“… To limn a culture, history should attempt to capture the human stories, to squeeze the meaning from cascades of events instead of one thing in isolation. Rather than focus on the elite figures, I tend to stare a the messy, muddy, exhilarating, exasperating mass of humanity of long ago … To give you the true flavor of those times, I've salted this whole brew with little-known facts, Herodotean digressions, and absurdities, once firmly believed yet so outrageous that I could not have made them up. It's an iconoclastic mix, yeasty with names and deeds and beliefs you won't have heard much about. Meteorite worship; bean taboos; bizarre beliefs about women and their powers over hydrocarbons; it's all here."
Be ready for a lot of astounding facts! Readers who liked Working IX to V: Orgy Planners, Funeral Clowns and Other Prized Professions of the Ancient World will love this book. The stories take you from Athens & Attica to Greece & the Greek Islands to Asia Minor & the Middle East to Rome & Environs, and thereafter to Italy & Sicily and Egypt, Carthage & North Africa – from about 700 BC to 300 AD. They cover the range of physical science, then considered a “philosophy,” medicine, architecture, time keeping, astronomy, astrology & superstition, divination, religion … you name it.
A random opening of a page gets you to the chapter “Philosophical Fava Phobia” and, surprisingly to the unaware reader, to Pythagoras. The accompanying drawing is titled Decoding the Great Bean Taboo (and much else) of Pythagoras.
Follow her latest exploits at Vicki León, Historical Detective.