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Book Salon
Imperium: A Novel of Ancient Rome

  • This month we're reading Imperium: A Novel of Ancient Rome by Robert Harris. Our faculty host is Marisa Galvez.

    Listen to an interview with our Book Salon host.

    "In his compelling novel about Cicero's rise to power, Robert Harris brings to life the captivating drama of the Roman political world - the ambition, hunger for power, violence, and devious behind-the-scenes deals that make up the theatre of statesmanship. Having learned Latin through Cicero's speeches, I've always been fascinated with the power of the orator's rhetoric, his ability to move people by the sheer craft of his eloquence."

    Marisa Galvez, associate professor of French and by courtesy, of German Studies

About this quarter's book selection

Imperium: A Novel of Ancient Rome follows Marcus Cicero and his quest to bring justice to a society riddled by corruption and injustice. Told from the point of view of Tiro, Marcus’s household slave and right hand man, Imperium: A Novel of Ancient Rome explores Marcus’s ambitious lawyering and the complexity of the legal system in the Roman Empire.

At age 27, Marcus is one of the top orators in Roman society. Brilliant and endlessly ambitious, he strives to become the most powerful man in Roman society. His pathway to fame and glory is through law. He is given the perfect opportunity to showcase his skills against one of Rome’s villainous governors by defending a Sicilian aristocrat who has been wrongfully accused of a crime.

Author Robert Harris brings this courtroom drama to life by recreating the vanished biography of the famous senator. He gives readers a look into one of Rome’s most heralded courtroom cases and how one man used his voice to vault to the top of a political system.


The Stanford Book Salon [Seriously Unstuffy]