By the time of the emperors, the Romans had created the worlds first global empire, and plundered the provinces for produce to be eaten, planted or displayed as novelties. At the same time the aesthetics of the city of Rome was being transferred to the provinces, establishing towns with public buildings, baths and the Latin language. With these attributes of civilisation came other trappings of Roman culture: lavish entertainments, elaborate dinner parties and vice. The world of pleasure became a defining feature of the Romans, and this book explores how they pursued sensual delights from steamy bathhouses to stately country villas; the excesses of the festivals to the rich culture of music, dance and song and sex, as both unrestrained and puritanical.

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