Join thousands of book lovers
You can, at any time, unsubscribe from our newsletters.
Explores our rich classical heritage - from Greek drama to Roman jokes, introducing some larger-than-life characters of history, such as Alexander the Great, and Nero. The author invites you into the places where Greeks and Romans lived and died, from the palace at Knossos to Cleopatra's Alexandria - and reveals the often hidden world of slaves.
Contains chapters that include Street Life, Earning a Living: Baker, Banker and Garum Maker (who ran the city), and The Pleasure of the Body: Food, Wine, Sex and Baths. This book offers an insight into the workings of a Roman town.
A National Book Critics Circle Award finalist, this is "the perfect introduction to classical studies, and deserves to become something of a standard work" (Observer).
What made the Romans laugh? Was ancient Rome a carnival, filled with practical jokes and hearty chuckles? Or was it a carefully regulated culture in which the uncontrollable excess of laughter was a force to fear-a world of wit, irony, and knowing smiles? How did Romans make sense of laughter? What role did it play in the world of the law courts, the imperial palace, or the spectacles of the arena? Laughter in Ancient Rome explores one of the most intriguing, but also trickiest, of historical subjects. Drawing on a wide range of Roman writing-from essays on rhetoric to a surviving Roman joke book-Mary Beard tracks down the giggles, smirks, and guffaws of the ancient Romans themselves. From ancient "e;monkey business"e; to the role of a chuckle in a culture of tyranny, she explores Roman humor from the hilarious, to the momentous, to the surprising. But she also reflects on even bigger historical questions. What kind of history of laughter can we possibly tell? Can we ever really "e;get"e; the Romans' jokes?
Volume two reveals the extraordinary diversity of ancient Roman religion. A comprehensive sourcebook, it presents a wide range of documents illustrating religious life in the Roman world - from the foundations of the city in the eighth century BC to the Christian capital more than a thousand years later. Each document is given a full introduction, explanatory notes and bibliography, and acts as a starting point for further discussion. Through paintings, sculptures, coins and inscriptions, as well as literary texts in translation, the book explores the major themes and problems of Roman religion, such as sacrifice, the religious calendar, divination, ritual, and priesthood. Starting from the archaeological traces of the earliest cults of the city, it finishes with a series of texts in which Roman authors themselves reflect on the nature of their own religion, its history, even its funny side. Judaism and Christianity are given full coverage, as important elements in the religious world of the Roman empire.
This book offers a radical new survey of more than a thousand years of religious life at Rome. It sets religion in its full cultural context, between the primitive hamlet of the eighth century BC and the cosmopolitan, multicultural society of the first centuries of the Christian era. The narrative account is structured around a series of broad themes: how to interpret the Romans' own theories of their religious system and its origins; the relationship of religion and the changing politics of Rome; the religious importance of the layout and monuments of the city itself; changing ideas of religious identity and community; religious innovation - and, ultimately, revolution. The companion volume, Religions of Rome: A Sourcebook, sets out a wide range of documents richly illustrating the religious life in the Roman world.
The essays in this volume grew out of a symposium held at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, on June 18 and 19, 2014. An exhibition of the same title was held at the Metropolitan Museum from December 12, 2017 through March 11, 2018, and at Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire, from April 18 through July 21, 2018.
A reexamination of the most extraordinary of ancient ceremonies, this book explores the magnificence of the Roman Triumph-but also its darker side, as it prompted the Romans to question as well as celebrate military glory. This work is a testament to the profound importance of the triumph in Roman culture-and for monarchs and generals ever since.
This textbook outlines the factors that every student must assess for a proper understanding of the period, from the attitudes of the aristocracy and the role of state religion to the function of political institutions.
WINNER OF THE WOLFSON HISTORY PRIZE 2008'The world's most controversial classicist debunks our movie-style myths about the Roman town with meticulous scholarship and propulsive energy' Laura Silverman, Daily MailThe ruins of Pompeii, buried by an explosion of Vesuvius in 79 CE, offer the best evidence we have of everyday life in the Roman empire. This remarkable book rises to the challenge of making sense of those remains, as well as exploding many myths: the very date of the eruption, probably a few months later than usually thought; or the hygiene of the baths which must have been hotbeds of germs; or the legendary number of brothels, most likely only one; or the massive death count, maybe less than ten per cent of the population.An extraordinary and involving portrait of an ancient town, its life and its continuing re-discovery, by Britain's favourite classicist.
This Very Short Introduction to Classics links a haunting temple on a lonely mountainside to the glory of ancient Greece and the grandeur of Rome, and to Classics within modern culture-from Jefferson and Byron to Asterix and Ben-Hur. We are all Classicists - we come into touch with the Classics daily: in our culture, politics, medicine, architecture, language, and literature. What are the true roots of these influences, however, and how do our interpretations of these aspects of the Classics differ from their original reception? This introduction to the Classics begins with a visit to the British Museum to view the frieze which once decorated the Apollo Temple at Bassae. Through these sculptures, John Hendersonand Mary Beard prompt us to consider the significance of Classics as a means of discovery and enquiry, its value in terms of literature, philposophy, and culture, and its importance as a source of imagery. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Companion to the major new BBC documentary series CIVILISATIONS, presented by Mary Beard, David Olusoga and Simon SchamaThe idea of 'civilisation' has always been debated, even fought over. At the heart of those debates lies the big question of how people - from prehistory to the present day - have depicted themselves and others, both human and divine. Distinguished historian Mary Beard explores how art has shaped, and been shaped by, the people who created it. How have we looked at these images? Why have they sometimes been so contentious? In Part One, she examines how the human figure was portrayed in some of the earliest art in the world - from the gigantic stone heads carved by the Olmec of Central America to the statues and pottery of the ancient Greeks to the terracotta army of the first emperor of China. And she explains how one particular version of representing the human body, which goes back to the ancient world, still influences (and sometimes distorts) how people in the West see their own culture and that of others. Throughout this story, she is concerned not only with the artists who made images, but with those who have used them, viewed them and interpreted them. In other words: How Do We Look? In Part Two, Mary Beard turns to the relationship between art and religion. For centuries, religion has inspired art: from the Hindu temple at Angkor Wat to the Christian mosaics of Ravenna to the exquisite calligraphy of Islamic mosques. But making the divine visible in the human world has never been simple. All religions have wrestled with idolatry and iconoclasm, destroying art as well as creating it - and asking how to look with The Eye of Faith.
