer, when the
agricultural labour-force could be available for other things
o In particular military expeditions against neighbours
The feriae latinae, usually held during april marked the beginning of the fighting season, the
ludi romani at the end of the summer were the celebrations of its successful closure
Festivals of this sort [commemorated neighboring communities] drew city-dwellers out into
the country side ad helped to give the whole area of West. Central Italy a feeling of unity
Many people dependent on others and this dependence is one of the central aspects if roman
o Why the movements and choices of rich so important
o Of these forms of dependence the most important was being a client, cliens
Even in less troubled times the countryside was a place of violence
The prison where malefactors were strangles and the Tarpeian rock off which criminals were
pushed, to end up right beside the senate and the speakers platform of the forum
Slave life expectancy not high
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