10 Best Books About Ancient Rome Update 05/2022

Books About Ancient Rome

 To start, here is a list of the best books about Ancient Rome. This has two lists: one for fiction and one for nonfiction.

Best Ancient Rome Fiction

Under the Eagle (Eagles of the Empire #1)

Under the Eagle (Eagles of the Empire #1)


It’s part of the Eagles of the Empire series by Simon Scarrow. It’s a double-time march in the footsteps of the Roman legions, and it’s fun. Cato and Macro live their lives on the frontier of the Roman Empire, where they fight with swords and shields. I like to call this historical fiction “sword-and-shield.”

The two main characters are written around each other in the best possible way: Cato, a young intellectual, and Macro, a tough veteran centurion. This is simple reading that should not take you long to finish and is more than likely to make you want to keep reading. It worked for me.

Dictator (Cicero Trilogy #3)

The two go together like tea and biscuits. In Dictator, Robert Harris proves to be a great composer of this kind of grouping. To make it even more interesting, he brings together Cicero and Caesar in it.

Ambition, corruption, and uncertainty are three of the things that make up the book and the time. This book is set during one of the most important times in Roman history, so it should be in the top five historical novels set in Ancient Rome.

I broke the rules and skipped to the third book in the trilogy. You can find the first and second books by following the links.

Fire in the East (Warrior of Rome #1)

There is a lot more to Fire in the East than there is in #5, but Harry Sidebottom’s thrilling Ancient Rome fiction series is a lot more developed. In this case, I don’t want to say that it’s more sophisticated. That would be unfair to Simon Scarrow, whose legionary romps are in a different kind of place than mine.

The show is about Ballista, a barbarian who became a leader in the Roman army in the later years. It’s what I like best about this book about a man who stands tall in the face of seemingly impossible odds that I like best. People in the empire think he is a backwards and untrustworthy barbarian because he lives at the heart of it. Keep the small fortress safe from the most powerful enemy Rome ever faced. Because of this kind of underdog, it’s impossible not to root for them.

The fifth book in the series, Wolves of the North, is a great one to read if you like this one, too.

First Man in Rome (Masters of Rome #1)

First Man in Rome (Masters of Rome #1)

politics, manipulation, deception and greed. Colleen McCullough’s gripping Masters of Rome series is at the top of the heap when it comes to historical fiction about the Roman Empire. This is how it goes: She starts with Marius and Sulla, then Pompey and Crassus, and ends with the great Caesar.

Masters of Rome is the first book in a series, and as is so often the case in historical fiction, the first one is better than the rest. Definitely worth reading for anyone who likes the dirty politics of Ancient Rome.

I, Claudius

One of the best books about ancient Rome is this one. It has changed how we think about the emperor Claudius and how we read historical fiction about ancient Rome. Many of the things we think about Claudius’ rule as students or people who watch him are based in some way on this book.

I, Claudius, treat a man who rose to the top of the Roman Empire by accident in a very human way. I portray him as a simple man who was caught in a situation that was very unusual. Robert Graves is just as good at capturing the essence of Roman politics and high society as, if not better than, the person who wrote the above book. But he goes even further by making a story that will make you feel like you’re in the imperial court of Ancient Rome.

Best Ancient Rome Nonfiction

Ancient Rome on Five Denarii A Day

I like the idea of this book. It tries to bring history out of the past and make it look and sound like it did in the past. Ancient Rome on Five Denarii a Day is a travel guide for a long-dead civilization with a sense of humor. If you don’t like reading dry, heavy history books, this book is for you.

Annals and Histories (Tacitus)

Annals and Histories isn’t going to be a good book for everyone.

When Tacitus wrote, he lived in the time he was writing about. This makes his contribution to the historical record very important. A diligent chronicler, he takes the reader from Augustus’ death to Domitian’s death with great care and attention.

This should be on the bookshelf of anyone who wants to learn more about Ancient Rome and draw their own conclusions from a first-hand account.

The Twelve Caesars (Suetonius)

Under the Eagle (Eagles of the Empire #1)

Another source, Suetonius, is very different from Tacitus in a big way. The Twelve Caesars shows us a lot of the world that Robert Graves and Colleen McCullough wrote about in their novels, like public politics and courtship. Even if they had been around in the first century AD, Suetonius has a big advantage over them. He was there. He also lived at the imperial court, and he was a servant there.

In The Twelve Caesars, the author has access and is willing to show everything to the reader. The story is broken up by stories about the private lives of the Caesars. Which person had an affair with whom? Which poison was put in whose cup? These can be very different things.

SPQR (Mary Beard)

Mary Beard is my favorite historian because she has a great ability to focus on the daily lives of people in Ancient Rome. This is why I like her so much. This is what you can see in her documentary series, Meet the Romans, which I’ll put a link to in the YouTube video below.

As for SPQR, I can’t say enough good things about this book. People seem to be writing new history books that tell the same old story in a new way. This is a trend I’ve seen recently. This couldn’t be more true of Mary Beard’s history of Ancient Rome, which is about Rome. She pays attention to small things that other writers don’t. These things add real value to the reader’s experience. This is the idea that no matter how small or insignificant the person’s story is, it’s still worth taking the time to find out about, understand, and describe.


Tom Holland’s Rubicon is a good history of Ancient Rome because it does everything a good history should do. Because this book is so good, you won’t want it to end!

In this way, the author takes you through the gates of Rome, and then walks you down the city’s streets. You meet important people and the people who aren’t so important. You get to live in their world and see all of the great things and bad things that happen in their lives. In Rubicon, the author brings a long time ago into the present and makes connections between that time and our own. This is what I find most interesting about the book, though. A history with five stars!

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