100 books like Roman Britain

By Stanley Ireland,

Here are 100 books that Roman Britain fans have personally recommended if you like Roman Britain. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of An Imperial Possession: Britain in the Roman Empire, 54 BC - AD 409

Simon Elliott Author Of Roman Britain's Missing Legion: What Really Happened to IX Hispana?

From my list on Roman Britain.

Why am I passionate about this?

Dr. Simon Elliott is an award-winning and best-selling historian, archaeologist, author, broadcaster, Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Kent, Trustee of the Council for British Archaeology, Ambassador for Museum of London Archaeology, Guide Lecturer for Andante Travels, and President of the Society of Ancients. He frequently appears on broadcast and social media as a presenter and expert regarding the ancient world, and currently has 12 books on sale on similar themes, with three more due later this year. He is also a PR Week award-winning, highly experienced communications practitioner who has advised a wide variety of clients at a senior level on their interaction with the world of the media and politics. 

Simon's book list on Roman Britain

Simon Elliott Why did Simon love this book?

In my opinion the definative, academic standard account of the Roman occupation of Britain. Professor Mattingly’s book is very well organised, with sections which easily engage the reader on specific aspects of the Roman presence here, for example religion, political organisation, the military, agriculture, and industry. It also explains in great detail the various impacts across Britain of the transition from the Late Iron Age to the Roman period.  

By David Mattingly,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked An Imperial Possession as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Part of the Penguin History of Britain series, An Imperial Possession is the first major narrative history of Roman Britain for a generation. David Mattingly draws on a wealth of new findings and knowledge to cut through the myths and misunderstandings that so commonly surround our beliefs about this period. From the rebellious chiefs and druids who led native British resistance, to the experiences of the Roman military leaders in this remote, dangerous outpost of Europe, this book explores the reality of life in occupied Britain within the context of the shifting fortunes of the Roman Empire.


Book cover of Under Another Sky: Journeys in Roman Britain

Ruth Downie Author Of Medicus

From my list on Roman Britain.

Why am I passionate about this?

A family visit to Hadrian’s Wall first sparked my interest in Roman Britain, and since then I’ve written eight novels, one novella, and a couple of short stories featuring Roman Army Medic and reluctant sleuth Gaius Petreius Ruso and his British partner, Tilla. I’m the owner of an archaeological trowel and infinite curiosity, both of which I wield as often as possible in search of the “real” Roman Britain. 

Ruth's book list on Roman Britain

Ruth Downie Why did Ruth love this book?

A modern tour around sites of Roman Britain, and a fascinating look at the stories we later Britons have told ourselves about the Roman era over the ensuing centuries – in ways that perhaps say more about us than they do about the Romans. 

By Charlotte Higgins,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Under Another Sky as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What does Roman Britain mean to us now? How were its physical remains rediscovered and made sense of? How has it been reimagined, in story and song and verse? Sometimes on foot, sometimes in a magnificent, if not entirely reliable, VW camper van, Charlotte Higgins sets out to explore the ancient monuments of Roman Britain. She explores the land that was once Rome’s northernmost territory and how it has changed since the years after the empire fell. Under Another Sky invites us to see the British landscape, and British history, in an entirely fresh way: as indelibly marked by how…


Book cover of Roman Britain

Ruth Downie Author Of Medicus

From my list on Roman Britain.

Why am I passionate about this?

A family visit to Hadrian’s Wall first sparked my interest in Roman Britain, and since then I’ve written eight novels, one novella, and a couple of short stories featuring Roman Army Medic and reluctant sleuth Gaius Petreius Ruso and his British partner, Tilla. I’m the owner of an archaeological trowel and infinite curiosity, both of which I wield as often as possible in search of the “real” Roman Britain. 

Ruth's book list on Roman Britain

Ruth Downie Why did Ruth love this book?

