100 books like Handbook to Life in Ancient Rome

By Lesley Adkins, Roy Adkins,

Here are 100 books that Handbook to Life in Ancient Rome fans have personally recommended if you like Handbook to Life in Ancient Rome. 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 Guide to Biblical Coins

Denny Sissom Author Of The Bridge to the New Testament: A Comprehensive Guide to the Forgotten Years of the Inter-Testament Period

From my list on the inter-testament period and the New Testament.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since I sought material to teach a class on the inter-testament period back in 1994, I discovered there was not much written on the subject. So, I decided to change that. From the creation of the world to the rebuilding of the Temple by Zerubbabel and reconstruction of the walls of Jerusalem by Nehemiah, nothing has piqued my interest as much as what happened after these events. The study of inter-testament history is fascinating, important, and lacking in most Christian educations. Through our learning of the inter-testament, we can better understand the people, politics, and history of the New Testament.  

Denny's book list on the inter-testament period and the New Testament

Denny Sissom Why did Denny love this book?

A deeper understanding about the history of a period can be gained by examining the coinage of that time. Coins were the billboards and TV commercials of ancient history. David Hendin is the world-renowned expert on Biblical and inter-testament coinage. He does an excellent job of showing multiple versions of each denomination (since ancient coin dies were never identical) and explaining their history as well. David was also kind enough to verify the authenticity of the coins I present in my book. He discovered that I had inadvertently acquired what I thought was a valuable coin (of Aristobulus I of the Hasmoneans), but it was actually an overstrike of a less-valuable coin (Alexander Jannaeus).

By David Hendin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Guide to Biblical Coins as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is the fourth edition of the most widely used reference in the field of ancient Biblical and Jewish Coins, with more than 10,000 copies already in print. It is also the most complete edition yet, listing more than 550 different coins while maintaining the same numbering system as Hendin's popular third edition. Hendin has dramatically expanded the text with extensions and significant new material. This new edition contains a full 38 pages of photographic plates illustrating more than 500 coins and weights. Aimed at both beginning and advanced collectors, Hendin compiles the knowledge he has accumulated in the 34…


Book cover of The Quest: Revealing the Temple Mount in Jerusalem

Denny Sissom Author Of The Bridge to the New Testament: A Comprehensive Guide to the Forgotten Years of the Inter-Testament Period

From my list on the inter-testament period and the New Testament.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since I sought material to teach a class on the inter-testament period back in 1994, I discovered there was not much written on the subject. So, I decided to change that. From the creation of the world to the rebuilding of the Temple by Zerubbabel and reconstruction of the walls of Jerusalem by Nehemiah, nothing has piqued my interest as much as what happened after these events. The study of inter-testament history is fascinating, important, and lacking in most Christian educations. Through our learning of the inter-testament, we can better understand the people, politics, and history of the New Testament.  

Denny's book list on the inter-testament period and the New Testament

Denny Sissom Why did Denny love this book?

The Quest just makes you excited, particularly if you are going to visit Jerusalem after reading it. It lays out very convincing arguments for where the remains of ancient structures are in Jerusalem today, particularly regarding the Temple and Temple Mount. You can know with confidence as you walk on a given path on which Jesus may have tread. You will learn which blocks of the Temple Mount wall were laid during which periods of history. The book also clearly shows where the bends are in the walls that delineate the Temple Mount of Solomon’s time, the extension of the mount by the Hasmoneans, and the greatly-expanded Temple Mount of Herod the Great.

By Leen Ritmeyer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

No book is better suited to the study, understanding and development of the manmade plateau that is the focus of the world s interest the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Ritmeyer's experience as architect of the Temple Mount Excavations following the Six-Day War, coupled with his exploration of parts of the mount now hardly accessible and his doctoral research into the problems of the Temple Mount make him singularly qualified for the task.


Book cover of Masada: Herod's Fortress and the Zealots' Last Stand

Denny Sissom Author Of The Bridge to the New Testament: A Comprehensive Guide to the Forgotten Years of the Inter-Testament Period

From my list on the inter-testament period and the New Testament.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since I sought material to teach a class on the inter-testament period back in 1994, I discovered there was not much written on the subject. So, I decided to change that. From the creation of the world to the rebuilding of the Temple by Zerubbabel and reconstruction of the walls of Jerusalem by Nehemiah, nothing has piqued my interest as much as what happened after these events. The study of inter-testament history is fascinating, important, and lacking in most Christian educations. Through our learning of the inter-testament, we can better understand the people, politics, and history of the New Testament.  

