Beautifully titled for the content this is definitely a Magpies collection of odd bits and pieces, which becomes addictive after reading the first story relating to Chariot racing and Roman hooliganism circa AD 51-96: after all what is really new in the world! Now it is just very fast cars.
The further you dip into this collection the more you realise that in one form or another, it has all been done before, although some might say not to today’s extreme’s, but then others may differ. Think of the Romans’ way of sorting things out in the Den of Lions: you could almost draw a comparison!
But loose humour aside, this amazing collection lets you enter an ancient world from a new perspective which quickly becomes irresistible. Each story offers another perspective of those long gone before us, but whose influence still impacts so very strongly on the modern world.
Tucked away at the end of each section there as are little ‘tests’ with the answers conveniently located at the end of the book, just to check whether you were really taking notice and also help keep the focus on the amazing times now referred to as the Classics.
This is a time when Euclid (c.300BC) was developing his famous works of mathematics known as the parallel postulate, a formula that was to change mathematics forever, Caesar was busy ruling Rome and the Hippocratic Oath, an oath Doctors worldwide still adhere to, was being developed by none other Hippocrates himself. Famous literature was being written and science was for that time at its zenith.
A number of the stories detailed make you shudder such as ‘the hysterical woman and the wandering womb’, and how they have come to the association of hysterical and hormonal and so forth. Humorous now, but deadly serious then, as if you were considered to be both female and hysterical you could get yourself hung as a witch.
The content is vast , varied and totally entertaining for those dull days when you simply need to slip into another world for a while, enjoying the differences that where then and are now.