The assumption is that most of what we know about the Romans and their history comes from Roman and Greek historians. While this is true up to a point, the reality is that there are many other primary sources which combine to give us the composite picture we have today of the Romans and their world. The Romans had in effect their own brand of social media, engineered to disseminate information, legislation, propaganda and misinformation to state and religious officials, citizens, the military and to the enemy, wherever they be. We know what the Romans did for us: roads, central heating and so on. But, just as importantly, they developed and perfected records and record-keeping and other methods of information storage and communication. It is the Roman preoccupation with record keeping and dissemination that informs the picture we have today of Roman civilisation. This is the first book to analyse what is in effect Roman social media: the keeping of records and archive material, and ways of communicating it. Uniquely, it assesses the impact this information had on and in Roman history and on our appraisal of that history.
Paul Chrystal was educated at the Universities of Hull and Southampton where he took degrees in Classics. For the past thirty-five years he has worked in medical publishing, much of the time as an international sales director. He now combines this with being history advisor to various local visitor attractions in York , writing features for national newspapers, and broadcasting on BBC Radio York, BBC Radio Manchester, BBC Radio Tees, on the Radio 4 PM programme and on the BBC World Service. He is a contributor to a number of history magazines and the author of seventy books.
Introduction; Part One: Before Rome; 1 How to Record a Record: Writing and Writing Materials; 2 Record Keeping before Rome: the Ancient Near East; 3 Ancient Egypt; 4 Ancient Greece; Part Two: Rome; 5 The Roman Calendar and Roman Time; 6 Archives & Libraries in the Roman World; 7 Tabulae and Laterculi; 8 Epigraphy; 9 Fasti; 10 Publishing; 11 Graffiti & Curse Tablets; 12 The Theodosian Code & Justinian's Codification; Appendix I Damnatio memoriae; Appendix II The Roman Government communication network; Bibliography; Index.