100 books like The Sixth Great Oriental Monarchy

By George Rawlinson,

Here are 100 books that The Sixth Great Oriental Monarchy fans have personally recommended if you like The Sixth Great Oriental Monarchy. 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 The King Must Die

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?

Some authors have an innate faculty for bringing the dim and distant past into such razor-sharp clarity that it’s hard not to believe that they were once present at the time. That’s how it is with Mary Renault (real name Eileen Mary Challans): any number of her books could have made this list.

What I particularly love about this duology (the sequel The Bull From the Sea isn’t quite as strong) is that Renault retold the ancient tale of Theseus and the Minotaur as historical fiction. Though she followed the main beats of the well-known story, she boldly stripped it of gods, monsters, and magic, and the narrative doesn’t suffer at all from it. If anything, it makes it even more compelling because it feels like she has stumbled upon a possible origin to the myth.

By Mary Renault,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked The King Must Die as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Theseus is the grandson of the King of Troizen, but his paternity is shrouded in mystery - can he really be the son of the god Poseidon? When he discovers his father's sword beneath a rock, his mother must reveal his true identity: Theseus is the son of Aegeus, King of Athens, and is his only heir. So begins Theseus's perilous journey to his father's palace to claim his birth right, escaping bandits and ritual king sacrifice in Eleusis, to slaying the Minotaur in Crete. Renault reimagines the Theseus myth, creating an original, exciting story.


Book cover of The Life Of Crassus (Plutarch's Lives)

Andrew Levkoff Author Of The Other Alexander

From my list on the Parthia and the war with Rome in the 1st century.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up on Long Island, New York, got a BA in English from Stanford, then put that hard-earned degree to dubious use in the family packaging business. After a decade of trying to convince myself to think 'inside the box (lots of them), I fled to Vermont where I attempted to regain my sanity by chopping wood and shoveling snow off my roof for 8 years. (Okay, I came down off the roof every once in a while.) Like a fine cocktail, I was by then thoroughly chilled; what could be better after this than no sunshine for 13 years. That's right - Seattle. Since 2006 I have been taking the cure in Arizona, where my skin has darkened to a rich shade of pallid. Here it was that I finally realized, under the heading of hopefully-better-late-than-never, that I needed to return to my first love - writing. I live in Tempe with my wife, Stephany and our daughter, Allison, crowded into close proximity by hundreds of mineral specimens Steph and I have collected while rockhounding. "They're just a bunch of rocks," says Allison. Ouch.

Andrew's book list on the Parthia and the war with Rome in the 1st century

Andrew Levkoff Why did Andrew love this book?

This is as close to the horse’s mouth as we can get, yet it’s still a hundred years after the events of Republican Rome’s demise. Remember the Viet Nam war? It was one of America’s great foreign policy failures. Rome hated failure like a teenager hates acne. Cover it up, deny it, erase it. That is what Plutarch does in this work. I think it speaks to Crassus' towering achievements that Plutarch has anything nice to say about him at all!

By Plutarch,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Life Of Crassus (Plutarch's Lives) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The story of Rome's richest man, who died a humiliating desert death in search of military glory

"A perfectly paced biography."-Tom Holland, Times Literary Supplement

Marcus Licinius Crassus (115-53 BCE) was a modern man in an ancient world, a pioneer disrupter of finance and politics, and the richest man of the last years of the Roman republic. Without his catastrophic ambition, this trailblazing tycoon might have quietly entered history as Rome's first modern political financier. Instead, Crassus and his son led an army on an unprovoked campaign against Parthia into what are now the borderlands of Turkey, Syria, and Iraq,…


Book cover of Caesar's Women

Cass Morris Author Of From Unseen Fire

From my list on ancient Roman society.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a writer and educator working in central Virginia, and I’ve been in love with the ancient world since my first Latin class back in the seventh grade. I’ve always been interested in social history more than just the chronology of battles and the deeds of famous men, so my research looks for sources that can illuminate daily life and the viewpoints of marginalized populations. I hold a BA in English and History from the College of William and Mary and an MLitt from Mary Baldwin University.

Cass' book list on ancient Roman society

Cass Morris Why did Cass love this book?

This is my favorite of McCullough’s Masters of Rome series. Though fictional, they are impeccably researched, rendering the collapse of the Republic in truly astonishing detail. McCullough manages to render the twists and turns of Roman politics in a way that a reader can not only follow them, but understand why they mattered so much. You’ll feel as though you are right there in the Forum or the dining-room with Caesar, Antony, Pompey, Servilia, Fulvia, and the rest. McCullough’s vivid prose drives home that these were real people, living real lives, with the same petty concerns and daily frustrations as all of us, even when they were also shaping the fates of nations.

