100 books like The Nero-Antichrist

By Shushma Malik,

Here are 100 books that The Nero-Antichrist fans have personally recommended if you like The Nero-Antichrist. 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 King John (Mis)Remembered

Sarah Covington Author Of The Devil from Over the Sea: Remembering and Forgetting Oliver Cromwell in Ireland

From my list on history’s villains and their surprising reputations.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a professor of history at the Graduate Center and Queens College at the City University of New York, where I'm also director of the Irish Studies program and the MA program in Biography and Memoir. My specialty, covered in five books that I’ve authored or co-edited, is English and Irish history in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; my new book represents the culmination of a decade’s research devoted to Ireland. In addition to teaching British and Irish history, I offer more unusual and wide-ranging classes including the history of the devil, the history of crime and punishment, and the history of the body. My life is divided between New York City and mid-coast Maine.

Sarah's book list on history’s villains and their surprising reputations

Sarah Covington Why did Sarah love this book?

Like Nero, King John’s awful reputation has been subject to revision in recent years, though others insist that his “lechery and treachery,” not to mention his cruelty, still places him as England’s worst king. John’s image was rehabilitated in the sixteenth century, however, when the king, in Djordevic’s words, became a “virtual obsession” among writers, dramatists, and contemporary historians.  Shakespeare created a tragic John seeking to defend his crown from rival claimants, foreign invasion, and an intrusive pope, while Protestant writers displayed an even more favorable stance towards John, who had opposed an intrusive papacy. John-as-tyrant was a crowd-pleaser, however, which accounted for the production of plays and poems that continued the traditional portraits of the mad, bad king.   

By Igor Djordjevic,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked King John (Mis)Remembered as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

King John's evil reputation has outlasted and proved more enduring than that of Richard III, whose notoriety seemed ensured thanks to Shakespeare's portrayal of him. The paradox is even greater when we realize that this portrait of John endures despite Shakespeare's portrait of him in the play King John, where he hardly comes off as a villain at all. Here Igor Djordjevic argues that the story of John's transformation in cultural memory has never been told completely, perhaps because the crucial moment in John's change back to villainy is a literary one: it occurs at the point when the 'historiographic'…


Book cover of The Image of Ivan the Terrible in Russian Folklore

Sarah Covington Author Of The Devil from Over the Sea: Remembering and Forgetting Oliver Cromwell in Ireland

From my list on history’s villains and their surprising reputations.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a professor of history at the Graduate Center and Queens College at the City University of New York, where I'm also director of the Irish Studies program and the MA program in Biography and Memoir. My specialty, covered in five books that I’ve authored or co-edited, is English and Irish history in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; my new book represents the culmination of a decade’s research devoted to Ireland. In addition to teaching British and Irish history, I offer more unusual and wide-ranging classes including the history of the devil, the history of crime and punishment, and the history of the body. My life is divided between New York City and mid-coast Maine.

Sarah's book list on history’s villains and their surprising reputations

Sarah Covington Why did Sarah love this book?

The extent of an evil leader’s influence can be measured in terms of whether he or she enters popular folklore. In the case of Ivan the Terrible, the Russian “grozny” in “Ivan Grozny” is actually translated as “awe-inspiring,” though the “terrible” tag has ensured that the czar would be remembered for his paranoia, brutality, and alleged insanity.

In folklore it was different: as Perrie’s book demonstrates, Ivan was a sympathetic figure through the twentieth century, in tales that recounted his triumphs in war or his repenting after an act of cruelty. Perrie attributes the favorable views of Ivan to “popular monarchism,” but he was also a figure whose image could be grafted onto existing folkloric archetypes to powerful effect.