This is the British Museum’s take on Roman Britain and as you’d expect, there are gorgeous photos on every page. If you can drag your eyes away from the visual feast, the text is intelligent and informative and there are suggestions for further reading. Don’t just leave it adorning the coffee table – pick it up and discover a lost world!

By Ralph Jackson, Richard Hobbs,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The British Museum's new introductory guide to Roman Britain combines an informative text with first-class design and is illustrated with plentiful artefacts from the museum's collections. Throughout the book the emphasis is on cultural interaction and change, showing the impact of the Roman presence, but also British survivals; the book starts, perhaps unusually for general guides of this kind, with a section on pre-Roman Britain, and ends with a chapter on Britons after Rome. In between we learn about the military, the new literate culture introduced by Rome, about the impact of Rome on the rural economy, and on life…


Book cover of Britain Begins

Brian Haughton Author Of Haunted Spaces, Sacred Places: A Field Guide to Stone Circles, Crop Circles, Ancient Tombs, and Supernatural Landscapes

From my list on folklore and traditions of ancient sacred places.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated by ancient sacred sites since I first visited the ancient Rollright Stones on the Oxfordshire/Warwickshire border decades ago. I am interested in how the study of folklore and local traditions can be used in conjunction with archaeology to trace the origins and purposes of ancient monuments. I am an author and researcher who has had seven books published on the subjects of ancient civilizations, prehistoric monuments, and supernatural folklore. Born in Birmingham, England, I am a qualified archaeologist with a BA in European Archaeology from the University of Nottingham, and an MPhil in Greek Archaeology from Birmingham University.

Brian's book list on folklore and traditions of ancient sacred places

Brian Haughton Why did Brian love this book?

I was attracted to this book as it uses the most up-to-date archaeological evidence together with new work on DNA and other scientific techniques to tell the story of the origins of the British and the Irish peoples, from around 10,000BC to the eve of the Norman Conquest. Whilst there are new archaeological discoveries made every week, one or two of which could potentially challenge some of the ideas in this work, at the moment it is the most up-to-date book on the subject which we have, and as such should be treasured.  

By Barry Cunliffe,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The last Ice Age, which came to an end about 12,000 years ago, swept the bands of hunter gatherers from the face of the land that was to become Britain and Ireland, but as the ice sheets retreated and the climate improved so human groups spread slowly northwards, re-colonizing the land that had been laid waste. From that time onwards Britain and Ireland have been continuously inhabited and the resident population has increased from a few hundreds to more than 60
million.

Britain Begins is nothing less than the story of the origins of the British and the Irish peoples,…


Book cover of The Skystone

Catherine Wells Author Of Macbeatha

From my list on legendary characters from the British Isles.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a graduate student in library science, I stumbled across an entry on Macbeth in a biographical dictionary. It stated he was actually a good king who ruled for seventeen years. Furthermore, he claimed the throne in his own name and that of his wife. I was hooked. I did extensive research trying to find the man behind the legend, and how the tale got twisted into what Shakespeare gave us. From Celtic, Norse, and English sources, I extrapolated the culture of 11th-century Scotland, and a man who might well have been the historical high king Macbeatha.

Catherine's book list on legendary characters from the British Isles

Catherine Wells Why did Catherine love this book?

Mentions of the historical Arthur—a war duke, not a king—date him to the late 5th and early 6th centuries. Merlin’s dates are fuzzier. Whyte sets this tale of Merlin’s origins in Roman Britain, consistent with the historical Arthur, as the withdrawal of Rome’s legions leaves the colony subject to invasion and insurrection. Young Publius, nicknamed Merlin, is a soldier and a blacksmith. He and his cousin Uther battle to keep Britannia from crumbling around them as Roman society is beset by external marauders and internal strife. Through it all, Merlin is intrigued by stories of a stone that fell from the sky—an iron-rich meteorite that has rendered steel, and which Merlin can forge into an incredible sword. In this richly developed story, Merlin is not a druid or a sorcerer, but a smith.

