10 books like The Art of Love

By Ovid, James Michie (translator),

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

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Roman Passions

By Ray Laurence,

Book cover of Roman Passions: A History of Pleasure in Imperial Rome

Ray Laurence begins this wonderful book with the bold view that the passions of first-century Rome were more developed than those of earlier times. Examining the connections between pleasure and power in the imperial household; the role pleasure played in art and landscape; and what really went on in the Roman baths, the resulting account is as wide-ranging as it is surprising.

Roman Passions

By Ray Laurence,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Immerse yourself in the sensual delights of Rome in all their guises. By the time of the emperors, the Romans had created the world's first global empire, and plundered the provinces for produce to be eaten, planted or displayed as novelties. At the same time the aesthetics of the city of Rome was being transferred to the provinces, establishing towns with public buildings, baths and the Latin language. With these attributes of civilisation came other trappings of Roman culture: lavish entertainments, elaborate dinner parties and vice. The world of pleasure became a defining feature of the Romans, and this book…


Looking at Lovemaking

By John Clarke,

Book cover of Looking at Lovemaking: Constructions of Sexuality in Roman Art, 100 B.C.-A.D. 250

This book is truly a staple for the study of Roman sex through Roman art. Clarke, a professor at the University of Texas, draws attention to the kind of details in ancient paintings and everyday objects we may miss when viewing them from behind museum glass, and interprets them to cast new light upon how the Romans viewed themselves as sexual beings. The pictures are also great. 

Looking at Lovemaking

By John Clarke,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

What did sex mean to the ancient Romans? In this lavishly illustrated study, John R. Clarke investigates a rich assortment of Roman erotic art to answer this question--and along the way, he reveals a society quite different from our own. Clarke reevaluates our understanding of Roman art and society in a study informed by recent gender and cultural studies, and focusing for the first time on attitudes toward the erotic among both the Roman non-elite and women. This splendid volume is the first study of erotic art and sexuality to set these works--many newly discovered and previously unpublished--in their ancient…


Sex in Antiquity

By Mark Masterson (editor), Nancy Sorkin Rabinowitz (editor), James Robson (editor)

Book cover of Sex in Antiquity: Exploring Gender and Sexuality in the Ancient World

This volume contains essays on sexuality in all corners of the ancient world, from the Near East to Athens and Israel. But Part III is dedicated to Rome and offers a smorgasbord of discussions on everything from ‘The bisexuality of Orpheus’ to erectile dysfunction. The perfect book for dipping in and out of.

Sex in Antiquity

By Mark Masterson (editor), Nancy Sorkin Rabinowitz (editor), James Robson (editor)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Looking at sex and sexuality from a variety of historical, sociological and theoretical perspectives, as represented in a variety of media, Sex in Antiquity represents a vibrant picture of the discipline of ancient gender and sexuality studies, showcasing the work of leading international scholars as well as that of emerging talents and new voices.

Sexuality and gender in the ancient world is an area of research that has grown quickly with often sudden shifts in focus and theoretical standpoints. This volume contextualizes these shifts while putting in place new ideas and avenues of exploration that further develop this lively field.…


Sexual Morality in Ancient Rome

By Rebecca Langlands,

Book cover of Sexual Morality in Ancient Rome

We often assume that the Romans were in love with love but, actually, they could be very divided over it. Love, for some, was not only destructive, it was practically criminal. The author of this academic book looks at the ethics of love and sex in Rome and considers the surprising appeal of ‘sexual virtue’, abstention, and chastity in ancient society. 

Sexual Morality in Ancient Rome

By Rebecca Langlands,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Traditionally, scholars have approached Roman sexuality using categories of sexual ethics drawn from contemporary, Western society. In this 2006 book Dr Langlands seeks to move away from these towards a deeper understanding of the issues that mattered to the Romans themselves, and the ways in which they negotiated them, by focusing on the untranslatable concept of pudicitia (broadly meaning 'sexual virtue'). She offers a series of nuanced close readings of texts from a wide spectrum of Latin literature, including history, oratory, love poetry and Valerius Maximus' work Memorable Deeds and Sayings. Pudicitia emerges as a controversial and unsettled topic, at…


The Governesses

By Anne Serre, Mark Hutchinson (translator),

Book cover of The Governesses

This French novella was written in the early ’90s but translated in 2019 to English for the first time. It lacks structure and is full of plot holes, but Serre’s writing is equal parts whimsical and erotic. It feels a bit like she wrote it in one sitting during some kind of fever dream but that’s why it feels like a poem. If you’re into chaotic women and turn of the century kink, then this is for you.

The Governesses

By Anne Serre, Mark Hutchinson (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In a large country house shut off from the world by a gated garden, three young governesses responsible for the education of a group of little boys are preparing a party. The governesses, however, seem to spend more time running around in a state of frenzied desire than attending to the children's education. One of their main activities is lying in wait for any passing stranger, and then throwing themselves on him like drunken Maenads. The rest of the time they drift about in a kind of sated, melancholy calm, spied upon by an old man in the house opposite,…


Assassin's Gambit

By Amy Raby,

Book cover of Assassin's Gambit: The Hearts and Thrones

This book was originally marketed as a “romance for the fans of the Game of Thrones”, and it is one of the books I really enjoy. The main character, Vitala, is sent by her secret order of rebels to assassinate the powerful Emperor of Kjall. When she arrives at court, she is quickly dropped into a torrent of intrigue that makes her question everything she’d learned, including her own mission. 

