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Confronting the Classics: Traditions, Adventures, and Innovations

Confronting the Classics: Traditions, Adventures, and Innovations

In this collection, Mary Beard discusses some of the debates in Greek and Roman scholarship, proving that the Classics are far from dead. This is a fascinating read, but not for beginners.

It feels slightly ironic to be writing a review of a book that is essentially a collection of reviews. As Classics editor of the Times Literary Supplement, Mary Beard draws on the wealth of material at her disposal to give her readers a snapshot of some of the ongoing debates mobilising present day academia – from biographies of Sir Arthur Evans (discoverer of Knossos) to translations of Asterix comics, the breadth is impressive. The book is divided into neat sections covering Ancient Greece, the early days of Rome, the emperors, your average Roman (including slaves) and classical reception (that’s the Asterix bit). So it’s easy to dip in and out of, but anyone who is a newcomer to Classics should beware. Aside from a few paragraphs of background information at the start of each review, these essays are quite technical and best enjoyed with at least a basic knowledge of who’s who in ancient history.

If you have that, however, this book is full of intriguing ideas. The chapter on Alexander the Great, challenges the reader to re-examine their understanding of his character by thinking about who was writing about him – namely the Romans. Beard points out the similarities between Arrian’s account of Alexander’s grief for Hephaestion and the Emperor Hadrian’s for Antinous, suggesting that “Arrian was modelling his own picture of Alexander on the behaviour of the emperor under whom he served”. It’s like imagining the Roman reaction to Germanicus’ death by borrowing scenes of public grief at Princess Diana’s funeral – it says much more about our society than theirs’. Similarly, in a chapter reviewing several books on Augustus’ wife, Livia, Beard is enthusiastic about one writer’s discussion of I, Claudius. Looking at the television adaptation and its re-edit for American audiences, Beard points out that “it exploited conventions … of family soap opera”, inflating Livia’s role as villainess beyond even the depths that Robert Graves had sunk her to. Here Livia’s power is seen to chime with right-wing politics of post-watershed America, arguing for women to be kept out of the political classes. There’s a sense that Tacitus’ would have approved.

Throughout all, Beard’s prose simply screams authority. She has a blistering command of language – tearing down one writer’s biography of Cicero by pointing out his “nasty howlers” in Latin – and bears out her criticisms with thoroughly explanations of how far archaeological or literary evidence can take us. T.P. Wiseman comes in for some especially exasperated criticism as Beard complains about his tendency to rely on historians or playwrights whose work has been lost (or possibly never existed in the first place). Commenting on his reconstruction of Caesar’s murder in Remembering the Roman People, Beard insists that “Intriguing as it would be to … trace a memorable scene in Shakespeare back to a scene in an ancient Roman play, there is no evidence whatsoever for any such thing”. As a reader, it is enjoyable to piggyback on her knowledge and feel pleasantly superior to the authors she writes about.

Despite the fact that this is a collection rather than a single discussion, a prevailing argument does begin to surface. Time and again Beard laments Classicists’ wish to reconstruct an accurate narrative of what happened. Whilst frequently pointing out that there are gaps in the biographical details of people such as Augustus or indeed a virtual vacuum for figures like Boudicca, Beard attacks the straight biographers like Anthony Birley for “summon[ing] up enough credulity” to regurgitate stories that were clearly tropes for any King or ruler in ancient times. Instead, Beard praises those authors who look at representation. She asks how figures like Caligula were depicted and why? How the Colossus built by Nero survived his bloody end and came to represent different things at different times? What literature and art tell us about the average Roman’s attitude to war?

Her final chapter on Classical reception demonstrates how scholars might look at the Classics sideways. For example, she looks at how Asterix’s comics demonstrate the tradition of seeing Roman occupation as a case of submission or resistance, instead of supposing a more nuanced relationship. Turning to the history of Classical scholarship itself, she sees the cult of ‘the scholar’ as a key influence on whose writings have been most consumed by the wider public. For example, Sir James Frazer’s success was down more to his “shy donnish character” than to real interest in the arguments of his 400-page epic, The Golden Bough. The last point is rather ironic since Mary Beard herself is something of a scholarly popular icon. How many people would buy Confronting the Classics after all if this quirky, grey-haired lady was not to be found hopping around ancient ruins on i-Player?

