100 books like The Ancient City

By Peter Connolly, Hazel Dodge,

Here are 100 books that The Ancient City fans have personally recommended if you like The Ancient City. 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 The Eagle of the Ninth

Mark Knowles Author Of Argo

From my list on realistic historical fiction set in ancient Greece, Rome or Egypt.

Why am I passionate about this?

We all read (or write) fiction for a bit of escapism, don’t we? To come face-to-face with the good, the bad, and the ugly of bygone days… The ancient Mediterranean is the place I would most love to visit in a time machine (albeit fully armed and in a hazmat suit), and these writers are – for me – the best at transporting readers there from the comfort of a sofa. I’ve tried plenty of historical fiction set in other times and places - much of it very good, but the smell of olive groves, the chirruping of cicadas, and the Aegean sun always call me back!

Mark's book list on realistic historical fiction set in ancient Greece, Rome or Egypt

Mark Knowles Why did Mark love this book?

Even though it’s more of a YA book, I struggled with this as a teenager, so I picked it back up a few years ago with no great expectations. We were staying in a static home in Cornwall and the weather was vile, morning and night. Perhaps I would have motored through any book given these circumstances. Or perhaps it’s just a magical novel.

I’m going with the latter because it has since become my number-one comfort read. Comradeship, adventure, tension and drama, authentic historical detail, lyrical descriptions of Iron Age Britain… it has it all and more. As it happens, I have only just finished the sequel – The Silver Branch – and this book is a worthy challenger, too!

By Rosemary Sutcliff,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Eagle of the Ninth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

The Everyman edition reprints the classic black and white illustrations of C. Walter Hodges which accompanied the first edition in 1954.

Around the year 117 AD, the Ninth Legion, stationed at Eburacum - modern day York - marched north to suppress a rebellion of the Caledonian tribes, and was never heard of again. During the 1860s, a wingless Roman Eagle was discovered during excavations at the village of Silchester in Hampshire, puzzling archaeologists and scholars alike. Rosemary Sutcliff weaves a compelling story from these two mysteries, dispatching her hero, the young Roman officer Marcus Aquila, on a perilous journey beyond…


Book cover of Minimus Pupil's Book: Starting out in Latin

Caroline Lawrence Author Of The Thieves of Ostia

From my list on ancient Rome for kids.

Why am I passionate about this?

Caroline Lawrence is the author of over 30 historical novels for children and young adults, most of which are set in ancient Rome. She studied Latin, Ancient Greek and Biblical Hebrew at Berkeley and Cambridge and has been investigating the ancient world ever since. In 2009, she won the Classical Association Prize for 'a significant contribution to the public understanding of Classics’. Her aim is to make that world accessible for kids.

Caroline's book list on ancient Rome for kids

Caroline Lawrence Why did Caroline love this book?

There are many books for kids who would like to learn Latin but this charmingly illustrated book, also set in Roman Britain, is one of the most accessible, especially for children in primary school.

By Helen Forte, Barbara Bell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A lively introduction to Latin for children aged 7 and over. Join in the fun with Minimus - a mix of myths, stories, grammar support and historical background! This pupil's book is a lively, colourful introduction to the Latin language and the culture of Roman Britain. A fun way to teach English grammar, it is ideal for cross-curricular activities.


Book cover of Cambridge Latin Course Book 1

Caroline Lawrence Author Of The Thieves of Ostia

From my list on ancient Rome for kids.

Why am I passionate about this?

Caroline Lawrence is the author of over 30 historical novels for children and young adults, most of which are set in ancient Rome. She studied Latin, Ancient Greek and Biblical Hebrew at Berkeley and Cambridge and has been investigating the ancient world ever since. In 2009, she won the Classical Association Prize for 'a significant contribution to the public understanding of Classics’. Her aim is to make that world accessible for kids.

Caroline's book list on ancient Rome for kids

Caroline Lawrence Why did Caroline love this book?