By Colleen McCullough,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Caesar's Women as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

By the author of "Thornbirds", this is the fourth in the "Masters of Rome" series and centres around Caesar in his ascension. The Republic of Rome is as much a place of women as it is of men, and no one knows Rome's women quite as Caesar does.


Book cover of Defeat of Rome in the East: Crassus, the Parthians, and the Disastrous Battle of Carrhae, 53 BC

Peter Darman Author Of Pacorus

From my list on the Parthian Empire from a history lover.

Why am I passionate about this?

My interest in Parthia began with a desire to write a novel about the Spartacus slave rebellion. I first became interested in the Thracian after seeing the Stanley Kubrick film Spartacus as a boy, my interest growing over the years. Knowing there were quite a few fiction accounts of the slave leader, I wanted to find a new perspective. This led me to devise a story around a Parthian prince who is captured by the Romans and ends up fighting in the slave army. ‘The Parthian’ was born, as was my interest in the Parthian Empire, which would lead to the Parthian Chronicles series of novels and to date over 10 years of research into the Parthian Empire. I do not pretend to be an expert on the topic, but I hope my novels have shed light on an empire that lasted nearly 500 years but is almost unknown in the West. I also hope they spur readers on to explore the history of Parthia for themselves and to discover more about a fascinating people.

Peter's book list on the Parthian Empire from a history lover

Peter Darman Why did Peter love this book?

Rome suffered many military reverses during the course of its 800-year history, but of them all the reverse at Carrhae in 53BC was more keenly felt than any other (even the disaster in the Teutoburg Forest resulted in the loss of only three eagles). The loss of seven eagles to the barbarian Parthians stunned the Roman world and led to a crisis of confidence, made worse by the realisation that an army of 50,000 Romans had been defeated by 10,000 Parthians. This excellent title explores the background to the battle and how the numerically inferior Parthians were able to defeat the army of Marcus Licinius Crassus.

By Gareth C. Sampson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Defeat of Rome in the East as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 53BC the Proconsul Marcus Crassus and 36,000 of his legionaries were crushed by the Parthians at Carrhae in what is now eastern Turkey. Crassus' defeat and death and the 20,000 casualties his army suffered were an extraordinary disaster for Rome. The event intensified the bitter, destructive struggle for power in the Roman republic, curtailed the empire's eastward expansion and had a lasting impact on the history of the Mediterranean and the Middle East. It was also the first clash between two of the greatest civilizations of the ancient world. Yet this critical episode has often been neglected by writers…


Book cover of The Parthians: The Forgotten Empire

Peter Darman Author Of Pacorus

From my list on the Parthian Empire from a history lover.

Why am I passionate about this?

My interest in Parthia began with a desire to write a novel about the Spartacus slave rebellion. I first became interested in the Thracian after seeing the Stanley Kubrick film Spartacus as a boy, my interest growing over the years. Knowing there were quite a few fiction accounts of the slave leader, I wanted to find a new perspective. This led me to devise a story around a Parthian prince who is captured by the Romans and ends up fighting in the slave army. ‘The Parthian’ was born, as was my interest in the Parthian Empire, which would lead to the Parthian Chronicles series of novels and to date over 10 years of research into the Parthian Empire. I do not pretend to be an expert on the topic, but I hope my novels have shed light on an empire that lasted nearly 500 years but is almost unknown in the West. I also hope they spur readers on to explore the history of Parthia for themselves and to discover more about a fascinating people.

Peter's book list on the Parthian Empire from a history lover

Peter Darman Why did Peter love this book?

Compared to the Roman Empire, there are few titles on Rome’s greatest rival in the ancient world. This volume, the result of 30 years of research, goes some way to redress the balance. Scholarly yet very readable, superbly illustrated and exhaustively researched, this should be on the shelves of anyone interested in the Parthian Empire.

By Uwe Ellerbrock,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This volume provides a comprehensive overview of the history and culture of the Parthian Empire, which existed for almost 500 years from 247 BC to 224 AD.

The Parthians were Rome's great opponents in the east, but comparatively little is known about them. The Parthians focuses on the rise, expansion, flowering and decline of the Parthian Empire and covers both the wars with the Romans in the west and the nomads in the east. Sources include the small amount from the Empire itself, as well as those from outside the Parthian world, such as Greek, Roman and Chinese documents. Ellerbrock…


Book cover of Celts and the Classical World

Sharon Paice MacLeod Author Of Celtic Cosmology and the Otherworld: Mythic Origins, Sovereignty and Liminality

From my list on authentic Celtic mythology, religion, and cosmology.

Why am I passionate about this?

