Monday, May 04, 2015

Roman Crap

Greg Woolf deals with Roman Filth in a review of ‘The Archaeology of Sanitation in Roman Italy’ by Ann Olga Koloski-Ostrow writes

...the Romans did nothing to improve public health, according to Ann Olga Koloski-Ostrow in “The Archaeology of Sanitation,” an oddly passionate account of the toilets and sewers of Roman Italy. In a book packed with dense archaeological detail on every variant of Roman loo, we are conducted around Pompeii and Herculaneum with their hundreds of domestic latrines, almost none connected to the sewer system. We are treated to accounts of Koloski-Ostrow’s own explorations of the cloaca maxima, Rome’s Great Drain, wide enough to drive wagons of hay along according to Strabo....

And that reminded me of this, found in Tractate Shabbat 33b on the Roman occupiers of Eretz-Yisrael: 

For R. Judah, R. Jose, and R. Simeon were sitting, and Judah, a son of proselytes, was sitting near them. R. Judah commenced [the discussion] by observing, ‘How fine are the works of this people! They have made streets, they have built bridges, they have erected baths.’ R. Jose was silent. R. Simeon b. Yohai answered and said, ‘All that they made they made for themselves; they built market-places, to set harlots in them; baths, to rejuvenate themselves; bridges, to levy tolls for them.’ 


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