This should serve as a welcome companion to this author's earlier and well received portrayals of the ancient world: Roman People and Men of Athens, a Newberry runner-up. The format of these books has been followed here -- a collection of short stories, each dealing with a different person who represents a special segment of the population, suffices to create rounded, panoramic social history of the times. The period covered is 1 to 30 A.D. Religious problems are only touched upon obliquely, and only as they entered into the lives of the disparate peoples living in the region. The major purpose of the book is to show the interrelationships of these groups, which included the various and differing Jewish communities, the Roman rulers, the Greeks, the Christians, the Eyptians, and others, and to show how their mingling created for all of them problems that were political as well as spiritual. This period is usually portrayed in terms of isolated factions. By demonstrating the complexity and the ferment that resulted from the contiguity of these societies the book achieves dimension. The stories are well told, but the fictional qualities are secondary to the factual elements of the book.