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Emperor of Rome

The Instant Sunday Times Bestseller

Professor Mary Beard author


Publisher:Profile Books Ltd

Published:4th Jul '24


Available for immediate dispatch.

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Emperor of Rome cover

A sweeping account of the social and political world of the Roman emperors by 'the world's most famous classicist' (Guardian)

THE INSTANT SUNDAY TIMES TOP TEN & NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER BLACKWELL'S NON-FICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR SHORTLISTED FOR THE WATERSTONES BOOK OF THE YEAR 2023 'Extraordinary ... a deliciously varied tapestry of detail drawn from across nearly three centuries' Telegraph What was it really like to rule and be ruled in the Ancient Roman world? In her international best-seller SPQR, Mary Beard told the thousand-year story of ancient Rome. Now, she shines her spotlight on the emperors who ruled the Roman empire, from Julius Caesar (assassinated 44 BCE) to Alexander Severus (assassinated 235 CE). Emperor of Rome is not your usual chronological account of Roman rulers, one after another: the mad Caligula, the monster Nero, the philosopher Marcus Aurelius. Beard asks bigger questions: What power did emperors actually have? Was the Roman palace really so bloodstained? Emperor of Rome goes directly to the heart of Roman (and our own) fantasies about what it was to be Roman, offering an account of Roman history as it has never been presented before.

Britain's most famous classicist [is] at the peak of her powers ... Even more interesting than the insight into the imperial elite is the light the book sheds on the modern world -- Sathnam Sanghera * The Times *
Magisterial ... A beautifully written product of a lifetime of deep scholarly learning -- Martin Wolf * FT *
A vibrant alternate history [which] eschews chronological biography of the emperors for an often riotous examination of the fine line between power, performance and the propaganda that shaped their rule * Sunday Telegraph *
Lavishly illustrated ... erudite and entertaining ... Beard is so appealing and approachable that even the recalcitrant reader who previously gave not a single thought to the Roman Empire will warm to her subject -- Jennifer Szalai * New York Times *
[Mary Beard is] the best in the business -- Dan Snow * History Hit *
The Cambridge classicist has always had the sharpest of eyes for telling detail and colourful anecdote. There's no shortage of these in Emperor of Rome, Beard's colossal undertaking that covers nearly 300 years of one-man rule from Julius Caesar to Alexander Severus -- 'Paperbacks of the Week' * Sunday Times *
A beautiful book ... [Beard is] really good at thinking about some of the echoes between Roman politics and British politics, including today -- Rory Stewart * The Rest is Politics *
The most famous historian of Rome sets the record straight -- Olivia B. Waxman * Time Magazine *
A masterly group portrait, an invitation to think skeptically but not contemptuously of a familiar civilization ... Ms. Beard punctuates her erudite but easy prose with striking turns of phrase and arresting observations -- Kyle Harper * WSJ *
An enthralling analysis of the wild stories that circulated about Rome's ruthless rulers ... Beard does a wonderful job of taking us into the maelstrom of fantasy, desire and projection that swirled around these rulers -- Kathryn Hughes * Guardian *
An extraordinary investigation into the gulf between the experience and the narrative of Roman autocracy ... Beard weaves a deliciously varied tapestry of detail drawn from across nearly three centuries -- Honor Cargill-Martin * Telegraph *
Good emperors may not have been as virtuous as they were painted, nor bad ones so wicked ... all told in trademark exuberant Beard style ... Those familiar with her TV series can hear her voice in the way she writes, her passion for the subject oozing off the page -- Patrick Kidd * The Times *
Chatty, fun, argumentative, fearless, and ferociously well-informed -- Robert McCrum * Independent *
Fascinating ... hugely rewarding * Irish Times *
Imposing, colourful, entertaining ... Distils a vast amount of scholarship into 410 pages * Irish Independent *
Surprising and fascinating ... Explores what we can and can't know about the men who ruled the Roman Empire, and what the lurid stories about so many of them tell us about the anxieties and fantasies of Rome's ordinary citizens and the remarkable resilience of the regime -- Sam Leith * Spectator Book Club Podcast *
For once, the horse races and the Circus Maximus, the true centre of Roman popular culture, get their rightful pride of place ... [The Roman emperors] were bringers of peace and insatiable conquerors, monsters on display and civilised citizens, gods and frightened mortals ... Beard's book is alert to these different layers of meaning -- Georgy Kantor * Critic *
Endlessly entertaining ... A close-up examination of Rome's greatest or most notorious figures ... Beard is never afraid to hint of modern parallels with the world of Ancient Rome, which can superficially seem so remote from our own -- Christopher Hart * Mail on Sunday *
A colourful tour of 30 emperors spanning over 250 years [through] the glitz and gore of Rome * Economist *
[Mary Beard] has always had the sharpest eyes for telling detail and colourful anecdote * Sunday Times *
Vividly brings to life the history of Ancient Rome -- Jackie Brown * Good Housekeeping *
[Mary Beard is] the reigning Queen of Classics -- Harry Mount * Spectator *
As always, Beard is a brilliant guide ... Emperor of Rome charts a very different path [to] imperial biographies -- Clifford Ando * TLS *
Beard [is] the rock star scholar of Ancient Rome -- Jo Ellison * Financial Times *
Eloquent, charming, exuberant ... [A] lively and engaging way of examining what the actions and "job description" of an emperor can reveal about the psychology of power -- Alexandra Pollard * i newspaper *
It's vital to see these individuals not just as characters in macabre stories but as hard-working bureaucrats ... from the path to the top to the almost inevitable sticky end -- Matt Elton * BBC History Magazine *
A national treasure ... combining accessibility with profound knowledge lightly worn -- Harry Sidebottom * Literary Review *
A fascinating exploration of assumptions about how the emperors of Rome from Julius Caesar to Alexander Severus acceded to the throne, ruled over an empire [and] even became gods ... Beard has redefined what it meant to be an emperor of Rome -- Ming Kit Wong * Oxford Political Review *
Praise for Mary Beard: 'An accomplished scholar and lively debunker...Beard informs and entertains without ever patronising her readers. What she touches turns to light * Independent *
Mary Beard has pulled off that rare trick of becoming a don with a high media profile who hasn't sold out, who is absolutely respected by the academy for her scholarship ... what she says is always powerful and interesting * Guardian *
Dynamically, wittily and authoritatively brings the ancient world to life -- Simon Sebag Montefiore
An irrepressible enthusiast with a refreshing disregard for convention * FT *

ISBN: 9781846683794

Dimensions: 198mm x 130mm x 38mm

Weight: 440g

512 pages