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Professor Mary Beard

Ruby Wax in conversation on stage with Mark MalcomsonRuby Wax in conversation on stage with Mark Malcomson

Professor Dame Mary Beard is one of Britain's best-known Classicists - a distinguished Professor of Classics at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of Newnham College.

She has written numerous books on the Ancient World, including the 2008 Wolfson Prize-winner, Pompeii: The Life of a Roman Town.

In addition, Mary has presented highly-acclaimed TV series, Meet the Romans and Rome – Empire without Limit, as well as documentaries on Pompeii, Caligula and Julius Caesar, and is a regular broadcaster and media commentator.

Mary is also Classics editor of the Times Literary Supplement and writes a thought-provoking blog, A Don's Life.

In 2015 Mary published the critically-acclaimed SPQR – A History of Ancient Rome and more recently Women & Power examining the silencing of women across the millennia. Her books are translated into many languages and she has a significant following all over the world. She was a presenter for the landmark BBC TV Civilisations series and has published a book based on her episodes.

In addition Mary hosts the BBC’s TV arts show, Front Row Late and has recently been awarded the J Paul Getty medal for her contribution to the Arts. Mary is a Fellow of the British Academy and was made an OBE in the New Year’s Honours List 2013 for services to Classical scholarship and was awarded the further honour of Dame in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2018. Mary’s recent two-part documentary, Shock of the Nude was broadcasted on BBC Two in February 2020.

Mary Beard at City Lit

Women & power in ancient Rome - Friday 25 June 2021

Taking inspiration from her acclaimed book Women & Power: A Manifesto, Dame Professor Mary Beard gives a special talk exploring women in power in Ancient Rome. The talk will be followed by an interview with City Lit CEO & Principal Mark Malcomson.

Classics Week: Power - lessons from ancient Rome

This talk by Mary Beard is part of City Lit's Classic Week for 2021. This event takes inspiration from the British Museum’s current exhibition Nero: the man behind the myth (27 May- 24 Oct).

Our esteemed guest speakers including Mary Beard, Olivette Otele, Tom Holland, and Ian Morris will explore Roman soft-power, dynasties, race, identity and more.

Presented by the City Lit and The British Museum in partnership with UCL

Learn more about Classics Week: Power - lessons from ancient Rome.


City Lit Perspectives with Professor Dame Mary Beard - Friday, November 2020

In celebration of Lifelong Learning Week, we hosted a special online edition of City Lit Perspectives event with Professor Mary Beard and City Lit CEO Mark Malcomson.

Professor Mary Beard discussed how her fascination with Classical cultures began with an ancient piece of cake; and why she's more interested in the lives of everyday Romans than their Emperors.