Prof Mary Beard's history S. P. Q. R., offers a well-written large-scale systems view of ancient Rome that refuses to be distracted by ephemeral events, crazy-Emperor anecdotes, or just-so storytelling. Beard frames her analysis with discussions of citizenship and how it grew to finally include all residents in the territories controlled by the Empire. She turns a critical eye toward ambiguous evidence and presents alternative explanations when appropriate — a multidimensional view of a civilization, unlike the monocular squint that some of her critics offer. SPQR is especially valuable for the concepts and metaphors it offers, many of which illuminate other societies including our own.

(cf Gibbon - Table of Contents, ...) - ^z - 2019-08-15