The Best Books On Ancient Rome

By Duane W. Roller

The Books I Picked & Why

A Brief History of the Romans

By Richard J.A. Talbert, Noel Lenski, Daniel J. Gargola, Mary T. Boatwright

A Brief History of the Romans

Why this book?

This is probably the best recent one-volume history of Rome, which covers the entire scope of the Roman world from its beginnings to its collapse. It is nicely illustrated, and gives a solid summary of the Roman environment that is easily understood by non-specialists. It is an exciting story: from a village on the Tiber River to ruling the world, an unexpected process that is well laid out.


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From the Gracchi to Nero

By H. H. Scullard

From the Gracchi to Nero

Why this book?

This is a focused survey of the most fascinating period in Rome's history, when the ancient Republic evolved into an empire: the era of Julius Caesar, Mark Antony, and the emperors Augustus, Nero, and others. During this period Rome's expansion meant major internal changes and a century of instability, and I know of no better book that explains why and how this happened.


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The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

By Edward Gibbon

The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

Why this book?

This is the first great study of the Roman world. Although over 200 years old, it is still influential in the way we look at Rome. It is also one of the great monuments of English prose. Although we may no longer agree with many of his conclusions, it is a joy to read and helps us understand the basis of the Roman world.


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The Art of Rome

By Bernard Andreae

The Art of Rome

Why this book?

This is a lavishly illustrated work showing the major pieces of Roman art, an important component of their ideology and self image. It explains how the Romans built on the Greek tradition of art and architecture and created their own artistic world, much of which is still with us today.


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I, Claudius

By Robert Graves

I, Claudius

Why this book?

Although fiction, this is an impressive study of the early years of the Roman empire, and was the basis of the popular televisions series of the 1970s. It is well worth reading for a more personal insight into the Roman world. Everything Graves describes is documented in some way in the ancient texts.


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