At one time, Rome was just an insignificant village in central Italy. At its height, it was, as renowned classicist Mary Beard points out, a sprawling imperial metropolis of more than a million people that served as the capital for a vast empire. Beard says ancient Rome is important because it underpins Western culture and politics, and in a new book she chronicles how the Republic grew, persisted, and declined by exploring how the Romans thought of themselves. She joins us Tuesday to talk about it.
Mary Beard is a professor of classics at Cambridge University, a blogger, a BBC presenter, and a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books. She's the author of numerous books, including The Fire of Vesuvius and Confronting the Classics. Her new book is called SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome [Amazon|Indiebound].