How Commoners And The Conquered Viewed Ancient Rome – With Professor Mary Beard


Ancient Rome continues to captivate and capture the attention of people worldwide 1600 years after Alaric and the Visigoths sacked the empire’s western capitol. But ancient Rome lives in our modern legal systems, languages, literature and politics.

Mary Beard, a professor of classics at the University of Cambridge is considered one of the world’s preeminent scholars on the Roman Republic and Empire and she’s our guest on Talkenomics. Her latest book, SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome, Professor Beard reveals the secrets of Rome’s success based on its own culture, history and cultural myths. She approaches that history from the viewpoint of the people often overlooked by historians; average Roman citizens and conquered peoples drawing on writings which survive from the historic period.

Modern readers can understand the ancient Roman citizens’ financial problems caused by the debasement of money and political strife created by politicians who borrowed huge amounts of money in a winner takes all attempt to be elected to the prized position of Consul. People alive today can find the roots of globalization in 212 AD, the year Emperor Caracalla granted citizenship to all freemen living within the empire’s borders. Mary Beard helps us understand why life in Ancient Rome is similar to our lives today on this edition of Talkenomics.