100 books like Etruscan Civilization

By Sybille Haynes,

Here are 100 books that Etruscan Civilization fans have personally recommended if you like Etruscan Civilization. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome

Paul Hay Author Of Saeculum: Defining Historical Eras in Ancient Roman Thought

From my list on for aspiring Roman history buffs.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a professor of Roman history who teaches and writes about the social world of the ancient Romans. I’m drawn to the topic of ancient Rome because it seems simultaneously familiar and alien: the people always “feel real” to me, but the many cultural differences between Rome and modern America prod me to contemplate those aspects and values of my own world that I take for granted. I enjoy the high moral stakes of the political machinations as well as the aesthetic beauty of the artistic creations of Rome. And the shadow of Rome still looms large in American culture, so I find the study of antiquity endlessly instructive.

Paul's book list on for aspiring Roman history buffs

Paul Hay Why did Paul love this book?

Perhaps the best place to start for a novice looking to learn about Roman history. I have had students, friends, and family all tell me that this was the book that really got them excited about ancient Rome.

Beard is a very witty, engaging writer who is able to combine major historical moments with obscure but revealing anecdotes to tell a coherent narrative of Roman history. She also demonstrates, such as in her introductory chapter’s discussion of modern references to the ancient conflict between Cicero and Catiline, the continuing relevance of Roman history to our understanding of politics today.

By Mary Beard,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked SPQR as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In SPQR, an instant classic, Mary Beard narrates the history of Rome "with passion and without technical jargon" and demonstrates how "a slightly shabby Iron Age village" rose to become the "undisputed hegemon of the Mediterranean" (Wall Street Journal). Hailed by critics as animating "the grand sweep and the intimate details that bring the distant past vividly to life" (Economist) in a way that makes "your hair stand on end" (Christian Science Monitor) and spanning nearly a thousand years of history, this "highly informative, highly readable" (Dallas Morning News) work examines not just how we think of ancient Rome but…


Book cover of The Greeks: A Portrait of Self and Others

Kathryn Lomas Author Of The Rise of Rome: From the Iron Age to the Punic Wars

From my list on the ancient Mediterranean.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a lifelong fascination for history and archaeology. Following a degree in Ancient History and Archaeology (University of Edinburgh), and a brief period as a field archaeologist, I undertook a PhD (University of Newcastle) researching the history of Greek settlement in southern Italy. My subsequent career has been devoted to the study of ancient Italy and Sicily, with a specific focus on the development of ethnic and cultural identities, and the formation of urban societies. I have held posts at several UK universities, including research fellowships at UCL, a lectureship at the University of Newcastle, and I am currently a part-time lecturer and Honorary Fellow at the University of Durham.

Kathryn's book list on the ancient Mediterranean

Kathryn Lomas Why did Kathryn love this book?

The volume (the publication of a Cambridge lecture series) addresses one of the key themes of modern culture: the nature of identity. The question ‘what is a Greek?’ is not as straightforward as it seems, given that the Greek world was very diverse, and the book explores this by examining Greek culture as a series of polarities: Greek vs barbarian; free vs slave, citizen vs non-citizen; male vs female and gods vs humans. It traces how these polarities illuminate how the Greeks thought about themselves, and how we think about them.

Although aimed squarely at a student readership, it is an approachable introduction to the nature of Greek culture and reflection on questions of identity, difference, and belonging which are at the forefront of contemporary political and cultural debate.

By Paul Cartledge,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Greeks as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book provides an original and challenging answer to the question: 'Who were the Classical Greeks?' Paul Cartledge - 'one of the most theoretically alert, widely read and prolific of contemporary ancient historians' (TLS) - here examines the Greeks and their achievements in terms of their own self-image, mainly as it was presented by the supposedly objective historians: Herodotus, Thucydides, and Xenophon.

