SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome

15 CDs. 18:30 hrs. Recorded Bks. 2015. ISBN 9781501908521. $123.75. 2 MP3-CDs, digital download. HIST
OrangeReviewStarIn this accessible history of Rome's first millennium, classicist Beard (The Fires of Vesuvius) tracks the city from mythologically shrouded origins to domination of the classical world, placing particular emphasis on Roman citizenship. To unearth the usually hidden experiences of women, slaves, and everyday workers, she uses evidence from archaeological discoveries, graffiti scrawled across the empire, traces of Roman pollution in Greenland, even lab work on ancient excrement. Maintaining that "the empire created the emperors," Beard focuses on the first emperors not as individuals but as pieces in the cultural and political machinery that led to Rome's power—and vulnerability. Listeners will emerge with a better understanding of why engaging with ancient Rome can help modern citizens learn more about themselves, the past, and Western culture.
VERDICT Crisply narrated by Phyllida Nash, this work will appeal to both casual and more serious listeners interested in a fresh look at ancient history. ["A must-read for any classical studies readers, and strongly recommended for anyone with an interest in history": LJ 11/1/15 starred review of the Liveright: Norton hc.]

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