“I see the classics all around me, but that’s me,” says eminent classicist Mary Beard. “I like studying the ancients—it’s partly because they’re interesting, but they also give me a way of focusing back on to the things about our own culture that they would find odd,” she adds.

Mary Beard is one of the 2019 recipients of the J. Paul Getty Medal for contributions to the arts, along with painter, photographer, and bookmaker Ed Ruscha and multimedia artist and photographer Lorna Simpson.

One of the English-speaking world’s best-known historians and public intellectuals, she is dedicated to sharing the wonderment of the ancient world with people today through her books, television appearances, blogging, and social media, and to challenging what we think we know about people who lived two millennia ago.

Join Beard in her office at the University of Cambridge and on a visit to some of her favorite antiquities collections in this short video.

MARY BEARD: Let me start by saying I do not love the ancient Roman and Greeks, I don’t even like them very much, but I think they’re extremely interesting. I think the world would be a worse place if we didn’t study them, because we wouldn’t, obviously, miss great literatu...