SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome

SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome

by Mary Beard


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New York Times Bestseller • National Book Critics Circle Finalist • Wall Street Journal Best Books of 2015 • Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2015 • Economist Books of the Year 2015 • New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books of 2015

A sweeping, "magisterial" history of the Roman Empire from one of our foremost classicists shows why Rome remains "relevant to people many centuries later" (Atlantic).

In SPQR, an instant classic, Mary Beard narrates the history of Rome "with passion and without technical jargon" and demonstrates how "a slightly shabby Iron Age village" rose to become the "undisputed hegemon of the Mediterranean" (Wall Street Journal). Hailed by critics as animating "the grand sweep and the intimate details that bring the distant past vividly to life" (Economist) in a way that makes "your hair stand on end" (Christian Science Monitor) and spanning nearly a thousand years of history, this "highly informative, highly readable" (Dallas Morning News) work examines not just how we think of ancient Rome but challenges the comfortable historical perspectives that have existed for centuries. With its nuanced attention to class, democratic struggles, and the lives of entire groups of people omitted from the historical narrative for centuries, SPQR will to shape our view of Roman history for decades to come.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781631492228
Publisher: Liveright Publishing Corporation
Publication date: 09/06/2016
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 608
Sales rank: 26,036
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 7.70(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

A professor of classics at Cambridge University,
Mary Beardis the author of the best-selling
SPQR and Women & Power and the National Book
Critics Circle Award–nominated Confronting the
Classics. A popular blogger and television personality,
Beard is a regular contributor to the New York
Review of Books.

Table of Contents

Maps 7

Prologue: The History of Rome 15

1 Cicero's Finest Hour 21

2 In the Beginning 53

3 The Kings of Rome 91

4 Rome's Great Leap Forward 131

5 A Wider World 169

6 New Politics 209

7 From Empire to Emperors 253

8 The Home Front 297

9 The Transformations of Augustus 337

10 Fourteen Emperors 387

11 The Haves and Have-Nots 435

12 Rome Outside Rome 475

Epilogue: The First Roman Millennium 527

Further Reading 537

Timeline 563

Acknowledgements 573

List of Illustrations 575

Index 585

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S.P.Q.R.: A History of Ancient Rome 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The writing style is very engaging and the content so interesting
Brodk More than 1 year ago
THE definitive one-volume history of Roman civilization I wish I could give the book 4.5 stars. The erudition is superb and the history intriguing. The only minor weakness for me was the first two chapters which seemed to be written for professional historians rather than lay readers. Nevertheless, this is the book to read about Rome, and I don't see its being bettered anytime soon.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book provides great perspectives on the Romans.
Kieran51 More than 1 year ago
If you have a passing interest in Ancient Rome then Mary Beard's SPQR is a book for you. An easy read and plenty of information on the founding of Rome and why it still matters to this day
LN_Adcox More than 1 year ago
“SPQR: A History OF Ancient Rome” by Mary Beard BEYOND STEREOTYPES AND MYTHS Many books on the Roman Empire are concerned with its fall, but SPQR (The Senate and People of Rome) is concerned with its evolvement and operation. Many stereotypes and myths promoted by modern as well as ancient historians are challenged. The first of these is that Rome in 753 BC initially engaged in a plan of manifest destiny to conquer Italy. Italy was an amalgamation of small villages and cities and some of the eventual kings of Rome were not even Roman. The concept of dual citizenship to a larger entity than one’s local area was revolutionary and evolved. Conquered populations were not for the most part Roman citizens until the infamous Emperor Caracalla granted citizenship to every free inhabitant of the empire in 212 AD. I was surprised that the Roman government through the era of both the Republic and the Caesars really did not have a domestic or foreign policy as we would understand them today. Modern day adherents of the US Tea Party would have been very comfortable. There was a huge difference in the standard of living of the vast poor and the tiny rich minority although this minority included plebeians and equestrians as well as patricians. There was little concern for the welfare of the majority other than the need to assure legionaries that they would be provided land or a stipend upon retirement to ensure their loyalty and to distract the voting poor in Rome with bread and “circuses” although few could actually afford to attend the latter. Substantial wealth was a requirement to hold political office. Votes could only be cast in Rome. Voting favored the wealthy. Nevertheless, during the Republic the votes of the Roman poor were vital and during the reign of the Caesars mobs were feared so it was important to court the poor in Rome even if there was little or no intent to actually improve the squalid conditions of their lives. The books starts a little slow but quickly picks up and would appeal to anyone interested in “looking under the hood” of the Roman Empire.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you are interested in ancient Rome read this book.
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