Many of our modern concepts as we understand them were invented by the Greeks: for example, democracy, theatre, philosophy, and history. Yet despite being our cultural ancestors in many ways, their legacy remains rooted in myth and the…


Book cover of The Carthaginians

Kathryn Lomas Author Of The Rise of Rome: From the Iron Age to the Punic Wars

From my list on the ancient Mediterranean.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a lifelong fascination for history and archaeology. Following a degree in Ancient History and Archaeology (University of Edinburgh), and a brief period as a field archaeologist, I undertook a PhD (University of Newcastle) researching the history of Greek settlement in southern Italy. My subsequent career has been devoted to the study of ancient Italy and Sicily, with a specific focus on the development of ethnic and cultural identities, and the formation of urban societies. I have held posts at several UK universities, including research fellowships at UCL, a lectureship at the University of Newcastle, and I am currently a part-time lecturer and Honorary Fellow at the University of Durham.

Kathryn's book list on the ancient Mediterranean

Kathryn Lomas Why did Kathryn love this book?

Carthage, founded by the Phoenicians in the late 9th century BC, was one of the major powers of the western Mediterranean, establishing domination in North Africa, western Sicily and the Mediterranean islands, and Spain. Its struggle with the Greeks for domination of Sicily in the 4th century and wars with Rome in the 3rd-2nd centuries were seminal events in Mediterranean history. This book offers an excellent introduction to the Carthaginians and their culture. It traces the development of the city from its foundation to its destruction by Rome in 146 BC, presenting a wealth of archaeological and written evidence and explaining many of the complexities of Carthage’s history and society.

Although aimed at an academic readership, it presents this material in a manner that is accessible to anyone with an interest in the ancient Mediterranean.

By Dexter Hoyos,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Carthaginians as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Carthaginians reveals the complex culture, society and achievements of a famous, yet misunderstood, ancient people. Beginning as Phoenician settlers in North Africa, the Carthaginians then broadened their civilization with influences from neighbouring North African peoples, Egypt, and the Greek world. Their own cultural influence in turn spread across the Western Mediterranean as they imposed dominance over Sardinia, western Sicily, and finally southern Spain.

As a stable republic Carthage earned respectful praise from Greek observers, notably Aristotle, and from many Romans - even Cato, otherwise notorious for insisting that 'Carthage must be destroyed'. Carthage matched the great city-state of Syracuse…


Book cover of Age of Conquests: The Greek World from Alexander to Hadrian

Kathryn Lomas Author Of The Rise of Rome: From the Iron Age to the Punic Wars

From my list on the ancient Mediterranean.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a lifelong fascination for history and archaeology. Following a degree in Ancient History and Archaeology (University of Edinburgh), and a brief period as a field archaeologist, I undertook a PhD (University of Newcastle) researching the history of Greek settlement in southern Italy. My subsequent career has been devoted to the study of ancient Italy and Sicily, with a specific focus on the development of ethnic and cultural identities, and the formation of urban societies. I have held posts at several UK universities, including research fellowships at UCL, a lectureship at the University of Newcastle, and I am currently a part-time lecturer and Honorary Fellow at the University of Durham.

Kathryn's book list on the ancient Mediterranean

Kathryn Lomas Why did Kathryn love this book?

The later period of Greek history, after the conquests of Alexander the Great, is considerably less well known that the history of Classical Greece, but it was a fascinating period that radically changed the society and culture of the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East. This book covers the period of Alexander's conquests, the fragmentation of his empire into multiple kingdoms after his death, and the Roman conquest and domination of the Greek world.

It outlines the rise and fall of dynasties and kingdoms, the Roman conquest, and the transformation of the region, firstly by the Greek culture promoted by Alexander and his successors, and then by Roman rule. It provides an accessible and informative narrative of a period in which the Middle East and Greek world underwent transformational changes.

