Emperor of Rome: Ruling the Ancient Roman World


Product Details

$39.99  $37.19
Liveright Publishing Corporation
Publish Date
6.4 X 9.2 X 1.9 inches | 2.05 pounds

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About the Author

Mary Beard is the author of the best-selling The Fires of Vesuvius and the National Book Critics Circle Award-nominated Confronting the Classics and SPQR. A popular blogger and television personality, Beard is a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books. She lives in England.


Troll slayer.--The New Yorker
Battling back her antagonists [Beard has become] something of a folk hero.--New York Times
What she says is always powerful and interesting.--Guardian
A Cambridge professor and a television lecturer of irresistible salty charm.--New York Times Book Review
Beard informs and entertains without ever patronizing her readers. What she touches turns to light.--Independent
An irrepressible enthusiast with a refreshing disregard for convention.--Financial Times
Beard focuses on the details of how emperors lived, governed, traveled, dined, and amused themselves . . . Beard is deft in her exploration of imperial bureaucracy, showing how it dealt with an avalanche of paperwork from distant officials, cities, military leaders, and individuals in an era with no postal service. Emperors' deaths, natural or otherwise, led to fascinating consequences.-- "Kirkus Reviews"
Her gifts for putting serious scholarship into accessible terms, for bringing a critical eye to the study of classics without being a scold (while still making the study of the ancient world seem entertaining) has translated well to TV and a spate of books admired by specialists and the wider public alike.... Beard returns to subjects she has treated throughout her career (imperial portraiture, Roman triumphs, deification). Each of the themes offers a vivid way to re-examine what we know, and don't, about life at the top.... Beard punctuates her erudite but easy prose with striking turns of phrase and arresting observations.... Emperor of Rome is a masterly group portrait, an invitation to think skeptically but not contemptuously of a familiar civilization.--Kyle Harper "Wall Street Journal"
If social media is to be believed, men can't stop thinking about the Roman Empire, particularly its 'alpha male' elements. Anyone similarly obsessed would do well to pick up a copy of 'Emperor of Rome, ' an erudite and entertaining new book by the redoubtable classics scholar and feminist Mary Beard... Beard, a consummate storyteller, finds 'ancient gossip' understandably hard to resist. Such stories also free her up to pursue her subject thematically instead chronologically, pointing not just to differences among the emperors but also similarities.... As a writer, Beard is so appealing and approachable that even the recalcitrant reader who previously gave not a single thought to the Roman Empire will warm to her subject... Beard leads by example, taking care to tell us what we can and cannot know -- a kind of counterprogramming to the distortions of one-man rule.--Jennifer Szalai "New York Times"
By the end of this thrilling book we are no nearer to looking the emperor in the eye. But we are much closer to understanding what he was for. Leaning into all the wild stories rather than disregarding them as so much distasteful waste, Beard does a wonderful job of taking us into the maelstrom of fantasy, desire and projection that swirled around the rulers of ancient Rome.--Kathryn Hughes "The Guardian"
[A] beautifully written product of a lifetime of deep scholarly learning . . . magisterial.--Martin Wolf "Financial Times"
Five stars... [S]uperb . . . an extraordinary investigation into the gulf between the experience and the narrative of Roman autocracy.--Honor Cargill-Martin "Telegraph"
The queen classicist . . . is back . . . Leave it to Ms. Beard to educate and dispel . . . [She] artfully walks the line between academic scholar and patient teacher . . . 'Emperor of Rome' was not built in a day. Readers can be grateful for Ms. Beard's rigorous, thoughtful work.--Meredith Cummings "Pittsburgh Post-Gazette"
Throughout, it is clear that Beard -- a decorated retired Cambridge professor (and blogger and TV presenter), who excels at making the ancient world accessible to nonspecialist audiences -- is herself deeply intrigued by the Roman emperor.... Perhaps most interestingly, a study of the emperor illuminates the lives of the nonelite in surprising ways.... What ultimately emerges in these rigorously researched pages is an account that gives life to an often shadowy yet captivating figure. Beard uses the enduring fascination that the Roman emperor generates as a hook to get us to think more deeply about how the Romans articulated and exercised power, and how one-man rule reverberated through every level of society. Above all, she makes her readers rethink any simplistic notions they may have about what it meant to be the emperor of Rome.--Stephanie McCarter "Washington Post"