Friday, April 20, 2012

Working IX to V - Vickie Leon

Things weren't too different in the early ages for a salaried employee. One had to go through the same rituals of appointment, the appraisals, reward for performance, the job cut and resulted firing and those hierarchical positions. One always complained about over work and some of the other perils of a daily job. There were varieties of job in the offing, few of them were the privilege of the 'Slaves'. Slaves, only because their country lost the war. The Prisoners of Wars were not tried or killed. They were immediately deployed on job. It did not take long for the fortune to reverse.

Vicki Leon, brings out a curious study ( a well researched one at that) about the kind of job people performed during the early days of Roman, Greek civilizations. Deriving her output of large number of references, from the drawings, those writings, epics, the architectural specialties this bundle of cute facts were both fun to read and are informative. With a catchy title to go along - Orgy planners, funeral clowns, and other prized professions of the ancient world - the book classified the various functions under ten chapters or groups.

While it is impossible to mention all those here, but few worth an honorable mention include, a boy hooker ( preference was for youth with big shoulders, tiny waist, good muscle tone, and protruding buttock. His nose should be straight, his lower lip Elvis-like, his hair a flowing mane and he had to have dainty genitals), War Elephant Commander( must have returned with Alexander after his famous war with Porous) , Mercenaries ( old form of quotation/ supari team), Tour Guide, Publishers and Book Sellers ( yes, those hand written ones), Armpit plucker , Super Models ( do you remember the Venus - but do you know the model posed for that ?) , funeral clowns ( a custom still exists in some part of our country), orgy planners and the underwear maker ( the loin cloth was mostly a wrap around, but women preferred something for their upper part of the body.. Roman men swore by decency, with complete body coverage except for hands and the head. Greek men were more enterprising and get my hurray, for they spend their days clad in a himation, or what amount to a bedsheet. Conservative fellows often wore nothing under it , reminds me of the hostel days clad in colorful 'Lungis').

The book is presented similar to a coffee table book , easy reading with few illustrations. The seriousness of the subject and the result of her hard work is camouflaged under fine humour. While some of the references are beyond me, over all it was a nice funny read, if one do not approach this as a serious work of non fiction.
Working IX to V ( 2007 )

Vicki Leon

Walker & Company

312 Pages
npr books

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