Emma Southon

Emma Southon


Emma Southon has a PhD in Ancient History from the University of Birmingham. A version of her thesis was published as Marriage, Sex and Death: The Family and the Fall of the Roman West (Amsterdam University Press, 2016). After a few years teaching Ancient and Medieval history, followed by some years teaching academic writing she quit academia and started writing for her own enjoyment.

Her critically praised Agrippina, a biography of the much-maligned mother of Nero, was published by Unbound in 2016.

Her acclaimed A...

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Emma Southon

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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.

    Other Publications

    by Emma Southon

      A Rome of One's Own
      A History of the Roman Empire
      A Fatal Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum