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Infamy: The Crimes of Ancient Rome Reviews

Infamy: The Crimes of Ancient Rome by Jerry Toner

Infamy: The Crimes of Ancient Rome

Jerry Toner

Score pending

2 reviews

Imprint: Profile Books Ltd
Publisher: Profile Books Ltd
Publication date: 4 Jul 2019
ISBN: 9781781253854
4 stars out of 5
Alexander Larman
3 Aug 2019

"The Romans were addicted to violence — and not just the mad emperors"

Toner’s book is more than an entertaining collection of anecdotes, it is a subtle but persistent reminder that infamy, horrendously entertaining though it is, lurks beneath the carapace of every “civilised” society. We should not be too surprised when it emerges once again.


3 stars out of 5
Roger Lewis
4 Jul 2019

"The casual and deliberate cruelty carried over into public entertainment, with the gladiatorial shows in The Colosseum."

As regards law and order, violence was ‘the very key to civilised order’, as not to punish malefactors and suspects severely ‘would have risked offending the gods’. Anyone who murdered a family member, for instance, in a legacy dispute, was sewn into a sack with a dog, a cockerel, a snake and an ape and thrown into the River Tiber; any Vestal Virgins who turned out to be less than virginal were carried in a mock funeral procession and walled up alive; an official called Plautius Silvanus — who threw his wife out of the bedroom window — was sent a dagger with which to slit his own wrists.