100 books like The Roman Revolution

By Ronald Syme,

Here are 100 books that The Roman Revolution fans have personally recommended if you like The Roman Revolution. 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 Feudal Society

Mark Koyama Author Of How the World Became Rich: The Historical Origins of Economic Growth

From my list on politics and economics in preindustrial societies.

Who am I?

I've always been fascinated with history. The study of economic history allows me to combine my passion for understanding the past with a rigorous and systematic set of analytical tools. In my own work I'm interested in understanding the economic, political, and institutional transformations that have created the modern world. The books I've selected here help us better understand quite how different the past and they have proven to be invaluable to me as inspirations. 

Mark's book list on politics and economics in preindustrial societies

Mark Koyama Why did Mark love this book?

Marc Bloch was one of the greatest historians of the 20th century. He was also hero of the French Resistance, tortured and executed by the notorious Nazi Klaus Barbie. Feudal Society (2 volumes) is perhaps his best book. 

It is often said that the past is a foreign country, and it is true that the world of the Middle Ages is alien to us in many respects. What Bloch does is to provide a systematic examination of all aspects of that world, that is he examines it it from a legal, a sociological, an anthropological, an economic, and a political perspective. 

In so doing, he paints a remarkable portrait of a coherent, self-contained society. The economy was basic, laws and politics were personalized, but it was a social and political order that made sense in its own terms. More recent historians have criticized specific aspects of Bloch's vision of feudalism…

By Marc Bloch,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Feudal Society as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Marc Bloch said that his goal in writing Feudal Society was to go beyond the technical study a medievalist would typically write and 'dismantle a social structure.' In this outstanding and monumental work, which has introduced generations of students and historians to the feudal period, Bloch treats feudalism as living, breathing force in Western Europe from the ninth to the thirteenth century. At its heart lies a magisterial account of relations of lord and vassal, and the origins of the nature of the fief, brought to life through compelling accounts of the nobility, knighthood and chivalry, family relations, political and…


Book cover of Encyclopaedia Biblica

Henry Davis Author Of Creating Christianity - A Weapon Of Ancient Rome

From my list on ancient history that challenge assumptions.

Who am I?

Henry Davis is an independent historical researcher who has been studying ancient history for over 20 years. Even though he wanted to embark on a formal education studying the Classics, he suffered from extreme anxiety and felt he could not do so. He resorted to self-study, with help from family and friends, who had degrees in Classical studies, and began reading the work of respected historians/scholars/classicists, Dame Mary Beard, Tom Holland, Sir Ronald Syme, Gavin Townend, and Anthony Birley, to name only a few.

Henry's book list on ancient history that challenge assumptions

Henry Davis Why did Henry love this book?

The official title of the book is ‘Encyclopedia Biblica: A Critical Dictionary of the Literary, Political and Religious History, the Archaeology, Geography, and Natural History of the Bible.' This work was produced by various professors of Oxford University and was a continual work from 1899-1903. It seems to be rarely mentioned by historians and Biblical scholars today, and I am recommending this work because there is a considerable wealth of information in it, and any student of history would find it incredibly useful. The Oxford professors critically examined ancient folklore and legends, without being swayed by traditional opinions of the time. For example, the origins of the people of Israel, and Egyptian and Hittite history are thoroughly examined, as is the Biblical literature. Interestingly, in this work, the professors doubted the existence of Nazareth, stating: ‘Was Nazareth originally the name of a town (or village) at all? There…

By John Sutherland Black, Thomas Kelly Cheyne,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important, and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it. This work was reproduced from the original artifact, and remains as true to the original work as possible. Therefore, you will see the original copyright references, library stamps (as most of these works have been housed in our most important libraries around the world), and other notations in the work.

This work is in the public domain in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and…


Book cover of Marcus Aurelius: A Biography

Donald J. Robertson Author Of Verissimus: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius

From my list on modern books on Marcus Aurelius.

Who am I?

I am an author and cognitive-behavioural psychotherapist. I am one of the founders of the Modern Stoicism nonprofit organisation and the president and founder of the Plato’s Academy Centre in Athens, Greece. I’ve published six books on philosophy and psychotherapy, mostly focusing on the Stoic philosophy and its relationship with modern psychology and evidence-based psychotherapy.

Donald's book list on modern books on Marcus Aurelius

Donald J. Robertson Why did Donald love this book?

Although some people assume we don’t know much about Marcus Aurelius, the truth is that we probably know more about him than most other ancient philosophers, and certainly, there are several modern biographies of Marcus Aurelius but the best is this one by the British historian, Anthony Birley. Birley adopts a scholarly approach but he also keeps quite a tight focus on the events of Marcus’ life. (Frank McLynn’s biography is more widely-read but ranges more freely over topics such as the Roman empire’s economy.)  

