From the bestselling author of SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome, the fascinating story of how images of Roman autocrats have influenced art, culture, and the representation of power for more than 2,000 years
What does the face of power look like? Who gets commemorated in art and why? And how do we react to statues of politicians we deplore? Against a background of today’s “sculpture wars” Mary Beard tells the story of how for more than two millennia portraits of the rich, powerful, and famous in the western world have been shaped by the image of Roman emperors, especially the “Twelve Caesars”.
From the ruthless Julius Caesar to the fly-torturing Domitian via the wonderfully mad Caligula Twelve Caesars asks why these murderous autocrats have loomed so large in art from antiquity and the Renaissance to today, when hapless leaders are still caricatured as a Nero fiddling while Rome burns.
It’s a joy to be able to welcome back Mary Beard to the promise of a fascinating, eye-opening evening in the classical surroundings of Ely’s magnificent cathedral.
Mary Beard is one of the world’s leading classicists and cultural commentators. A specialist in Roman history and art, she is professor of classics at the University of Cambridge and the author of bestselling and award-winning books, including SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome and Women and Power: A Manifesto. She has also written and presented many television programs, from Civilisations and Meet the Romans to The Shock of the Nude. She lives in Cambridge, England. Twitter @wmarybeard