By Angelos Chaniotis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Age of Conquests as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The world that Alexander remade in his lifetime was transformed once more by his death in 323 BCE. His successors reorganized Persian lands to create a new empire stretching from the eastern Mediterranean as far as present-day Afghanistan, while in Greece and Macedonia a fragile balance of power repeatedly dissolved into war. Then, from the late third century BCE to the end of the first, Rome's military and diplomatic might successively dismantled these post-Alexandrian political structures, one by one.

During the Hellenistic period (c. 323-30 BCE), small polities struggled to retain the illusion of their identity and independence, in the…


Book cover of The Etruscans: A Very Short Introduction

Sinclair Bell Author Of A Companion to the Etruscans

From my list on the ancient, “mysterious” Etruscans.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated with ancient civilizations since my parents, amateur historians, moved our family to Saudi Arabia in the early 1980s, and we began to travel extensively around the Mediterranean, especially Greece, Italy, Egypt, and Jordan. I went on to study classical art and archaeology in graduate school in England, Scotland, and Germany, and excavated in Greece, Italy, and North Africa. My own research ranges widely, from the Etruscans to sport and entertainment in the Roman empire (about which I made a film with the Smithsonian, Rome’s Chariot Superstar). I currently live in Chicago, where I teach at a university. 

Sinclair's book list on the ancient, “mysterious” Etruscans

Sinclair Bell Why did Sinclair love this book?

If you are looking for a short, accessible, and up-to-date introduction to the Etruscans, this is it. Like other works in the Very Short Introductions series, Smith’s scope is broad, his tone is chatty, and his discussion is highly current. Whether you are an undergraduate or a general reader, this book speaks to all audiences. 

By Christopher Smith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Etruscans as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From around 900 to 400 BC, the Etruscans were the most innovative, powerful, wealthy, and creative people in Italy. Their archaeological record is both substantial and fascinating, including tomb paintings, sculpture, jewellery, and art. In this Very Short Introduction, Christopher Smith explores Etruscan history, culture, language, and customs. Examining the controversial debates about their origins, he explores how they once lived, placing this within the
geographical, economic, and political context of the time. Smith concludes by demonstrating how the Etruscans have been studied and perceived throughout the ages, and the impact this has had on our understanding of their place…


Book cover of Etruscan Art: in The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Sinclair Bell Author Of A Companion to the Etruscans

From my list on the ancient, “mysterious” Etruscans.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated with ancient civilizations since my parents, amateur historians, moved our family to Saudi Arabia in the early 1980s, and we began to travel extensively around the Mediterranean, especially Greece, Italy, Egypt, and Jordan. I went on to study classical art and archaeology in graduate school in England, Scotland, and Germany, and excavated in Greece, Italy, and North Africa. My own research ranges widely, from the Etruscans to sport and entertainment in the Roman empire (about which I made a film with the Smithsonian, Rome’s Chariot Superstar). I currently live in Chicago, where I teach at a university. 

Sinclair's book list on the ancient, “mysterious” Etruscans

Sinclair Bell Why did Sinclair love this book?

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has a collection of Etruscan art that is unrivalled within the United States, but for many decades it was not updated and many important works sat out of view. The reinstallation of the Etruscan galleries in 2007 was thus not only a major event for the museum’s public, but for the field of Etruscology more broadly. This sumptuously-illustrated book, written by a leading expert in Etruscan art, introduces the reader to the rich visual culture of the Etruscans, from their earliest creations to some of their most famous masterpieces. 

By Richard De Puma,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Etruscan Art as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This informative and engaging book on the Museum's outstanding collection of Etruscan art also provides an introduction to the fascinating and diverse culture of ancient Etruria, which thrived in central Italy from about 900 to 100 B.C. Masterpieces of the collection include 7th century B.C. objects from the Monteleone di Spoleto tomb group (including the famous remarkably well-preserved bronze chariot), intricate gold jewelry, carved gems, and wonderful ambers. For the first time in more than 70 years, this incredible body of work is published in a comprehensive and beautifully designed book that draws upon decades of exhaustive research.

