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Lecture: Mary Beard—Will the Real Emperor Vitellius Please Stand Up? Finding a Roman Emperor in Modern Art



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  • Free, registration required

Ancient Roman

Join Mary Beard, Cambridge Professor Emerita and one of Britain’s best-known Classicists, for a discussion of the Ancient Mediterranean world.

This lecture takes the example of one (not very well known) Roman emperor and follows his presence in modern art to consider how these ancient figures continue to mean something to us.

This program is generously sponsored by the Boshell Family Foundation.

About the Speaker

Mary Beard Headshot

Mary Beard, Cambridge Professor Emerita, is one of Britain’s best-known Classicists. She has written numerous books, including Pompeii: The Life of a Roman Town, best-seller SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome, the thought-provoking Women & Power, and most recently Twelve Caesars: Images of Power from the Ancient World to the Modern.

Mary is a regular broadcaster and media commentator. She has written and presented television documentaries on history and culture as well as highly-acclaimed TV series including Meet the Romans and Rome: Empire without Limit. Mary is Classics editor of the Times Literary Supplement, contributes regularly to the New York Review of Books and writes the blog, A Don’s Life.

Her scholarship has been recognized on both sides of the Atlantic: by the British Academy, the American Academy and the American Philosophical Society amongst others. She was made a Dame in 2018 for services to Classical scholarship, is a trustee of the British Museum, and has been awarded the prestigious Getty Medal.

Please note that this is an in-person event that takes place at the museum.

In accordance with state and City of Chicago guidelines, visitors to the museum are no longer required to wear masks or provide proof of vaccination. Anyone who would like to continue to wear a mask is welcome to do so. Learn more about our visiting policies and what to expect.

If you have any questions about programming, please reach out to

Closed captioning will be available for this program. For questions related to accessibility accommodations, please email


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