Tools of the Ancient Romans: A Kid's Guide to the History & Science of Life in A

Nomad Press | 2006-01-01 | ISBN: 0974934453 | 144 pages | PDF | 18,6 MB

Grade 5-8-Despite its narrowly focused title, this is actually a lively and entertaining survey of a millennium of Roman history. Dickinson gives due attention to architecture and engineering triumphs, to be sure, and includes full chapters on technology, the army, and forms of entertainment. But the larger part of the narrative conveys Rome's growth from city-state to regional power to multiethnic empire along with the shift from a fairly small independent people to a conquering but still republican government to, finally, imperial rule with only the appearance of representative government. The hands-on craft activities scattered throughout include making an abacus, a laurel wreath, a mosaic, and much more. Informative sidebars and illustrations are profuse and attractive. For the most part, Dickinson handles the simplification required for a book for younger readers with aplomb. However, history teachers may cringe to read that the Roman Catholic Church was established under Constantine or that the Pantheon was built by Augustus (rather than, quite famously, by Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Augustus). The snappy tone, mostly a great plus, also occasionally falls flat, as when Dickinson tells readers that the mystery religions are so called because we don't know much about them. Still, the book has a marvelous central narrative, direct, lean, and propulsive, with inviting coverage as well of the arts, daily life, and such popular topics as chariot races, gladiators, Pompeii, and even Spartacus. A worthy addition to any library where students are open to the past.


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