10 books like Pagans and Christians

By Robin Lane Fox,

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

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission (learn more).

"On Second Thought" and Other Essays in the History of Medicine and Science

By Owsei Temkin,

Book cover of "On Second Thought" and Other Essays in the History of Medicine and Science

This series of essays by a humane physician-historian who first attracted me to medical history examines basic ideas in medicine across centuries and cultures. Published when the author was almost a hundred, it raises important questions about medical ethics and the place of medicine in society from the Greeks onwards.

"On Second Thought" and Other Essays in the History of Medicine and Science

By Owsei Temkin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked "On Second Thought" and Other Essays in the History of Medicine and Science as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Over the course of a career spanning most of the twentieth century, distinguished historian Owsei Temkin has argued passionately for the necessity of chronicling and analyzing the history of medicine. The essays presented in "On Second Thought" and Other Essays in the History of Medicine and Science span Dr. Temkin's career, bringing together new pieces and many previously unavailable outside the journals in which they were originally published. Here the reader will find new thoughts and ideas that deviate from Dr. Temkin's earlier beliefs and reflect a lifetime of research into the historical and ethical foundations of modern medicine. Dr.…


Galen

By P.N. Singer,

Book cover of Galen: Psychological Writings: Avoiding Distress, Character Traits, the Diagnosis and Treatment of the Affections and Errors Peculiar to Each Person'

Galen is his own best advocate and his own worst enemy. This volume includes translations of five works, including one discovered only in 2005 and another preserved largely in Arabic. It tells us much of his life in Rome, his book collecting, and his views on education and ethics.

Galen

By P.N. Singer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

All Galen's surviving shorter works on psychology and ethics - including the recently discovered Avoiding Distress, and the neglected Character Traits, extant only in Arabic - are here presented in one volume in a new English translation, with substantial introductions and notes and extensive glossaries. Original and penetrating analyses are provided of the psychological and philosophical thought, both of the above and of two absolutely central works of Galenic philosophy, Affections and Errors and The Capacities of the Soul, by some of the foremost experts in the field. Each treatise has also been subjected to fresh textual study, taking account…


Hippocrates

By Jacques Jouanna,

Book cover of Hippocrates

Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, was Galen’s hero. This study by the leading expert in ancient Greek medicine sets his life and ideas in the wider context of life in the Aegean world of the fifth and fourth centuries BC.

Hippocrates

By Jacques Jouanna,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Hippocrates, considered for more than two thousand years the father of medicine, came over time to be credited with a life of mythic proportions and an enormous body of work. Hippocrates' pronouncements on health, disease, and prognosis went unchallenged in the Western world until scientific advances in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries made many of his ideas obsolete. And yet medical students in the United States and Europe still recite the Hippocratic oath upon completion of their studies. In view of Hippocrates' exceptional importance in the history of medicine, it may seem surprising that our knowledge of this fifth century…


The Map of Knowledge

By Violet Moller,

Book cover of The Map of Knowledge: A Thousand-Year History of How Classical Ideas Were Lost and Found

A lively account of the ways in which the philosophical and medical ideas of the Greeks were transmitted to Rome, the Arab world, and medieval Italy. What Plato, Aristotle and Galen had said was often changed and even lost on the way, and only partially recovered in Renaissance Italy. A vivid reminder of the influence of the Greeks over many centuries.

The Map of Knowledge

By Violet Moller,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'A lovely debut from a gifted young author. Violet Moller brings to life the ways in which knowledge reached us from antiquity to the present day in a book that is as delightful as it is readable.' Peter Frankopan, author of The Silk Roads

In The Map of Knowledge Violet Moller traces the journey taken by the ideas of three of the greatest scientists of antiquity - Euclid, Galen and Ptolemy - through seven cities and over a thousand years. In it, we follow them from sixth-century Alexandria to ninth-century Baghdad, from Muslim Cordoba to Catholic Toledo, from Salerno's medieval…


The First Man in Rome

By Colleen McCullough,

Book cover of The First Man in Rome

Telling the story of Gaius Marius, whose remarkable career began the line of warlords who dominated the last century of the Republic, this novel is historical fiction of the highest order and is the opening book in McCullough’s Masters of Rome series which runs down to the years following Caesar’s murder. It is a big novel (as are the later books in the series) and McCullough is perhaps a little too sympathetic to ambitious military leaders like Marius and Caesar rather than to more introspective thinkers like Cicero. But her research is thorough, her writing is compelling, and she brings the last generations of the Republic to life in a way that few academic historians can hope to equal.

The First Man in Rome

By Colleen McCullough,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The First Man in Rome as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With extraordinary narrative power, New York Times bestselling author Colleen McCullough sweeps the reader into a whirlpool of pageantry and passion, bringing to vivid life the most glorious epoch in human history.

When the world cowered before the legions of Rome, two extraordinary men dreamed of personal glory: the military genius and wealthy rural "upstart" Marius, and Sulla, penniless and debauched but of aristocratic birth. Men of exceptional vision, courage, cunning, and ruthless ambition, separately they faced the insurmountable opposition of powerful, vindictive foes. Yet allied they could answer the treachery of rivals, lovers, enemy generals, and senatorial vipers with…


Roman Blood

By Steven Saylor,

Book cover of Roman Blood

This is the first book in Saylor’s “Roma sub rosa” series, and introduces one of the nicest heroes in historical mystery! Gordianus the Finder is the Roman equivalent of our private detective and he works for a young politician and orator, Cicero. Based on a real lawsuit from 80 BCE, Saylor makes great use of the actual speech made, and conveys the skill and showmanship of the lawyer at a time when a good speech was seen as entertainment for the masses. Into this original material though he weaves a hideous and complex murder plot. Riveting stuff! 

