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A History of Private Life


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Table of Contents

Foreword by Georges Duby Introduction by Paul Veyne 1. Roman Empire by Paul Veyne Introduction From Mother's Womb to Last Will and Testament Marriage Slavery The Household and Its Freed Slaves Where Public Life Was Private "Work" and Leisure Patrimony Public Opinion and Utopia Pleasures and Excesses Tranquilizers 2. Late Antiquity by Peter Brown Introduction The "Wellborn" Few Person and Group in Judaism and Early Christianity Church and Leadership The Challenge of the Desert East and West: The New Marital Morality 3. Private Life and Domestic Architecture in Roman Africa by Yvon Thebert The Roman Home: Foreword by Paul Veyne Some Theoretical Considerations The Domestic Architecture of the Ruling Class "Private" and "Public" Spaces: The Components of the Domus How the Domus Worked Conclusion 4. The Early Middle Ages in the West by Michel Rouche Introduction by Paul Veyne Historical Introduction Private Life Conquers State and Society Body and Heart Violence and Death Sacred and Secret Conclusion 5. Byzantium in the Tenth and Eleventh Centuries by Evelyne Patlagean The Byzantine Empire Private Space Self and Others The Inner Life Private Belief Conclusion Notes Bibliography Acknowledgments Index

About the Author

Paul Veyne is Professor at the College de France. Georges Duby, a member of the Academie Francaise, is Professor of Medieval History at the College de France.


The new emphasis on the history of everybody has now been consecrated in [this] ambitious five-volume series...Copious illustrative materials--paintings, drawings, caricatures, and photographs, all cannily chosen and wittily captioned to display domestic life...Magnificent. -- Roger Shattuck New York Times Book Review Together these five compact volumes cover much of the history of the classical world, and do so with both ease and authority. Washington Post Book World This first volume is one of the most arresting, original, and rewarding historical surveys to be published in many years, and its value is enhanced by the hundreds of illustrations, which present almost every conceivable detail of private life as it was lived in the centuries. -- Bernard Knox The Atlantic Private life has always been a matter of public conjecture. This admirable book brings it intelligently into the web of social history and is a model for historians and readers alike. Beautifully produced, it adds apt and rare illustrations to a text by experts who presuppose human curiosity, but no undue knowledge. Its range and level of argument will intrigue anyone who has wondered about past attitudes to such matters as sex and the family, households, social inferiors, dress and even undress. -- Robin Lane Fox Washington Post The five essays collected here...treat readers to a vast array of anecdotes and conjectures about the private life of our forebears. -- Roger Kimball Wall Street Journal This is a long, demanding and very rewarding book. If the remaining four volumes are of this quality, the series will indeed, as the editors claim, be "a milestone in historical research." -- Jane F. Gardner Times Higher Education Supplement A book which makes the reader think, teasing and encouraging with spicy details, long views, a capacity for the unexpected insight. Now for something completely different. -- Jasper Griffin London Review of Books This absorbingly illustrated series is intent on presenting the past with both physical immediacy and with as little academic fuss as possible. The illustrations in the first volume have a subjective penetration of the text that is like an inner musical accompaniment. This volume does not pretend to roll out a complete rug of civilization...Few readers, even of I, Claudius, will have experienced pagan Rome with quite the freshness evident here...History-to-touch. Kirkus Reviews A stimulating--indeed a provocative--and beautiful book on a difficult subject...It's a treasure. Christian Science Monitor

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