In her international bestseller 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 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.
All Literary Arts Series, Create Your Own Series, and Super SAL subscribers receive a copy of Emperor of Rome, shipped to their doors by our partner bookstore, University Book Store. Please note: complimentary subscriptions and single tickets do not include the book.
Q&A with Sarah Levin-Richardson.
With Emperor of Rome, Beard challenges our popular assumptions regarding ancient Rome and its highest leaders. What power did emperors actually have? Was the Roman palace really so bloodstained? She tracks down the emperor at home, at the races, on his travels, even on his way to heaven. She introduces his wives and lovers, rivals and slaves, court jesters and soldiers—and the ordinary people who pressed begging letters into his hands.
Emperor of Rome follows Beard’s previous publications, Confronting the Classics, and SPQR, which were each nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award.
In addition to her authorship, Beard has also given a number of lectures concerning the voice and status of women throughout history. In 2014, she spoke at the British Museum as part of the London Review of Books lecture series. BBC Four broadcast the talk under the title, Oh Do Shut Up, Dear!, a reference to Prime Minister David Cameron’s remarks towards a female MP.
In 2017, Beard gave a second lecture entitled, “Women in Power: from Medusa to Merkel,” in which she discussed the cultural institutions which have historically and presently been designed to exclude women from power.
Alongside her involvement in a number of successful broadcast programs, both as a writer and presenter, Beard is also a popular blogger and a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books.
Sarah Levin-Richardson, an Associate Professor of Classics at the University of Washington, is the author of The Brothel of Pompeii: Sex, Class, and Gender at the Margins of Roman Society (Cambridge 2019). She held a Rome Prize Fellowship at the American Academy in Rome (2014-15), was a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh’s Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (2022), and lectured for the Archaeological Institute of America (2022-23). Her scholarship and teaching explore various aspects of Roman social history, art and architecture, and texts. Her next project is called The Emotional Landscape of Roman Slavery.