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SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome av Professor…
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SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome (urspr publ 2015; utgåvan 2015)

av Professor Mary Beard (Författare)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
2,858613,532 (4.13)109
"Boken spänner över tusen år av historia, där vi får möta både de berömda romarna och de bortglömda. Nytt ljus kastas över grundläggande drag i den romerska kulturen, från slaveri till rinnande vatten, och demokrati, migration, religionskonflikter, social rörlighet och exploatering utforskas inom romarrikets större sammanhang."… (mer)
Medlem:Cychrus
Titel:SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome
Författare:Professor Mary Beard (Författare)
Info:Profile Books (2015), Edition: Main, 544 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
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SPQR : historien om det antika Rom av Mary Beard (2015)

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The Rooman Empire still holds quite a sway in modern imaginations and culture. Gladiator and the tv show Rome are only two examples of its pop culture hold, and we still quote what may, or may not be, actual Roman lines. Rome is still important to us, and in this book, covering the beginnings of the empire up to the death (roughly) of Commodus, Beard shows the reader what it was like to live in Rome. This is a book about Rome the empire, but also Rome the people. What did it mean to be a Roman citizen?

SPQR: A History of Ancient RomeIt is an overview of the period, and it covers a huge swath of time, so don’t expect to be reading about every detail in the life of Augustus, or Claudius. And I think it works well if you have some familiarity with the history. Its been years and years since I studied anything about Rome, but that knowledge, hiding somewhere in my brain, certainly helped with my reading of this book.

Which isn’t to say that it is an overly academic book, it isn’t, it is a popular history book. And it is very readable. Almost too readable in parts, because, I don’t know about you, but for me, sometimes have a complex read forces me to slow down and take in the facts better than something that doesn’t need to be translated into words my brain understands.

It is also a book that is full of quotable lines, such as

It is a dangerous myth that we are better historians than our predecessors. We are not.

If you have an interest in Roman history, then this is a very good place to start, or even to continue. Although a word of warning, if you are anything like me when you are reading about good old Augustus you’ll be picturing the TV version, not to mention James Purefoy when Beard is talking about Marc Antony.

That is actually one of the things I really enjoyed about the book, how Beard shows us that all we think we know about Rome may not be true. And this goes double when talking about their enemies, or indeed the Romans that ended up on the wrong side of history themselves. That line about victors writing the history certainly comes into play. ( )
  Fence | Jan 5, 2021 |
A good one-volume history of Rome through the early third century. Self-consciously "revisionist", it goes out of its way to challenge and bolster traditional narratives with both archaeological evidence and applications of skepticism and common sense. She also uses these sources to illuminate what daily life was like, and to try to shed light on women, slaves and the non-rich, who are mostly marginalized in traditional Roman narratives.

Shaping all this is a vague theme about the extension of Roman citizenship to ever broader groups — but Beard never develops to the point it could be. She addresses this argument in passing a few times, and then returns to it briefly in an epilogue, but never engages fully with either the struggle or its consequences.

Don't make this your only look at Roman history, but if you've got a basic grounding (I'd recommend Mike Duncan's "The History of Rome" podcast for that if you've got a few hundred hours to burn) SPQR does a good job offering a new angle on familiar history.

(N.B.: I consumed this book in audiobook format, not in print, which might have shaped my experience.) ( )
  dhmontgomery | Dec 13, 2020 |
Mary Beard writes an engaging, fun and accessible history of Rome from its “founding” in 753 BCE up to 212 CE, the year that the emperor Caracalla made every free inhabitant of the empire a Roman citizen. The prologue drew me in immediately. The book reads like a set of introductory classics lectures by a professor who knows her material and can effectively communicate it to a diverse audience. There is something in this book for everyone. The “Further Reading” section at the end (pp. 537-562) is worth the price of entry by itself.

I enjoy that she sprinkles in Latin with translations throughout the text. She also goes into the etymologies of many words, sometimes clinically (e.g. “candidate”, p. 32), and sometimes with gusto (e.g. aborigine, p. 78). She covers not only the overarching themes or battles, but also delves into the daily life of people throughout the Republic and empire. Rich and poor, powerful and slave, urban and provincial, Latin and Greek, and so on, all make an appearance.

Mary Beard brings history, archaeology, political science, economics, psychology, literary studies, and many other tools to her work and this makes the book very enjoyable and useful. I thoroughly enjoyed her incorporating the works and backgrounds of so many writers of history, literature and poetry. Horace, Virgil, Ovid, Livy, Cicero, both Plinys, and so many more make appearances in the text. One phrase that stuck with me was from Tacitus summing up “the Roman imperial project: ‘they create desolation and call it peace’, ‘solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant’” (p. 516).

