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Curiosities

A History of Ancient Rome

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(public domain)
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Cesare Maccari's painting "Cicero Denounces Cataline" depicts a critical moment in Roman history

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 Thursday to talk about it. (Rebroadcast)

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].