Hardback
March 21, 2023
9781421445175
English
472
183234
18
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
1.40 Inches (US)
$59.95 USD, £44.50 GBP
v2.1 Reference

The Ordered Day

Quotidian Time and Forms of Life in Ancient Rome

Traces how the day has served as a key organizing concept in Roman culture—and beyond.

How did ancient Romans keep track of time? What constituted a day in ancient Rome was not the same 24 hours we know today. In The Ordered Day, James Ker traces how the day served as a key organizing concept, both in antiquity and in modern receptions of ancient Rome.

Romans used the story of how the day emerged as a unit of sociocultural time to give order to their own civic and imperial history. Ancient literary descriptions of people's daily routines articulated distinctive forms of life within the social order. And in the imperial period and beyond, outsiders—such as early Christians in their monastic rules and modern antiquarians in books on daily life—ordered their knowledge of Roman life through reworking the day as a heuristic framework.

Scholarly interest in Roman time has recently moved from the larger unit of the year and calendar to smaller units of time, especially in the study of sundials and other timekeeping technologies of the ancient Mediterranean. Through extensive analysis of ancient literary texts and material culture as well as modern daily life handbooks, Ker demonstrates the privileged role that "small time" played, and continues to play, in Roman literary and cultural history. Ker argues that the ordering of the day provided the basis for the organizing of history, society, and modern knowledge about ancient Rome. For readers curious about daily life in ancient Rome as well as for students and scholars of Roman history and Latin literature, The Ordered Day provides an accessible and fascinating account of the makings of the Roman day and its relationship to modern time structures.

About the Author

James Ker (SWARTHMORE, PA) is a professor of classical studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of The Deaths of Seneca and coeditor of The Values of Nighttime in Classical Antiquity.

Endorsements

"James Ker is a confident and skilled storyteller, and The Ordered Day is a fun and satisfying read in a way that academic books rarely are. Working within a generously informed and cohesive methodology, he tracks how the Roman day has reverberated in subsequent reception as modernity came to grips with its own concerns in relation to classical heritage. This deeply learned and vividly accessibly volume should be recommended reading for undergraduate and graduate students."

- Gideon Nisbet, University of Birmingham, translator of Epigrams from the Greek Anthology

"What Dohrn-van Rossum famously did for the medieval Hour, Ker here does for the Roman Day, the smallest of the nature-based units of time. Consciously seeking to avoid previous books' tendencies to cherry-pick sources with little methodological rigour, Ker provides an authoritative and astute analysis set within a strong sociological framework. This book will attract a wide range of scholars in the humanities, social sciences and the history of science."

- Robert Hannah, author of Time in Antiquity
Johns Hopkins University Press
Cultural Histories of the Ancient World
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Hardback
March 21, 2023
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