I’ve received the printed copy of Lanciani’s Ancient Rome in the light of recent discoveries, and I’ve started to read it.
It’s a bit disappointing to discover that the reprinter, “Shelf2Life” (printed by Amazon themselves) didn’t trouble to get the reprint right. The text is all stretched. What they did was take a PDF, trim to the text block, and then send it to be printed as was on the next largest standard book size. What they should have done was pad it with white space to that book size. Hmm.
But Lanciani is charming. He begins by discussing the mass destruction of material in Rome, and makes an interesting point, with examples; that the ruins provided hiding-places for thieves, robbers, poor people and other riff-raff. In some cases demolition was a matter of security for the living.
I’ve also been reading the Tim LaHaye &c, Left Behind series; a set of Christian novels imagining what would happen next if the teaching of the Rapture were correct, and all the real Christians in the world vanished. The books are good, but some of the office politics described is too much like work for me!
In news from Italy, a Roman shipwreck reveals details of the medical paraphernalia of an ancient physician. The vials in which he carried his drugs were very well sealed, and have been analysed.
And a curious freedom of speech issue from Boston, UK. A pensioner has displayed in his window a hand-written placard proclaiming that “Religions are fairy stories for adults”. (Quite why he felt the need to say this to all his friends and neighbours we are not told, and one senses that part of the story is missing.) Generally houses in the UK do not display placards in their windows. Someone complained to the police that the item was offensive. The police advised that potentially it could be, and recommended removal; and the NSS, the atheist society, is complaining about free speech. Something smells a little about this one, to my eye.