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SPQR

A History of Ancient Rome
Written by: Mary Beard
Narrated by: Phyllida Nash
Length: 18 hrs and 30 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (40 ratings)
Price: CDN$ 21.48
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Publisher's Summary

Ancient 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'.

©2015 Mary Beard (P)2015 Audible, Ltd

What the critics say

"She's 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." ( The Guardian)
"An irrepressible enthusiast with a refreshing disregard for convention." ( Financial Times)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Lived every second.

Much more than just a history lesson. The writing and performance were brilliant. Hats off to Mary Beard and Phyllida Nash.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A Good Overview of Roman Social History

There is a lot to commend this book. I think the highlight of Mary Beard's work is he social and cultural sketches she draws of daily life for all different levels of society. You will learn a lot about the various classes of Rome and how they lived their lives whether it be the rich in their villas on the Palatine Hill, or the poor gathering in bars to gamble and try to find some hope of getting rich, or freed slaves who try to carve out a place for themselves in the world, or women who wanted to show themselves to be good models of virtue. All of these are well addressed in an accessible and interesting way.
On the other hand if you are looking for political history, this is little more than a brief overview. She rushes quite quickly and with little detail on 1,000 years of Roman history. Though she hits the highlights, this book will leave a lot left to learn in that arena.

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Very Enjoyable

Nothing else needs to be said, good book and we’ll read. Really enjoyed it and recommended to friends and family.

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great book

Great story, well described, lots of historic details, the british accent doesn't help much a canadian listener. #Audible1

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Loved it. Good narration

I thought it was a bit haphazard at the beginning but loved it later. Recommend!

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spqr review C Leach

The book is very informative.
well done. learned new information and different perspectives on rome

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Really Dry

really dry, written and performed. More information than colorful historical imagery. needs to be read more than once honestly.

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  • William Blignaut
  • 2017-07-16

An exceptional book

This is without a doubt one of the most provocative books written in recent years on the subject of Rome. Mary Beard handles the subject with precision and systematically explores themes which seldom get covered in the normal course of writing. This is an exceptional book.

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  • Robyn
  • 2016-01-09

In depth look at all things (ancient) Roman

My 3-star rating is a compromise between my objective and subjective opinions of this book. Objectively it is a stunner – such a wide-ranging meticulously researched and engagingly written history of 1000 years of Rome and its empire and people can only be described as a masterpiece which warrants a wholehearted 5-star rating. Mary Beard presents the fruits of her rigorous scholarship in an almost conversational manner making it accessible to anyone from novices to those who are already familiar with Rome and its history. So far, so good. But subjectively, even though I knew I was listening to a book which ticked all the boxes, I did not actually enjoy it. Despite the wealth and variety of material, mostly I found it flat. I found the narration flat too, but don’t know whether it was the narrator or the material. It felt like reading a history book in preparation for an exam or assignment, a duty rather than a pleasure. So, five stars for content and one star for grabbing my attention – that makes an overall rating of three stars.