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Dame Mary Beard's Biography

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Who is Dame Mary Beard?

Mary Beard is a Professor of Classics at Newnham College, Cambridge University.

She is also Classics editor of the Times Literary Supplement, where she wrote a blog.

Mary Beard's father was an architect with a practice in Shrewsbury and her mother was a headmistress.

Mary Beard studied at Newnham. She had a 5 year stint teaching at King's College London from 1979, but returned to Cambridge to teach.

She is the author of several books including The Roman Triumph (2007), Pompeii: The life of a Roman town (2008), The Parthenon (2002), and The Invention of Jane Harrison (2000).

She co-curated the exhibition From Ancient Art to Post-Impressionism at The Royal Academy in London.

Mary Beard lists her inspirations as: Purity and Danger by Mary Douglas, Annals by Tacitus, Horses by Patti Smith, Newnham College Cambridge, and School of Athens by Raphael.

Professor Mary Beard's Desert Island Discs featured It's All Over Now, Baby Blue by Bob Dylan (record), Treasures of the British Museum by Marjorie Caygill (book) and the Elgin Marbles (luxury).

In April 2010 the BBC confirmed that Mary Beard would be presenting a series on BBC Two about Pompeii.

In 2011, Mary Beard was one of the teachers in Jamie's Dream School on Channel Four.

Also in 2011, BBC Two commissioned a three-part series, Rome With Mary Beard, in which she explores the physical and mental world of ordinary ancient Romans.

The BBC announced that in 2016 Mary Beard would present a four part series on the Roman Empire on BBC Two (Mary Beard's Ultimate Rome: Empire Without Limit), a new programme on Pompeii for BBC One and a radio documentary on grey hair for Radio 4 as well as co-presenting Civilisations, a new ten-part series for BBC Two.

Also, in 2016, Mary Beard presented a Radio 4 programme You May Now Turn Over Your Paper.

In June 2018, Mary Beard was made a Dame in the Birthday Honours.

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