312 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 36 drawings, 64 halftones, notes, bibl., index
Studies in the History of Greece and Rome
Toilets, Sewers, and Water Systems
The Romans developed sophisticated methods for managing hygiene, including aqueducts for moving water from one place to another, sewers for removing used water from baths and runoff from walkways and roads, and public and private latrines. Through the archeological record, graffiti, sanitation-related paintings, and literature, Ann Olga Koloski-Ostrow explores this little-known world of bathrooms and sewers, offering unique insights into Roman sanitation, engineering, urban planning and development, hygiene, and public health. Focusing on the cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum, Ostia, and Rome, Koloski-Ostrow’s work challenges common perceptions of Romans' social customs, beliefs about health, tolerance for filth in their cities, and attitudes toward privacy. In charting the complex history of sanitary customs from the late republic to the early empire, Koloski-Ostrow reveals the origins of waste removal technologies and their implications for urban health, past and present.
“Invaluable. . . . A thoughtful investigation of an essential aspect of Roman civilization. Highly recommended.”
“Like all the best ancient history, [this book] provides rigorous engagement with our own assumptions about then and about now.”
"[A]. . . passionate account of the toilets and sewers of Roman Italy."
--Times Literary Supplement
“If shelf space allows only one book on Roman toilets, this is it.”
“A spirited, insightful, and eagerly-awaited monograph. . . . Effectively makes the case for an interdisciplinary approach to toilets and sanitation in any time period.”
"[Professor Koloski-Ostrow’s] book is a dense scholarly examination of sanitation in Ancient Rome, but is also chalked full of thought-provoking insights and insightful research about everyday life’s most private behavior."
--United Nations of Roma Victrix
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