Mary Beard on Lessons from Ancient Rome
The deepening political divide in the U.S. and an apparent realignment of the world order through President Trump’s foreign policy have prompted many comparisons to the fall of the Roman Empire. But can we really look back at ancient civilisations and draw parallels with those that exist today? And can the lessons of the past really help us to tackle the challenges of the present? More than clear-cut historical comparisons, Mary Beard – arguably the world’s most famous classicist and Professor of Classics at the University of Cambridge – thinks that the ancient world allows us to see beyond our own context to analyse how power and authority work across the ages. In this fascinating interview, which sweeps from discussing how the gorgon Medusa reflects on Hillary Clinton to how the Roman Empire tackled issues of migration and diversity, Mary Beard discusses how history can inspire the present, or whether it is doomed to always repeat itself.