“It is a dangerous myth that we are better historians than our predecessors. We are not.”
Mary Beard, SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome
In Emperor of Rome, celebrated classicist Mary Beard does not ask her reader to follow and retain the careers of each individual emperor; she seeks to explore broader questions such as what it meant to be a Roman emperor and whether we could ever truly understand what it felt like to rule the expansive territory and interact with subjects who led very different kinds of lives.
In her newest book, Mary Beard shines her spotlight on the emperors who ruled the Roman Empire, from Julius Caesar to Alexander Severus. She tracks down the emperor at home, at the races, on his travels, even on his way to heaven. She introduces his wives and lovers, rivals and slaves, court jesters and soldiers―and the ordinary people who pressed begging letters into his hands. Emperor of Rome goes directly to the heart of Roman fantasies about what it was to be Roman, offering an account of Roman history as it has never been presented before.
Mary Beard is a distinguished scholar of ancient Rome who shares her knowledge broadly on the BBC and in the classroom. She 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 regular contributor to the New York Review of Books, Beard has an uncanny ability to make classical studies, ancient Roman history, and ancient Roman life highly intriguing and relevant for current times.
The New Yorker, June 26, 2023
New York Times, May 31, 2021
The New Yorker, May 16, 2021
TIME, September 4, 2018
The Guardian, January 30, 2018
“Mary Beard is a fearless writer with the gift of writing the right book at the right moment, and I’ve been emboldened by her brilliant analysis of women’s voice and role in society since antiquity, Women & Power.”