Etruscan Art…


Book cover of The Etruscan World

Sinclair Bell Author Of A Companion to the Etruscans

From my list on the ancient, “mysterious” Etruscans.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated with ancient civilizations since my parents, amateur historians, moved our family to Saudi Arabia in the early 1980s, and we began to travel extensively around the Mediterranean, especially Greece, Italy, Egypt, and Jordan. I went on to study classical art and archaeology in graduate school in England, Scotland, and Germany, and excavated in Greece, Italy, and North Africa. My own research ranges widely, from the Etruscans to sport and entertainment in the Roman empire (about which I made a film with the Smithsonian, Rome’s Chariot Superstar). I currently live in Chicago, where I teach at a university. 

Sinclair's book list on the ancient, “mysterious” Etruscans

Sinclair Bell Why did Sinclair love this book?

This is a rich, encyclopedic-like collection of brief chapters about various aspects of Etruscan culture by all the major scholars (60!) in the field. If you are looking to gain access to Etruscan civilization by randomly reading about particular aspects—from art (the evidence of the earliest portraiture) to women’s lives to sport to engineering to trading contactsthen this is the book for you. All of the chapters are written very accessibly, andwhile shortthey are packed with information and helpful suggestions for further reading.

By Jean MacIntosh Turfa (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Etruscan World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Etruscans can be shown to have made significant, and in some cases perhaps the first, technical advances in the central and northern Mediterranean. To the Etruscan people we can attribute such developments as the tie-beam truss in large wooden structures, surveying and engineering drainage and water tunnels, the development of the foresail for fast long-distance sailing vessels, fine techniques of metal production and other pyrotechnology, post-mortem C-sections in medicine, and more. In art, many technical and iconographic developments, although they certainly happened first in Greece or the Near East, are first seen in extant Etruscan works, preserved in the…


Book cover of The Scarith of Scornello: A Tale of Renaissance Forgery

Sinclair Bell Author Of A Companion to the Etruscans

From my list on the ancient, “mysterious” Etruscans.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated with ancient civilizations since my parents, amateur historians, moved our family to Saudi Arabia in the early 1980s, and we began to travel extensively around the Mediterranean, especially Greece, Italy, Egypt, and Jordan. I went on to study classical art and archaeology in graduate school in England, Scotland, and Germany, and excavated in Greece, Italy, and North Africa. My own research ranges widely, from the Etruscans to sport and entertainment in the Roman empire (about which I made a film with the Smithsonian, Rome’s Chariot Superstar). I currently live in Chicago, where I teach at a university. 

Sinclair's book list on the ancient, “mysterious” Etruscans

Sinclair Bell Why did Sinclair love this book?

Ingrid Rowland is a fabulous writer, with a wide and frankly unrivalled knowledge of the art, architecture, and archaeology of Italy, from the Etruscans to modern day. She spins this little-known “17th-century caper” about the forgery of “Etruscan” artifacts with great verve, drawing the reader in like a good detective yarn. In her telling, what appears at first like a historical footnote ends up having implications far beyond, implicating—and scandalizing—the Vatican itself and beyond. 

By Ingrid D. Rowland,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Scarith of Scornello as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Bored teenager Curzio Inghirami staged perhaps the most outlandish prank of the seventeenth century when he hatched a wild scheme that preyed on the Italian fixation with ancestry by forging an array of ancient Latin and Etruscan documents. Stashing the counterfeit treasure in scarith (capsules made of hair and mud) near Scornello, Curzio reeled in seventeenth-century Tuscans who were eager to establish proof of their heritage and history. However, despite their excitement, none of these proud Italians could actually read the ancient Etruscan language, and they simply perpetuated the hoax. Written with humor and energy by Renaissance expert Ingrid Rowland,…


Book cover of Myths and Legends of Ancient Greece and Rome

Elisabeth Storrs Author Of The Wedding Shroud

From my list on the mythology of Etruscans, Greeks, and Romans.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an Australian author who lives on the other side of the Pond. I’m a self-confessed Romaholic but my great love is for the Etruscans. My curiosity was first piqued to learn about these people when I saw an Etruscan sarcophagus depicting a couple embracing for eternity. The casket was unusual because women were rarely commemorated in funerary art let alone a couple depicted in such a pose of affection. What ancient society revered women as much as men? Discovering the answer led me to the decadent and mystical Etruscan civilisation and the little-known story of a ten-year siege between Rome and the Etruscan city of Veii.