Denny's book list on the inter-testament period and the New Testament

Denny Sissom Why did Denny love this book?

As Leen Ritmeyer has done for the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Yigael Yadin has done for the fortress of Masada in the Judean wilderness. Through the findings of his excavations of Masada from October 1963 to May 1964, he transports you back in time to when the defenders of Masada, the last holdout of the Jewish rebellion, held off the Roman military for a time in AD 73. When the Romans finally breached the fortress, all they found were dead bodies. The Jewish defenders chose to end their own lives and those of their families to escape being killed, tortured, or sold into slavery. Yadin also presents the history of the fortress back to its founding by the Hasmonean, Alexander Jannaeus. 

By Yigael Yadin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This is the account of Yadin's excavation of the hill fort of Masada. What he found there confirmed Josephus's account of the siege. The spectacular discoveries included Herod's three-tiered palace, the earliest-known manuscript of "Ecclesiasticus" and potsherds that may have been suicide lots.


Book cover of The New Complete Works of Josephus

Denny Sissom Author Of The Bridge to the New Testament: A Comprehensive Guide to the Forgotten Years of the Inter-Testament Period

From my list on the inter-testament period and the New Testament.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since I sought material to teach a class on the inter-testament period back in 1994, I discovered there was not much written on the subject. So, I decided to change that. From the creation of the world to the rebuilding of the Temple by Zerubbabel and reconstruction of the walls of Jerusalem by Nehemiah, nothing has piqued my interest as much as what happened after these events. The study of inter-testament history is fascinating, important, and lacking in most Christian educations. Through our learning of the inter-testament, we can better understand the people, politics, and history of the New Testament.  

Denny's book list on the inter-testament period and the New Testament

Denny Sissom Why did Denny love this book?

Our knowledge of Jewish history would be sorely lacking if not for Titus Flavius Josephus. Josephus was a Hellenistic Jew who lived from AD 37-100, just a few decades after the end of the inter-testament period. He was a leader of the Galilean rebels during the Jewish revolt against the Romans. When the Jews led by him were soundly defeated in AD 67 in the town of Jotapata, he appealed to Vespasian, the Roman commander at the time, to spare his life and not send him to the emperor, Nero, for enslavement.  Josephus predicted that Vespasian and his son, Titus, would both become emperors. In time, Josephus became a patron of Vespasian and a prolific historian of the time.

By Flavius Josephus, William Whiston (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

No source, other than the Bible itself, provides more relevant information on the first century than the work of Flavius Josephus. This newly edited version updates the original 18th century language; includes commentary by the award winning author and historian, Dr. Paul L. Maier; features over forty photos of ancient sites and artifacts mentioned by Josephus; cross references numbers throughout to the Greek text of Josephus in the Loeb Classical Library; and offers revised indexes of subjects and Old Testament texts.


Book cover of Ancient Rome on 5 Denarii a Day

Jennifer Burke Author Of Sub Rosa: A Valerius Mystery

From my list on bringing Ancient Rome alive.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve loved history ever since I was a kid when I first had the realisation that it was made up of stories. Ancient Rome has always fascinated me, not the battles or the emperors or the big picture stuff, but the daily lives of the ordinary people. You only need to read some of the rude graffiti from Pompeii to realise that people have never really changed where it counts! I studied English and History at university, neither of them as thoroughly as I could have, but at least now when people ask me what I’d ever use an Arts degree for, I can point to my book. 

Jennifer's book list on bringing Ancient Rome alive

Jennifer Burke Why did Jennifer love this book?

There are, of course, lots of amazing non-fiction resources on Ancient Rome, but I love the way this one is written as a travel guide, as though you’re a tourist clutching a copy of Lonely Planet.

This is a fun and accessible book, easy to dip in and out of, but also great to read in one hit. There aren’t any emperors or empire-defining battles in this one, just walking tours of the city, tips on where to eat and what to see, and where to go for shopping and entertainment.

