This classic book brings to life imperial Rome as it was during the second century A.D., the time of Trajan and Hadrian, Marcus Aurelius, and Commodus. It was a period marked by lavish displays of wealth, a dazzling cultural mix, and the advent of Christianity. The splendor and squalor of the city, the spectacles, and the day's routines are reconstructed from an immense fund of archaeological evidence and from vivid descriptions by ancient poets, satirists, letter-writers, and novelists--from Petronius to Pliny the Younger. In a new Introduction, the eminent classicist Mary Beard appraises the book's enduring--and sometimes surprising--influence and its value for general readers and students. She also provides an up-to-date bibliographic essay.