Many of the problems that Romans faced are still present today: risks of falling into debt, power focused on small class of wealthy individuals, corruption, manufacturing “the other” and demonizing them, double standards of morality, etc. The Roman project does not provide solutions to these problems but it is good to engage with them to see how humans have addressed them in the past and what we can try to do today. ( )
  drew_asson | Dec 3, 2020 |
Let's get this out of the way: this is in no way a history of ancient Rome; this is a history of Rome from its mythical founding up till the year 212. It's heavily biased towards the Republic and the transition to Imperial structures, so you learn virtually nothing about the last, say, 150 of the years the book claims to cover. That's fine, but to say that Beard is breaking new ground by writing about the Republic and early Empire is ridiculous, and to give the book such a broad subtitle is simply misleading.

That aside, it's an exceptionally easy read, with a form that lets Beard and her readers have it both ways: we get to grumble about the silliness of Great Man history and decry the lack of a focus on women, slaves, provinces and colonies etc in so much ancient history... while also reading a book structured around Cicero, the Ides of March, and Augustus, that more or less says "we don't know much about women or slaves etc because, well, they couldn't or didn't write anything". Depending on how you want to understand this you might call it saving the baby of narrative while losing the bathwater of hero-worship, or you might call it ingenuous liberal self-congratulation.

I cannot stress how easy this book is to read. In many ways, it's a model history for the general reader. I stress this because I realize this review is going to sound very critical, and I think this is a good book that everyone should read. It's also very much of the moment, as the previous paragraph suggests.

Less of-the-moment, and much stranger, is Beard contention that there's nothing to write about once Augustus has set in place the imperial framework. History, she assures us, more or less ended, just as everyone has said for generations that history ended in the Byzantine empire. Nothing notable happened. Nothing much changed. That's simply not true. However, it is very fortuitous for the book's structure. The last chapter that describes things changing is 'Fourteen Emperors,' which takes us from Tiberius to Commodus. The last two chapters proper are about class, and colonization/romanization; really more essays on these topics than chapter of a history. Again, this is fine, and good. But the idea that nothing much happened thereafter until the well-recorded 'fall' (was that in the fifth century? Or the sixteenth?)... well, time to head for the bar.

I probably would have thought much more of this book had I never learned that Mary Beard once engaged Boris Johnson in a debate entitled something like "Rome or Greece." But enough: the fact that I was so irritated by this book shows that it's a good history book, which makes readers care about its topic. ( )
  stillatim | Oct 23, 2020 |
I really liked Ms. Beard's engaging writing style that conveys her enthusiasm for her subject. I also liked her awareness that there is more than one side to every story. I also really liked the modern perspective she brought to the subject, which includes a multidisciplinary approach and a focus on "regular folks" as well as the powerful leaders.

I was struck by the fact that many of the problems facing the Roman Empire are still with us today, including debt, inequality of influence and wealth, corruption. Makes me wonder if these are unsolvable problems that will be with us forever. ( )
  LynnB | Sep 15, 2020 |
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By the time Beard has finished, she has explored not only archaic, republican, and imperial Rome, but the eastern and western provinces over which it eventually won control. She deploys an immense range of ancient sources, in both Greek and Latin, and an equally wide range of material objects, from pots and coins to inscriptions, sculptures, reliefs, and temples. She moves with ease and mastery through archaeology, numismatics, and philology, as well as a mass of written documents on stone and papyrus.
 
"She conveys the thrill of puzzling over texts and events that are bound to be ambiguous, and she complicates received wisdom in the process."
tillagd av bookfitz | ändraThe Atlantic, Emily Wilson (Dec 1, 2015)
 
You push past this book’s occasional unventilated corner, however, because Ms. Beard is competent and charming company. In “SPQR” she pulls off the difficult feat of deliberating at length on the largest intellectual and moral issues her subject presents (liberty, beauty, citizenship, power) while maintaining an intimate tone.
tillagd av eereed | ändraNew York Times, Dwight Garner (Nov 17, 2015)
 
"SPQR is pacy, weighty, relevant and iconoclastic. Who knew classics could be so enthralling?"
 
Beard presents a plausible picture of gradual development from a community of warlords to an urban centre with complex political institutions, institutions which systematically favoured the interests of the upper classes yet allowed scope for the votes of the poor to carry weight. We may think of the Greeks as the great originators of western political theory, but Beard emphasises the sophistication of Roman legal thought, already grappling in the late second century BC with the complex ethical issues raised by the government of subject peoples.
 

» Lägg till fler författare (3 möjliga)

Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Beard, Maryprimär författarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Barabás, JózsefÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Bischoff, UlrikeÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Duran, SimonÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Dyer, PeterOmslagsformgivaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Furió, SilviaÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Gil, Luis ReyesÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Mertens, InekeÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Nygaard, AndersÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Piccato, AldoÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Radomski, NorbertÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Randmaa, AldoÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Weilguni, MarinaÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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"Boken spänner över tusen år av historia, där vi får möta både de berömda romarna och de bortglömda. Nytt ljus kastas över grundläggande drag i den romerska kulturen, från slaveri till rinnande vatten, och demokrati, migration, religionskonflikter, social rörlighet och exploatering utforskas inom romarrikets större sammanhang."

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