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Summary

Sunday Times top 10 best seller.

Shortlisted for a British Book Industry Book of the Year Award 2016.

The new series Ultimate Rome: Empire Without Limit is on BBC2.

Ancient Rome matters.

Its history of empire, conquest, cruelty and excess is something against which we still judge ourselves. Its myths and stories - from Romulus and Remus to the Rape of Lucretia - still strike a chord with us. And its debates about citizenship, security and the rights of the individual still influence our own debates on civil liberty today.

SPQR is a new look at Roman history from one of the world's foremost classicists. It explores not only how Rome grew from an insignificant village in Central Italy to a power that controlled territory from Spain to Syria, but also how the Romans thought about themselves and their achievements, and why they are still important to us. Covering 1,000 years of history and casting fresh light on the basics of Roman culture from slavery to running water, as well as exploring democracy, migration, religious controversy, social mobility and exploitation in the larger context of the empire, this is a definitive history of ancient Rome.

SPQR is the Romans' own abbreviation for their state: Senatus Populusque Romanus, 'the Senate and People of Rome'.

©2016 Mary Beard (P)2016 Hachette Audio UK

What listeners say about SPQR

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Boring

Whilst I have no doubt that this will fascinate many people, I found it so incredibly boring that I couldn’t keep my mind on the narration. I would pick up the very occasional interesting snippet, before my mind wandered off again. I wonder whether a different Narrator could have held my attention better, or whether it is better if you already have a good knowledge of the people in the book so that you can visualise it better in your mind. Regardless of the reason, this is undoubtedly one of the most tedious things I have ever listened to.

5 people found this helpful

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poor reading

I had to return this after a couple of chapters because the reading is so poor. Delivery was flat and the reader keeps tripping up over the sentence structure.
No reflection on the author or the content, just the reading.

5 people found this helpful

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BCE???

Wonderful story telling but references to woke BCD is profoundly irritating. It’s BC and AD. Before Christ and Anno Domini. Not BCE!

3 people found this helpful

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Best non fiction book I've ever read/listened to.

Somehow it was very succintand simultaneously gave a complete overview of the Roman Empire. Thoroughly enjoyed.

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The narration makes it really boring

I simply haven't had time to read lately but I really wanted to finish this book, so I've bought it on Audible. I really like Mary Beard.

I'm struggling to pay attention, I keep having to go back, trying to find the last bit I remember.
The lady's voice is lovely, but not for this book. She really does make it really boring. I'm on Chapter 3 and I'm giving up.
I'll just have to make time to read it.

1 person found this helpful

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SPQR Audio book

I enjoyed reading the book so when it was released by Audible I decided to listen to it. Phyllida Nash provides an excellent reading of the book which provides a slightly different look at Rome and the Romans than other authors. I would heartily recommend listening as it is NOT a dull retelling.
Brilliant

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  • Tomasf
  • 09-12-21

Excellent

This was my first book about the Romans I’ve ever read and it was fantastic. Written by the UK’s foremost scholar of Roman history at the end of her long and distinguished career this feels like the definitive history of Rome’s first millennium. I just loved the sensitive and nuanced way she talks about this. The depth of expertise is amazing and she makes it really engaging through lots of interesting stories and details. Overall, you just get the sense of someone who knows this stuff inside out and is not willing to overstate points to make them more interesting but is happy to discuss multiple interpretations while giving her own distinctive take. Personally, i really appreciate this more nuanced take and the healthy amount of myth-busting she gets in to. The only downside is the reader - she’s ok, but not great and stumbles over some sentences (partly because they are not that easy to read) and there are a few (2?) editing errors where sentences are repeated.