Working IX to V: Orgy Planners, Funeral Clowns, and Other Prized Professions of the Ancient World

Review: “Working IX to V” by Vicki Leon

Thumbs up for Working IX to V: Orgy Planners, Funeral Clowns, and Other Prized Professions of the Ancient World by Vickie Leon. History.

In clearing out a shelf of books-that-have-sat-too-long-with-bookmarkers-almost-to-the-end, I came across this. Why didn’t I finish this before? Perhaps so I’d have the pleasure of reading it now. This is a hilarious, informative and illuminating book, describing ancient Greece and Rome through the ins and outs of the jobs people had. As I read, I alternated between, “it’s so much like now!” and “my God, this is so weird” which, in my limited experience, seems to be a good sign with books about the ancients of Western Civ. If you’re interested in the era, don’t skip this one.

“At the port of Ostia could be found the large guild of salvage divers, called urinatores in Latin. Notice an unfortunate resemblance to the word ‘urine’? No coincidence. According to historian Flavius, the more boys went below, the more frequently they had to go below, due to pressure on the thorax. (No data as to whether excessive trips to the john continued once on dry land.)”


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