This book is pure fun, from start to finish. From the assassins’ standpoint, Vitala is a refreshing one, because her powers come from a special skill she possesses rather than weaponry. In fact, most of the imperial guards, as well as the Emperor himself, are much more capable than her when it comes to combat, and yet in the end the danger she brings outpowers them all. This book taught me a lot about writing action, intrigue, and romance.

Assassin's Gambit

By Amy Raby,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Vitala Salonius, champion of the warlike game of Caturanga, is as deadly as she is beautiful. She’s a trained assassin for the resistance, and her true play is for ultimate power. Using her charm and wit, she plans to seduce her way into the emperor’s bed and deal him one final, fatal blow, sparking a battle of succession that could change the face of the empire.

As the ruler of a country on the brink of war and the son of a deposed emperor, Lucien must constantly be wary of an attempt on his life. But he’s drawn to the…


Jane Doe

By Victoria Helen Stone,

Book cover of Jane Doe

If you enjoyed Gone Girl, I’m guessing you have a soft spot for a well-written sociopath. Jane Doe will be right up your street and then some. Jane is the kind of sociopath you can’t help but love. She’s funny, she’s misanthropic and she doesn’t care about what anyone else thinks. But best of all, Jane is on a revenge mission and despite every horrible thing she does, you’ll still love her.

Jane Doe

By Victoria Helen Stone,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An Amazon Charts bestseller.

A double life with a single purpose: revenge.

Jane's days at a Midwest insurance company are perfectly ordinary. She blends in well, unremarkably pretty in her floral-print dresses and extra efficient at her low-level job. She's just the kind of woman middle manager Steven Hepsworth likes-meek, insecure, and willing to defer to a man. No one has any idea who Jane really is. Least of all Steven.

But plain Jane is hiding something. And Steven's bringing out the worst in her.

Nothing can distract Jane from going straight for his heart: allowing herself to be seduced…


Lessons on Seduction

By Estelle Pettersen,

Book cover of Lessons on Seduction

I definitely recommend Lessons On Seduction because not only is main character Julian Richland a perfect book boyfriend, but main character Sapphire Blake is confident, sexy, and whip-smart. She’s not your typical “church mouse” but so relatable to those who have grown up in a sheltered world. She can be both spicy and sweet, unleashing her vulnerability while being dominant in the bedroom. She’s everything you want your heroine to be!

Lessons on Seduction

By Estelle Pettersen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When college student Sapphire Blake finds herself fresh out of a breakup, she is ready to embark on a new journey in her life. A dark, sensual journey. Freeing herself from the expectations set by her family, friends, and church, an innocent and unworldly Sapphire begins experimenting with her new casual lover, Vera Richland. Julian Richland is ridiculously handsome, smart, and intimidating. This university professor finds himself enthralled in a sensual relationship with a woman willing to pay top money for his time in the bedroom. To pay off his debts and continue leading his lavish lifestyle, Julian discovers the…


Ovid

By David Wishart,

Book cover of Ovid

Marcus Valerius Corvinus is a natty young aristocrat-about-town, the despair of his strait-laced father. Young Marcus is determined to take no part in Roman government and concentrates on partying. Of course, he is not nearly as feckless and two-dimensional as he tries to make himself out to the reader, and when the lovely Perilla asks for his help, we get not only a mystery but also a very-well-done romance. Wishart starts off this series in wise-cracking style which is a feature of Marcus’ first person narration, but there is genuine historical mystery behind it all, which scholars have worried over for years—why was the poet Ovid exiled? Wishart knows his stuff, and his enthusiasm for Rome pervades his novels. Debauchery and treachery abounds!

Ovid

By David Wishart,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In AD8, Augustus banished the poet Ovid to Tomi, on the Black Sea. In spite of repeated appeals by his friends in Rome for the sentence to be revoked, he died in exile ten years later.

No one knows why Ovid was banished.

The most convincing explanation is that Ovid was involved somehow with the emperor's granddaughter Julia, who was exiled the same year for immorality. However, Julia's sexual partner was sentenced to nothing worse than social ostracism. Her husband, on the other hand, was executed shortly afterwards for treason ...

Why should the witness to a crime be punished…


Roman Sports and Spectacles

By Anne Mahoney,

Book cover of Roman Sports and Spectacles: A Sourcebook

If you want to know what some Romans thought about sport and spectacle in their own words, turn to Anne Mahoney’s sourcebook, which offers translations of key literary passages and inscriptions. From Horace’s descriptions of unruly theater audiences to Ovid’s advice to young Roman men about how to pick up girls at the circus, this sourcebook brought the world of Roman spectacle to life for me. I love that she shows how the themes that make modern sport and fandom so complex—religion, gender, politics, and money—were just as relevant in ancient Rome. I always come away from reading the sources she compiles feeling that Roman sports fans are not so different from us today.

Roman Sports and Spectacles

By Anne Mahoney,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Roman Sports and Spectacles: A Sourcebook contains numerous translations from the Latin, including famous authors, such as Cicero, Seneca, Tertullian and Augustine, and the not so famous, including graffiti, advertisements and tombstones to paint a world view of what sports Romans played and what they thought of them. The world of Roman sports was similar in many ways to our own, but there were significant differences. For one thing Roman sports centered during religious festivals and the participants were most often slaves. Roman sports were not team sports, but individual competitions. And sports like chariot racing and gladiatorial competitions were…


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