The only disappointing thing about this book is the realisation that time travel isn’t actually a thing. 

Book cover of What Life Was Like: When Rome Ruled the World: The Roman Empire 100 BC-AD 200

Suzanne Tyrpak Author Of Vestal Virgin: Suspense in Ancient Rome

From my list on ancient Rome at the time of Nero.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having been an actor and a dancer, in college I became interested in the origins of those arts. Curiosity led me to study Greek theater and ancient religions. In the early 2000s, I traveled to Rome with a group of writers, including Terry Brooks, Dorothy Allison, Elizabeth Engstrom, and John Saul. As soon as I set foot in Rome, I fell in love with that magnificent city’s history—in particular Vestal Virgins, the most powerful women in the ancient world. That trip inspired me to write Vestal Virgin—suspense in ancient Rome, a bestseller in many categories on Amazon.

Suzanne's book list on ancient Rome at the time of Nero

Suzanne Tyrpak Why did Suzanne love this book?

Frequently, I write about everyday men and women. Consequently, I need to get a feel for what everyday life was like. What did people eat? How did they dress? Where did they work? I visit a lot of museums and have traveled extensively, but when I’m writing at home, I like books with lots of pictures, not only of historical sites, but photos of objects: cookware, weapons, clothing, jewelry, houses. This helps me bring the ancient world to life. This book is packed with pictures and well-researched information.

By Time-Life Books,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked What Life Was Like as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Provides a look at the Roman empire, detailing its history, social customs, professions, class ranks, military, and religion


Book cover of Invisible Romans: Prostitutes, Outlaws, Slaves, Gladiators, Ordinary Men and Women ... The Romans That History Forgot

Guy D. Middleton Author Of Women in the Ancient Mediterranean World: From the Palaeolithic to the Byzantines

From my list on real women in the ancient Mediterranean.

Why am I passionate about this?

I wrote Women in the Ancient Mediterranean World: From the Palaeolithic to the Byzantines when my partner and I found out that we were having a daughter. I finished it just as daughter number two appeared! I wanted to write something they could connect with easily as young women to share my lifelong passion for Mediterranean history. I grew up inspired by my local landscape of castles and ruins, trips to Greece, Michael Wood documentaries, and lots of books. I studied ancient history and archaeology at Newcastle University and later got my PhD from Durham University. I’ve written on various aspects of the ancient world in journals, magazines, websites, and my previous books.

Guy's book list on real women in the ancient Mediterranean

Guy D. Middleton Why did Guy love this book?

This is one of the best books on life in the ancient Roman world – about life for the 99% rather than kings, queens and aristocrats.

In it, Robert Knapp seeks to rescue the invisible majority of ‘ordinary people’, their activities, beliefs, and dreams, from relative obscurity. The book draws on a huge range of sources and every page reveals something interesting. Women form a large proportion of the Roman invisible, and Knapp explores the lives of all kinds of subaltern women, free and enslaved.

Sometimes, as with prostitutes or the poor, the stories are grim – but they are as valid as any discussion of a Cleopatra or a Livia. I really liked Knapp’s idea of historians making invisible people visible again and it really chimed with my work on ancient women.

By Robert Knapp,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Invisible Romans as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Robert Knapp brings invisible inhabitants of Rome and its vast empire to life. He seeks out the ordinary men, housewives, prostitutes, freedmen, slaves, soldiers, and gladiators, who formed the fabric of everyday life in the ancient Roman world, and the outlaws and pirates who lay beyond it. He finds their own words preserved in literature, letters, inscriptions and graffiti and their traces in the nooks and crannies of the histories, treatises, plays and poetry created by members of the elite. He tracks down and pieces together these and other tell-tale bits of evidence cast off by the visible mass of…


Book cover of Ancient Rome on Five Denarii a Day

David Wishart Author Of Ovid

From my list on life in early Imperial Rome.

Why am I passionate about this?

I graduated – too long ago now to recall the date comfortably – from Edinburgh University with an MA in Classics (Latin and Greek); add to this the facts that I’m a compulsive daily solver of the London ‘Times’ cryptic crossword, an unabashed conspiracy-theorist, and a huge fan of Niccolo Machiavelli and Mickey Spillane, and you more or less know all that you need to about the genesis of my Marcus Corvinus series. With these picks I am taking you down some lesser-known but, I hope, interesting side streets in Rome. Here we go...

