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SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome Hardcover – 20 Oct 2015

4.6 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Review

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

Ground-breaking ... invigorating ... revolutionary ... a whole new approach to ancient history

Fast-moving, exciting, psychologically acute, warmly sceptical

Vastly engaging ... a tremendously enjoyable and scholarly read

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

Masterful...Structures and institutions are the dominant concern in Beard's compelling analysis but it is constantly enlivened by gripping episodes...a subtle and engaging interrogation of the complex and contradictory textual and material traces of the Roman world.

An accomplished scholar and lively debunker...Beard informs and entertains without ever patronising her readers. What she touches turns to light ... SPQR is pacy, weighty, relevant and iconoclastic. Who knew classics could be so enthralling? Lucky are the students of Mary Beard.

Always alive to the contemporary relevance of its subject...a refreshing rethink of a very old topic

Beard guides you on an enthralling journey through the Roman world. However well you think you know the country, she gives different views, new aspects...Even those who know a lot about Rome will learn more, and find themselves questioning much of which they were previously certain. SPQR does what history should do.

<p>Praise for Mary Beard: </p><p>'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</p>

An irrepressible enthusiast with a refreshing disregard for convention

Dynamically, wittily and authoritatively brings the ancient world to life

With such a champion as Beard to debunk and popularise, the future of the study of classics is assured

If they'd had Mary Beard on their side back then, the Romans would still have their empire.

In SPQR, her wonderful concise history, Mary Beard unpacks the secrets of [Rome]'s success with a crisp and merciless clarity that I have not seen equalled anywhere else. ... We tend to think of the Romans as coarser successors to the Greeks. Yet Beard, who doubles as a Cambridge professor and a television lecturer of irresistible salty charm, shows us how the Roman Republic got underway at almost the same time as the Athenian democracy. And it evolved into just the kind of mixed system that sophisticated commentators like Aristotle and Polybius approved of.

Ms. Beard tells this story precisely and clearly, with passion and without technical jargon. [...] Two unequal parts of Rome dreamed of civil harmony between men and basked in the apparent favor of the gods but knew deep down that they were two cities, not one. <i>SPQR </i>is a grim success story, but one told with wonderful flair.

This is an innovative history that may well acquire the same status as the works of Theodor Mommsen, Ronald Syme, and other great interpreters of the Roman world. And, like any great work of historical interpretation, it implicitly invites us to think about our own world, and about our answers to the question of what makes us human.

Book Description

Mary Beard on Ancient Rome: Britain's favourite classicist lifts the lid on the Roman Empire

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Profile Books Ltd; Main edition (20 October 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846683807
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846683800
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 5.1 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,47,715 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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