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A History of the Roman Empire in 21 Women



Paperback 416 pages
Oneworld Publications 07-Sep-23
Southon, Emma

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ISBN/SKU: 9780861542307 Categories/Genres: ,


Rome as you’ve never seen it before – brazenly unconventional, badly behaved and ever so feminine.

‘Hugely entertaining and illuminating’ —Elodie Harper, author of The Wolf DenA WATERSTONES BEST HISTORY BOOK OF 2023Here’s how the history of the Roman Empire usually goes…We kick off with Romulus murdering his brother, go on to Brutus overthrowing Tarquin, bounce through an appallingly tedious list of battles and generals and consuls, before emerging into the political stab-fest of the late Republic. After ‘Et tu, Brute?’, it runs through all the emperors, occasionally nodding to a wife or mother to show how bad things get when women won’t do as they’re told, until Constantine invents Christianity only for Attila the Hun to come and ruin everything.

Let’s tear up this script. The history of Rome and its empire is so much more than these ‘Important Things’.

In this alternative history, Emma Southon tells another story about the Romans, one that lives through Vestal Virgins and sex workers, business owners and poets, empresses and saints.

Discover how entrepreneurial sex worker Hispala Faecenia uncovered a conspiracy of treason, human sacrifice and Bacchic orgies so wild they would make Donna Tartt blush, becoming one of Rome’s unlikeliest heroes.

Book yourself a table the House of Julia Felix and get to know Pompeii’s savviest businesswoman and restauranteur. Indulge in an array of locally sourced delicacies as you take in the wonderful view of Mount Vesuvius… what could possibly go wrong?Join the inimitable Septimia Zenobia, who – after watching a series of incompetent, psychopathic and incompetently psychopathic emperors almost destroy the Empire – did what any of us would do. She declared herself Empress, took over half the Roman Empire and ran it herself.


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