By Maureen Perrie,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Image of Ivan the Terrible in Russian Folklore as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ivan the Terrible has long been a controversial figure. Some historians regard him as a crazed and evil tyrant; while others (especially Soviet scholars of the Stalin period) have viewed him as a progressive and far-sighted statesman. The folklore about Ivan has played an important part in these debates. Was Ivan's depiction in folklore favourable or hostile? And how far can it be regarded as evidence of contemporary popular attitudes towards the tsar? In this unusual and far-ranging study, Maureen Perrie discusses the nature of Ivan's image in Russian folklore; its historical basis; its development; and the controversies which have…


Book cover of The Man Who Thought He Was Napoleon: Toward a Political History of Madness

Sarah Covington Author Of The Devil from Over the Sea: Remembering and Forgetting Oliver Cromwell in Ireland

From my list on history’s villains and their surprising reputations.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a professor of history at the Graduate Center and Queens College at the City University of New York, where I'm also director of the Irish Studies program and the MA program in Biography and Memoir. My specialty, covered in five books that I’ve authored or co-edited, is English and Irish history in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; my new book represents the culmination of a decade’s research devoted to Ireland. In addition to teaching British and Irish history, I offer more unusual and wide-ranging classes including the history of the devil, the history of crime and punishment, and the history of the body. My life is divided between New York City and mid-coast Maine.

Sarah's book list on history’s villains and their surprising reputations

Sarah Covington Why did Sarah love this book?

The 1840 burial of Napoleon’s remains in the Invalides coincided with the psychiatric admission of fourteen men who claimed they were the real Napoleon, and he lived on yet. A number of Napoleons—or those claiming to be Napoleon’s son—had also emerged during the emperor’s own lifetime, suffering from the recently identified “delusions of grandeur” diagnosis.

Murat offers a larger study of madness and asylums in nineteenth-century France, and the impact of political events, including the French Revolution and the Terror, on psychiatric patients and doctors. Her chapter on “madhouse Napoleons” is particularly intriguing, as it reveals how the ghosts of powerful historical leaders can infiltrate the minds of the disturbed. For me, the book also raises questions about memory and psychology more generally, about why the mad latched onto Napoleon specifically, and how history or historical figures can live on in surprising places.

By Laure Murat, Deke Dusinberre (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Man Who Thought He Was Napoleon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Man who thought he was Napoleon is built around a bizarre historical event and an off-hand challenge. The event? In December 1840, nearly twenty years after his death, the remains of Napoleon were returned to Paris for burial - and the next day, the director of a Paris hospital for the insane admitted fourteen men who claimed to be Napoleon. The challenge, meanwhile, is the claim by great French psychiatrist Jean-Etienne Dominique Esquirol (1772-1840) that he could recount the history of France through asylum registries. From those two components, Laure Murat embarks on an exploration of the surprising relationship…


Book cover of Sherman's March in Myth and Memory

Sarah Covington Author Of The Devil from Over the Sea: Remembering and Forgetting Oliver Cromwell in Ireland

From my list on history’s villains and their surprising reputations.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a professor of history at the Graduate Center and Queens College at the City University of New York, where I'm also director of the Irish Studies program and the MA program in Biography and Memoir. My specialty, covered in five books that I’ve authored or co-edited, is English and Irish history in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; my new book represents the culmination of a decade’s research devoted to Ireland. In addition to teaching British and Irish history, I offer more unusual and wide-ranging classes including the history of the devil, the history of crime and punishment, and the history of the body. My life is divided between New York City and mid-coast Maine.

Sarah's book list on history’s villains and their surprising reputations

Sarah Covington Why did Sarah love this book?

The American Civil War would produce a number of legendary figures, but William Tecumseh Sherman has long interested me for the extreme reactions he continues to provoke. Northerners would view him as a heroic if ruthless conqueror, while Southerners attributed the Confederacy’s destruction and humiliation to this uncavalier “Yankee.”

Sherman’s March in Myth and History traces the mythmaking of Sherman by historians, poets, novelists, and filmmakers, but it also goes deeper in its exploration of how myths and memories about Sherman served to bolster present-day interests. The vilification of Sherman helped to boost the Old South aristocracy and the idea of the "Lost Cause," while northerners viewed Sherman’s march as positive evidence of a superior industrialism. Sherman himself attempted to shape his legacy through lectures and a memoir. Even so, his legacy remains deeply divisive even now, with the authors writing that “there is no conciliation in sight for the…

By Edward Caudill, Paul Ashdown,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sherman's March in Myth and Memory as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

General William Tecumseh Sherman's devastating "March to the Sea" in 1864 burned a swath through the cities and countryside of Georgia and into the history of the American Civil War. As they moved from Atlanta to Savannah-destroying homes, buildings, and crops; killing livestock; and consuming supplies-Sherman and the Union army ignited not only southern property, but also imaginations, in both the North and the South. By the time of the general's death in 1891, when one said "The March," no explanation was required. That remains true today.

