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How did a small band of farmers accomplish what many other veteran civilisations couldn’t and start a continent-spanning empire that lasted 1,000 years?
To answer that question Bread and Circuses will take you down an ancient (and remarkably straight) road of discovery. It’s a road that, at times, will seem distant and foreign but will invariably lead home. Because almost anywhere you choose to call home the legacy of Rome has its roots buried deep into the bedrock of your modern life. Rome is everywhere, from the architecture of your town’s public buildings to the food in your pantry, and yes, even in your toilet.
Sure, you’ve heard about Roman roads, sewers and government. But did you know the Ancient Romans invented fast food? And did you know they came up with central heating a good 1,800 years before we even thought to put radiators inside our homes? Then again, they also tried to make a horse a politician and washed their clothes in urine, so I wouldn’t give them too much credit.
In Bread and Circuses, you’ll learn about great emperors, crazed emperors and the emperor who spent his entire reign trying to find the largest penis in Rome. This thousand-year journey is brimming with bloodshed, twists and intrigue, amazing stories and an awful lot of cabbage. Gain an insight behind the scenes of perhaps the most contradictory civilisation in history. The Romans were a brutally efficient and merciless people who tore through Europe with unprecedented speed and violence, yet they also brought infrastructure, industry and indulgence. You’ll learn how they created great cities, full of prosperity and luxuries that seemed alien to the native people and simultaneously committed gross negligence that would make your HR department sweaty.
Every gruesome detail, every wonderful quirk, every sensual scandal is brought to life through pithy prose and fervent wit. Bread and Circuses is a book you won’t want to put down – it will challenge your preconceptions about the world, both old and new, and leave you in disbelief with every page you turn.
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Raised in the beating heart of working-class Lancashire, the birthplace of two things that changed the world, the Industrial Revolution and the Butter Pie (wait - has that not caught on yet?) Arran is a qualified chef and graphic designer (don’t ask). He has worked as a software engineer and in that field of occupation where dreams and common sense go to die: marketing.
But in everything Arran has, often unwisely, done, one passion always nipped at his heels, an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and learning. In 2012 he nervously decided to share some of the unusual things he had learnt on YouTube. After a year of posting videos online somebody noticed, then someone else, then over two million other people noticed and subscribed to the Thoughty2 YouTube channel.
On his channel, Arran has covered almost every topic you could imagine: space, conspiracies, technology, crime, medicine, food and social issues, such as defending free speech. One topic, however, has always interested him more than all else. One topic has kept him up reading books until the early hours of the morning: history.
An extract from Chapter 1. Romulus and Remus
Like most great civilizations Rome begins with a bunch of mythical bullshit and a virgin. Legend tells of two demi-gods, Romulus and Remus, born around 770 BC to a virgin Rhea Silvia after the god Mars visited her in a sacred grove. But Silvia wasn’t any run-of-the-mill virgin, she was a vestal virgin. These were priestesses of the goddess Vesta, a Roman tradition that can be traced back to Alba Longa, the birthplace of Silvia.
These people are helping to fund Thoughty2 Presents: Bread and Circuses.