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Mary Beard

Renowned classicist Mary Beard takes us back in time to ancient Rome, in this lecture about the making of her latest book, Emperor of Rome.

In this episode of The Archive Project, we feature renowned author, Mary Beard. Probably the most famous classicist in the world, Mary Beard is best known for her international bestsellers SPQR, about the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, and Women & Power: A Manifesto, a study of ancient and modern attitudes toward female speech. She joined us in the fall of 2023 to talk about her latest book Emperor of Rome, which explores the power of the office of Roman emperor.

Given the huge amount that has already written about the classical world, it’s hard to imagine what there’s left to say. And yet, Beard has found a large and eager reading audience precisely because she takes material that is both familiar and remote, often presented with great formality, and humanizes the people depicted therein, be they emperors or their servants. She breathes life into the ancient world and helps us experience it in all its complexity and contradictions with humor, irony, and love for her subject.

Beard was a professor at Cambridge University for more than 40 years and her talk is a rare treat of getting to hear from someone who has spent a lifetime talking about their work, and making it accessible and relevant, to thousands of students.

Find your copy of Emperor of Rome

Mary Beard is the author of the best-selling The Fires of Vesuvius and the National Book Critics Circle Award–nominated Confronting the Classics and SPQR. A popular blogger and television personality, Beard is a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books. She lives in England.