Cambridge professor Mary Beard has been considered one of the leading experts on classical antiquity in Great Britain for years. Her casual, straightforward TV programs have undoubtedly contributed to this. And this striking appearance is also making waves on the book front. Her SPQR, in which she summarized 1,000 years of Roman history, became an outright bestseller.
A path that her latest book Emperor of Rome could also take. Instead of a boring chronological summary, Beard delves deeper into the lives the Roman emperors led. How much power did they actually have? How was the follow-up arranged? Did they have contact with the ordinary man on the street? Who were their closest confidantes? Did they know feelings like love and passion? Or were they simply puppets, played by the real forces who preferred to hide in the back rooms of the Senate? Beard does not provide a comprehensive answer to all these questions, but treats us to a colorful collection of facts and anecdotes that provide a refreshing view of the life and work of a ‘princeps’.
Smoothly written and always substantiated by writings, graffiti, coins and other archaeological finds, this is an entertaining exposé by an expert who feels like a fish in water in this matter.