A moreishly entertaining and richly informative miscellany of facts about Rome and the Roman world.
Do you know to what use the Romans put the excrement of the kingfisher? Or why a dinner party invitation from the emperor Domitian was such a terrifying prospect? Or why Roman women smelt so odd?
The answers to these questions can be found in SPQR, a compendium of extraordinary facts and anecdotes about ancient Rome and its Empire. Its 500-odd entries range across every area of Roman life and society, from the Empress Livia's cure for tonsillitis to the most reliable Roman methods of contraception.
In SPQR, an instant classic, Mary Beard narrates the history of Rome "with passion and without technical jargon" and demonstrates how "a slightly shabby Iron Age village" rose to become the "undisputed hegemon of the Mediterranean" (Wall Street Journal). Hailed by critics as animating "the grand sweep and the intimate details that bring the distant past vividly to life" (Economist) in a way that makes "your hair stand on end" (Christian Science Monitor) and spanning nearly a thousand years of history, this "highly informative, highly readable" (Dallas Morning News) work examines not just how we think of ancient Rome but challenges the comfortable historical perspectives that have existed for centuries. With its nuanced attention to class, democratic struggles, and the lives of entire groups of people omitted from the historical narrative for centuries, SPQR will to shape our view of Roman history for decades to come.
Hellenistic Astrology: The Study of Fate and Fortune is one of the first comprehensive surveys of this tradition in modern times. The book covers the history, philosophy, and techniques of ancient astrology, with a special focus on demonstrating how many of the fundamental concepts underlying the practice of western astrology originated during the Hellenistic period.