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Best Books on Ancient Rome

Step back in time with the finest books detailing the grandeur and complexity of Ancient Rome. These titles are consistently celebrated by historians and readers alike, securing their place on the best-of lists from prominent history-focused platforms.

Recommendations from 36 articles, Anna Kendrick, Arianna Huffington, Tim Ferriss and 31 others.
63 books on the list
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SPQR book cover
A History of Ancient Rome
Mary Beard - 2016-09-06 (first published in 2015)
Goodreads Rating
Discover the rise and fall of Rome in SPQR, as Mary Beard offers a passionate and detail-oriented narration of the history of the ancient empire. From a humble beginning to becoming the masters of the Mediterranean, Beard challenges the traditional historical viewpoints and sheds light on often overlooked aspects such as class struggles and democratic movements. Spanning nearly a millennium, this highly informative and engaging read will leave your hair standing on end, earning its place as a modern classic - shaping our view of Rome for many years to come.
I, Claudius book cover
I, Claudius
From the Autobiography of Tiberius Claudius
Robert Graves - 1989-10-23 (first published in 1934)
Goodreads Rating
Explore the enduringly fascinating intrigues, depravity, and cruelty of ancient Rome's Augustus and Tiberius reigns, culminating in the utter madness of Caligula, through the eyes of the unlikely Emperor, Claudius. Robert Graves' I, Claudius and its sequel, Claudius the God, are celebrated historical novels, packed with bloodshed and political machinations that will keep you gripped until the end.
Rubicon book cover
Tom Holland - 2005-03-08 (first published in 2003)
Goodreads Rating
Step back in time to witness the twilight of the Roman Republic and the rise of an empire. Tom Holland's Rubicon takes you on a journey with some of history's most legendary figures, from Julius Caesar to Cleopatra. Holland brings this pivotal era to life with a unique mix of scholarly depth and engrossing storytelling. You'll be enthralled by the extremes of self-sacrifice and rivalry, and the world-shaking ambition that shaped one of the greatest civilizations of all time.
The Twelve Caesars book cover
The Twelve Caesars
Suetonius - 2003-05-06 (first published in 121)
Goodreads Rating
Delve into the history of the Twelve Caesars who created an empire that left a lasting impact for a millennium. Suetonius, personal secretary to Emperor Trajan, portrays how power corrupts and absolute power corrodes in this captivating read.
The Storm Before the Storm book cover
The Storm Before the Storm
The Beginning of the End of the Roman Republic
Mike Duncan - 2017-10-24
Goodreads Rating
Explore the events leading up to the fall of the Roman Republic in this engaging and informative book. Focusing on the years 146-78 BC, the author brings to life the bloody battles, political struggles, and societal issues that paved the way for the Republic's downfall. Chronicling the rise of economic inequality, corruption, and political ambition, The Storm Before the Storm provides a stark warning about the dangers of a civilization that has lost its way.
Recommended by
Dan CarlinDavid Priess
Imperium book cover
A Novel of Ancient Rome
Robert Harris - 2006-09-19
Goodreads Rating
This historical fiction novel follows the journey of a young lawyer, who seeks to achieve the imperium, the highest power and authority in the country. After being caught up in a corrupt political scandal involving a Sicilian victim, he becomes embroiled in one of the most famous legal dramas in history. Through the eyes of his loyal secretary, the author depicts the violent and deceitful world of Roman politics in a captivating manner.
Cicero book cover
The Life and Times of Rome's Greatest Politician
Anthony Everitt - 2003-05-06 (first published in 2001)
Goodreads Rating
This biography takes readers into the fascinating and scandal-filled world of ancient Rome during Cicero’s reign as Rome's most feared politician. Cicero was a wily political operator, the most eloquent and astute witness to the last days of Republican Rome. Even though he was often called incapable of making up his mind and wandered through the woods weeping, Cicero was also the most eloquent and astute witness to the last days of Republican Rome. He was a model to French and American revolutionaries who saw themselves as following in his footsteps in their resistance to tyranny, and was a legendary defender of freedom.
The Thieves of Ostia book cover
The Thieves of Ostia
Caroline Lawrence - 2004-05-24 (first published in 2002)
Goodreads Rating
Embark on a thrilling adventure with the clever Flavia and her diverse group of friends in the Roman port of Ostia. In this internationally bestselling series, they unite to solve the mystery of who is beheading watchdogs that guard people's homes. With a fantastic new cover look, Caroline Lawrence's engaging storytelling will leave children wanting more.
City book cover
A Story of Roman Planning and Construction
David MacAulay - 1983-10-24 (first published in 1974)
Goodreads Rating
Text and black and white illustrations show how the Romans planned and constructed their cities for the people who lived within them....
The Roman Revolution book cover
The Roman Revolution
Ronald Syme - 2002-08-22 (first published in 1939)
Goodreads Rating
Discover a profound and unconventional exploration of the fall of the Republic and the rise of Augustus in ancient Rome. This book presents a controversial perspective on the transformation of state and society, with an unconventional narrative that directly quotes from ancient evidence. With little reference to modern authorities, The Roman Revolution is a fresh and compelling read that offers new insights into ancient history.
The Eagle by Rosemary Sutcliff
The Roman Triumph by Mary Beard
Roman Diary by Richard Platt
Pagans and Christians by Robin Lane Fox
Daily Life in Ancient Rome by Jérôme Carcopino
Emperor by Conn Iggulden
The First Man in Rome by Colleen McCullough
History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon
The Course of Honour by Lindsey Davis
Twice Freed by Patricia St. John
Escape from Pompeii by Christina Balit
The Emperor in the Roman World by Fergus Millar
Galen and the Gateway to Medicine by Jeanne Bendick
Domina by Guy de la Bédoyère
The Last Assassin by Peter Stothard
Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff
Augustus Caesar's World by Genevieve Foster
Detectives in Togas by Henry Winterfeld
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon
Lustrum by Robert Harris by Robert Harris
Caesar by Adrian Goldsworthy
Under the Eagle by Simon Scarrow
Asterix Omnibus 1 by Rene Goscinny
Augustus by Adrian Goldsworthy
Dynasty by Tom Holland
Pompeii by Robert Harris
The Darkening Age by Catherine Nixey
The Forgotten Legion by Ben Kane
Island of Ghosts by Gillian Bradshaw
The World of Late Antiquity by BROWN PETER
Pompeii... Buried Alive! by Edith Kunhardt
Ancient Rome by Simon James
Rome by Amanda Claridge, Judith Toms, Tony Cubberley
The Twelve Caesars by Suetonius, Charlton Griffin, Audio Connoisseur
The Corrupting Sea by Horden
Fun with Roman Numerals by David A. Adler
Shopping in Ancient Rome by Claire Holleran
A Long Way from Iowa by Janet Hulstrand
Cleopatra by Diane Stanley
Pax Romana by Adrian Keith Goldsworthy
Fire in the East by Harry Sidebottom
The Greek Way by Edith Hamilton
The History of the Ancient World by Susan Wise Bauer
Empire of the Black Sea by Duane W. Roller
Letters from a Stoic by Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Ancient Rome on 5 Denarii a Day by Philip Matyszak
The Silver Pigs by Lindsey Davis
Tiger, Tiger by Lynne Reid Banks
Ruthless Romans by Terry Deary
Roma by Steven Saylor
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
Rome by Greg Woolf
Are We Rome? by Cullen Murphy