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The Ancient Rome Blog

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Why did Caesar regularly pluck out all his body hair? Did this lend credence to the popular saying of his time, "Caesar is a man for all women and a woman for all men" ?

Did you know that dear old Uncle Claudius wrote a tract on the importance of breaking wind, and recommended this expulsion even at the dinner table? He even tried to get a law through the senate to the effect. I guess he wanted the senators to pass more than legislation. History is full of the kind of gossip perhaps even the Enquirer would think twice about printing. Great writers of antiquity such as Suetonius, Polybius, Tacitus and Dio were also the major-league yentas of their time. Procopius, secretary of the Byzantine general Belisarius and author of the book The Secret History, wrote about the Emperor Justinian and his wife Empress Theodora in such terms as would rival the scandal mongering of a modern Hollywood exposé. Robert Graves took Tacitus' Annals of Imperial Rome as his model for the mayhem-riddled I, Claudius and Claudius the God. He also borrowed from Procopius for his lesser-known but no less exciting book Count Belisarius.

Most people avoid reading the ancient authors for fear of ponderous writing about forgotten places and events. It seems like a lot of investment just to get a little juicy information. Writers like Colleen McCullough, Steven Saylor and Lindsey Davis research directly from the classics, wrap them up in an interesting package and deliver it to millions of fans. What many of us don't realize is that, in the realm of the classics, the events as reported by the old historians are in many ways stranger and more exciting than their interpretation by modern writers.

The tablinum was the office in a Roman house, the father's center for business, where he would receive his clients. It was originally the master bedroom, but later became the main office and reception room for the house master. So here is my blog, THE TABLINUM, a collection of articles and musings on ancient Rome. It’s all business here!

The Tablinum

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