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S.P.Q.R.: A History of Ancient Rome
Boston Athenæum began collecting Neoclassical art shortly after its establishment in 1807. At the time Neoclassicism was a hugely popular artistic movement, due in part to the romanticized view of the United States’ system of government being modeled on Greco-Roman and Enlightenment ideals. Mary Beard’s S.P.Q.R.: A History of Ancient Romeprovides insight into the realities of the ancient Roman world and thereby context for understanding the 19th-century Neoclassical movement.
By 63 BCE, the city of Rome was a sprawling, imperial metropolis of more than a million inhabitants. But how did this massive city—the seat of power for an empire that spanned from Spain to Syria—emerge from what was once an insignificant village in central Italy? In S.P.Q.R.,Beard changes our historical perspective, exploring how the Romans themselves challenged the idea of imperial rule, how they responded to terrorism and revolution, and how they invented a new idea of citizenship and nation, while also keeping her eye open for those overlooked in traditional histories: women, slaves and ex-slaves, conspirators, and losers. Like the best detectives, Beard separates fact from fiction, myth and propaganda from historical record. She introduces the familiar characters of Julius Caesar, Cicero, and Nero as well as the untold, the loud women, the shrewd bakers, and the brave jokers. S.P.Q.R.promises to shape our view of Roman history for decades to come.
A Professor of Classics at Cambridge University, Mary Beard, the Classics editor of the Times Literary Supplement,is the author of the best-selling The Fires of Vesuvius.A television presenter and the author of the universally popular blog “A Don’s Life,” Beard delivered the six-part A. W. Mellon Lectures in Washington, DC, in 2011. A frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books,Beard lectures internationally and lives in Cambridge, England.
Registration for this event will begin on October 28 at 9:00 a.m. Please note that online registration closes at 2:00 p.m. on the day of the event. Contact the Events Department directly to register after this time.