What was the Roman empire really like?


Of all the periods of earlier times, we are probably most familiar with (or more accurately think we are familiar with) that of the Roman empire because of the heavy focus of commercial films dealing with it. But how accurate are the perceptions we gleaned from them? Dave Davies of Fresh Air has a fascinating interview with historian Mary Beard about her new book SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome, where she discusses some of the myths about the rise and fall of Rome and describes what life then was really like, and discusses the many films and TV series made about that period.

The whole interview lasts slightly less than 40 minutes but the time just flew by.

(Note: For some reason, the embedding of the audio link sometimes does not work for me. If that is the case for you, follow the link above. Or you can read the transcript.)

Comments

  1. Nick Gotts says

    Of all the periods of earlier times, we are probably most familiar with (or more accurately think we are familiar with) that of the Roman empire because of the heavy focus of commercial films dealing with it.

    You mean Biggus Dickus wasn’t a historical character???

    Thanks for the recommendation – I’ll certainly be listening to this!

  2. Rob Grigjanis says

    Nick Gotts @3:

    You mean Biggus Dickus wasn’t a historical character???

    One thing I learned from Beard’s show was that some Romans did choose, er, comparable names for themselves.

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