10 books like The History of the Vestal Virgins of Rome

By T. Cato Worsfold,

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

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The Twelve Caesars

By Suetonius, Robert Graves (translator),

Book cover of The Twelve Caesars

It’s important to state up-front that Seutonius is garbage. You need to consider him to be like the National Enquirer or TMZ of his era. He was all about the clickbait; in that regard, centuries ahead of his time. That said, the salacious stories in here are pure fun and inspired Robert Graves in his creation of I Claudius.

The Twelve Caesars

By Suetonius, Robert Graves (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Suetonius, in holding up a mirror to those Caesars of diverting legend, reflects not only them but ourselves: half-tempted creatures, whose great moral task is to hold in balance the angel and the monster within' GORE VIDAL

As private secretary to the Emperor Hadrian, the scholar Suetonius had access to the imperial archives and used them (along with eyewitness accounts) to produce one of the most colourful biographical works in history. The Twelve Caesars chronicles the public careers and private lives of the men who wielded absolute power over Rome, from the foundation of the empire under Julius Caesar and…


What Life Was Like

By Time-Life Books,

Book cover of What Life Was Like: When Rome Ruled the World: The Roman Empire 100 BC-AD 200

Frequently, I write about everyday men and women. Consequently, I need to get a feel for what everyday life was like. What did people eat? How did they dress? Where did they work? I visit a lot of museums and have traveled extensively, but when I’m writing at home, I like books with lots of pictures, not only of historical sites, but photos of objects: cookware, weapons, clothing, jewelry, houses. This helps me bring the ancient world to life. This book is packed with pictures and well-researched information.

What Life Was Like

By Time-Life Books,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked What Life Was Like as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Provides a look at the Roman empire, detailing its history, social customs, professions, class ranks, military, and religion


The Roman Way

By Edith Hamilton,

Book cover of The Roman Way

An oldie (first published in 1932) but a goodie. Hamilton's short essays on the classic Latin writers--from the first writers of Latin comedy through to the epic poets and historians who did so much to shape the language--aren't just a crash course on the Roman literary canon. They're an accessible introduction to Roman culture from the ground up.

The Roman Way

By Edith Hamilton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this informal history of Roman civilization, Edith Hamilton vividly depicts the Roman life and spirit as they are revealed in the greatest writers of the time. Among these literary guides are Cicero, who left an incomparable collection of letters; Catullus, the quintessential poet of love; Horace, the chronicler of a cruel and materialistic Rome; and the Romantics Virgil, Livy and Seneca. The story concludes with the stark contrast between high-minded Stoicism and the collapse of values witnessed by Tacitus and Juvenal.


Ancient Rome

By Simon James, Dorling Kindersley,

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 Simon James, Dorling Kindersley,

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…


Brides of Rome

By Debra May Macleod,

Book cover of Brides of Rome: A Novel of the Vestal Virgins

Brides of Rome offers a unique look into the life of the Vestal Virgins of Rome. The story is told through the viewpoints of several fascinating women, one of which is a vestal virgin, and another one is Cleopatra. Each one has a battle of her own and although some find a bitter end, others survive and thrive. The Roman Empire is notorious for its mistreatment of women, but this book shows a refreshing look at some that received the respect they deserved.

Brides of Rome

By Debra May Macleod,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When passion is punishable by death, can one priestess keep her emotions concealed and help steer the course of history?

Ancient Rome is a world of power and privilege, secrets and sacred duty. The esteemed priestesses of Vesta - the Vestal Virgins - are charged with ensuring the Eternal Flame in their temple never goes out. While it burns, Rome cannot fall. They are known as the Brides of Rome.

Dedicated to a thirty-year vow of chaste service, Priestess Pomponia finds herself swept up in the intrigue, violence, wars and bedroom politics of Rome's elite - Julius Caesar, Marc Antony…


Mistress of Rome

By Kate Quinn,

Book cover of Mistress of Rome

Mistress of Rome was the first book I ever read by Kate Quinn, but it wasn’t my last. Frankly, I fell in love with Thea, a slave in ancient Rome. Ms. Quinn never shied away from the hard stuff. The reality was Thea was a slave and, as a slave, had very limited choices in her life. Ms. Quinn crafted a novel full of rich characters who sometimes made poor choices, or had their choices made for them all the while set against the beautiful background of ancient Rome, and you’ve got yourself one hell of a novel.

Mistress of Rome

By Kate Quinn,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The first in an unforgettable historical saga from the New York Times bestselling author of The Alice Network and The Diamond Eye.

"So gripping, your hands are glued to the book, and so vivid it burns itself into your mind's eye and stays with you long after you turn the final page."-Diana Gabaldon, #1 New York Times bestselling author

First-century Rome: One young woman will hold the fate of an empire in her hands.

