Michelle Moran Guest Post and Giveaway! CLOSED

30 May 2010

I love history, the good, the bad, and the ugly. And like most of you, one of my most favorites is Egyptian history. I was interested in Egypt ever since I was old enough to understand what the History Channel said about it. I learned the basics, like mummification (they stick a stick up your nose and pull out your brains) and how to build structures like the pyramids. Then I went into more detail, and then I read Michelle Moran! I first read The Heretic Queen and I fell in love. It was historical fiction, it had court and politics, it had plot and adventure and romance, and it involved history before the story took place. In other words, it was perfect! The next book I read was Nefertiti, which I was supposed to read first, but I didn't know! It was just as amazing. You should check out my reviews on them. So the kind and amazingly wonderful and pretty Michelle Moran has agreed to do a guest post and giveaway! Take it away!

Also: I added pictures and captions to make the post more colorful. :D

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Life and Libraries in the Ancient World- Michelle Moran


One of the most frequent questions I’m asked by readers is what life was like two thousand years ago when Julius Caesar walked the corridors of the Senate house and Cleopatra visited Rome. Surprisingly, life for the ancient Romans was not unbelievably different from today. The Romans had many of the little luxuries that we often associate exclusively with the modern world. For example, baths were to be found in every city, and public toilets were viewed as a necessity. The toilets depicted in HBO’s Rome Series are copies of those discovered in Pompeii, where those caught short could find a long stretch of latrines (much like a long bench with different sized holes) and relieve themselves next to their neighbor. Shops sold a variety of wigs, and women could buy irons to put curls their hair. For the rain, there were umbrellas, and for the sun, parasols. Houses for the wealthy were equipped with running water and were often decorated quite lavishly, with elaborate mosaics, painted ceilings, and plush carpets.

(public toilets mentioned above)

In the markets, the eager shopper could find a rich array of silks, along with linen and wool. You could also find slaves, and in this, Roman times certainly differ from our own. While some men spoke out against it, one in three people were enslaved. Most of these slaves came from Greece, or Gaul (an area roughly comprising modern France). Abuse was rampant, and the misery caused by this led desperate men like Spartacus to risk death for freedom.

For those few who were free and wealthy, however, life in Rome provided nearly endless entertainments. As a child, there were dolls and board games to be played with, and as an adult, there was every kind of amusement to be had, from the theatre to the chariot races. Even the poor could afford “bread and circuses,” which, according to Juvenal, was all the Romans were really interested in.

For those more academic minded, however, there were libraries. Although I don’t portray this in Cleopatra’s Daughter, libraries were incredibly noisy places. The male scholars and patrons read aloud to themselves and each other, for nothing was ever read silently (the Romans believed it was impossible!). Other cities were renowned for their learning, too: Pergamum (or Pergamon) was the largest and grandest library in the world. Built by the Greeks, Pergamum became Roman property when Greece was captured and many of its people enslaved. The library was said to be home to more than 200,000 volumes, and it is was in Pergamum that the history of writing was forever changed.

Built by Eumenes II, Pergamum inspired great jealousy in the Egyptian Ptolemies, who believed that their Library of Alexandria was superior. In order to cripple this Greek rival (and also because of crop shortages), Egypt ceased exporting papyrus, on which all manuscripts were written. Looking for an alternative solution, the Library of Pergamum began using parchment, or charta pergamena. For the first time, manuscripts were now being written on thin sheets of calf, sheep or goat’s skin. The result of this change from papyrus to parchment was significant. Now, knowledge could be saved by anyone with access to animal hide. Manuscripts (although still quite rare) were now available to more people. Alas, so impressive was this vast Pergamese library of parchment that Cleopatra asked Marc Antony to ship its entire contents to her as a wedding gift. This transfer marked the end of Pergamum’s scholarly dominance, and is the reason why, today, we remember Alexandria as possessing the ancient world’s greatest library.

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Giveaway!
Michelle Moran has kindly offered great goodies up for winning!

  • A hardcover copy of Cleopatra's Daughter
  • An ancient Roman coin complete with certificate of authenticity
To enter you must fill out THIS FORM
Must be a follower of Pages
This giveaway is international Ends: June 16th 2010

29 thoughts:

  1. I love Greek!And of course history is one of my favourite subject.And ancient Rome sounds terribly sexy =)

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  2. That was an interesting post! I enjoyed reading what it's like in Rome 2,000 years ago. History is definitely fascinating!

    And thanks for the giveaway. :)

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  3. I've been wanting to read this for a while now. Thanks for the interview, Michelle, and the giveaway!

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  4. I've seen this one before. It looks like something I might really enjoy. Thanks for the interview and the giveaway!

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  5. Thanks for the interview! What an interesting subject. I can't wait to read this now!

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  6. Thank you for the interesting post! Cleopatra's Daughter is already on my wishlist and I really can't wait to read it! Thank you for making this contest international!:)

    Giada M

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  7. Egyptian, Roman, and Greek mythology are my favorites. Thanks for holding the contest. :D

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  8. The information about ancient libraries was particularly fascinating! A very interesting guest post. I loved Cleopatra's Daughter and I look forward to reading The Heretic Queen and Nefertiti.

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  9. I like the mythology and I would like to read tour novel Michelle!
    thanks for the contest :)

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  10. brilliant post! a big thanks to both of you!!

    you've got a great blog!!

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  11. Interesting post!
    Thanks for the contest!

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  12. Very interesting. Love the pictures. :)

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  13. Awesome giveaway--And, thanks for sharing Michelle's blog. Such interesting info!

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  14. Thanks so much for the giveaway! I have been dying to read this book since it has been featured on my Historical Fictionistas group on Goodreads :)

    I love the Ancient Rome info, it is one of my favorite settings. I am slowly working through Colleen McCullough's Masters of Rome series and everything is so fascinating.

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  15. Awesome Givaway, Kirthi! Wow, I learned a lot about Ancient egypte through this post. Then again, the only pages I read in my encyclopedia are the ones about ancient Rome, Egypte, and Greece:D

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  16. Awesome Givaway, Kirthi! Wow, I learned a lot about Ancient egypte through this post. Then again, the only pages I read in my encyclopedia are the ones about ancient Rome, Egypte, and Greece:D

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  17. Wow amazing post I love Michelle Moran's work. And I've been dying to read this one! And you always have the most exciting giveaways thankx Kirthi!

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  18. That is an awesome post! Great informatioon. The books sound really interesting.

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  19. Thanks for the contest, this book looks great!

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  20. Thanks for the contest. I'd love to read Cleopatra's daughter.

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  21. I love history as child and considered becoming an archeologist. I loved museums and always sought out the Egyptology section first.

    This books sounds like just my type of thing!

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  22. I always wanted to read one of her books! This looks great!

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  23. I've been looking forward to this book anyway but I loved the history lesson. I enjoy learning something new and this was information I did not know. :)

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  24. I've tried on innumerable contests and giveaways to win this book and failed. My last try.

    mystica123athotmaildotcom

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  25. Thanks for the giveaway Michelle!

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  26. Fantastic post - this is one of my favorite books.

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  27. This sounds so interesting!
    My aunt majored in history and is always giving me a load of books... this sounds great because it has elements we both love: history, of course, and romance! :)
    Thanks!
    Love, Hannah

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  28. This sounds so interesting!
    My aunt majored in history and is always giving me a load of books... this sounds great because it has elements we both love: history, of course, and romance! :)
    Thanks!
    Love, Hannah

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Hello! Thanks so much for stopping by: I truly love and enjoy reading your comments!

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