Staff Pick of the Week – SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome by Mary Beard

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SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome by Mary Beard

Senatus Populusque Romanus (SPQR), or the Senate and the People of Rome, was a phrase commonly used by the Republic of ancient Rome. It can still be seen on the manhole covers and other public works of the city today. It is a fitting title, as Beard’s fantastic history largely focuses on the city of Rome itself. From its mysterious (and somewhat underwhelming) founding until the time of the empire at its height, SPQR explores the continually evolving political systems and daily life of the ancient Mediterranean metropolis. Written with crystal clear prose and an excellent pace, the book will likely satisfy both casual and die-hard readers of Roman history.

“Hailed by critics as animating ‘the grand sweep and the intimate details that bring the distant past vividly to life’ (Economist) in a way that makes ‘your hair stand on end’ (Christian Science Monitor) and spanning nearly a thousand years of history, this ‘highly informative, highly readable’ (Dallas Morning News) work examines not just how we think of ancient Rome but challenges the comfortable historical perspectives that have existed for centuries. With its nuanced attention to class, democratic struggles, and the lives of entire groups of people omitted from the historical narrative for centuries, SPQR will to shape our view of Roman history for decades to come.” –From



“Ancient Rome is important. To ignore the Romans is not just to turn a blind eye to the distant past. Rome still helps to define the way we understand our world and think about ourselves, from high theory to low comedy. After 2,000 years, it continues to underpin Western culture and politics, what we write and how we see the world, and our place in it.” –Mary Beard, SPQR

SPQR is available at the library in print, CD audiobook, and Eaudio through rbDigital!

Thanks for reading!

-George, FTPL

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