What We Are Reading Today: Crossing the Pomerium by Michael Koortbojian

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Updated 23 January 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Crossing the Pomerium by Michael Koortbojian

The ancient Romans famously distinguished between civic life in Rome and military matters outside the city — a division marked by the pomerium, an abstract religious and legal boundary that was central to the myth of the city’s foundation. 

Michael Koortbojian explores how the Romans used social practices and public monuments to assert their capital’s distinction from its growing empire, to delimit the proper realms of religion and law from those of war and conquest, and to establish and disseminate so many fundamental Roman institutions across three centuries of imperial rule. Crossing the Pomerium probes such topics as the appearance in the city of Romans in armor, whether in representation or in life, the role of religious rites on the battlefield, and the military image of Constantine on the arch built in his name. 

The book reveals how, in these instances and others, the ancient ideology of crossing the pomerium reflects the efforts of Romans not only to live up to the ideals they had inherited, but also to reconceive their past and to validate contemporary practices during a time when Rome enjoyed growing dominance in the Mediterranean world.


What We Are Reading Today: The Cat: A Natural and Cultural History by Sarah Brown

Updated 27 March 2020

What We Are Reading Today: The Cat: A Natural and Cultural History by Sarah Brown

Of all the domesticated species, cats have enjoyed the most complex relationship with people — one that still leads to arguments about whether you can truly call the cat asleep by your fire “tame.” 

The Cat is a comprehensive, richly illustrated exploration of the natural and cultural history of this much-loved pet. 

Chapters on Evolution & Development, Anatomy & Biology, Society & Behavior, and Cats & Humans take different angles on matters feline, offering rich information and insights about kitten development, the hierarchy of cats, how cats think, communication between cats and people, historic and extinct breeds, the challenges facing cats today and how we can help, and much, much more. 

The book also features a visually stunning photographic directory of more than forty popular breeds, with essential information about each. Filled with surprising facts, The Cat will enchant anyone with an interest in, or a love for, these animals.