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The Science of Roman History: Biology, Climate, and the Future of the Past

Walter Scheidel



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Princeton University Press
15 October 2019
History; Ancient history: to c 500 CE; Environmental archaeology; History of science; Biology, life sciences; Global warming
How the latest cutting-edge science offers a fuller picture of life in Rome and antiquity This groundbreaking book provides the first comprehensive look at how the latest advances in the sciences are transforming our understanding of ancient Roman history. Walter Scheidel brings together leading historians, anthropologists, and geneticists at the cutting edge of their fields, who explore novel types of evidence that enable us to reconstruct the realities of life in the Roman world.

Contributors discuss climate change and its impact on Roman history, and then cover botanical and animal remains, which cast new light on agricultural and dietary practices. They exploit the rich record of human skeletal material--both bones and teeth-which forms a bio-archive that has preserved vital information about health, nutritional status, diet, disease, working conditions, and migration. Complementing this discussion is an in-depth analysis of trends in human body height, a marker of general well-being. This book also assesses the contribution of genetics to our understanding of the past, demonstrating how ancient DNA is used to track infectious diseases, migration, and the spread of livestock and crops, while the DNA of modern populations helps us reconstruct ancient migrations, especially colonization.

Opening a path toward a genuine biohistory of Rome and the wider ancient world, The Science of Roman History offers an accessible introduction to the scientific methods being used in this exciting new area of research, as well as an up-to-date survey of recent findings and a tantalizing glimpse of what the future holds.
Edited by:   Walter Scheidel
Imprint:   Princeton University Press
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 235mm,  Width: 156mm, 
ISBN:   9780691195988
ISBN 10:   0691195986
Pages:   280
Publication Date:   15 October 2019
Audience:   College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  Primary ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Unspecified

Walter Scheidel is the Dickason Professor in the Humanities, Professor of Classics and History, and a Kennedy-Grossman Fellow in Human Biology at Stanford University. He is the author or editor of seventeen previous books, including The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century (Princeton).

Reviews for The Science of Roman History: Biology, Climate, and the Future of the Past

[This] volume is an important contribution not only to the historiography of the Roman Empire but also to the broad spectrum of scientific disciplines attempting to understand the past in general. ---Tomas Glomb, Journal of Cognitive Historiography This is a fabulous introduction to a wide range of techniques, and provides numerous fascinating insights into life in the Roman period. ---Hella Eckardt, Current World Archaeology [This] is a volume not just useful but capable of simultaneous entertainment and inspiration. ---James Corke Webster, Greece and Rome This book makes a superb introduction to the subject. ---Peter Jones, Classics for All Reviews This book shows that the study of the ancient Roman world is no exception to the enormous contribution that science has long been making to our understanding of the ancient past. * New Testament Abstracts *

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