By Jack Whyte,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In a time preceding King Arthur and Camelot, two Roman men, Publius Varrus and Caius Britannicus, Arthur's great-grandfathers, try to preserve the best of Roman life and build a new culture out of the wreckage of the old and, in doing so, create a legend, in a new edition of the first volume in the


Book cover of Beyond the Empire: A Guide to the Roman Remains in Scotland

Simon Elliott Author Of Roman Britain's Missing Legion: What Really Happened to IX Hispana?

From my list on Roman Britain.

Why am I passionate about this?

Dr. Simon Elliott is an award-winning and best-selling historian, archaeologist, author, broadcaster, Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Kent, Trustee of the Council for British Archaeology, Ambassador for Museum of London Archaeology, Guide Lecturer for Andante Travels, and President of the Society of Ancients. He frequently appears on broadcast and social media as a presenter and expert regarding the ancient world, and currently has 12 books on sale on similar themes, with three more due later this year. He is also a PR Week award-winning, highly experienced communications practitioner who has advised a wide variety of clients at a senior level on their interaction with the world of the media and politics. 

Simon's book list on Roman Britain

Simon Elliott Why did Simon love this book?

As detailed, the far north of Roman Britain was never fully conquered. Therefore it was the location of numerous Roman military campaigns, some of conquest and others to suppress aggression and dissent. Each Roman foray north of the border has left its footprint in the form of archaeology, and here Dr. Andrew Tibbs details each such site to enable the reader to visit and interpret them. Highly recommended.

By Andrew Tibbs,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Though Scotland was never successfully conquered by the Roman Empire, the lands north of Hadrian's Wall nonetheless include many Roman sites that bear witness to Rome's attempts to impose her will over the whole of Britain. Beyond the Empire offers a complete listing of all 330 known Roman sites in Scotland, including location maps, details of notable archaeological finds, what is visible on the ground, and how to visit them.


Book cover of The Crow Goddess

Laura Strickland Author Of Daughter of Sherwood

From my list on historical romances with a touch of magic.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I think of the distant past, I imagine it being populated by those who were a bit closer to the magical world than we. The men (or were they wizards?) who raised the standing stones. The druids of the ancient Celtic world. Figures like Arthur, Robin Hood, and the Viking shamans who harbored a kinship with the waters, with the trees, and with the land. The magic of the past is like a song played on a harp, the echoes of which still waft through our world. Some of us can hear those echoes yet, and some of us write about them.

Laura's book list on historical romances with a touch of magic

Laura Strickland Why did Laura love this book?

I picked up this book years ago at my local library by chance, if you believe in chance—which I do not. At that time, I had no idea the narrative of a historical romance could stretch back to Iron Age times, or that I could lose myself in the characters who populated the legends I love. For years, I’d been listening to Celtic music. In Patricia Finney’s wonderful story, I heard that music in the everyday world she created. I discovered how it feels to drive a chariot. Quite possibly, I revisited a past life. I will be forever grateful this book came into my hand.

By Patricia Finney,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of Hadrian's Wall

Douglas Jackson Author Of Hero of Rome

From my list on Hadrian’s Wall and the soldiers who manned it.

Why am I passionate about this?

Douglas Jackson is the author of eleven historical novels, including the 9-book Valerius Verrens series, which involves his Hero of Rome in conspiracies, battles, and intrigues from the Boudiccan rebellion in 60AD to the battle of Mons Graupius in 84AD. His next book, appropriately titled The Wall, will be published in 2022. His first job when he left school at sixteen was helping to restore one of Julius Agricola’s marching camps in the Cheviot Hills. The Romans have fascinated him ever since, to the point where he's managed to make a living out of writing about them. With Hadrian’s Wall almost on his doorstep, there was never any doubt he'd set a book there.

Douglas' book list on Hadrian’s Wall and the soldiers who manned it

Douglas Jackson Why did Douglas love this book?

