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Twelve Caesars: Images of Power from the Ancient World to the Modern

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? In this book—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. 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 Neros fiddling while Rome burns. Paperback, 392 pages.

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