Book review: S.P.Q.R. A History of Ancient Rome

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16 January 2019
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Another of the Folio society’s special edition printings and this time’s it’s Mary Beard’s history of Rome.

 

Author: MARY BEARD

Reviewed by: Duncan Evans

 

Buy your copy here.

 

Another of the Folio society’s special edition printings and this time’s it’s Mary Beard’s history of Rome. As well as coming in a fabulous hardback with printed cloth cover, running to a whopping 512 pages, it features five maps and 46 colour illustrations, especially selected for this edition. The images cover everything from fortified camps to Etruscan jewellery. The written content covers the military side with the Punic Wars against Carthage, the Spartacus uprising and how the Roman Empire spread across Europe, arriving in Britain. However, it also describes what it was like for the ordinary Roman citizen and what they got up to when enjoying themselves – gambling, drinking, feasts and festivals. It’s the human touch to the grandiose Roman achievements that brings the narrative alive.

 

The history is also about how Rome grew and what made it great, rather than what caused it’s downfall and end. To this end the interspersing of the colour imagers, and the mono illustrations and photos add relevance to each section, rather than be huddled together in the middle. It’s a beautiful book and while it isn’t cheap it is worth every penny for the discerning bookshelf.

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Buy your copy here

• Folio Society

• 506 pages • Hardback • £65

 

As reviewed in The Armourer January 2019

 

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