Confronting the Classics: Traditions, Adventures, and Innovations
A National Book Critics Circle Award finalist, this is “the perfect introduction to classical studies, and deserves to become something of a standard work” (Observer).
Mary Beard, drawing on thirty years of teaching and writing about Greek and Roman history, provides a panoramic portrait of the classical world, a book in which we encounter not only Cleopatra and Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar and Hannibal, but also the common people―the millions of inhabitants of the Roman Empire, the slaves, soldiers, and women. How did they live? Where did they go if their marriage was in trouble or if they were broke? Or, perhaps just as important, how did they clean their teeth? Effortlessly combining the epic with the quotidian, Beard forces us along the way to reexamine so many of the assumptions we held as gospel―not the least of them the perception that the Emperor Caligula was bonkers or Nero a monster. With capacious wit and verve, Beard demonstrates that, far from being carved in marble, the classical world is still very much alive.
Introduction: Do Classics Have a Future?
Section One: Ancient Greece
Chapter 1. Builder of Ruins
Chapter 2. Sappho Speaks
Chapter 3. Which Thucydides Can You Trust?
Chapter 4. Alexander: How Great?
Chapter 5. What Made the Greeks Laugh?
Section Two: Heroes & Villains of early Rome
Chapter 6. Who Wanted Remus Dead?
Chapter 7. Hannibal at Bay
Chapter 8. Quousque Tandem …?
Chapter 9. Roman Art Thieves
Chapter 10. Spinning Caesar’s Murder
Section Three: Imperial Rome – Emperors, Empresses & Enemies
Chapter 11. Looking for the Emperor
Chapter 12. Cleopatra: The Myth
Chapter 13. Married to the Empire
Chapter 14. Caligula’s Satire?
Chapter 15. Nero’s Colosseum?
Chapter 16. British Queen
Chapter 17. Bit-part Emperors
Chapter 18. Hadrian and his Villa
Section Four: Rome from the Bottom up
Chapter 19. Ex-slaves and Snobbery
Chapter 20. Fortune-telling, Bad Breath and Stress
Chapter 21. Keeping the Armies out of Rome
Chapter 22. Life and Death in Roman Britain
Chapter 23. South Shields Aramaic
Section Five: Arts & Culture; Tourists & Scholars
Chapter 24. Only Aeschylus Will Do?
Chapter 25. Arms and the Man
Chapter 26. Don’t Forget your Pith Helmet
Chapter 27. Pompeii for the Tourists
Chapter 28. The Golden Bough
Chapter 29. Philosophy meets Archaeology
Chapter 30. What Gets Left Out
Chapter 31. Astérix and the Romans
Afterword: Reviewing Classics