‘Caecilius est in horto!’ For slightly older children the Cambridge Latin Course has now become such a part of pop culture that some of its characters have been referenced in Dr Who. And what other language textbook can reduce pupils to tears – the good kind! – in the final chapters?

By Cambridge School Classics Project,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cambridge Latin Course Book 1 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The leading Latin course worldwide Book I begins in the city of Pompeii shortly before the eruption of Vesuvius. Book I is full colour throughout, with a clear layout of stories and language notes. Featuring a glossary for quick reference and comprehension questions, the book also includes a full explanation of language points and grammar practice exercises.


Book cover of Asterix and Cleopatra

Diaa Anwar Author Of The Sculptor and the Sacred River

From my list on comics with historical background.

Why am I passionate about this?

In Egypt, we did not have our own Arab comics, but different worlds came to us from translated comics, American (Disney and superheroes), and French comics. I did not like superhero comics, I loved Disney comics and French comics, and n addition to my passion for reading history, some French series combine this, such as the Alix series. I would have loved to have a historical background to the events that prompted me to read more about them and get to know the real characters, how they lived, and how they ended.

Diaa's book list on comics with historical background

Diaa Anwar Why did Diaa love this book?

This book is from the Asterix series and in general when you read Goscinny's books, you will not regret it, as it will inspire you with many ideas.

He was able to create humor from humans, animals, inanimate objects, and all elements of the story.

As for this book, I chose it because of the events taking place in Egypt, also because of the coherent plot, fast-flowing events, sense of humor, and new ideas. As usual in this type of book, there are some historical facts, but the general structure of the story is fictional.

The historical facts here are Queen Cleopatra VII, Julius Caesar, and the relationship between them, while the rest of the events are fictional and comic.

By René Goscinny, Albert Uderzo,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The latest action-packed adventure from our indomitable Gauls, Asterix and the Griffin, is out now!

How can lovely Queen Cleopatra show Julius Caesar that ancient Egypt is still a great nation? Her architect Edifis recruits his Gaulish friends to help him build a magnificent palace within three months. There are villainous saboteurs to be outwitted, but Asterix, Obelix and Getafix still find time to go sight-seeing - and leave their mark on the pyramids and the Sphinx's nose.


Book cover of Rubicon: The Triumph and Tragedy of the Roman Republic

David M. Gwynn Author Of The Roman Republic: A Very Short Introduction

From my list on the fall of the Roman Republic.

Why am I passionate about this?

Born and raised in New Zealand I got hooked on history as a child and began university life as an ancient and medieval double major studying everything from the classical Greeks and Romans to Charlemagne and the Crusades. By the time I came to Oxford to write my PhD, I had decided that my greatest interest lay in the dramatic transformation which saw classical antiquity evolve into medieval Christendom. I've been fortunate enough to write and teach many different aspects of that transformation, from the Roman Republic to early Christianity and the Goths, and I'm currently Associate Professor in Ancient and Late Antique History at Royal Holloway, in the University of London. 

David's book list on the fall of the Roman Republic

David M. Gwynn Why did David love this book?

Named for the river that Julius Caesar crossed when he invaded Italy and began the civil war which brought the Roman Republic to its knees, this book offers a sweeping account of the Republic’s fall and has been rightly described as narrative history at its best. All the major characters are vividly presented, from Marius and Sulla to Pompey, Cicero and Caesar, in prose that manages to remain readable and fast-paced while spanning almost 400 pages. Tragedy is arguably more apparent than triumph, understandably in a book devoted to the collapse of the Republican order. But the glory of the Republic does also shine through, and the story is told on a larger scale than my book would have allowed.