Last, but certainly not least, the iconic landmark captured through the lens of a master. Despite the sub-title to my previous book, Mike Bishop’s preferred route along Hadrian’s Wall is from west to east, with the prevailing wind at his back. Derry Brabbs obviously agrees, because this beautifully illustrated book takes us from the Solway Coast to Wallsend in a series of stunning photographs that capture the Wall in the kind of breathtaking detail that perfectly illustrates why Brabbs is one of the UK’s most highly regarded photographers. It’s not just about the amazing vistas and moody landscapes, there is a very readable narrative, but it’s the photographs that will draw you back time and time again.

By Derry Brabbs,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Hadrian's Wall has been designated a World Heritage Site since 1987 and in 2005 was also incorporated into a wider UNESCO category - the Frontiers of the Roman Empire.

It is also the basis for an 84 mile National Trail.



The book will cover not only the full length of Hadrian's Wall from the Solway Firth to Wallsend on Tyneside, but also other places of historical, landscape or architectural merit to the north and south of the actual Wall itself.



Chapter One Background and History

Chapter Two The Solway Coast

Chapter Three Carlisle to Birdoswald

Chapter Four Birdoswald to Cawfields…


Book cover of Life and Letters from the Roman Frontier

Emma Southon Author Of A Fatal Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum: Murder in Ancient Rome

From my list on Roman Britain.

Why am I passionate about this?

Emma Southon has a PhD in Ancient History from The University of Birmingham and has been obsessed with Romans since she was 16. Her first book for general audiences was Agrippina: A Biography of the Most Extraordinary Woman in Rome and she co-hosts the podcast History is Sexy with the writer Janina Matthewson. She lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Emma's book list on Roman Britain

Emma Southon Why did Emma love this book?

Vindolanda is one of Britain’s best Roman sites, in part because of the letters which have been discovered. Written by Roman soldiers and their families, these letters include birthday party invitations, complaints about debts and shopping lists and they only surviving letters from a woman to a female recipient. They provide a staggeringly intimate look at daily living in a Romano-British fort and Alan K. Bowman brings the whole site to life.

By Alan K. Bowman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Life and Letters from the Roman Frontier as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

First published in 1998. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.


Book cover of War at the Edge of the World

Duncan Lay Author Of Bridge of Swords

From my list on rampaging Romans bathed in barbarian blood.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a fascination for Roman history, having been born in the UK, and visiting Hadrian’s Wall. I have read many, many works of both history and historical fiction about Rome. To me, these five are the most memorable. Obviously the story has to be fantastic but it's important to be accurate. The opening battle in Gladiator annoyed me because the Romans never broke lines to fight man to man with barbarians. The concept of the Celts living among the rubble of the Empire, of being surrounded by things they cannot understand helped inspire my Empire Of Bones series. I even have a gladius sword and use it to inspire my own battle scenes. 

Duncan's book list on rampaging Romans bathed in barbarian blood

Duncan Lay Why did Duncan love this book?

This starts the Twilight Of The Empire series as Aurelius Castus—known as Knucklehead to his troopsslaughters his way across the Roman Empire. It’s gritty and believable and starts with an absolutely eye-popping fight. And then it just gets better from there.  

We meet Castus as a simple soldier but he becomes a Centurion and then a senior officer as the series develops and his concern changes from just staying alive and slaughtering his enemies to complex moral and political issues. But don't worry, no matter what uniform he wears, he still swings a sword with the best of them.

By Ian Ross,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked War at the Edge of the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Once a soldier in an elite legion from the Danube, newly promoted centurion Aurelius Castus now finds himself stuck in Britain's provincial backwater. But when the king of the Picts, the savages beyond Hadrian's Wall, dies under mysterious circumstances, Castus is selected to command the bodyguard of a Roman envoy sent to negotiate with the barbarians. What starts as a simple diplomatic mission ends in bloody tragedy, and soon Castus and his men are fighting for their lives-and it isn't long before the legionnaire discovers that nothing about his doomed mission was ever what it seemed. The first book in…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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