SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome (Paperback)Mary Beard (author)
This monolithic history of Ancient Rome spans 1,000 years and practically every facet of Republic and Empire. Mary Beard’s typically accessible text belies monumental research, breathing new life into well-worn myths and challenging accepted orthodoxy on a range of topics. A stupendous achievement.
Roman history is always being rewritten, and always has been; in some ways we know more about ancient Rome than the Romans themselves did. Roman history, in other words, is a work in progress. This book is my contribution to that bigger project; it offers my version of why it matters.
Ancient Rome matters.
Its history of empire, conquest, cruelty and excess is something against which we still judge ourselves. Its myths and stories - from Romulus and Remus to the Rape of Lucretia - still strike a chord with us. And its debates about citizenship, security and the rights of the individual still influence our own debates on civil liberty today.
SPQR is a new look at Roman history from one of the world's foremost classicists. It explores not only how Rome grew from an insignificant village in central Italy to a power that controlled territory from Spain to Syria, but also how the Romans thought about themselves and their achievements, and why they are still important to us.
SPQR is the Romans' own abbreviation for their state: Senatus Populusque Romanus, 'the Senate and People of Rome'.
Covering 1,000 years of history, and casting fresh light on the basics of Roman culture from slavery to running water, as well as exploring democracy, migration, religious controversy, social mobility and exploitation in the larger context of the empire, this is a definitive history of ancient Rome.
Arguably Britain’s best-known classicist Mary Beard is a Professor of Classics at Cambridge University and classics editor of the TLS. Amongst her best known publications are Women and Power, Pompeii (accompanying the BBC television series of the same name), Confronting the Classics and It’s a Don’s Life (based on her regular column for The Times.
Publisher: Profile Books Ltd
Number of pages: 608
Weight: 510 g
Dimensions: 190 x 128 x 38 mm
Fast-moving, exciting, psychologically acute, warmly sceptical - Bryan Appleyard, Sunday Times
Vastly engaging ... a tremendously enjoyable and scholarly read. - Natalie Haynes, Observer
Sustaining the energy that such a topic demands for more than 600 pages, while providing a coherent answer to the question of why Rome expanded so spectacularly, is hugely ambitious. Beard succeeds triumphantly ... full of insights and delights ... SPQR is consistently enlivened by Beard's eye for detail and her excellent sense of humour. - Sunday Times
Masterful ... This is exemplary popular history, engaging but never dumbed down, providing both the grand sweep and the intimate details that bring the distant past vividly to life - Economist
Ground-breaking ... invigorating ... revolutionary ... a whole new approach to ancient history - Thomas Hodgkinson, Spectator
This book is a treasure, both as a fascinating read in itself and as a fine work of reference to correct our lazy misconceptions about an ancient world that still has much to instruct us today - Herald
Praise for Mary Beard: 'She's pulled off that rare trick of becoming a don with a high media profile who hasn't sold out, who is absolutely respected by the academy for her scholarship ... what she says is always powerful and interesting - Guardian
An irrepressible enthusiast with a refreshing disregard for convention - FT
Dynamically, wittily and authoritatively brings the ancient world to life - Simon Sebag Montefiore
With such a champion as Beard to debunk and popularise, the future of the study of classics is assured - Daily Telegraph
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“One of the best History books in years!”
As a former student of History, with a particular specialisation in the Roman Empire, I've been awaiting the paperback of SPQR with a real sense of anticipation and excitement, and from reading the first page... More
“Vintage Mary Beard”
Mary Beard has that rare ability to personalise history, draw the characters out of the woodwork and find the odd and unusual stories usually subsumed by the general themes of a book. This is certainly no exception... More
“A vigorous and enlightening look at the people and politics of ancient Rome.”
Few books capture the social and political pressures that shaped Rome as well as SPQR. I liked the way Beard views events firstly through the eyes of Roman writers and then challenges that view with broader sources.... More
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