10 books like Nero

By Edward Champlin,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Nero. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Cleopatra

By Stacy Schiff,

Book cover of Cleopatra: A Life

It’s possible that Cleopatra is the single most misunderstood figure in all of history. She has been used as an example, an allegory, a warning. Her name conjures images of mysticism, sensuality, and seduction. These caricatures do her injustice. This excellent book scrapes away all the mythologizing and paints the fullest, clearest picture of this remarkable leader, the world she lived in, and the motivations behind the choices she made. She wasn’t Roman (she wasn’t really Egyptian, either), but she had a huge impact on Roman history and is an integral part of the Roman story. 

Cleopatra

By Stacy Schiff,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer brings to life the most intriguing woman in the history of the world: Cleopatra, the last queen of Egypt.Her palace shimmered with onyx, garnets, and gold, but was richer still in political and sexual intrigue. Above all else, Cleopatra was a shrewd strategist and an ingenious negotiator.Though her life spanned fewer than forty years, it reshaped the contours of the ancient world. She was married twice, each time to a brother. She waged a brutal civil war against the first when both were teenagers. She poisoned the second. Ultimately she dispensed with an ambitious sister as…


Classical Scientific Astrology

By George C. Noonan,

Book cover of Classical Scientific Astrology

Early on in my research on Neronian astrology I had the good fortune to discover this book and visit its author, a real live astrologer. When he showed me the chart he had done for me I felt a  shiver of excitement, convinced that I was the first person to pay an astrologer to cast Nero’s horoscope in 2,000 years. Dr. Noonan’s book is an excellent introduction to astrology as it was practiced in the ancient world. 

Classical Scientific Astrology

By George C. Noonan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Classical Scientific Astrology focuses on the astrology of the Classicists, including Ptolemy and Al-Biruni, and its everyday use in determining the future of individuals, the national economy, the outcome of business and military ventures, the quality of national leadership and more. Included are: Historical persepctive of astrology from its earliest beginnings The houses and branches of astrology The signs, including their nature, and body parts, diseases, flora, fauna and places indicated by the signs; degrees of the signs and decanates The planets, including their nature, rulershp, terms, face and sect The aspects, including their power, applying and separating, orientality and…


Nero

By Richard Holland,

Book cover of Nero: The Man Behind the Myth

Written by a veteran London Times journalist this exciting book reads like a fast paced thriller. What I found most interesting is his detailed description of Nero’s most notorious action, the murder of his mother. He writes “It is in the realm of abnormal psychology that an explanation may lie.” He is clearly unaware that what best explains the spooky full moon melodrama played out on a cosmic stage was the blind faith both Nero and his mother had in astrology (see Nero's astrology chart here). 

Nero

By Richard Holland,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Richard Holland's biography looks at Nero from a different perspective and encourages readers to see the man rather than the monster.


Nero

By Michael Grant,

Book cover of Nero: Emperor In Revolt

A magisterial, affectionate portrait of Nero and his times, this book is full of delightful touches of humor. Grant writes that although Nero enjoyed giving feasts, “we are not told if he was amused by the famous contemporary glutton Arpocras, who ate four tablecloths at a time, and broken glass as well.”

Nero

By Michael Grant,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Bound in the publisher's original cloth covered boards, spine and cover stamped in gilt. Dust jacket rubbed at the edges, small closed tears at the extremities.


Renan's Antichrist

By Joseph-Ernest Renan, William G. Hutchison,

Book cover of Renan's Antichrist

This book by the renowned nineteenth-century biblical scholar is a great read because it epitomizes the traditional anti-Nero bias to the point of parody. Renan writes that “Nero’s actions float between the black wickedness of a cruel dunce and the irony of a cynic. He did not possess an idea that was not puerile. The sham world of art in which he dwelt had made the veriest fool of him.”

Renan's Antichrist

By Joseph-Ernest Renan, William G. Hutchison,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Renan's Antichrist as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This Is A New Release Of The Original 1899 Edition.


Caesar

By Christian Meier,

Book cover of Caesar

When I wrote my first book—an exploration of Caesar’s leadership—I read a lot about the guy. This was the book I came back to most often as a guidepost. It helped me get past the biases I brought into my project and understand better the essence of who Caesar really was. There are a lot of books about Caesar, and rightly so; he is one of the most fascinating and enigmatic personalities of all time. For me, a great book is one that leaves me feeling like I could travel in time, sit down with the subject, and know what to expect from them. That’s a rare feat, especially for someone like Caesar. But he felt almost…familiar after reading this book. 

Caesar

By Christian Meier,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

James Boswell called him 'the greatest man of any age'. Christian Meier's biography is the definitive modern account of Caesar's life and career, and places him within the wider context of the crisis of the Roman republic. It is a compelling work of historical scholarship.


