A Rome of One's Own by Emma Southon
From the acclaimed author of A Fatal Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, a wildly entertaining new history of Rome that uses the lives of 21 extraordinary women to upend our understanding of the ancient world.
The history of Rome has long been narrow and one-sided, essentially a history of “the Doing of Important Things.” It is a history of winning battles, passing laws, and “Having Important Opinions in Public.” And as far as Roman historians have been concerned, women don’t make that history. From Romulus through “the political stab-fest of the late Republic,” and then on to all the emperors, Roman historians may deign to give you a wife or a mother to show how bad things get when women get out of control, but history is more than that.
Emma Southon’s A Rome of One’s Own will correct that. This is a retelling of the history of Rome with the Important Things, but also all the things Roman history writers relegate to the background—or designate as domestic, feminine, or worthless. This is a history of individuals, 21 women who span the length of its territory and its centuries, who caused outrage, led armies in rebellion, wrote poetry, lived independently or under the thumb of emperors. A social and cultural history told with humor and verve as well as a deep scholarly background, A Rome of One’s Own highlights women overlooked and misunderstood, and through them offers a fascinating and groundbreaking chronicle of the ancient world.