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  • Emperor of Rome

  • Ruling the Ancient World
  • By: Mary Beard
  • Narrated by: Mary Beard
  • Length: 14 hrs and 44 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (13 ratings)

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Emperor of Rome

By: Mary Beard
Narrated by: Mary Beard
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Publisher's Summary

In her international best-seller 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 is not your usual chronological account of Roman rulers, one after another: the mad Caligula, the monster Nero, the philosopher Marcus Aurelius. Beard asks bigger questions: What power did emperors actually have? Was the Roman palace really so bloodstained?

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.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2023 Mary Beard (P)2023 Profile Books Ltd
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting in parts

Covers the period from the crossing of the rubicon until the crisis of the third century.

Suffers from a disjointed structure and lack of narrative. Instead of standard timeline, content is grouped under various headings such as “funeral rites” / “dinner parties” / “houses” etc.

There are plenty of interesting nuggets sprinkled throughout this well researched book, a personal favourite is the weird and wonderful dinner parties held by the various emperors, with all black food and costumes, guests being suffocated by an excess of rose petals, or dwarves being coated in food and served as part of the dinner spread (no cannibalism here thankfully).

Unfortunately the interesting content is separated by long stretches of pointless information and historiography which could better have been placed as footnotes rather than forming part of the main book.

Definitely worth picking up if you are already familiar with the narrative structure of Roman history but may be confusing for readers new to the topic.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Informative and engaging

Another fine volume on the Roman Empire read in a refreshingly nuanced manner. Not a dry scholarly text, though the scholarship behind the chapters is extensive. The author's narration is lively, fun in places, measured in others, and never pedestrian. I enjoyed the audiobook to the extent that I purchased the hardcover version as well.

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