By Tom Holland,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Roman Republic was the most remarkable state in history. What began as a small community of peasants camped among marshes and hills ended up ruling the known world. Rubicon paints a vivid portrait of the Republic at the climax of its greatness - the same greatness which would herald the catastrophe of its fall. It is a story of incomparable drama. This was the century of Julius Caesar, the gambler whose addiction to glory led him to the banks of the Rubicon, and beyond; of Cicero, whose defence of freedom would make him a byword for eloquence; of Spartacus,…


Book cover of The Classical World: An Epic History from Homer to Hadrian

Nigel Rodgers Author Of The Colosseum From AD80 To The Present Day

From my list on daily life in ancient Athens and Rome.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated by ancient Greece and Rome since I first saw Italy and Greece as a teenager, revisiting them whenever I can. I studied ancient history at Cambridge University and have written eight books about it, most recently The Colosseum. After living in Paris, Rome, and London, I am now based in Wiltshire in southwest England, almost within sight of Stonehenge. There is a small megalith outside my own house.

Nigel's book list on daily life in ancient Athens and Rome

Nigel Rodgers Why did Nigel love this book?

Robin Lane Fox, best known for his books on Alexander the Great, has produced a superb overview of ancient history, from the emergence of Greece c.776BC to the Roman empire’s zenith under the emperor Hadrian (reigned  AD117-138).  He takes a firmly narrative approach, which makes for a thrilling read. His focus is on the lives of great men such as Pericles, Alexander, and Julius Caesar and on key political and military events rather than on cultural and social factors. While his epic approach may not impress all academics, it will probably still be read with enthusiasm long after more specialist works have been forgotten. Lots of illustrations, some in colour. Ideal for the general reader.

By Robin Lane Fox,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The classical civilizations of Greece and Rome once dominated the world, and they continue to fascinate and inspire us. Classical art and architecture, drama and epic, philosophy and politics-these are the foundations of Western civilization. In The Classical World , eminent classicist Robin Lane Fox brilliantly chronicles this vast sweep of history from Homer to the reign of Hadrian. From the Peloponnesian War through the creation of Athenian democracy, from the turbulent empire of Alexander the Great to the creation of the Roman Empire and the emergence of Christianity, Fox serves as our witty and trenchant guide. He introduces us…


Book cover of The Penguin Dictionary of Ancient History

Nigel Rodgers Author Of The Colosseum From AD80 To The Present Day

From my list on daily life in ancient Athens and Rome.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated by ancient Greece and Rome since I first saw Italy and Greece as a teenager, revisiting them whenever I can. I studied ancient history at Cambridge University and have written eight books about it, most recently The Colosseum. After living in Paris, Rome, and London, I am now based in Wiltshire in southwest England, almost within sight of Stonehenge. There is a small megalith outside my own house.

Nigel's book list on daily life in ancient Athens and Rome

Nigel Rodgers Why did Nigel love this book?

Dictionaries are not usually meant to be fun but this fact-packed book is so well-written that it is a joy to read. Wonder who on earth was Cicero? What the Punic wars were all about? How the Greeks defeated the Persians at the Battle of Salamis? What was so special about Greek theatre? And why  Rome conquered Britain? You will find all the answers here. Besides military and political events, it covers literature, philosophy, art, religion, sport, and society, all the way from 776BC and the first Olympic Games to the end of the Roman Empire in the west in AD476.

By Graham Speake,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ranging from the year of the first Olympic Games in 776 BC to the fall of the Roman Empire in AD 476, this dictionary contains over 2000 entries providing a reference guide to the ancient Greco-Roman world. It includes entries on personalities, events, politics, literature, art and society.


Book cover of Love, Sex and Tragedy: Why Classics Matter

Nigel Rodgers Author Of The Colosseum From AD80 To The Present Day

From my list on daily life in ancient Athens and Rome.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated by ancient Greece and Rome since I first saw Italy and Greece as a teenager, revisiting them whenever I can. I studied ancient history at Cambridge University and have written eight books about it, most recently The Colosseum. After living in Paris, Rome, and London, I am now based in Wiltshire in southwest England, almost within sight of Stonehenge. There is a small megalith outside my own house.

Nigel's book list on daily life in ancient Athens and Rome

Nigel Rodgers Why did Nigel love this book?