If you don’t know Romulus from Pompey, or have never heard of Cassius Dio, this isn’t the book for you. But if, however, you are ready to step a bit deeper into the classical world, if you want your preconceptions challenged and your thirst for exploration wet, it is a perfect starting point. To round the book off, Beard gives a passionate defence of the art of reviewing itself. The point, she argues, is to “bring both old hands and new into the classical conversation”, to stimulate the discussion that makes writing books so worthwhile. Well, Mary, has certainly done her bit – but whether this review passes muster is up to you.


Confronting the Classics: Traditions, Adventures, and Innovations

A sweeping, "magisterial" history of the Roman Empire from one of our foremost classicists shows why Rome remains "relevant to people many centuries later" (Atlantic).

In SPQR, an instant classic, Mary Beard narrates the history of Rome "with passion and without technical jargon" and demonstrates how "a slightly shabby Iron Age village" rose to become the "undisputed hegemon of the Mediterranean" (Wall Street Journal). Hailed by critics as animating "the grand sweep and the intimate details that bring the distant past vividly to life" (Economist) in a way that makes "your hair stand on end" (Christian Science Monitor) and spanning nearly a thousand years of history, this "highly informative, highly readable" (Dallas Morning News) work examines not just how we think of ancient Rome but challenges the comfortable historical perspectives that have existed for centuries. With its nuanced attention to class, democratic struggles, and the lives of entire groups of people omitted from the historical narrative for centuries, SPQR will to shape our view of Roman history for decades to come.


Confronting the classics : traditions, adventures, and innovations

Mary Beard is one of the world's best-known classicists, an academic with a rare gift for communicating with a wide audience. Here, she draws on thirty years of teaching about Greek and Roman history to provide a panoramic portrait of the classical world that draws surprising parallels with contemporary society. We are taken on a guided tour of antiquity, encountering some of the most famous (and infamous) characters of classical history, among them Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar, Sappho and Hannibal. Challenging the notion that classical history is all about depraved emperors and conquering military heroes, Beard also introduces us to the common people--the slaves, soldiers, and women. How did they live? What made them laugh? What were their marriages like? This bottom-up approach to history is typical of Beard, who looks with fresh eyes at both scholarly controversies and popular interpretations of the ancient world, taking aim at many of the assumptions we held as gospel.--From publisher description

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APA Citation

Beard, Mary. (2013). Confronting the classics : traditions, adventures, and innovations. New York, NY : Liveright Publishing Corporation, a division of W.W. Norton & Company

MLA Citation

Beard, Mary. Confronting the classics : traditions, adventures, and innovations / Mary Beard Liveright Publishing Corporation, a division of W.W. Norton & Company New York, NY 2013

Australian/Harvard Citation

Beard, Mary. 2013, Confronting the classics : traditions, adventures, and innovations / Mary Beard Liveright Publishing Corporation, a division of W.W. Norton & Company New York, NY

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Confronting the classics : traditions, adventures, and innovations / Mary Beard

Mary Beard is one of the world's best-known classicists, an academic with a rare gift for communicating with a wide audience. Here, she draws on thirty years of teaching about Greek and Roman history to provide a panoramic portrait of the classical world that draws surprising parallels with contemporary society. We are taken on a guided tour of antiquity, encountering some of the most famous (and infamous) characters of classical history, among them Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar, Sappho and Hannibal. Challenging the notion that classical history is all about depraved emperors and conquering military heroes, Beard also introduces us to the common people--the slaves, soldiers, and women. How did they live? What made them laugh? What were their marriages like? This bottom-up approach to history is typical of Beard, who looks with fresh eyes at both scholarly controversies and popular interpretations of the ancient world, taking aim at many of the assumptions we held as gospel.--From publisher description.

  • Do classics have a future?
  • Ancient Greece. Builder of ruins Sappho speaks Which Thucydides can you trust? Alexander : how great? What made the Greeks laugh?
  • Heroes & villains of early Rome. Who wanted Remus dead? Hannibal at bay Quousque tandem
  • ? Roman art thieves Spinning Caesar's murder
  • Imperial Rome : emperors, empresses & enemies. Looking for the emperor Cleopatra : the myth Married to the empire Caligula's satire? Nero's Colosseum? British queen Bit-part emperors Hadrian and his villa
  • Rome from the bottom up. Ex-slaves and snobbery Fortune-telling, bad breath, and stress Keeping the armies out of Rome Life and death in Roman Britain South Shields Aramaic
  • Arts & culture, tourists & scholars. Only Aeschylus will do? Arms and the man Don't forget your pith helmet Pompeii for the tourists The Golden Bough Philosophy meets archaeology What gets left out Astérix and the Romans
  • Reviewing classics.

