Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Travel Among the Ancient Romans

William West Monney - Travel Among the Ancient Romans (1920)

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Ok, I haven't read this but whatever the topic may seem to be it's actually pretty interesting, even if from skimming this book might be a bit, uh, pedestrian.  I have read Tony Perrottet's 2002 Pagan Holiday: On the Trail of Ancient Roman Tourists (original title Route 66 AD and why would anybody have changed that) and there's a whole world of ancient pleasure trips that are surprisingly similar to today's - relaxation, cuisine, culture, exotica and even sex.

This Monney book seems probably a bit more mundane but that might be a plus.  The headings promise material on unwelcome guests, painting of ships, guidebooks (Pausanias presumably though possibly a tad late for the time period), hats, food, superstition in travel, prices at inns, marine insurance and regulation of eating places.  (The Romans after all were nothing if not bureaucrats.)  If you've ever needed a breakdown of various types of coaches and carts then start on p85 and it goes on for pages.