SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome by Mary Beard PDF Download

S.P.Q.R. is an absolutely engrossing history, economic, political and military, of Rome's spectacular rise to become the dominant power.

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Mary Beard, one of Britain’s most celebrated historians and television personalities, brings to life the history of Rome in S.P.Q.R., a riveting narrative that ranges across the empire—most often through the eyes of women and other marginalized figures—from its origins in a small ancient Italian village to its ultimate downfall.

For more than ten years, Mary Beard has been at the forefront of research into ancient Rome. In S.P.Q.R., a comprehensive history of the Mediterranean empire from its beginnings, Beard examines women’s role in its creation and development, from the wives and daughters of wealthy Romans to slave girls working in taverns, brothels and factories. The first serious biography of this fascinating subject in decades, this is essential reading for anyone interested in exploring what it was like to live in Ancient Rome.”

Rome, in many ways the most famous city in the world and a symbol of empire to the modern mind, is also a city whose origins are shrouded in mystery. It was once a small village at the heart of Italy’s boot. Yet, from a very modest beginning, it became one of the most powerful states ever created, eventually even coming close to conquering or destroying civilization itself. In this brilliant new book, Mary Beard narrates Rome’s spectacular rise from obscurity to its position as the undisputed center of world power.

S.P.Q.R.: A History of Ancient Rome is a rich and detailed history that begins with the origins of Rome and traces its development into an empire that spanned from Spain to Syria. The book covers the establishment of Roman society, celebrated individuals like Julius Caesar, Augustus, and Mark Antony, the history of travel and exploration, Roman provinces, and Christianity in ancient Rome.

About SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome Book

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 ce―nearly a thousand years later―when 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 characters―Hannibal, Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, Augustus, and Nero, among others―while 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 the historical record, refusing either simple admiration or blanket condemnation.

She shows that far from being frozen in marble, Roman history 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.

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