With regard to Western civilization, all roads do indeed lead to Rome. Mary Beard, the esteemed classicist at Cambridge University, takes us on a journey to the heart and soul of Rome, from its inception in 753 BC, through its Republican phase, and into its Imperial age -- nearly a thousand year span of triumph and tragedy, success and strife. Her book is crisp and immensely readable, intense and absorbing, scholarly and passionate, told with great flair and freshness. Meet Julius Caesar, Cicero, Hannibal, Livy, Spartacus, Horace, Nero, Virgil, Cleopatra, Augustus, Caligula. Meet the everyday citizens, the province dwellers, the oft forgotten. This is history that is vibrant, all around us, that has shaped us and with which we can grapple and still draw forth wisdom.
Book: SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome, Mary Beard