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Old 05-03-2020, 12:37 PM   #1
Cecil Terwilliger
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Icon37 Ancient Rome - Historical Fiction and Non-Fiction Reading Recommendations

Popular subject and Iím looking for fairly specific reading, so hoping CP has some input. Kept a number of my university textbooks but theyíre overwhelmingly non-fiction.

Looking for reading recommendations about Ancient Rome. I recently re-read Robert Harrisí Cicero trilogy and itís the best of both worlds imo. Exciting fiction mixed with well researched history.

When I say specific, hereís what Iím ideally looking for.

1. Historical fiction or non fiction that has a decent narrative with regards to the overall political maneuvering. I have no interest in reading a textbook with charts of military numbers.

2. Time period from about the time of Sulla to Tiberius. But anything from the founding of Rome to the fall of the empire is fine.

3. Higher level politics focus. I donít want to read the story of a common farmer. And I donít have a ton of interest in gladiator revolts and the like.

4. For non fiction, primary sources are cool and I already have Tacitus, Cassius Dio, Cicero and Livy.


TIA
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Old 05-03-2020, 01:13 PM   #2
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Frankly if you can find the series the history of civilization by Will and Ariel Durant its worth a look though its a massive 20 book volume that covers nearly every historical period of mans history you can find the books on Rome's history.


Well worth it, though they're older books and probably hard to find.


The 12 Ceasars by Suetonis is a great read though the translation to English can be tough


Agrippa by Emma Southon. Agrippa was a facinating character she was the wife of Claudius and mother of Nero and engineered his rise to the Throne. Probably one of the most ruthless political climbers in history.


I Claudius by Robert Graves is a definate must read



I recently picked up the Storm before the Storm by Mike Duncan which goes through the rise and fall of the roman empire from battles to politics.
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Old 05-03-2020, 02:42 PM   #3
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https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/...t_Ancient_Rome

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fictio...n_ancient_Rome

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I,_Claudius
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Old 05-03-2020, 09:06 PM   #4
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Old 05-03-2020, 09:30 PM   #5
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The History of Rome podcast is a good one.
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Old 05-03-2020, 11:07 PM   #6
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Some people really enjoy the Skystone series by Jack Whyte. I read the first one and thought it was OK. Takes place in ~400 Britain.
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Old 05-04-2020, 08:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FireGilbert View Post
Was going to recommend this.
Gibbon is surprisingly easy to read too.

I'm pretty sure I read The 12 Caesars by Suetonius in a Roman studies course as well, which was quite good. A little tougher to read though.
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Old 05-08-2020, 04:30 PM   #8
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To me it sounds like you're describing the "Masters of Rome" series by Colleen McCullough. I loved it but that was 20 years ago...

Sulla features heavily in at least 2 books... series begins I believe with Gaius Marius and runs through... Octavian?
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Old 05-08-2020, 04:45 PM   #9
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I Claudius and Claudius the God, Robert Graves
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Old 05-09-2020, 11:57 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Agamemnon View Post
To me it sounds like you're describing the "Masters of Rome" series by Colleen McCullough. I loved it but that was 20 years ago...

Sulla features heavily in at least 2 books... series begins I believe with Gaius Marius and runs through... Octavian?
I second the Masters of Rome series. Currently I am reading Marius Mules by S.J.A. Turney. Its' a pretty good historical fiction read.

And if you're into listening to lectures that are more like researched stories based in historical facts you should check out Famous Romans by Rufus J Fears. It's available on Audible and part of "The Great Courses" series. I really like listening to the last Professor Fears. He is a great story teller.

Funny story... I took Latin for 3 years in high school. I still think that it's nuts that our instructor let us watch I, Cladius in full over a number of weeks in class.
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Old 05-10-2020, 12:53 AM   #11
Cecil Terwilliger
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Thanks all. I’ve not had a chance to even look into the replies and suggestions but this will come in handy very soon.
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Old 05-10-2020, 01:44 PM   #12
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I realize you're looking for reading recommendations but HBO's "Rome" TV series is pretty good. It follows two Roman soldiers who get intertwined with the historical narrative of the Caesar/Antony/Octavian period.
The one criticism I would have is that they limited the series to two seasons and consequently the 2nd season is a little rushed.
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Old 05-10-2020, 01:49 PM   #13
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I have done a lot of reading in this area in the last 3 years just out of interest. I would highly recommend Adrian Goldsworthy's books, as well as SPQR by Beard.
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Old 05-10-2020, 02:11 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hart50 View Post
I realize you're looking for reading recommendations but HBO's "Rome" TV series is pretty good. It follows two Roman soldiers who get intertwined with the historical narrative of the Caesar/Antony/Octavian period.
The one criticism I would have is that they limited the series to two seasons and consequently the 2nd season is a little rushed.
Iíve seen Rome several times. Great show.
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Old 05-10-2020, 02:30 PM   #15
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There was an outstanding series on Cleopatra on the Smithsonian channel, its a must watch.
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Old 05-11-2020, 09:04 AM   #16
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While not ancient Rome specific, Circe and Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller are excellent. Both are fiction and fill in the gaps of Odysseus and Achille's stories from the perspective of Circe and Achille's friend Patroclus. They're pretty easy reads but a fun spin on the Greek Gods.

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Old 05-11-2020, 09:07 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KTrain View Post
While not ancient Rome specific, Circe and Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller are excellent. Both are non-fiction and fill in the gaps of Odysseus and Achille's stories from the perspective of Circe and Achille's friend Patroclus. They're pretty easy reads but a fun spin on the Greek Gods.
Related, I sometimes listen to this podcast:
https://www.parcast.com/mythology
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Old 05-11-2020, 08:04 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Agamemnon View Post
To me it sounds like you're describing the "Masters of Rome" series by Colleen McCullough. I loved it but that was 20 years ago...

Sulla features heavily in at least 2 books... series begins I believe with Gaius Marius and runs through... Octavian?
It would appear this was exactly what I was describing.

Going to start here but appreciate all the suggestions.
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Old 05-12-2020, 09:29 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cecil Terwilliger View Post
1. Historical fiction or non fiction that has a decent narrative with regards to the overall political maneuvering. I have no interest in reading a textbook with charts of military numbers.
I love a reason to recommend Conn Iggulden! Fantastic series - not as good as his Ghengis Khan one mind you but still great.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Gates_of_Rome
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Old 05-12-2020, 12:01 PM   #20
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One thing that I might recommend is to just look at a time line of the Roman Emperor and pick out the era's or government that might interest you and directly look at them.


I mean there are so many things to pick up on



The advancements of their military and the battle's that they fought on.


The really interesting Emperors Nero, Tiberius, Ceasar among others and the characters behind them Agrippa etc.



The changing religious face of the Empire in it itself has tons of books on it.


Also the decline and split of the Empire.


Because there's so much stuff to Roman History I'd be tempted to split it into bite sized pieces.
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