Caligula

By Aloys Winterling, Deborah Lucas Schneider (translator), Glenn W. Most, Paul Psoinos

Book cover of Caligula: A Biography

Few books challenge conventional knowledge about a historical figure like this one. This might be bad business for me personally. After all, my book about Evil Roman Emperors likes to wallow in the more salacious aspects of Roman history, and this book undermines some of those narratives where Rome’s third emperor is concerned. Winterling’s book takes a deep and critical look at the life of this maligned figure from history. While he stops short of vindicating Caligula, the author does a great job of giving a more complete and nuanced perspective of who he was and what made him tick. Was he truly crazy? Did he really think himself a god? Should his name be inextricably linked with violence and debauchery? Read and find out.

Caligula

By Aloys Winterling, Deborah Lucas Schneider (translator), Glenn W. Most, Paul Psoinos

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The infamous emperor Caligula ruled Rome from A.D. 37 to 41 as a tyrant who ultimately became a monster. An exceptionally smart and cruelly witty man, Caligula made his contemporaries worship him as a god. He drank pearls dissolved in vinegar and ate food covered in gold leaf. He forced men and women of high rank to have sex with him, turned part of his palace into a brothel, and committed incest with his sisters. He wanted to make his horse a consul. Torture and executions were the order of the day. Both modern and ancient interpretations have concluded from…


Constantine the Emperor

By David M. Potter,

Book cover of Constantine the Emperor

Constantine has come to be synonymous with the conversion of Rome to Christianity, and in the popular imagination the image often goes no further. I certainly always linked the man with this outcome in my mind. But he was so much more. He was ambitious to the point of revolutionary. He was ruthless to the point of megalomaniacal. He both stabilized the Empire and contributed to the factors that led to its fall. This book helped me understand the whole figure of Constantine, contradictions and all.

Constantine the Emperor

By David M. Potter,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

No Roman emperor had a greater impact on the modern world than did Constantine. The reason is not simply that he converted to Christianity, but that he did so in a way that brought his subjects along after him. Indeed, this major new biography argues that Constantine's conversion is but one feature of a unique administrative style that enabled him to take control of an empire beset by internal rebellions and external threats by Persians and Goths. The vast record of
Constantine's administration reveals a government careful in its exercise of power but capable of ruthless, even savage, actions. Constantine…


The Annals

By Tacitus, Anthony A. Barrett, J. C. Yardley (translator)

Book cover of The Annals: The Reigns of Tiberius, Claudius, and Nero

This darkly magnificent account of Roman history under the emperors from the time of Tiberius to that of Nero (with some retrospective swipes at Tiberius’ predecessor Augustus) is an ironic masterpiece written by a Roman senator in the early second century CE. Tacitus offers an unflinching analysis of the effects of an autocratic system on the behaviour of rulers—and the ruled. While a handful of individuals dare to speak truth to power, most people, in his account, are caught in the toils of second-guessing how the emperor might want them to behave and what he might want them to say. Tacitus’ hugely influential analysis of what power does to peopleand his breath-taking prosemake this a riveting read.  

The Annals

By Tacitus, Anthony A. Barrett, J. C. Yardley (translator)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'He was atrocious in his brutality, but his lechery was kept hidden... In the end, he erupted into an orgy of crime and ignominy alike'

Such is Tacitus' obituary of Tiberius, and he is no less caustic in his opinion of the weak and cuckolded Claudius and the 'artist' Nero. The Annals is a gripping account of the Roman emperors who followed Augustus, the founder of the imperial system, and of the murders, sycophancy, plotting, and oppression that marked this period in Rome. Tacitus provides the earliest and most detailed account of Boudicca's rebellion in Britain, and his history also…


Ancient Rome

By Dorling Kindersley, Simon James,

Book cover of Ancient Rome

Found in the children’s section, I depend Eyewitness Books. I’ve collected a number of them and find them extremely useful for quick reference. Loaded with photographs and snippets of well researched information, they are enjoyable for readers of all ages. Topics in this book include: Family life, the bloody arena, a trip to the baths, worship and sacrifice, a dinner party, and much more. Ancient Rome is brought to life.

Ancient Rome

By Dorling Kindersley, Simon James,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From Roman emperors and gods and goddesses to soldiers and gladiators, step into the exciting world of ancient Rome.

Who were Rome's most famous emperors? What was everyday life like for a soldier in the Roman army? How did the citizens of ancient Rome live? Did gladiators really fight to the death in the mighty Colosseum? Find out the answers to all these questions, and many more, in Eyewitness: Ancient Rome.

Photographs of real artifacts and detailed illustrations will help you to learn all about the time of ancient Rome, from a small city-state ruled by kings to one of…


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Interested in Nero, Tacitus, and Rome?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Nero, Tacitus, and Rome.

Nero Explore 18 books about Nero
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