This is not a paper about Christianity and the decline of theatre and amphitheatre: perhaps, like another transported Englishman, W. V. Harris, I should have learned to say ‘eye-glasses’, but, as it is, I would like to examine some of the problems that surround reading and writing at Rome. In a recent paper, R. J. Starr offers a useful survey of the material on lectores, 2 a term that can mean both one who reads a text (Hor. Ep. 1.19.35), and, like anagnostes, one who reads aloud to others as his principal activity. Starr's paper suggests, passim, an author aware that his topic could well have wider implications, as it most certainly does. The history of books, reading, writing, and research in antiquity is a fascinating topic, endlessly rich and complex in its ramifications, as witness the debate on W. V. Harris's Literacy and the work of Guglielmo Cavallo.