Legends and myths about Sherman began forming during the March itself, and took…


Book cover of A Voice in the Wind

Nancy Kimball Author Of Unseen Love

From my list on that put the Roman in romance.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I watched the Ridley Scott film Gladiator for the first time, I knew then my heart belonged in Ancient Rome. Countless books, films, research papers, museums, and shenanigans later, that is still true. I was a master of make-believe by age ten, and when the time was right, both passions fused into my debut novel, also set in Ancient Rome. I don’t want to just read or write a good book. I want to experience Ancient Rome vicariously through powerful characters that linger in my memory long after the last page. If that’s you too, give these a try. 

Nancy's book list on that put the Roman in romance

Nancy Kimball Why did Nancy love this book?

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. 

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…


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

Ian Ross Author Of War at the Edge of the World

From my list on novels set in the later Roman Empire.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ian Ross was born in England and studied painting before turning to writing fiction. He has been researching the later Roman empire and its army for over a decade, and his interests combine an obsessive regard for accuracy and detail with a devotion to the craft of storytelling. His six-novel Twilight of Empire series follows the career of Aurelius Castus as he rises from the ranks of the legions to the dangerous summit of military power, against the background of a Roman world in crisis.

Ian's book list on novels set in the later Roman Empire

Ian Ross Why did Ian love this book?

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…

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…


Book cover of Pagans and Christians

Rebecca I. Denova Author Of Greek and Roman Religions

From my list on the religious lives of Greeks and Romans.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up, I could never “get” the secrets of math or science. If I could, I would have been an archaeologist. But I was always interested in “origins;” where do our modern ideas come from? My passion for reading led me to begin to uncover “origins” (or, the element of “looking for clues” in a “murder mystery”). Uncovering “ancient origins” entails thoroughly exploring ancient society. I continue to daily keep up with the research and new interpretations in the study of these fascinating worlds.

Rebecca's book list on the religious lives of Greeks and Romans

Rebecca I. Denova Why did Rebecca love this book?

I first encountered Lane Fox when I was working on my dissertation in graduate school. Working on “Gentiles” in the New Testament, I had to thoroughly understand the historical background. This book became my “pagan Bible,” in effect. The first half fully details ancient concepts and rituals, and the second emphasizes which elements were absorbed by the rise of Christianity and which were rejected and why.

By Robin Lane Fox,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Explores the character of early Christianity, with details on religious life, secular daily life, and the condition of paganism at the time of its defeat


Book cover of A Week in the Life of Rome

Carlo Kennedy Author Of Time Signature

From my list on fiction with a Christian worldview.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an Irish-Italian-American, I’ve got a lifetime of cultural and family traditions to bring to the table, and I want that in the books I read. I love books that celebrate the beauty of life, love, family, and creation. A novel can open up the world, and uplift the reader, adding joy to life – that’s what I’m looking for when I read, and I imagine others, too, want uplifting stories. That doesn’t mean preachy or sanctimonious – stories should be about real imperfect people who sometimes fall short of the ideal – but I definitely want stories that take place in a universe where God, and right and wrong, exist. 

Carlo's book list on fiction with a Christian worldview

Carlo Kennedy Why did Carlo love this book?

The setting is Rome, in the year 50 AD, when Christianity was not yet even on the radar of the Romans.

And yet, to be a Christian meant going against the grain of the culture, and it could get you fired from your job, or worse.

Meticulously researched (the author is a professor – but the book is not dry and boring), the book tells a compelling story about the early Christians in Rome, and includes info boxes to tell you all about Roman culture, life in Rome, and other stuff you’ll want to know.

The story is fiction, but the setting, and all the historical details are spot-on. If you want to know what life was really like for the earliest Christians, you need to check out this book.

