The Best Books On Life In The Roman Empire

The Books I Picked & Why

Pagan Holiday: On the Trail of Ancient Roman Tourists

By Tony Perrottet

Pagan Holiday: On the Trail of Ancient Roman Tourists

Why this book?

Did you know the ancient Romans had a thriving tourist industry? They did. They made world tours, bought souvenirs and dubious relics (cyclops skulls) and appropriated other cultures’ antiques and took them home to Rome. Full of fascinating information, and funny to boot.


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A Cabinet of Roman Curiosities: Strange Tales and Surprising Facts from the World's Greatest Empire

By J. C. McKeown

A Cabinet of Roman Curiosities: Strange Tales and Surprising Facts from the World's Greatest Empire

Why this book?

The author is a scholar, a professor of Classics, so he knows his stuff. He is also a wonderful writer. This is a collection of small and fascinating facts about Rome and the ancient world. A sampling of entries includes notes on Hannibal’s reputed use of jars of poisonous snakes as catapult ammunition, Roman fly fishing, window glass, and the mechanics of Nero’s revolving dining room.


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Legions of Rome: The Definitive History of Every Imperial Roman Legion

By Stephen Dando-Collins

Legions of Rome: The Definitive History of Every Imperial Roman Legion

Why this book?

It is exactly what the subtitle says, and a must for any serious Roman military nut. It includes general information on the Roman legions and a detailed account of the origins, postings, battles, commanders when known, and details down to emblems and astrological signs.


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Doctors and Diseases in the Roman Empire

By Ralph Jackson

Doctors and Diseases in the Roman Empire

Why this book?

A wonderful account of the sometimes counterintuitive world of Roman medicine. They could treat cataracts, for instance, but couldn’t recognize appendicitis because they weren’t allowed to conduct autopsies. The chapters on Roman army medicine are excellent. There is also an excellent chapter on women’s diseases, birth and contraception.


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Roman Woman: Everyday Life in Hadrian's Britain

By Lindsay Allason-Jones

Roman Woman: Everyday Life in Hadrian's Britain

Why this book?

This follows a British woman who has married a Roman army veteran through a year in Britain during the reign of Hadrian. It is filled with tons of accurate detail about every aspect of daily life. It is written as a novel but because the author is a scholar of Roman British history and archaeology, you can count on her accuracy in a way that I ordinarily don’t rely on with novels.


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