Roman History

James Corke-Webster*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Another bumper edition, again by way of apology for absenteeism in the spring issue (though this time due to paternity rather than plague). We begin with the latest Beard blockbuster. In her Twelve Caesars, based on her 2011 A.W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts, Mary Beard turns her trademark combination of penetrating gaze and jovial tongue to the reception of the famed group of elite first-century ce Roman men who span a key moment in the transformation of ancient politics. Belying their importance for ancient historians and archaeologists, they have been rather neglected by art historians of later periods. With an extraordinarily wide lens, spanning from Alexander the Great to the 2017 modern art of Alison Wilding, Beard corrects that omission, demonstrating their central place in the history of Western art, and exploring not just how those emperors have been represented, repackaged, and reused, but what that says about the identities, worlds, and priorities of those who so mobilized them. The result is a tour de force of art and intellectual history. Not only is the reader presented with gloriously arcane anecdotes on almost every page, but their sum amounts to a sustained inquiry into the role that past power has played, and continues to play, in our history, politics, art, and culture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-344
Number of pages18
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2022


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