The fraternal relationship first took shape at home, where inheritance laws and practices fostered cooperation among brothers in managing family property and caring for relatives. Appeals to fraternal pietas in political rhetoric drew a large audience in the forum, because brothers' devotion symbolized the mos maiorum, the traditional morality that grounded Roman politics and celebrated brothers fighting together on the battlefield. Fraternal pietas and fratricide became powerful metaphors for Romans as they grappled with the experience of recurrent civil war in the late Republic and with the changes brought by empire. Mythological figures like Romulus and Remus epitomized the fraternal symbolism that pervaded Roman society and culture. In The Brothers of Romulus, Bannon combines literary criticism with historical legal analysis for a better understanding of Roman conceptions of brotherhood.
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.