The Roman Way
© 1932 Edith Hamilton
When generalizing, Hamilton is golden for the lay reader, though the more focused analyses of poetry and literature are likely to find their best audiences in serious students of literature and Roman history. Being a somewhat serious student myself, I found a lot of value here. I enjoyed reading Roman plays and realizing that for all the centuries that have passed, it’s still possible to get a laugh out of them. I found Cicero’s humility (!) in his letters especially endearing: sensitive about his constant bragging and the disconnect between his political values and the political choices he made, he frets to his brother: “What will history be saying of me six hundred years hence?” I also enjoyed the chapters on Roman romanticism and aesthetic values. Broader narratives forget to see the Romans as people at times, and Roman Way makes good on that. Times pass and values change, and the literature reflects it.
Good follow-up to Caesar and Christ; Romanophiles and those interested in literary history should find it engaging.
- The Greek Way, Edith Hamilton
- The Roman Mind, M.L. Clarke