I am a huge fan of Cicero, and it was really interesting—if a little hard at times!—to see him portrayed with all his flaws and weaknesses.

Roman Blood

By Steven Saylor,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Roman Blood as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the unseasonable heat of a spring morning in 80 B.C., Gordianus the Finder is summoned to the house of Cicero, a young advocate staking his reputation on a case involving the savage murder of the wealthy, sybaritic Sextus Roscius. Charged with the murder is Sextus's son, greed being the apparent motive. The punishment, rooted deep in Roman tradition, is horrific beyond imagining.

The case becomes a political nightmare when Gordianus's investigation takes him through the city's raucous, pungent streets and deep into rural Umbria. Now, one man's fate may threaten the very leaders of Rome itself.


Religions of Rome

By Mary Beard, John North, Simon Price

Book cover of Religions of Rome: Volume 1: A History

Mary Beard is a professor of Classics at Cambridge University who also does popular documentaries on ancient Rome for the BBC (available on YouTube). This volume reaches back to the founding of Rome and the traditions of how Romulus and the first king of Rome, Numa, created Roman religion. It highlights the origins of the major Roman religious festivals.

Religions of Rome

By Mary Beard, John North, Simon Price

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This book offers a radical new survey of more than a thousand years of religious life at Rome. It sets religion in its full cultural context, between the primitive hamlet of the eighth century BC and the cosmopolitan, multicultural society of the first centuries of the Christian era. The narrative account is structured around a series of broad themes: how to interpret the Romans' own theories of their religious system and its origins; the relationship of religion and the changing politics of Rome; the religious importance of the layout and monuments of the city itself; changing ideas of religious identity…


Rituals and Power

By S. R. F. Price,

Book cover of Rituals and Power: The Roman Imperial Cult in Asia Minor

Price traces religious concepts of Asia Province from their origins as Greek colonies to the changes adapted and introduced by Rome through Augustus’ Imperial Cult. This text highlights religious life in one of the major provinces. The advantage of this book is that Price coordinates the history with the latest archaeological excavations in Turkey

Rituals and Power

By S. R. F. Price,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In his study of the Greek cults of the Roman emperor in Asia minor, Simon Price attempts to discover why the Roman Emperor was treated like a god. He contends that ever since the emergence of Christianity within the Roman Empire the problem has been misinterpreted; a Christianizing distinction between religion and politics has led to the cult being considered simply as a form of political honours. Drawing on anthropology as well as numismatics and archaeology, literary sources and inscriptions, Dr Price offers a fundamentally different perspective. He examines how the Greek cults of the Roman Emperor located the Emperor…


A Voice in the Wind

By Francine Rivers,

Book cover of A Voice in the Wind

This is the gold standard of Ancient World Christian Fiction for a reason. The author is an RWA Hall of Fame recipient and ACFW Lifetime Achievement Award winner. This first book in the Mark of the Lion series is so much more than a book about early Christianity and why Rome hated it. Words to describe Hadassah and Marcus’s story are… epic, profound, life-changing, powerful, captivating, and I could go on and on. It still freaks me out and totally awes me when reviews for my novels mention her in the same sentence. I want to be flattered and offended on her behalf at the same time, which is completely crazy. If you’re only going to invest in one book from my list, it should be this one. 

A Voice in the Wind

By Francine Rivers,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Voice in the Wind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Book 1 in the 3-book historical Christian fiction series by the New York Times bestselling author of Redeeming Love and The Masterpiece.

The first book in the beloved Mark of the Lion series, A Voice in the Wind brings readers back to the first century and introduces them to a character they will never forget―Hadassah.

While wealthy Roman citizens indulge their every whim, Jews and barbarians are bought and sold as slaves and gladiators in the bloodthirsty arena. Amid the depravity around her, a young Jewish slave girl becomes a light in the darkness. Even as she’s torn by her…


A God Strolling in the Cool of the Evening

By Mario De Carvalho, Gregory Rabassa,

Book cover of A God Strolling in the Cool of the Evening

The setting for this book is only marginally late Roman, but the picture it evokes, of the shadows lengthening over the classical world, is entirely appropriate. Our hero Lucius is the duumvir, or leading magistrate, of a provincial city in Lusitania at the end of the 2nd century AD. Cultured and urbane, devoted to the classical traditions and philosophies of Rome, Lucius is disturbed both by the appearance of a fervent sect of Christians in his city, and by rumours of an approaching horde of Moorish barbarians. With conflict both within the city and without, and the daughter of the richest citizen turning to the new religion, Lucius soon finds his nerves stretched and his ideals questioned. As the barbarians surround the city walls, and Lucius tries to repel their assault with his ragged band of militia, the duumvir’s faith in his own civilisation is tested to destruction. A God…

A God Strolling in the Cool of the Evening

By Mario De Carvalho, Gregory Rabassa,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A God Strolling in the Cool of the Evening as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Portuguese Writers' Association Grand Prize for Fiction and the Pegasus Prize for Literature, and a best-seller in Portugal, Mario de Carvalho's A God Strolling in the Cool of the Evening is a vivid and affecting historical novel set at the twilight of the Roman Empire and the dawn of the Christian era. Lucius Valerius Quintius is prefect of the fictitious city of Tarcisis, charged to defend it against menaces from without -- Moors invading the Iberian peninsula -- and from within -- the decadent complacency of the Pax Romana. Lucius's devotion to civic duty undergoes its most…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Rome, the history of Christianity, and religion?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Rome, the history of Christianity, and religion.

Rome Explore 236 books about Rome
The History Of Christianity Explore 31 books about the history of Christianity
Religion Explore 217 books about religion