By Anthony Birley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Marcus Aurelius, the philosopher-emperor who ruled the Roman Empire between AD 161 and 180, is one of the best recorded individuals from antiquity. Even his face became more than usually familiar: the imperial coinage displayed his portrait for over 40 years, from the clean-shaven young heir of Antonius to the war-weary, heavily bearded ruler who died at his post in his late fifties.
His correspondence with his tutor Fronto, and even more the private notebook he kept for his last ten years, the Meditations, provides a unique series of vivid and revealing glimpses into the character and peoccupations of this…


Book cover of Myth of Persecution

Henry Davis Author Of Creating Christianity - A Weapon Of Ancient Rome

From my list on ancient history that challenge assumptions.

Who am I?

Henry Davis is an independent historical researcher who has been studying ancient history for over 20 years. Even though he wanted to embark on a formal education studying the Classics, he suffered from extreme anxiety and felt he could not do so. He resorted to self-study, with help from family and friends, who had degrees in Classical studies, and began reading the work of respected historians/scholars/classicists, Dame Mary Beard, Tom Holland, Sir Ronald Syme, Gavin Townend, and Anthony Birley, to name only a few.

Henry's book list on ancient history that challenge assumptions

Henry Davis Why did Henry love this book?

Certain events that the ancient writers described, do not always seem to fit within the time they were writing, and I very much enjoy books that question what was written. In my opinion, this book by Candida Moss is very provocative, as it challenges the traditional view of the alleged persecution of Christians. A particular point she makes is in regards to the Roman historian, Tacitus, she states: ‘Tacitus’s Annals dates to 115-20 (CE), at least fifty years after the events he describes. His use of the term “Christian” is somewhat anachronistic. It’s highly unlikely that, at the time the Great Fire occurred, anyone recognized Jesus followers as a distinct and separate group.’ Although this book leaves questions unanswered, it offers a great deal to think about. Another scholar of note, who also argues against the idea that Christians were a special group being attacked by the Roman state or…

By Candida Moss,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In The Myth of Persecution, Candida Moss, a leading expert on early Christianity, reveals how the early church exaggerated, invented, and forged stories of Christian martyrs and how the dangerous legacy of a martyrdom complex is employed today to silence dissent and galvanize a new generation of culture warriors.
 
According to cherished church tradition and popular belief, before the Emperor Constantine made Christianity legal in the fourth century, early Christians were systematically persecuted by a brutal Roman Empire intent on their destruction. As the story goes, vast numbers of believers were thrown to the lions, tortured, or burned alive because…


Book cover of The Jewish War

Lena Einhorn Author Of A Shift in Time: How Historical Documents Reveal the Surprising Truth about Jesus

From my list on ancient religious texts and actual history.

Who am I?

Lena Einhorn is a writer and filmmaker, with a background in medicine. She has portrayed Greta Garbo’s life before the breakthrough, in the novel Blekinge Street 32, and in Nina’s Journey, she told the story of her mother, one of the last to leave the Warsaw ghetto alive. Nina’s Journey also became a feature film, written and directed by Einhorn. The book received the National Book Award of Sweden, and the film received the National Film Award for best picture and best script, as well as a number of international awards. In 2019 the critically acclaimed autobiographical novel The Thin Ice came out.

Lena's book list on ancient religious texts and actual history

Lena Einhorn Why did Lena love this book?

This is the parallel companion book to the New Testament, for anyone who wants to try to discern "the true story behind the religious text." And it is also the biggest impediment to all historians and biblical scholars who have attempted to portray Jesus and his disciples as historical individuals. He simply does not seem to be there (if one excepts the paragraph "Testimonium Flavianum", which has been added or amended by later scribes). But perhaps he does... If one looks slightly beneath the surface....

By Flavius Josephus,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Josephus' account of a war marked by treachery and atrocity is a superbly detailed and evocative record of the Jewish rebellion against Rome between AD 66 and 70. Originally a rebel leader, Josephus changed sides after he was captured to become a Rome-appointed negotiator, and so was uniquely placed to observe these turbulent events, from the siege of Jerusalem to the final heroic resistance and mass suicides at Masada. His account provides much of what we know about the history of the Jews under Roman rule, with vivid portraits of such key figures as the Emperor Vespasian and Herod the…


Book cover of Violence and Social Orders: A Conceptual Framework for Interpreting Recorded Human History

Mark Koyama Author Of How the World Became Rich: The Historical Origins of Economic Growth

From my list on politics and economics in preindustrial societies.