An updated edition of the Sunday Times BestsellerBritain's best-known classicist Mary Beard, is also a committed and vocal feminist. With wry wit, she revisits the gender agenda and shows how history has treated powerful women. Her examples range from the classical world to the modern day, from Medusa and Athena to Theresa May and Hillary Clinton. Beard explores the cultural underpinnings of misogyny, considering the public voice of women, our cultural assumptions about women's relationship with power, and how powerful women resist being packaged into a male template.A year on since the advent of #metoo, Beard looks at how the discussions have moved on during this time, and how that intersects with issues of rape and consent, and the stories men tell themselves to support their actions. In trademark Beardian style, using examples ancient and modern, Beard argues, 'it's time for change - and now!' From the author of international bestseller SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome.
Mary Beard is one of the world's best-known classicists - a brilliant academic, with a rare gift for communicating with a wide audience both though her TV presenting and her books.In a series of sparkling essays, she explores our rich classical heritage - from Greek drama to Roman jokes, introducing some larger-than-life characters of classical history, such as Alexander the Great, Nero and Boudicca. She invites you into the places where Greeks and Romans lived and died, from the palace at Knossos to Cleopatra's Alexandria - and reveals the often hidden world of slaves. She takes a fresh look at both scholarly controversies and popular interpretations of the ancient world, from The Golden Bough to Asterix.The fruit of over thirty years in the world of classical scholarship, Confronting the Classics captures the world of antiquity and its modern significance with wit, verve and scholarly expertise.
Her central themes are the classics, universities and teaching - and much else besides. In this second collection following on from the success of It's a Don's Life, Beard ponders whether Gaddafi's home is Roman or not, we share her 'terror of humiliation' as she enters 'hairdresser country' and follow her dilemma as she wanders through the quandary of illegible handwriting on examination papers and 'longing for the next dyslexic' - on whose paper the answers are typed, not handwritten.Praise for It's a Don's Life'Delightful... it has the virtues of brevity, eclecticism and learning worn lightly... if they'd had Mary Beard on their side back then, the Romans would still have their empire' Daily Mail
Sunday Times Top 10 BestsellerShortlisted for a British Book Industry Book of the Year Award 2016The new series Ultimate Rome: Empire Without Limit is on BBC2 nowAncient Rome matters.Its history of empire, conquest, cruelty and excess is something against which we still judge ourselves. Its myths and stories - from Romulus and Remus to the Rape of Lucretia - still strike a chord with us. And its debates about citizenship, security and the rights of the individual still influence our own debates on civil liberty today.SPQR is a new look at Roman history from one of the world's foremost classicists. It explores not only how Rome grew from an insignificant village in central Italy to a power that controlled territory from Spain to Syria, but also how the Romans thought about themselves and their achievements, and why they are still important to us. Covering 1,000 years of history, and casting fresh light on the basics of Roman culture from slavery to running water, as well as exploring democracy, migration, religious controversy, social mobility and exploitation in the larger context of the empire, this is a definitive history of ancient Rome.SPQR is the Romans' own abbreviation for their state: Senatus Populusque Romanus, 'the Senate and People of Rome'.
Mary Beard's by now famous blog A Don's Life has been running on the TLS website for nearly three years. In it she has made her name as a wickedly subversive commentator on the world in which we live. Her central themes are the classics, universities and teaching -- and much else besides. What are academics for? Who was the first African Roman emperor? Looting -- ancient and modern. Are modern exams easier? Keep lesbos for the lesbians. Did St Valentine exist? What made the Romans laugh? That is just a small taste of this selection (and some of the choicer responses) which will inform, occasionally provoke and cannot fail to entertain.
The ruined silhouette of the Parthenon on its hill above Athens is one of the world's most famous images. Its 'looted' Elgin Marbles are a global cause celebre. But what actually are they? In a revised and updated edition, Mary Beard, award winning writer, reviewer and leading Cambridge classicist, tells the history and explains the significance of the Parthenon, the temple of the virgin goddess Athena, the divine patroness of ancient Athens.
The Colosseum was Imperial Rome's monument to warfare. Like a cathedral of death it towered over the city and invited its citizens, 50,000 at a time, to watch murderous gladiatorial games. It is now visited by two million visitors a year (Hitler was among them). Award winning classicist, Mary Beard with Keith Hopkins, tell the story of Rome's greatest arena: how it was built; the gladiatorial and other games that were held there; the training of the gladiators; the audiences who revelled in the games, the emperors who staged them and the critics. And the strange after story - the Colosseum has been fort, store, church, and glue factory.