Preface ix a cross-reference to the “Bulla” entry. Taken together, these entries provide an examination of the lives of Roman youths through the objects they used every day. In terms of what makes something significant or not, most artifacts are important for a variety of reasons it depends on how one defines the term and in what context one works. In a work this size, it is not possible to cover all the possible ways that any one item is significant as an object of history. Any author has to be selective, but in deciding what to focus upon, I have opted in most cases for what follows most directly from the object itself. For example, with the Roman “milestone” entry the major topic is Transportation and how Roman roads were so critical to the spread of peo- ples, ideas, and products. On the other hand, some objects, such as sandals, could be taken in different directions. One of the more iconic pieces of footwear is the caliga, or legionary’s boot, so much of the significant sec- tion for that entry focuses on footwear in the army and related military equipment. In each case, however, there is a relationship between the arti- fact and the chief significances discussed. OTHER FEATURES Many entries also contain primary sources, excerpted and separated in side- bars, that shed light on artifacts. This can be a powerful tool, for the study of artifacts with associated primary sources and explanations is a multifac- eted way to gain a tangible view of ancient life it is a visual way of relating to the past. After all, one can “read” an artifact as well as a primary source, but to view an object as one reads a piece from the time that describes its use or user evokes a clearer, more vivid idea of the past. These primary sources are also excellent places to begin further study. Other sidebars within entries may include short definitions of key terms or people. Words in Latin or Greek are translated, as are those few objects with inscriptions. In translating the latter, I have opted to try to capture both the feel of the Latin and a readable English version. Inscriptions were highly abbreviated and assumed a familiarity with conventions particular to writ- ing succinctly on stone, so they make for challenging if interesting reading. Words within brackets are supplied to help reader makes sense of passages. The value of this approach for students is twofold: they get all the bene- fits of a reference work with explanations and mention of primary sources, but also they see, right there on the page, the very object that brings a par- ticular aspect of the Roman world to life. General readers with an interest in ancient history will likewise benefit from this approach.
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