Includes bibliographical references (pages 286-295) and index.

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Confronting the Classics. Traditions, Adventures and Innovations

Confronting the Classics. Traditions, Adventures and Innovations est le titre d’un ouvrage de Mary Beard publié en 2013. L’auteure britannique, dont la réputation scientifique n’est plus à démontrer[1], propose un texte se voulant très didactique, et non pas exclusivement destiné à un public initié. En ce sens la lecture, plaisante et au registre humoristique, rappelle son S.P.Q.R. Histoire de l’ancienne Rome (paru en 2016) dont Pascal Montlahuc et Romain Millot avaient également souligné l’accessibilité dans un compte rendu réalisé l’an passé[2]. L’ouvrage interroge, sur près de 310 pages, tant la place à donner à l’Antiquité aujourd’hui que les traitements qui en sont et qui en ont été faits.

De la sorte, l’introduction intitulée « Do Classics have a Future ? » incarne le sujet même de l’ouvrage, bien plus encore, semble-t-il, que son titre « Confronting the Classics ». Mary Beard, qui écrit à la première personne du singulier, (se) pose de nombreuses questions et tente, en premier lieu, d’éclaircir le terme même de « classics » : pour la paraphraser, il renvoie à la littérature, à l’art, à la culture, à l’histoire, la philosophie et aux langues du monde antique[3]. À partir de l’exemple du dramaturge Terence Rattigan faisant du professeur Crocker-Harris un personnage de tragédie grecque dans The Browning Version (1948), Mary Beard entreprend d’étudier les phénomènes de reprises de l’Antiquité et son héritage en Occident. L’auteur rappelle, à juste titre, l’héritage de la culture antique diffusé tant par le cinéma que la littérature. Mais elle n’omet pas de souligner que les classiques ont par la même occasion été modernisés. Elle fait remarquer, titres d’articles à l’appui, le rejet d’un certain nombre d’universitaires qui, dans leurs publications, ont fermement désapprouvé (ou désapprouvent encore) les « rafraîchissements » trop détachés, semble-t-il, des antiques « originaux ». Ipso facto, Mary Beard évoque les vicissitudes des références antiques. Entendons par ce terme la succession d’événements heureux ou malheureux, dont l’Antiquité a été le support à de nombreuses reprises. Ainsi en est-il de certains régimes politiques ayant allégrement pris appui sur ce passé[4]. Elle poursuit en faisant mention du déclin de l’apprentissage des lettres classiques à l’école et des fermetures de départements de lettres classiques dans les universités revenant, in fine, sur le débat de la prétendue décadence de cet enseignement aujourd’hui.

Toutefois, et c’est ici tout l’intérêt de l’ouvrage, l’auteure démontre l’intérêt encore persistant aujourd’hui des spécialistes, comme des non-spécialistes pour l’Antiquité classique. Elle rappelle qu’un dialogue s’est instauré entre ces deux périodes de l’histoire que nous pourrions penser de prime à bord antagoniste et poursuit en affirmant que :

« Ce n’est pas seulement le dialogue que nous avons avec la culture du monde classique c’est aussi le dialogue que nous avons avec ceux qui nous ont précédés et qui étaient eux-mêmes en dialogue avec le monde classique »[5].

Son discours, qui traite tant du monde grec que du monde romain, se compose de 31 chapitres répartis en 5 sections qui sont les suivantes : 1. Ancient Greece 2. Heroes & Villains of early Rome 3. Imperial Rome – Emperors, Empresses & Enemies, 4. Rome from the Bottom up 5. Arts & Culture Tourists & Scholars. Notons que par souci de clarté, un résumé des chapitres accompagne chaque section. Le choix a été fait de ne pas intégrer de notes de bas de page. Néanmoins, une riche bibliographie est consultable en fin d’ouvrage. Les chapitres, aux titres toujours teintés d’humour, présentent notamment une synthèse des débats scientifiques en cours concernant des figures majeures (Sappho, Jules César, Cléopâtre, Néron…). Ainsi pour « Alexander : How Great » (Partie 1, Chapitre 4), l’auteure discute des publications de ses contemporains réalisant, cela va sans dire, de véritables comptes rendus de ses lectures. Si elle affirme que « potentiellement le livre le plus significatif est l’Alexandre Le Grand de Pierre Briant, car Pierre Briant fait figure mondiale d’autorité, spécialiste de l’Empire perse (achéménide) »[6], elle n’hésite pas à le reprendre : « Il se réfère à plusieurs reprises à des documents censés être particulièrement &lsquoimportants&rsquo ou &lsquoutiles&rsquo mais il explique rarement aux non-spécialistes quels sont les documents et quel impact exactement leur contenu a sur la période de l’histoire »[7]. Les débats, les « confrontations » institués ici, sont majoritairement le fruit d’un travail de lecture et de relecture de nombreux articles publiés dans le London Review Books, le New York Review of Books et le Times Literary Supplement dont l’auteure est, rappelons-le pour le dernier, chargée de l’édition.