Simon Goldhill powerfully demonstrates why we remain indebted to the ancient world in so many ways. It is not just that classical columns often decorate our buildings or that classical legends inspire our films and books, our whole life still bears the cultural and psychological imprint of ancient Greece and Rome. Our current obsession with gyms, for example, stems from the Greek passion for exercising in public (and they did so naked). Gymnasium is in origin a Greek word. While Greeks and Romans took different views from us on numerous things, from romantic love to slavery, the issues they first confronted and debated still matter. Unsurprisingly for the ancient world, far from being peopled with dead white marble statues gathering dust in museums, throbbed with impassioned life. The echoes of their tumultuous lives haunt us still.

By Simon Goldhill,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Simon Goldhill examines the most basic areas of our lives today, from marriage and sex to politics and entertainment. Whether we are falling in love or waging wars in the name of democracy, he reveals how Classical ideas continue to shape our behaviour and our attitudes in crucial ways. Full of surprising facts and startling stories, it will appeal to anyone interested in history and its influence on our lives. It is as wide-ranging as it is readable, with a brilliant cast of characters. Few books could bring together Freud, Plato, Queen Victoria, Romeo and Juliet, George W. Bush and…


Book cover of Courtesans and Fishcakes: The Consuming Passions of Classical Athens

Andrew Chugg Author Of Alexander's Lovers

From my list on sexual relationships in Greek and Roman antiquity.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I voyaged into the ancient world in the readings of my youth, it led me to realize that the gay-straight divide in modern perceptions of sexuality and relationships is an artifice. It was constructed by the conceit of the ascetic religions that the only legitimate purpose of sex is the production of children within a sanctified marital relationship. In Antiquity, the divide followed a more natural course between the groups who were the sexually active partners (mainly adult men) and those who were sexually passive (mainly women, youths, and eunuchs). My hope is to disperse some of the confusion that the obscuration of this historical reality has caused.

Andrew's book list on sexual relationships in Greek and Roman antiquity

Andrew Chugg Why did Andrew love this book?

Davidson demonstrates that sexual relationships with courtesans and youths in ancient Athens paralleled the markets in other luxuries such as fish and wine rather more than resembling the modern ideal of romantic love. In a society where marriages were mainly business arrangements made between families to ensure the production of legitimate heirs to their estates, such formal relationships were frequently loveless. This led the male partners and those as yet unmarried to resort to employing mistresses, courtesans, and youths as luxurious distractions from the mundane matter of marital maintenance of the bloodline.

By James Davidson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A brilliantly entertaining and innovative history of the ancient Athenians' consuming passions for food, wine and sex.

Sex, shopping and fish-madness, Athenian style.

This fascinating book reveals that the ancient Athenians were supreme hedonists. Their society was driven by an insatiable lust for culinary delights - especially fish - fine wine and pleasures of the flesh. Indeed, great fortunes were squandered and politicians' careers ruined through ritual drinking at the symposium, or the wooing of highly-coveted, costly prostitutes.

James Davidson brings an incisive eye and an urbane wit to this refreshingly accessible and different history of the people who invented…


Book cover of An Economic History of Athens Under Roman Domination

Ian Worthington Author Of Athens After Empire: A History from Alexander the Great to the Emperor Hadrian

From my list on post Classical Athens.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ian Worthington, FSA, FRHistS, is a Professor of Ancient History at Macquarie University, and has written and edited 21 books and over 100 articles on Greek history, oratory, and epigraphy. He also has a Great Courses DVD and CD course titled The Long Shadow of the Ancient Greek World. Away from academic work, he is addicted to reality TV and is an unpaid taxi driver for his two children.

Ian's book list on post Classical Athens

Ian Worthington Why did Ian love this book?

This book is about eighty years old. I’m probably not far wrong in saying almost every other page is obsolete thanks to archaeological finds and interpretations of existing material, epigraphical, and literary evidence since it appeared. But it’s a wonderful book to read and appreciate how the author uses the evidence available to him to paint a brilliant image of Athenian and indeed Greek economic and commercial life in this period with many fascinating insights. The subject matter might seem unexciting, yet the author brings it alive and makes it really interesting!

5 book lists we think you will like!

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