SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome

History , Ancient History, Roman History
Paperback Published on: 01/04/2016
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Bookseller Reviews

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One of the best History books in years!
As a former student of History, with a particular specialisation in the Roman Empire, I've been awaiting the paperback of SPQR with a real sense of anticip... READ MORE
Joe at  Harrogate
A vigorous and enlightening look at the people and politics of ancient Rome.
Few books capture the social and political pressures that shaped Rome as well as SPQR. I liked the way Beard views events firstly through the eyes of Roman... READ MORE
Peter Chalker at Waterstones Bedford
“Who could be so indifferent or so idle that they did not want to find out how, and under what kind of political organisation, almost the whole of the inha... READ MORE
Joshua at Berkhamsted
Beard at her best
Beard has created the perfect insight into the history of the romans. She elegantly weaves together the mythical and the factual events of the period in a ... READ MORE
Megan  Metcalfe


Roman history is always being rewritten, and always has been; in some ways we know more about ancient Rome than the Romans themselves did. Roman history, in other words, is a work in progress. This book is my contribution to that bigger project; it offers my version of why it matters.

Ancient Rome matters.

Its history of empire, conquest, cruelty and excess is something against which we still judge ourselves. Its myths and stories - from Romulus and Remus to the Rape of Lucretia - still strike a chord with us. And its debates about citizenship, security and the rights of the individual still influence our own debates on civil liberty today.

SPQR is a new look at Roman history from one of the world's foremost classicists. It explores not only how Rome grew from an insignificant village in central Italy to a power that controlled territory from Spain to Syria, but also how the Romans thought about themselves and their achievements, and why they are still important to us.

SPQR is the Romans' own abbreviation for their state: Senatus Populusque Romanus, 'the Senate and People of Rome'.

Covering 1,000 years of history, and casting fresh light on the basics of Roman culture from slavery to running water, as well as exploring democracy, migration, religious controversy, social mobility and exploitation in the larger context of the empire, this is a definitive history of ancient Rome.

Arguably Britain’s best-known classicist Mary Beard is a Professor of Classics at Cambridge University and classics editor of the TLS. Amongst her best known publications are Women and Power, Pompeii (accompanying the BBC television series of the same name), Confronting the Classics and It’s a Don’s Life (based on her regular column for The Times.

  • Publisher: Profile Books Ltd
  • ISBN: 9781846683817
  • Number of pages: 608
  • Weight: 510g
  • Dimensions: 190 x 128 x 38 mm

Customer Reviews

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The lot.
A bit hard to get into at the beginning but soon it gets very interesting.
david battson
If you like Roman history, then this is an excellent book.
Even if you do not have a love of this period of history, I still think this book is a good educational read. The book begins with the founding of Rome and... READ MORE
John Gilbert
Worth a read if you want to understand how ancient Rome has shaped this world.
Felipe Dinis
Alluring erudition
Mary Beard shares her fascination with the subject in sumptuous prose.
Roy Walton
The second half almost salvaged it.
At first the book seemed engaging and interesting to me but as it went on the pacing and overall style of writing just did not suit me. As I read on furthe... READ MORE
Aidan H E  Rogers
SPQR. Author Mary Beard
This is a very informative book indeed and gives a very in depth account of the early Roman Empire, I have found it very hard to put down once I started to... READ MORE
Malcolm Stewart
A triumph in detailing Roman Empire history
A throughly enjoyable read. Intensely researched but presented by the author in a fashion that is easy to digest and utterly fascinating. The book leads yo... READ MORE
Andy Cox