This week, I’m excited to share with you all a new selection from the Winter catalog of The Folio Society. As many of you know, I’m a devoted fan of The Folio Society editions of classic literature, and the three I received so generously from the publisher last month have done nothing but encourage my adoration. This week, I want to highlight Mary Beard’s S.P.Q.R.
I’m drawn in by the incredible cover art and the interior illustrations that The Folio Society are known for, and one thing I truly appreciate about their editions is the thought and design they put into their sturdy slipcovers.
This edition, in particular, is bound in a beautifully marbled red with gold lettering, evocative of the powerful and often romanticized Roman empire. It seems to me the perfect fit for famed historian Mary Beard’s impressive and “definitive account of ancient Rome.”
In this bestselling account, Mary Beard considers how Rome grew from an insignificant village to a genuine superpower. Her sparkling narrative also reveals the Romans’ view of themselves and their achievements, and why they remain so important to us. Covering 1,000 years of Rome’s past, and casting fresh light on the basics of Roman culture, this breathtaking survey blends epic events with the colourful experiences of ordinary citizens to provide a definitive history of ancient Rome.
The book contains more than 45 specially selected sumptuous full-colour images. The glorious reproductions collected here include beautiful Etruscan jewellery; details from Trajan’s column showing a fortified camp; a stone relief depicting Praetorian officers; statuary from Hadrian’s extraordinary villa at Tivoli; and votive objects from an archaic Roman temple site. Interspersed throughout the text are 60 black-and-white images: a coin showing the sweeping hair of Mithradates; the crumbling remains of Hadrian’s Wall; an image of the arch of Constantine; and the tombstone of a devoted couple (both former slaves) who met when the bride was aged just 7.
About the Author: Mary Beard is one of the most original and best-known classicists working today. She is Professor of Classics at Newnham College, Cambridge, and the Classics editor of the Times Literary Supplement. Her books include the Wolfson Prize-winning Pompeii: The Life of a Roman Town (2008), Women & Power: A Manifesto (2017) and Civilisations: How Do We Look?/The Eye of Faith (2018). Her popular TLS blog has been collected in the books It’s a Don’s Life (2009) and All in a Don’s Day (2012). Mary Beard is a Fellow of the British Academy and was awarded an OBE in 2013 and a damehood in 2018 for services to classical scholarship.
About the Publisher: For 70 years, The Folio Society has been publishing beautiful illustrated editions of the world’s greatest books. It believes that the literary content of a book should be matched by its physical form. With specially researched images or newly commissioned illustrations, many of its editions are further enhanced with introductions written by leading figures in their fields: novelists, journalists, academics, scientists and artists. Exceptional in content and craftsmanship, and maintaining the very highest standards of fine book production, Folio Society editions last for generations.
Book copy and all images are courtesy of The Folio Society. Feel free to visit their NEWS AND BLOGS page for more information. In case you missed them, take a look at my Folio Friday features for THE THOMAS HARDY COLLECTION and for Ursula K. Le Guin’s THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS.