The best books on Rome 📚

Browse the best books on Rome as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

Coming Fall 2022: The ability to sort this list by genre (signup here to follow our story as we build a better way to discover books).

Book cover of Hero of Rome

Hero of Rome

By Douglas Jackson

Why this book?

Another book that inspires a strong memory of where I was when I read it. This time I was on a winter holiday in Scotland with my family and certain scenes are burned into my mind, so expertly were they written. This novel has a superb hero, great setting in Roman Britain, and the legendary warrior-queen, Boudicca. What more could you ask for? Hero of Rome is full of action and adventure and kicks off an excellent series that really doesn’t get the attention it deserves.

From the list:

The best books to read after The Druid by Steven A. McKay

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of Dans la Rome des Césars

Dans la Rome des Césars

By Gilles Chaillet

Why this book?

This French book is quite simply the best reconstruction of Rome in the age of Constantine you could hope for. If you read French or are happy to translate it, the sections about each area of the city are informative and interesting, accompanied by beautiful photographs, but even if you speak no French and have no intention of reading it, this book is still worthwhile. Between these sections, the book is filled with large, fold-out maps of reconstructed Rome, including every known building and right down to the alleyways, lovingly depicted. I have used it as a source for every…

From the list:

The best books on the ancient city of Rome

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of Rome (Oxford Archaeological Guides)

Rome (Oxford Archaeological Guides)

By Amanda Claridge

Why this book?

I am a Roman historian and spend as much time as I can in the eternal city. This is absolutely the best guidebook. Amanda lived in Rome for many years, knows every fragment of ancient architecture, and is fantastic at explaining the most complicated ruins. The book is short enough to carry with you everywhere and is full of wonderful maps and plans. Absolutely essential.

From the list:

The best books on ancient cities

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of The Thieves of Ostia

The Thieves of Ostia

By Caroline Lawrence

Why this book?

Not a single book, but a series of (I think) eighteen. If you have a kid (or grandkid) who just might be showing an interest in all things Roman (or one you’d like to tweak in that direction), then you can’t do better than this. Set (initially, at least) in late-first-century Ostia, the books follow the adventures of sea-captain's daughter Flavia Gemina and her friends who battle nasties such as serial dog-killers and slave-traffickers – plus, eventually, running foul of Emperor Titus himself. Gripping stuff, an excellent read whether you’re child or adult, and Lawrence’s attention to historical detail is…

From the list:

The best books on life in early Imperial Rome

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of The World of Late Antiquity

The World of Late Antiquity

By Peter Brown

Why this book?

The third century is the least known era of imperial Rome, but it’s also the hinge between a world that still had distant roots in the city-state that Rome was under the republic, and the world empire it had become. So many changes took place in the hundred or so years between Septimius Severus (r. 193-212) and Constantine (r. 306-337) that it’s impossible to understand later European, North African, and Middle Eastern history without considering them. Peter Brown was one of the first people to recognize that to understand the late Roman empire and early medieval Europe all the way…

From the list:

The best books on Rome in the third century

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of The Art of Rome

The Art of Rome

By Bernard Andreae

Why this book?

This is a lavishly illustrated work showing the major pieces of Roman art, an important component of their ideology and self image. It explains how the Romans built on the Greek tradition of art and architecture and created their own artistic world, much of which is still with us today.

From the list:

The best books on ancient Rome from an archaeologist and historian

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Or, view all 113 books about Rome

New book lists about Rome

All book lists about Rome

Bookshelves related to Rome

Browse books by…