Par ailleurs, le texte s’accompagne de 17 illustrations en noir et blanc. Les légendes qui les accompagnent sont (elles aussi) teintées d’humour. À titre d’exemple, l’Hermaphrodite endormi (conservé au Musée du Louvre), photographié sous deux angles différents, est légendé de la sorte : « L’Hermaphrodite surprend. D’un côté (ci-dessous) [la sculpture] semble présenter une femme endormie de l’autre côté (ci-dessus), ça se complique »[8]. Toutefois, la question de l’image et, plus généralement des images véhiculées et transformées de l’Antiquité à travers les arts, auraient mérité quelques approfondissements. Si le chapitre 25 « Arms and the Man », centre son propos sur les créations artistiques, il n’est que très peu question des réinventions et reprises d’antique dans la période contemporaine. L’exposition D’après l’Antique qui s’est tenue au Musée du Louvre en 2001 est la seule à être mentionnée. Pourtant, la première de couverture figurant un photomontage de la Junon Ludovisi (tête colossale conservée au Palazzo Altemps à Rome) revêtant des lunettes de soleil papillonnantes rouges, laissait supposer qu’une analyse des productions artistiques contemporaines serait effectuée[9].

Au-delà de cette remarque, retenons de cet ouvrage agréable à lire et richement documenté, sa portée pédagogique, pensé comme un « guide touristique » pour reprendre la très juste expression utilisée en préface. Mary Beard permet donc au lecteur (non exclusivement spécialiste) de découvrir ou de redécouvrir (du palais de Knossos à la Villa des Mystères à Pompéi), mais aussi de construire ou déconstruire certaines idées reçues (de Rémus et Romulus à Astérix et Obélix) de l’Antiquité classique.

Doctorante en Histoire de l’art, Université de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour

[1] Professeur de lettres classiques à l’université de Cambridge, elle est l’auteure de nombreux ouvrages tels que The Fires of Vesuvius : Pompeii Lost and Found (2010) et Women and Power : a Manifesto (2017). Elle est en outre chargée de l’édition du supplément littéraire du Times (The Times Literary Supplement).

[2] Pascal Montlahuc et Romain Millot, « […] SPQR n’est pas un livre destiné aux seuls spécialistes. Il est au contraire un parcours de (re)découverte destiné aux amoureux de la Rome antique, aux étudiants […] », dans « Compte rendu « S.P.Q.R. Histoire de l’ancienne Rome », dans Actualité des études anciennes [en ligne : https://reainfo.hypotheses.org/7504], 03/2017, §1, consulté le 05/06/2018.

[3] Mary Beard, Confronting the Classics. Traditions, Adventures and Innovations, Londres, Profile Books, 2013, p. 11 : « Classics are – or are about – the literature, art, culture, history, philosophy and language of the ancient world ».

[4] À titre d’exemple, voir Johann Chapoutot, Le nazisme et l’Antiquité, Paris, Presses universitaires de France, Collection Quadrige, 2012.

[5] Mary Beard, Confronting the Classics. Traditions, Adventures and Innovations, op. cit., p. 11 : « It is not only the dialogue that we have with the culture of the classical world it is also the dialogue that we have with those who have gone before us who were themselves in dialogue with the classical world. »

[6] Mary Beard, Ibid., p. 50 : « Potentially the most significant book is Briant’s Alexander the Great, because Briant is one of the world’s leading authorities on the Persian (Achaemenid) Empire. »

[7] Mary Beard, Ibid., p. 51 : « On several occasions he refers to documents that are supposed to be particularly ‘important’ or ‘useful’, but he rarely explains to the outsiders what the documents are and what impact exactly their content has on the history of the period ».