By James L. Papandrea,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Week in the Life of Rome as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In first-century Rome, following Jesus comes at a tremendous social cost. An urbane Roman landowner and merchant is intrigued by the Christian faith-but is he willing to give up his status and lifestyle to join the church? Meanwhile his young client, a catechumen in the church at Rome, is beginning to see just how much his newfound faith will require of him. A Week in the Life of Rome is a cross section of ancient Roman society, from the overcrowded apartment buildings of the poor to the halls of the emperors. Against this rich backdrop, illuminated with images and explanatory…


Book cover of Quo Vadis?

Vincent B. Davis II Author Of The Man With Two Names

From my list on set in Ancient Rome.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been mesmerized with ancient history since I was in high school. Since then, I’ve kept myself inspired by reading the best historical fiction I can get my hands on. Each and every time an author gives me the opportunity to be teleported to the ancient world, I am so grateful. There are so many things we can learn from the ancient Greeks and Romans, and that’s exactly why I and other authors continue to write about that time period. 

Vincent's book list on set in Ancient Rome

Vincent B. Davis II Why did Vincent love this book?

I’ve read a lot of books in my life, and this might be the only one that’s ever made me cry. The story follows an ambitious young Roman as he meets members of a strange new cult. At first, he’s opposed to them, but slowly falls in love with one of the new religion’s adherents, and joins them in their struggle against the oppressive Roman government. I’ve never been a big fan of romance, but this book showed me why love is so integral to good storytelling. It also gives a great example of how to weave religion or morals into a historical narrative without being overbearing or taking away from the story itself.

By Henryk Sienkiewicz, Jeremiah Curtin (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This glorious saga unfolds against the backdrop of ancient Rome-from the Forum to the Coliseum, from banquet halls to summer retreats in Naples, from the luxurious houses of the nobility to the hovels of the poor, Quo Vadis richly depicts a place and time still captivating to the modern imagination. This radiant translation by W.S. Kuniczak restores the original glory and richness of master storyteller Henryk Sienkiewicz's epic tale.

Set at a turning point in history (A.D. 54-68), as Christianity replaces the era of corruption and immorality that marked Nero's Rome, Quo Vadis abounds with compelling characters, including:

Vinicius, the…


Book cover of The Ecclesiastical History of the English People

Richard Shaw Author Of How, When and Why did Bede Write his Ecclesiastical History?

From my list on Bede and his Ecclesiastical History.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am Professor of History at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College in Canada. Previously a journalist and a diplomat serving in the Middle East, since returning to academia I have published several books and a wide variety of academic articles – winning the 2014 Eusebius Essay Prize. My work is focused on source analysis and the use of sources to reconstruct the truth of the past – especially in the early Middle Ages: as a result, I have been able to discover the date of Augustine of Canterbury’s death; the underlying reasons behind the need to appoint Theodore of Tarsus as bishop; and the essential story of how Bede produced his Ecclesiastical History.

Richard's book list on Bede and his Ecclesiastical History

Richard Shaw Why did Richard love this book?

This is the basic text. You can’t study early Christian Anglo-Saxon England without Bede’s Ecclesiastical History – and why would you want to?

Bede’s History was an instant classic, popular from the moment it was published. Bede’s scholarship and clear prose – as well as his eye for detail, chronology, and a good story – mean this book will always be engaging, intriguing, and relevant.

The version recommended here is an updated translation including an Introduction to get you going with the History, together with some other helpful texts – especially Bede’s Letter to Ecgberht, which is vital for grasping the context in which Bede completed his magnum opus.

By Bede, Judith McClure (editor), Roger Collins (editor) , Bertram Colgrave (translator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Ecclesiastical History of the English People as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Ecclesiastical History of the English People (731 AD) is Bede's most famous work.
As well as providing the authoritative Colgrave translation of the Ecclesiastical History, this edition includes a new translation of the Greater Chronicle, in which Bede examines the Roman Empire and contemporary Europe. His Letter to Egbert gives his final reflections on the English Church just before his death, and all three texts here are further illuminated by a detailed introduction and explanatory notes.
ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each…


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