Review: Censorinus, The Birthday Book
The April 6 Times Literary Supplement carried an appreciative review of Holt N. Parker’s translation of The Birthday Book—an entertaining third-century treatise on all aspects of the birthday. Roman grammarian and writer Censorinus originally wrote the book as a birthday gift for a friend, and TLS reviewer Karl Galinsky notes that Parker’s translation qualifies as “the perfect present for someone who has everything.” Galinsky writes:
The range of topics and their constellation offers something for everybody, whether in quaint “Ripley’s Believe or Not” fashion or truly useful information that is not simply esoteric.
Parker and the University of Chicago Press have entered into the spirit of this enterprise nicely. The book is produced handsomely in small format, and the text is interspersed with some helpful diagrams and illustrations. In addition, there is a useful glossary and notes that do not smother.
We previously posted an excerpt from the book: Censorinus’s meditation on the puzzle of the chicken or the egg.