[8] Mary Beard, Ibid., p. 226 : « The hermaphrodite springs a surprise. From one side (below) it appears to be a sleeping woman from the other side (above) we see the complication ».

[9] Nous faisons explicitement référence ici aux photomontages réalisés tant par les artistes danois et norvégiens Almgreen & Dragset que français Léo Caillard.


Myke Cole's Reviews > Confronting the Classics: Traditions, Adventures and Innovations

I always feel like there's something wrong with me when I have an allergic reaction to a book that is so popular and successful, written by an author as universally loved and respected as Beard.

But this book gave me a rash, for two reasons:

1.) It's a collection of wonderful essays that are fascinating and illuminating explorations of a range of aspects of the classical world, including underserved areas like laughter, and the lives of freed slaves.

Every single chapter is 50% what I've just described, and 50% Beard attacking previous scholarship on the topic, often with a kind of condescending insouciance that I'm more used to with sealioning Twitter trolls. Confronting the Classics isn't a book of history, it's a book of Beard's reviews, and who the heck wants to read that? Not me.

The final chapters aren't even discussion of classics at all, but of the academics (like Beard) who interpret them for us. It's self-licking ice cream cone territory, an exercise in ego rather than scholarship.

2.) I really got off the bus when Beard nostalgically gives a pass to the groping of history students in her chapter on Eduard Fraenkel. She acknowledges that it's sexual harassment, but she also waxes eloquently on the link between pedagogy and eroticism, which, frankly, turned my stomach. If this is a thing to be nostalgic about, then clearly I'm missing the point. I'm surprised that Beard hasn't been more seriously taken to task for her casual treatment of what I regard as a very serious crime.


Confronting the Classics: Traditions, Adventures, and Innovations Reprint Edition, Kindle Edition

Witty, erudite collection. To Beard, the classical past is alive and kicking--and she has the great gift of being able to show just why classics is still a subject worth arguing about.

Engaging. impressive. Through her lively discussion of modern scholarship, Ms. Beard succeeds in her goal of proving that study of the Classics is "still a 'work in progress' not 'done and dusted'."

With such a champion as Beard to debunk and popularise, the future of the study of classics is assured.

Many of us studied classics not only to read what was written in Latin, but also because poets, writers, and thinkers had blazed a brilliant trail. Beard conveys in her survey of the subject and the people who study it the excitement and romance of that tradition. For someone who has argued vehemently against the need to be glamorous, she makes the study of classics irresistibly attractive.--A.E. Stallings

Starred review. Beard's clear way of explaining times and people we may or may not have heard of makes learning not only fun, but satisfying, and her prose style is easy without being annoyingly breezy. A top-notch introduction to some fairly arcane material, accessible but not patronizing.

These reviews are ideal for providing a basic understanding of classical studies, as they not only pinpoint the strengths and weaknesses of the books she reviews but also elucidate the sometimes tricky nuances of current approaches in the field. Not to be missed by fans of Beard, this will also appeal to readers generally interested in classical studies.

In this thought-provoking collection of essays and book reviews, Cambridge classicist Mary Beard explores the reasons that ancient Greece and Rome still matter. Lively and engaging, Beard's scholarship brings Pericles, Antony, Nero--and other ancient titans--back to life.

Beard's essays in this volume range from humor in ancient Greece to the reputation of the emperor Caligula to the restoration of Roman sculpture. She writes with grace and wit on a vast array of subjects, and she has a novelist's gift for selecting odd and revealing details.--Nick Romeo --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.


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Confronting the Classics: Traditions, Adventures and Innovations by Mary Beard

Confronting the Classics brings together 31 reviews and essays originally published as stand-alone pieces in The Times Literary Supplement, the London Review of Books and The New York Review of Books, dating back to 1990. Reviews have been an important part of Mary Beard’s career, both as a classical scholar and a public figure, and it is fitting that they are collected here as a testament to this aspect of her work. The collection offers short, thought-provoking pieces on a wide range of subjects, with an emphasis on ancient Rome (Greece is less well represented).

Several essays demolish previous scholarship: Sir Arthur Evans and his team of architects, Beard observes, built up the Minoan ruins in Crete, with plenty of “embarrassing mistakes”, and fed “to the early-twentieth century exactly the image of primitive culture that it wanted”. Archaeologists who think they can recover the world of Boudicca, the queen of the Iceni who rebelled against Roman occupation, grossly overstate their insights: “despite their scientific advantages, they have not done much better…than their antiquarian, or pre-antiquarian, predecessors”. There are also provocations of a different kind: Beard chooses to reprint the (in)famous essay in which she considers the sexual harassment of students with a degree of indulgence: “If we’re honest, it is…hard to repress a bit of wistful nostalgia for the academic era before about 1980 when the erotic dimension of pedagogy - which had flourished, after all, since Plato - was firmly stamped out.” (There is, in this, not just a difficult sentiment but an error of fact: the “erotic dimension of pedagogy” was not stamped out in 1980 that is when it apparently became invisible to Beard.)