Who am I?

I've always been fascinated with history. The study of economic history allows me to combine my passion for understanding the past with a rigorous and systematic set of analytical tools. In my own work I'm interested in understanding the economic, political, and institutional transformations that have created the modern world. The books I've selected here help us better understand quite how different the past and they have proven to be invaluable to me as inspirations. 

Mark's book list on politics and economics in preindustrial societies

Mark Koyama Why did Mark love this book?

This is a landmark book in political economy and economic history. 

Douglass North won the Noble Prize in Economics in part for the study of institutions in economic history. 

This was his final work (coauthored with Wallis and Weingast). And while the lessons of North's earlier work on institutions have been incorporated into the wider body of scholarship in economic history and development economics, I think the lessons of this book haven't been fully absorbed.  

The fundamental idea is that all societies face "the problem of violence". They have to deter individuals from resorting to violence in order to take what they want. But the means through which society limits violence vary and are often detrimental to long-run economic growth. There is thus a "natural" form of government that is common throughout history, capable of producing social order but not widespread prosperity.

Achieving sustained economic growth in the long-run requires…

By Douglass C. North, John Joseph Wallis, Barry R. Weingast

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Violence and Social Orders as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

All societies must deal with the possibility of violence, and they do so in different ways. This book integrates the problem of violence into a larger social science and historical framework, showing how economic and political behavior are closely linked. Most societies, which we call natural states, limit violence by political manipulation of the economy to create privileged interests. These privileges limit the use of violence by powerful individuals, but doing so hinders both economic and political development. In contrast, modern societies create open access to economic and political organizations, fostering political and economic competition. The book provides a framework…


Book cover of Pre-Industrial Societies: Anatomy of the Pre-Modern World

Mark Koyama Author Of How the World Became Rich: The Historical Origins of Economic Growth

From my list on politics and economics in preindustrial societies.

Who am I?

I've always been fascinated with history. The study of economic history allows me to combine my passion for understanding the past with a rigorous and systematic set of analytical tools. In my own work I'm interested in understanding the economic, political, and institutional transformations that have created the modern world. The books I've selected here help us better understand quite how different the past and they have proven to be invaluable to me as inspirations. 

Mark's book list on politics and economics in preindustrial societies

Mark Koyama Why did Mark love this book?

Patricia Crone was an expert on the history of early Islam and attracted a lot of controversy for her views on Mecca and Mohamad. Pre-Industrial Societies is a brief, readable portrait of how preindustrial societies functioned. It isn't based on primary sources or archival evidence; there are no footnotes or endnotes, and the referencing is light; really it is a textbook. 

What makes it valuable is that unlike many historians, Crone isn't afraid to generalize and to draw on the ideas of social scientists. She packs in an amazing amount of analyze into a very short book and roams across entirety of world history.

If I could only recommend one book to students interested in how societies functioned in the past, it might be this book! 

By Patricia Crone,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pre-Industrial Societies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Eminent historian Patricia Crone defines the common features of a wide range of pre-industrial societies, from locations as seemingly disparate as the Mongol Empire and pre-Columbian America, to cultures as diverse as the Ming Dynasty and seventeenth-century France. In a lucid exploration of the characteristics shared by these societies, the author examines such key elements as economic organization, politics, culture, and the role of religion. An essential introductory text for all students of history, Pre-Industrial Societies provides readers with all the necessary tools for gaining a substantial understanding of life in pre-modern times. In addition, as a perceptive insight into…


Book cover of The History of England

Mark Koyama Author Of How the World Became Rich: The Historical Origins of Economic Growth

From my list on politics and economics in preindustrial societies.

Who am I?

I've always been fascinated with history. The study of economic history allows me to combine my passion for understanding the past with a rigorous and systematic set of analytical tools. In my own work I'm interested in understanding the economic, political, and institutional transformations that have created the modern world. The books I've selected here help us better understand quite how different the past and they have proven to be invaluable to me as inspirations. 

Mark's book list on politics and economics in preindustrial societies

Mark Koyama Why did Mark love this book?

One of the most influential and popular history books ever written, Macaulay's history of England is rarely read these days. 

It is a detailed account of the reign of James II and the buildup to the Glorious Revolution, a turning point in the history of constitutional government. But for me, Macaulay's book was also a revelation as a work of economic history.

Macaulay was one of the writers to really understand the momentous consequences of economic growth. He includes a chapter in volume 1 where the attempts to measure how much economic activity had increased between 1685 and his own time.

