A History of Ancient Rome
Author(s): Mary Beard
Awards:New York Times Bestseller
eAudio - unabridged
Audio (18.48 hours)
Product Number: Z11880
Released: Jan 05, 2016
Business Term: Purchase
ISBN: #9781501908538
Narrator/s: Phyllida Nash
Please log in to view pricing


A sweeping, revisionist history of the Roman Empire from one of our foremost classicists. Ancient Rome was an imposing city even by modern standards, a sprawling imperial metropolis of more than a million inhabitants, a "mixture of luxury and filth, liberty and exploitation, civic pride and murderous civil war" that served as the seat of power for an empire that spanned from Spain to Syria. Yet how did all this emerge from what was once an insignificant village in central Italy? In S.P.Q.R., world-renowned classicist Mary Beard narrates the unprecedented rise of a civilization that even two thousand years later still shapes many of our most fundamental assumptions about power, citizenship, responsibility, political violence, empire, luxury, and beauty. From the foundational myth of Romulus and Remus to 212 cenearly a thousand years laterwhen the emperor Caracalla gave Roman citizenship to every free inhabitant of the empire, S.P.Q.R. (the abbreviation of "The Senate and People of Rome") examines not just how we think of ancient Rome but challenges the comfortable historical perspectives that have existed for centuries by exploring how the Romans thought of themselves: how they challenged the idea of imperial rule, how they responded to terrorism and revolution, and how they invented a new idea of citizenship and nation. Opening the book in 63 bce with the famous clash between the populist aristocrat Catiline and Cicero, the renowned politician and orator, Beard animates this "terrorist conspiracy," which was aimed at the very heart of the Republic, demonstrating how this singular event would presage the struggle between democracy and autocracy that would come to define much of Rome's subsequent history. Illustrating how a classical democracy yielded to a self-confident and self-critical empire, S.P.Q.R. reintroduces us, though in a wholly different way, to famous and familiar charactersHannibal, Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, Augustus, and Nero, among otherswhile expanding the historical aperture to include those overlooked in traditional histories: the women, the slaves and ex-slaves, conspirators, and those on the losing side of Rome's glorious conquests. Like the best detectives, Beard sifts fact from fiction, myth and propaganda from historical record, refusing either simple admiration or blanket condemnation. Far from being frozen in marble, Roman history, she shows, is constantly being revised and rewritten as our knowledge expands. Indeed, our perceptions of ancient Rome have changed dramatically over the last fifty years, and S.P.Q.R., with its nuanced attention to class inequality, democratic struggles, and the lives of entire groups of people omitted from the historical narrative for centuries, promises to shape our view of Roman history for decades to come.


Please login to view pricing, or register now
Product Number: BX00045359
Product Number:Z11880
Product Number:C04168

This title is part of (or scheduled to be part of) the following subscriptions:

RBdigital Audio - Pub Library - Adult Bestseller Collection
RBdigital Audio - Adult Academic Library Collection
RBdigital Unlimited Audio - Pub Library - US Collection
RBdigital Unlimited Audio - Higher Ed - Curriculum - Gold Collection
RBdigital Unlimited Audio - Pub Library - Canada Collection
RBdigital Audio - Top 250 Collection
RBdigital Unlimited Audio - Higher Ed - Curriculum - Platinum Collection
RBdigital Audio - World-Wide Library Collection
RBdigital Unlimited Audio - Healthcare - Adult Collection
RBdigital Unlimited Audio for Higher Education

You can find this title in the following lists:

All formats/editions

Author(s): Mary Beard
Narrator(s): Phyllida Nash
Product Number C04168
Released: Dec 17, 2015
Business Term: Purchase
ISBN: #9781501908521
Author(s): Mary Beard
Narrator(s): Phyllida Nash
Product Number MP1894
Released: Dec 14, 2015
Business Term: Purchase
ISBN: #9781501912184

Professional reviews

"Phyllida Nash, an actor of prominence in the UK, has a strong, cultured voice that works well with this engaging history of the first millennium of Roman civilization. Historical details cover a broad range-- from the founding of Rome to the broad grants of Roman citizenship and the residents of the empire in the third century CE. Beard's accounts are comprehensive and refreshingly honest about the relationship between available sources and our understanding of historical events. Her use of Latin is illuminating. Nash has more experience narrating fiction than history and sometimes finds it difficult to find a place to breathe in Beard's long, erudite sentences. However, her pace and tone are excellent. An excellent performance of an important book. F.C. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine"

Sign up for our email newsletter