Thea, a captive from Judaea, is a clever and determined survivor hiding behind a slave's docile mask. Purchased as a toy for the spoiled heiress Lepida…


From the Ashes

By Melissa Addey,

Book cover of From the Ashes

For as many fiction novels surrounding the Colosseum as I have read, this was the first one written from the stagehands, if you will, and I devoured it in a single sitting. I almost passed on it because the model on the cover is a stock photo that’s everywhere in the genre covers but I'm so glad I didn’t. Experience Pompeii’s destruction, and the building and inauguration of the Colosseum, like never before. Althea and Marcus will drag you through some of the most well-written world building and seamless research into these two events as you face calamity after calamity with them. This novel is both absolutely a romance, and barely a romance, which will make sense when you’re in the final pages of this unforgettable story.  

From the Ashes

By Melissa Addey,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Rome, 80AD. A gigantic new amphitheatre is being built. The Emperor has plans for gladiatorial Games on a scale no-one has ever seen before. But the Games don't just happen. They must be made. And Marcus, the man in charge of creating them, has just lost everything he held dear when Pompeii disappeared under the searing wrath of Vesuvius. Now it will fall to Althea, the slave woman who serves as his scribe, to ensure the Colosseum is inaugurated on time - and that Marcus makes his way out of the darkness that calls to him.

First in the Colosseum…


The Storm Before the Storm

By Mike Duncan,

Book cover of The Storm Before the Storm: The Beginning of the End of the Roman Republic

Duncan walks the reader through the generations leading up to the fall of the Republic, examining the political, economic, and social conditions that led to civil war and, eventually, the transition to Empire. While Duncan provides biographies of key figures like the Gracchi brothers, he also sets them in the context of their world: its constraints, its faith, its competing pressures. The Storm Before the Storm opens a window into an under-examined period of history, one which has echoes in modern-day politics.

The Storm Before the Storm

By Mike Duncan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Roman Republic was one of the most remarkable achievements in the history of civilization. Beginning as a small city-state in central Italy, Rome gradually expanded into a wider world filled with petty tyrants, barbarian chieftains, and despotic kings. Through the centuries, Rome's model of cooperative and participatory government remained remarkably durable and unmatched in the history of the ancient world.

In 146 BC, Rome finally emerged as the strongest power in the Mediterranean. But the very success of the Republic proved to be its undoing. The republican system was unable to cope with the vast empire Rome now ruled:…


S.P.Q.R

By Mary Beard,

Book cover of S.P.Q.R: A History of Ancient Rome

Mary Beard, Cambridge University professor of classics and noteworthy TV personality, is the lively author of a number of books on the ancient world. Roman antiquity endured for a thousand years, and her most beloved book covers that millenium: SPQR: A History of Ancient RomeSPQR is a renowned best seller which enchants even those who have scant knowledge of classical antiquity.

S.P.Q.R

By Mary Beard,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked S.P.Q.R as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In SPQR, an instant classic, Mary Beard narrates the history of Rome "with passion and without technical jargon" and demonstrates how "a slightly shabby Iron Age village" rose to become the "undisputed hegemon of the Mediterranean" (Wall Street Journal). Hailed by critics as animating "the grand sweep and the intimate details that bring the distant past vividly to life" (Economist) in a way that makes "your hair stand on end" (Christian Science Monitor) and spanning nearly a thousand years of history, this "highly informative, highly readable" (Dallas Morning News) work examines not just how we think of ancient Rome but…


Semper Fidelis

By Ruth Downie,

Book cover of Semper Fidelis: A Novel of the Roman Empire

In an ancient Roman Britain garrison town, Roman army physician, Ruso, and his native wife, Tilla, investigate a series of murders. Worse, Emperor Hadrian is coming. Ratcheting tension. The central issue in Semper Fidelis is the rivalry between Roman legionaries and Briton conscripts. The crime is solved, but the story doesn’t end. Briton conscripts riot, and, Hadrian absent, his empress, Sabina, must intercede.

The empress Vibia Sabina (posthumously deified), is my favorite character. Neglected, bored, sarcastic, calculating, duplicitous, funny, she is the perfect spoiled patrician matron.  What I like best is how everybody lies to everybody in Semper Fidelis, a tour-de-force of mendacity. An interesting, different, more-than-just-murder-mystery historical novel.

Semper Fidelis

By Ruth Downie,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When Ruso rejoins his unit in the remote outpost of the Roman Empire known as Britannia, he finds that all is not well with the Twentieth Legion. As they keep a suspicious eye on the barbarians to the north, the legionaries appear to have found trouble even closer to home-among the native recruits to Britannia's imperial army.

A young soldier has jumped off a roof, killing himself. Why? Mysterious injuries, and even deaths, begin to pile up in Ruso's medical ledgers, and it soon becomes clear that this suicide is not an isolated incident. Can the men really be under…


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