New book by Aldretes gives ancient Greeks, Romans their due

Aldrete book

History Prof. Gregory Aldrete of UW-Green Bay’s Humanistic Studies faculty is co-author of a new book, The Long Shadow of Antiquity: What Have the Greeks and Romans Done for Us?

Aldete collaborated with his wife, Alicia Aldrete, on the general-audience, 384-page hardcover for Continuum Press.

“The motivation for writing this book,” Greg Aldrete says, “comes from having students who ask, ‘Why should I care about ancient history?’ The goal of the book is to show in a lively and entertaining way that you really can’t understand yourself or the world we live in without understanding the innumerable ways that the ancient world continues to shape and influence our lives and behavior in ways both large and small.”

A promotional note for the book observes that the phrase “That’s just ancient history” is sometimes used to dismiss something as being irrelevant. Yet, the profound contributions of antiquity to such areas as architecture, government, literature, and law are widely acknowledged. The Long Shadow of Antiquity argues there are many other ways in which contemporary generations still walk in the footsteps of the ancients, from the rituals we observe when we get married, to how we exercise at the gym and view our bodies, to the calendar we use to measure time.  Celebrity athletes, international currencies, fashion trends, voter fraud, dating guides, fad diets, superstitions, and tourist hot spots—the classical world had them all, the authors write.

Greg Aldrete received a national award of merit in 2009 from the American Philological Association as one of the nation’s top teachers of the classics.  He has earned UW-Green Bay Founders Association Awards for Excellence in the categories of both teaching (2003) and scholarship (2006). The two-time recipient of prestigious National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships, he was recently designated UW-Green Bay’s distinguished Frankenthal Professor, through 2017.

Aldrete’s research interests have centered primarily on the social and economic history of the Roman Empire, rhetoric and oratory, and urban problems in the ancient world. He has written a number of books, among them, Floods of the Tiber in Ancient Rome (Johns Hopkins 2007), Gestures and Acclamations in Ancient Rome (Johns Hopkins, 1999), Daily Life in the Roman City: Rome, Pompeii and Ostia (Univ. of Oklahoma, 2009), and The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Daily Life in the Ancient World (Greenwood, 2004), as well as various chapters in books and articles. Another volume, Unraveling the Linothorax Mystery: Reconstructing and Testing Ancient Linen Armor, is being published this year by Johns Hopkins Press.

Alicia Aldrete has advanced degrees from Princeton and the University of Michigan. She is the co-author of the Encyclopedia of Daily Life: The Ancient World.

More information on the new book can be found at

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