David's book list on life in early Imperial Rome

David Wishart Why did David love this book?

Think Blue Guide, Michelin, or Lonely Planet. If you’re lucky enough to own a time machine and are planning a holiday in late-first-century Rome then this is the book to slip into your shoulder bag. It has everything you’d expect to find in a good travel guide: information on where to stay and what to see and do, advice on eating out, and the best places to shop, plus tips on how best to fit in with the natives, what to do if while you’re there you get into difficulties, and a whole lot more. The perfect introduction to Rome under the Flavians. All you’ll need now – because the chances of finding an English-speaker anywhere in the city are going to be zilch – is a decent phrasebook...

By Philip Matyszak,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ancient Rome on Five Denarii a Day as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Here is an informative and entertaining guide to everything that any tourist needs for a journey back in time to ancient Rome in AD 200.You need only pack your imagination and a toothbrush - this guide provides the rest, describing all the best places to stay and shop, what to do, and what to avoid. Brought to life with wonderful computer-generated reconstructions of ancient Rome, this highly original, witty book will appeal to tourists, armchair travellers and history buffs.


Book cover of Rome: In Spectacular Cross-Section

Melissa Addey Author Of From the Ashes

From my list on non-fiction to immerse yourself in Ancient Rome.

Why am I passionate about this?

Curious about Ancient Rome and especially about gladiators, I asked myself, who were the backstage team of the Colosseum? The more I searched for the team, the more I realised there was hardly any mention of them. If there were hundreds of animals, dancers, singers, gladiators, criminals, and more about to be shown off to an audience of 60,000, who was planning and managing it all? And so I created the Colosseum’s backstage team – a retired centurion called Marcus and his scribe Althea, along with a motley crew of slaves, a prostitute, a street boy, even a retired Vestal Virgin… they came alive for me while researching and I eventually created a four-book series.

Melissa's book list on non-fiction to immerse yourself in Ancient Rome

Melissa Addey Why did Melissa love this book?

People sometimes look surprised when I say I start my historical research with children’s books, but when those books are works of art like this one, you’ll quickly see why. Stephen Biesty’s ability to take the most complex of buildings and draw their most intricate workings and construction elements is legendary. Explore the Forum, Temple, Baths, Colosseum, and Circus Maximus in wonderful detail and learn about Ancient Rome at a single glance… or many hours poring over every page. Might be out of print – buy a secondhand copy quickly before they all get snapped up!

By Stephen Biesty, Andrew Solway,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rome as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

"The ancient city of Rome is the perfect subject for Stephen Biesty's illustrations - beautifully constructed, technologically advanced, and teeming with life. Titus's "Roman Holiday" takes in the Temple, the Forum and the Baths, the Colosseum and chariot racing at the Circus Maximus, all illustrated in stunning, painstaking detail". "There are cross-sections, cut-aways and explosions, authoritative annotations, lists and explanations. Biesty captures the epic scale of the city - the capacity crowd at the Colosseum, for example - and there is some wonderful attention to detail in the architecture and the engineering. But he also succeeds in capturing the humanity…


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

Amanda Cockrell Author Of Shadow of the Eagle

From my list on life in the Roman Empire.

Why am I passionate about this?

As Damion Hunter, I have written six novels set in the first and second centuries of the Roman Empire, for which I have done extensive research. My picks are all books that I have found most useful and accessible for the writer who wants to ground her fiction in accurate detail and for the reader who just wants to know the little stuff, which is always more interesting than the big stuff.

Amanda's book list on life in the Roman Empire

Amanda Cockrell Why did Amanda love 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.

By J.C. McKeown,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Cabinet of Roman Curiosities as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The ancient Romans have left us far more information about themselves than has any other Western society until much more recent times. But what we know about them is sometimes bizarre, and hardly fits the conventional view of the Romans as a pragmatic people with a ruthlessly efficient army and a very logical and well ordered language.

A Cabinet of Roman Curiosities is a serendipitous collection of odd facts and opinions, carefully gleaned from the wide body of evidence left to us by the Romans themselves. Each highlights a unique and curious feature of life in ancient Rome. Readers will…


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