As the essays in this volume reveal, individual and groups of fragments can play a key role in increasing and advancing knowledge about the acquisition and production of medieval books, and in helping to distinguish locally made books from imported ones. Taking an imaginative approach to the source material, the volume goes beyond a strictly medieval context to integrate early modern perspectives that help illuminate the pattern of survival and loss of Latin manuscripts through post-Reformation practices concerning reuse of parchment. In so doing it demonstrates how the use of what might at first appear to be unpromising source material can offer unexpected and rewarding insights into diverse areas of European history and the history of the medieval book.
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.