Ancient Rome on five denarii a day by Philip Matyszak

Cover Ancient Rome on 5 Denarii a Day by Phili Matyszak

In a nutshell:

Short synopsis:

A time-traveler’s guide to sightseeing, shopping, and survival in the city of the Caesars.

Language I read the book in: German

Did I like it? It was quite entertaining.

For people who: would like to know a bit about ancient Rome without going into detail; would like to read an entertaining guide instead of a history book.

My thoughts: 


This is a fun little guide. Written like a contemporary travel guide it covers areas like hot to get to Rome, being a guest in a Roman household, where to find entertainment, where to shop etc. Pretty nice and enjoyable.

Interspersed are illustrations and little tidbits and trivia that add an extra touch. Want to know where certain modern words come from? About the state of Roman rented flats? You can learn a quite a lot about ancient Rome here. However, don’t expect too much depth! This book only lightly scratches the surface of what is to know, so if you want in depth knowledge you have to look elsewhere.

Two things that bothered me is that I was not sure in what time period I was visiting the city. From what is being said I assume it must be after Commodus (I think he is the last emperor that was mentioned), that would leave us at some point after 192 AD. I would have liked to know in what time I am travelling.

Also I did not particularly like the fact that often something was explained with a “and this will still be so 2000 years later” added at the end. This dulled the “contemporary” experience as it became clear that we are not in that period anymore. Of course, I am very much aware of that fact, but in a truly “fake” contemporary guide there should not be hints at what is going to happen in the future.

All in all, however, an enjoyable short read. If you are not already hooked on Ancient Rome, it might prompt you to read more about it.

You can find a small sample of the book in my Weekend Cooking post from last weekend where I talked about a delicious ancient Roman recipe that I found in this guide.

Product info and buy link :


Title Ancient Rome on five denarii a day
Author Philip Matyszak
Publisher Thames & Hudson Ltd.
ISBN 9780500051474
I got this book from the library
Buy link Buy Ancient Rome on five denarii a day

If you click on the buy link above you will be taken to The Book If you buy the book through this link I will earn a small commission. You can find my general affiliate links to The Book Depository, and here.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.

This isn't Fiction Reading Challenge Button

This post is part of the This isn’t Fiction Reading Challenge which is hosted by The Book Garden.

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