My passion for Celtic cultures, languages, and traditions comes from my family, where singing and storytelling were common. I worked as a singer and musician, and trained in Celtic Studies through Harvard University. That was an amazing experience, and research in Scotland and Ireland expanded my knowledge tremendously. I taught Celtic literature, mythology, and folklore at numerous colleges, and am Expert Contributor in Iron Age Pagan Celtic Religion for the Database of Religious History at the University of British Columbia, and invited Old Irish translator for the upcoming Global Medieval Sourcebook at Stanford University. I wake up every day excited to share the historical realities of these amazing cultures and beliefs!

Sharon's book list on authentic Celtic mythology, religion, and cosmology

Sharon Paice MacLeod Why did Sharon love this book?

I really think this book has also been underappreciated and overlooked by students and enthusiasts.

It contains a remarkable (and again) unsurpassed collection of written sources from the Iron Age in regard to the history, culture, and religions of the Celtic speaking peoples of ancient Europe. In some places it focuses on interactions between the Celts and population groups from the Mediterranean and other parts of ancient Europe.

But it also goes into a great deal of detail about the Celts themselves; where they lived; the names and activities of many of their leaders, warriors, druids, and others; and fascinating information about their cultures, beliefs, and religions... in accurate historical context which makes for a very engaging - and at times a surprising read.

Without a proper understanding of the historical realities, and the context from which information derives... whether Greek and Roman accounts, inscriptions, other written sources, archeology, and…

By David Rankin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Standard work in the field which was OP

No competition

Recent surge of interest in the Celtic Studies

Multidisciplinary, easily approachable

Includes 4 new pages on the Roman camp outside of Dublin


Book cover of How to Stop a Conspiracy: An Ancient Guide to Saving a Republic

Emily Katz Anhalt Author Of Embattled: How Ancient Greek Myths Empower Us to Resist Tyranny

From my list on why Ancient Greece and Rome matter today.

Why am I passionate about this?

I first visited ancient Greece as an undergraduate. Homer and Plato seemed to speak directly to me, addressing my deepest questions. How do you live a good life? What should you admire? What should you avoid? Frustrated by English translations (each offers a different interpretation), I learned to read ancient Greek and then Latin. In college and then graduate school, I came to know Homer, Plato, Aeschylus, Cicero, Ovid, and many others in their own words. The ancient Greeks and Romans faced the same existential struggles and anxieties as we do. By precept, example, and counter-example, they remind me of humanity’s best tools: discernment, deliberation, empathy, generosity.

Emily's book list on why Ancient Greece and Rome matter today

Emily Katz Anhalt Why did Emily love this book?

Osgood details the ancient version of a phenomenon we may recognize: a cold-blooded grift by a charismatic, lawless, leader transmuted into terrorism while posing as patriotism.

Detailing the violent conspiracy of L. Sergius Catilina (63 BCE), Osgood’s elegant translation of Sallust’s The War Against Catiline (c. 43 BCE) emphasizes the danger that political violence and intimidation pose to communal welfare and stability. The Romans never found the recipe for combining individual freedom with equality and political harmony. (Rome’s 450-year-old Republic ultimately devolved into civil war and autocracy.)

Sallust’s tale and Rome’s experience caution us against preserving inequities even as we seek to preserve the rule of law.

By Sallust, Josiah Osgood (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Stop a Conspiracy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An energetic new translation of an ancient Roman masterpiece about a failed coup led by a corrupt and charismatic politician

In 63 BC, frustrated by his failure to be elected leader of the Roman Republic, the aristocrat Catiline tried to topple its elected government. Backed by corrupt elites and poor, alienated Romans, he fled Rome while his associates plotted to burn the city and murder its leading politicians. The attempted coup culminated with the unmasking of the conspirators in the Senate, a stormy debate that led to their execution, and the defeat of Catiline and his legions in battle. In…


Book cover of When in Rome

Rosanna Staffa Author Of The War Ends At Four

From my list on the unexpected ways we find home.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm an Italian-born writer living in Minneapolis. I experienced being an outsider early on in my childhood when my family moved from Naples to Este, a small town in the hills near Venice. My fascination with language started then as I had to master the different Northern dialect. I was a listener rather than a talker. My shyness was painful in life but turned out to be a gift as a writer. When I left Italy for America, once again I was an outsider, too visible or invisible, and facing a new language. I relate to estrangement and longing, but I treasure that being an outsider still gives me a sense of wonder about reality.

Rosanna's book list on the unexpected ways we find home

Rosanna Staffa Why did Rosanna love this book?

I'm loving this novel by Liam Callanan.

It poses questions I feel close to and presents turns of life I have been surprised by myself, if in a different way. The writing is richly textured and so very delicate.

"...She'd known quiet, of course... But not silence, not like this. This silence had texture and shape; it felt attached to each molecule of air. Everything inside her was falling silent, too."

