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Rome, Pollution and Propriety
Dirt, Disease and Hygiene in the Eternal City from Antiquity to Modernity


Part of British School at Rome Studies

Mark Bradley, Kenneth Stow, Jack Lennon, Elaine Fantham, Penelope Davies, John Hopkins, Celia Schultz, Alessio Assonitis, David Gentilcore, Katherine Rinne, Taina Syrjämaa, Dominic Janes, Martina Salvante, Judith Goldstein
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  • Date Published: September 2016
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781316626597

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About the Authors
  • Rome, Pollution and Propriety brings together scholars from a range of disciplines in order to examine the historical continuity of dirt, disease and hygiene in one environment, and to explore the development and transformation of these ideas alongside major chapters in the city's history, such as early Roman urban development, Roman pagan religion, the medieval Church, the Renaissance, the unification of Italy and the advent of Fascism. This volume sets out to identify the defining characteristics, functions and discourses of pollution in Rome in such realms as disease and medicine, death and burial, sexuality and virginity, prostitution, purity and absolution, personal hygiene and morality, criminality, bodies and cleansing, waste disposal, decay, ruins and urban renovation, as well as studying the means by which that pollution was policed and controlled.

    • Examines the history of approaches to dirt and cleanliness in a single environment
    • Brings together scholars working in archaeology, anthropology, art history and architecture, classics, and medieval and modern history
    • Highlights the role of dirt, disease and hygiene in shaping system and cultural identity
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'A sophisticated analysis … within this volume Rome has become an excellent test study for the examination of theoretical approaches to pollution and purity that should be sought after by students and scholars in anthropology, classical art and archaeology, and social and cultural history.' Bryn Mawr Classical Review

    '… entertaining and thought-provoking … provides a novel way of thinking about the city of Rome, both past and present.' Zena Kamash, The Journal of Roman Studies

    'Rome, Pollution, and Propriety is a series of beautiful chapters offering a collection of inspiring reflections on Rome and its dark sides, approached through case studies spread across two millennia.' Antonella Romano, Isis

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2016
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781316626597
    • length: 342 pages
    • dimensions: 245 x 170 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.6kg
    • contains: 36 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction Mark Bradley and Kenneth Stow
    Part I. Antiquity:
    1. Approaches to pollution and propriety Mark Bradley
    2. Pollution, religion and society in the Roman world Jack Lennon
    3. Purification in ancient Rome Elaine Fantham
    4. Pollution, propriety and urbanism in Republican Rome Penelope Davies
    5. The 'sacred sewer': tradition and religion in the Cloaca Maxima John Hopkins
    6. Crime and punishment on the Capitoline Hill Mark Bradley
    7. On the burial of unchaste Vestal Virgins Celia Schultz
    Part II. Modernity:
    8. Fra Girolamo Savonarola and the aesthetics of Roman pollution Alessio Assonitis
    9. Purging filth: plague and responses to it in Rome, 1656–7 David Gentilcore
    10. Was the ghetto cleaner…? Kenneth Stow
    11. Urban ablutions: cleansing counter-reformation Rome Katherine Rinne
    12. The clash of picturesque decay and modern cleanliness in late nineteenth-century Rome Taina Syrjämaa
    13. Vile bodies: Victorian Protestants in the Roman catacombs Dominic Janes
    14. Delinquency and pederasty: 'deviant' youngsters in the suburbs of Fascist Rome Martina Salvante
    Envoi. Purity and danger: its life and afterlife Judith Goldstein.

  • Editor

    Mark Bradley, University of Nottingham
    Mark Bradley is Associate Professor of Ancient History at the University of Nottingham. His main research and teaching interests are in the visual and intellectual culture of imperial Rome, and his recent work has been particularly concerned with exploring cultural differences in perception, aesthetics and sensibilities. His first book, Colour and Meaning in Ancient Rome (Cambridge, 2009), was longlisted for the 2011 Warwick Prize for Writing, and he is the author of several articles in the field of Roman visual culture. He is Editor of The Papers of the British School at Rome and is currently working on a book on foul bodies in Ancient Rome.


    Kenneth Stow, University of Haifa, Israel


    Mark Bradley, Kenneth Stow, Jack Lennon, Elaine Fantham, Penelope Davies, John Hopkins, Celia Schultz, Alessio Assonitis, David Gentilcore, Katherine Rinne, Taina Syrjämaa, Dominic Janes, Martina Salvante, Judith Goldstein

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