Acclaimed Classicist Mary Beard

Mary Beard

About Mary Beard

Mary Beard is one of the most original and best-known classicists and is distinguished as an English scholar of ancient Rome who shares her knowledge broadly on the BBC and in the classroom. She is a professor emerita in Classics at Newnham College at the University of Cambridge; the classics editor of The Times Literary Supplement, where Beard writes a frequently published blog called “A Don’s Life;” and a frequent host of BBC broadcasts about Pompeii, ancient Roman history, and historic figures such as Julius Caesar and Caligula.

In 2018, she became Dame Commander of the British Empire for her services to the study of classical civilizations. Among many honors, Beard received the Wolfson History Prize in 2009 for her book Pompeii: The Life of a Roman Town (2008), the Bodley Medal in 2016 for her outstanding contributions to the world of books, and honorary degrees from Oxford University, Yale University, and University of St. Andrews, among others.

Her broadcasting career took off in her mid-fifties, when Beard smashed through boundaries of gender and even of appearance for learned commentators, naming herself a "craggy white woman" and working in the midst of she describes as "craggy white men." She believes that looking closely at Greece and Rome helps us to understand more about ourselves and recognize how we have learned to think as we do. Beard has an uncanny ability to make classical studies, ancient Roman history and life highly intriguing and relevant for current times.