Confronting the Classics is a great read - and not only for its demolition work. Beard’s writing is accessible, yet never condescending to the general reader. She offers, above all, a lesson in method - and the last piece in the book is, quite fittingly, a tutorial on how to write a book review. Reading her other essays is like eavesdropping on a debate between professional classicists and understanding every word. She says herself that “studying Classics is to enter a conversation”. The next question is why one should enter that conversation. Beard amply demonstrates that doing so can be “fun”, but also offers a more serious argument: “to amputate Classics from the modern world…would mean bleeding wounds in the body of Western culture”.

Her statement is correct but narrow. The explicit focus on “the West” accounts for the most glaring blind spots in Confronting the Classics. It is true that “Dante read Virgil’s Aeneid, not the epic of Gilgamesh”, as Beard points out but it is also true that Petrarch had to turn East in order to recover Homer, and Homer in turn shared important insights with Gilgamesh. There are many, diverse, eastern and western routes to be traced. Beard defines Classics as “the study of what happens in the gap between antiquity and ourselves”. By antiquity, she means Graeco-Roman antiquity, and this leads to a dismissal of other ancient cultures and their significance (for example, in chapter 4, she bizarrely claims that the title Alexander “the Great” may well have been “a Roman coinage”, whereas there is good evidence that this was a title widely used in the Near East - by rulers Alexander wanted to imitate as well as defeat). By “ourselves” Beard again means something specific - as her sentence on our “wistful nostalgia” (quoted above) testifies. Her perspective is Western, donnish and, to put it bluntly, quite exclusive. But then that lends strength to her writing: Confronting the Classics is, above all, a personal confrontation.

Confronting the Classics: Traditions, Adventures and Innovations

By Mary Beard
Profile Books, 384pp, £25.00
ISBN 9781781250488
Published 14 March 2013


Confronting the Classics: Traditions, Adventures, and Innovations - History

Mary Beard is one of the world's best-known classicists - a brilliant academic, with a rare gift for communicating with a wide audience both though her books and TV presenting.

In a series of sparkling essays, she explores our rich classical heritage - from Greek drama to Roman jokes, introducing some larger-than-life characters of classical history, such as Alexander the Great, Nero and Boudicca. She invites you into the places where Greeks and Romans lived and died, from the palace at Knossos to Cleopatra's Alexandria - and reveals the often hidden world of slaves. She brings back to life some of the greatest writers of antiquity - including Thucydides, Cicero and Tacitus - and takes a fresh look at both scholarly controversies and popular interpretations of the ancient world, from The Golden Bough to Asterix.

The fruit of over thirty years in the world of classical scholarship, Confronting the Classics captures the world of antiquity and its modern significance with wit, verve and scholarly expertise.

Mary Beard is a professor of classics at Newnham College, Cambridge, and the classics editor of the TLS. She has world-wide academic acclaim. Her previous books include the best-selling, Wolfson Prize-winning Pompeii, The Roman Triumph and The Parthenon. Her blog has been collected in the books It's a Don's Life [9781846682513] and All in a Don's Day [9781846685361].

Reviews for Confronting the Classics: Traditions, Adventures and Innovations

With such a champion as Beard to debunk and popularise, the future of the study of classics is assured Daily Telegraph She's pulled off that rare trick of becoming a don with a high media profile who hasn't sold out, who is absolutely respected by the academy for her scholarship . what she says is always powerful and interesting Guardian witty, erudite collection. To Beard, the classical past is alive and kicking - and she has the great gift of being able to show just why classics is still a subject worth arguing about Sunday Times an irrepressible enthusiast with a refreshing disregard for convention FT She stands in the great tradition of myth-puncturing Latin classicists New York Review of Books Beard is the best. communicator of Classics we have Independent on Sunday highly engaging Sunday Telegraph sparkling The Lady so engaging, and at times so very funny -- Edith Hall Times this is the perfect introduction to classical studies, and deserves to become something of a standard work in the future Observer