Claire, 52 and a real estate broker, deeply desires a fresh start. She receives a call from a convent in Rome that is facing its end. When she arrives she meets a colorful, fierce group of nuns living in a crumbling villa and starts wondering if she should stay forever.

By Liam Callanan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From nationally bestselling, award-winning author Liam Callanan, the story of an opportunity to start over at midlife, a chance to save a struggling convent in the Eternal City, and the dramatic re-emergence of an old flame . . .

Meet Claire: fifty-two, desperate to do something new and get a fresh start.

Enter the chance to go to Rome: Home to a struggling convent facing a precipitous end, the city beckons Claire, who's long had a complicated relationship with religion, including a “missed connection” with convent life in her teens. Once in Rome, she finds a group of funny, fearless…


Book cover of Hollywood's Ancient Worlds

Martin M. Winkler Author Of Arminius the Liberator: Myth and Ideology

From my list on ideological and popular uses of ancient Rome.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am Professor of Classics at George Mason University. I learned about ancient Romans and Greeks in my native Germany, when I attended a humanist high school, possibly the oldest in the country. (It was founded during the reign of Charlemagne, as the eastern half of the Roman Empire was still flourishing.) My mother once informed me that I betrayed my passion for stories long before I could read because I enthusiastically used to tear pages out of books. In my teens I became fascinated with stories told in moving images. I have been a bibliophile and, em, cinemaniac ever since and have pursued both my obsessions in my publications.

Martin's book list on ideological and popular uses of ancient Rome

Martin M. Winkler Why did Martin love this book?

Richards’ book broadens the perspective advanced here with a concise overview of American and British films and some American-European co-productions about ancient Greek, Roman, biblical, and other cultures.

Its main focus is on the 1950s and 1960s, when epic filmmaking reached its height with color and widescreen cinematography, giant sets, huge casts, stereophonic sound, extreme lengths, and ruinous costs.

Richards rides to the rescue of several less-than-stellar films but can be severe as well, e.g. about 300: “probably the most Fascistic film to come out in cinemas since the fall of the Third Reich.” (No argument here.)

A few inaccuracies concerning antiquity and cinematic details detract from the book’s value, but they are instructive, since errors can create new fictions from the fictions that films invariably create from history.

By Jeffrey Richards,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This book offers a new, full analysis of the Ancient World epic and how this film genre continues to comment on modern-day issues.Few genres have been subject to such critical scorn as the Ancient World epic. Yet they have regularly achieved huge box office success. This book tells the history of the Ancient World epic from the silent screen successes of "Intolerance" and "The King of Kings" through the 'golden age of the epic' in the 1950s (Quo Vadis, Ben-Hur, Spartacus, Cleopatra etc) through to the 1990s revival with "Gladiator", its successors in cinema (Alexander, Troy, 300) and on television…


Book cover of Power and Eroticism in Imperial Rome

Catharine Edwards Author Of Lives of the Caesars

From my list on Roman emperors behaving badly.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been fascinated by the ancient Romans and particularly by the ways they wrote about themselves. A Professor of Ancient History at Birkbeck, University of London since 2005, I regularly take part in BBC Radio 4’s In Our Time, discussing topics such as Roman decadence. Later generations look back on ancient Rome as mired in luxury and sexual misbehaviour—but that’s because the Romans themselves were constantly accusing one another of terrible vices. What can these claims tell us about Roman society? That’s a question that I’ve often returned to in many years of university teaching—and writing books, such as The Politics of Immorality in Ancient Rome.  

Catharine's book list on Roman emperors behaving badly

Catharine Edwards Why did Catharine love this book?

This provocative analysis of the sex lives of Roman emperors invites us to reflect on the relationships between emperors and the favourites who were objects of their sexual desires. Vout looks at gossipy anecdotes in Suetonius’ imperial biographies, as well as poems celebrating the eunuch Earinus (of whom the emperor Domitian was said to be enamoured) and statues of the beautiful youth Antinous (beloved of the emperor Hadrian). Why were Romans so interested in the objects of imperial desire? What did it mean to be the emperor’s lover? And what can this material tell us about the way Romans imagined imperial power? 

By Caroline Vout,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The relationships between Roman emperors and their objects of desire, male and female, are well attested. The salacious nature of this evidence means that it is often omitted from mainstream historical inquiry. Yet that is to underestimate the importance of 'gossip' and the act of thinking about an emperor's private life. In this book Dr Vout takes the reader from Rome, and Martial's and Statius' poems about Domitian's favourite eunuch, to Antioch and dialogues in praise of Lucius Verus' mistress, to the widespread visual commemoration and cult of Hadrian's young male lover, Antinous. She explores not the relationships themselves but…


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