When I first read this, I was in graduate school doing economics and reading Macaulay was one of the factors that pushed me towards specializing in economic history.  

By Thomas Macaulay, Hugh Trevor-Roper (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One of the greatest figures of his age, Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-59) was widely admired throughout his life for his prose, poetry, political acumen and oratorical skills. Among the most successful and enthralling histories ever written, his History of England won instantaneous success following the publication of its first volumes in 1849, and was rapidly translated into most European languages. Beginning with the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and concluding at the end of the reign of William III in 1702, it illuminates a time of deep struggle throughout Britain and Ireland in vivid and compelling prose. But while Macaulay offers…


Book cover of Politics in the Roman Republic

Jeremiah McCall Author Of Rivalries that Destroyed the Roman Republic

From my list on exploring the Roman Republic and its collapse.

Who am I?

I am a historian and history teacher in Ohio with a passion for studying the endlessly fascinating Roman Republic. It was a time when many believed the gods walked the earth, when legend and reality mixed. The resulting stories lure us with their strangeness while reminding us of our modern world. For me, no topic in the Republic captures this paradox of strangeness and familiarity more than the political systems of the Republic. Our very ideas about representative democracy come from the Romans. But the legacy is deeper. In Roman politicians’ thirst for votes and victory, their bitter rivalries we can, perhaps, see the dangers of excessive political competition today.

Jeremiah's book list on exploring the Roman Republic and its collapse

Jeremiah McCall Why did Jeremiah love this book?

Mouritsen’s short, detailed, survey of Roman politics in the Republic packs such a punch in terms of its sophisticated, but brief, analyses of Roman political systems including the fall of the Republic. In short, I think Mouritsen has done as good a job as any historian, page-for-page examining in brief the mechanics of Republican politics and their collapse. I certainly relied on his broader analysis of Roman political systems and their collapse on a number of occasions in my book as we investigated the turbulent tenures of this and that aristocrat. Politics in the Roman Republic is an excellent first step to Mouritsen’s thoughtful analysis, since it will provide the stories of essentially all the key aristocrats who form the evidence for his analysis. For those who want even more understanding of the political and competitive systems as they operated, Mouritsen’s book is a terrific next step.

By Henrik Mouritsen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The politics of the Roman Republic has in recent decades been the subject of intense debate, covering issues such as the degree of democracy and popular influence, 'parties' and ideology, politics as public ritual, and the character of Rome's political culture. This engaging book examines all these issues afresh, and presents an original synthesis of Rome's political institutions and practices. It begins by explaining the development of the Roman constitution over time before turning to the practical functioning of the Republic, focusing particularly on the role of the populus Romanus and the way its powers were expressed in the popular…


Book cover of Dynasty: The Rise and Fall of the House of Caesar

Jeremiah McCall Author Of Rivalries that Destroyed the Roman Republic

From my list on exploring the Roman Republic and its collapse.

Who am I?

I am a historian and history teacher in Ohio with a passion for studying the endlessly fascinating Roman Republic. It was a time when many believed the gods walked the earth, when legend and reality mixed. The resulting stories lure us with their strangeness while reminding us of our modern world. For me, no topic in the Republic captures this paradox of strangeness and familiarity more than the political systems of the Republic. Our very ideas about representative democracy come from the Romans. But the legacy is deeper. In Roman politicians’ thirst for votes and victory, their bitter rivalries we can, perhaps, see the dangers of excessive political competition today.

Jeremiah's book list on exploring the Roman Republic and its collapse

Jeremiah McCall Why did Jeremiah love this book?

Dynasty is just a good historical read, one I enjoyed thoroughly. This is the place to go for a readable researched, thoroughly engaging story of the final collapse of the Republic under Caesar and how his heirs ushered in a new political system. The pivotal period where Octavian, adopted son of murdered Gaius Julius Caesar, survived in a cutthroat political and military arena and made himself Princeps, the first emperor, is just fascinating. The subsequent men and women of the Julio-Claudian dynasty and all of their political, and sometimes murderous, machinations come to life under Holland’s pen. An excellent choice for navigating imperial politics, often family politics.

By Tom Holland,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'This is a wonderful, surging narrative - a brilliant and meticulous synthesis of the ancient sources . . . This is a story that should be read by anyone interested in history, politics or human nature - and it has never been better told' - Boris Johnson, Mail on Sunday

Rome was first ruled by kings, then became a republic. But in the end, after conquering the world, the Republic collapsed. Rome was drowned in blood. So terrible were the civil wars that the Roman people finally came to welcome the rule of an autocrat who could give them peace.…


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