Elisabeth's book list on the mythology of Etruscans, Greeks, and Romans

Elisabeth Storrs Why did Elisabeth love this book?

The ancient world has always held a fascination for me. It must be in my genes because one of my fondest memories is my father telling me stories about the Greek gods. As a kid, I also found a book in our house that had been handed down through generations within my family entitled The Myths and Legends of Ancient Greece and Rome by E.M. Berens. This book was published in 1892 but Berens is still in print, no doubt in its umpteenth edition.

My book has a leather cover, the spine frayed so that the webbing that binds the folios is exposed. The pages are mottled, yellowing. It is a treasure. Inside, the lives of the fickle, adulterous, benevolent, or malevolent deities are revealed; their bickering and flaws similar to mortals but their ability to bless, curse, and manipulate man’s fate, divine.

By E.M. Berens,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Myths and Legends of Ancient Greece and Rome as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

HarperCollins is proud to present its incredible range of best-loved, essential classics.

'This was the slaying of the Minotaur, which put an end forever to the shameful tribute of seven youths and seven maidens which was exacted from the Athenians every nine years.'

The gods, heroes and legends of Greek mythology and their Roman interpretations are as fascinating as they are instructive. They include the almighty Zeus and his many wives; heroic Perseus, slayer of the snake-headed Medusa; Helen of Troy, whose beauty caused a great war; Medea, driven mad by jealousy; and tragic Persephone, doomed to live half of…


Book cover of La Passione: How Italy Seduced the World

Margo Sorenson Author Of Secrets in Translation

From my list on to take you to enchanting Italy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I spent my first seven years in Spain and Italy, devouring books and Italian food and still speak (or try!) my childhood languages. The Italian language and culture are precious to me—an integral part of my life. Our visits back to Italy, speaking Italian with friends, cooking Italian meals, writing for the Italian Language Foundation's website, and enjoying our community's Italian movie nights maintain my Italian experience. Sadly, I can't be in Italy all the time, but have found some fabulous books that take me right back! Il cuore e italiano—my heart is Italian.

Margo's book list on to take you to enchanting Italy

Margo Sorenson Why did Margo love this book?

If you love Italy—and if you don't love it now, you definitely will—after reading this engaging, vibrant tribute to Italy! Knighted by the President of Italy for her writing about Italy, author Dianne Hales describes the native, inherent passion of Italians—la passione italiana— as the source and nurturer of our civilization's love for art, music, architecture, cars, ceramics, sculpture, design, literature, film, food, and wine. Bursting with talent and passion, the legacy of Italian passion for life in our culture is ubiquitous and all-encompassing. Italy and its passion itself have taken hold of our imaginations, and your imagination will take you directly to la bella Italia, as it did for me, while reading this engaging book.

By Dianne Hales,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked La Passione as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A jubilant celebration of Italy’s outsize impact on culture, from literature to art, music to movies, that “masterfully examines the multitude of reasons why so many people fall in love with Italy and the Italian lifestyle” (Forbes)

Can you imagine painting without Leonardo, opera without Verdi, fashion without Armani, food without the signature tastes of pasta, gelato, and pizza? The first universities, first banks, first public libraries? All Italian.

New York Times bestselling author Dianne Hales attributes these landmark achievements to la passione italiana, a primal force that stems from an insatiable hunger to discover and create; to love and…


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