10 Best Books About Rome Update 05/2022

The Roman Empire has always been able to stay alive. When Rome conquered its Italian neighbors in the last centuries BC, it became the largest state in Europe. Rome’s empire lasted more than 1,000 years, in one form or another, and was the largest state in Europe ever. The imperial monarchy set up by Augustus at the turn of the millennium became a model that people kept copying into the 20th century. This word comes from the Slavic language, but it’s not very clear. As it flew over the countries of Austria, France, and Mexico with Eagles on top, People like Mussolini and even Hitler used the same Roman weapon, which was a bundle of long sticks with an axe inside. The Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford still has it on its walls, as well.

This is the second edition of my book Rome: An Empire’s Story. It talks about that long history, from Iron Age villages on the Tiber to Byzantium, which was fighting on the Bosphorus as its Syrian and African territories were taken by Arab armies. That’s also what this book talks about. It talks about how the Roman Empire has been around for a long time now. The following are some of the best books in a long and still growing field of study.

The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon

When it was first written in 1776, this six-volume history of Rome was read mostly by scholars of the Enlightenment. But no one has told Rome’s story with more style and enthusiasm. There is a lot of color in this book because it starts in the ruins of the Roman forum. The image of antiquity giving way to the next ages with bad grace is still very strong. That’s not all: Gibbon also knew that Byzantium used to be a part of Rome even after the city was sacked twice by barbarians and taken over by the popes. Epic is the best word to describe it.

The Corrupting Sea by Peregrine Horden and Nicholas Purcell

It’s as different from Gibbon as it could be, except for its size and scope. In 2000, this is the most brilliant and important book on the ancient world that has been written in a while. In this way, it builds up a picture of the ancient Mediterranean world as a world of distant but connected communities, many of which were on the brink of not being able to stay alive. In this place, city states and empires aren’t very important. Peasants and villages are more important. War and revolution aren’t as important as bad crops and disease. Seeing the underside of empire is very interesting. It shows how the empire was built on top of that. The discipline is still figuring out what their ideas mean for the rest of the world.

The Acts of the Apostles

If we happen to live in Rome, of course, we can talk to people who were there. Perhaps none is more exciting than the Acts, which is a follow-up to the gospel story about life after Jesus. It takes place in Judaea, the cities of the empire’s eastern provinces, and eventually in Rome itself. Acts has everything from Roman summary justice and riots in the city to the dangers of sea travel and the strange identities the empire’s people took on.

The Emperor in the Roman World by Fergus Millar

Politically, the emperor was the center of everything. Fergus Millar’s masterpiece, like all great books, has sparked debate and criticism. But Millar’s book changed how we think about how the Roman government worked. From their letters and laws, as well as tens of thousands of inscriptions and provincial records, Millar built up a picture of what emperors did. He didn’t read the sarcastic histories of senatorial writers like Tacitus and Dio, who made fun of emperors. It also gave a sense of how big the empire was and how slow information moved through its veins. He had a hard time keeping track of what was going on. There were times when he was on the sidelines, reacting to crises rather than making decisions about how to solve them. It is a picture that is hard to forget.

The World of Late Antiquity by Peter Brown

During the second and third centuries, many people thought that Rome had reached its peak. Brown starts there, and tells the story of the new worlds that grew up between Marcus Aurelius and the prophet Muhammad. A lot of new research has been done on the cultures and religions of late antiquity. Roman history has changed the most in the last decade. When I was revising my own book, I chose this time period because it had changed the most. Late antiquity is now the subject of its own journals and conferences thanks to Brown. He has been at the front of the pack ever since.

The Roman Triumph by Mary Beard

So often, Rome has been used as a model for other people to follow. It can be hard to remember how different it was from what came after. This isn’t the most well-known of Beard’s many books about Rome, but it was important in understanding how the Romans mixed savagery with ceremony after they won. It also talked about how Romans were very creative when they changed their religion and their monumental city for each new generation.

Rome. An archaeological guide by Amanda Claridge

If you want to see what’s left of that city, there’s no better guide than this. If you write in English, Claridge knows more about modern cities and the most recent archaeology than anyone else who has written in English. Her book is an easy-to-read and small guide to some of the most ruined and built-over places in the world. When I’m in the city, I always have it with me (and have worn out a couple of copies).

Roman Presences by Catherine Edwards

Walk through Rome and you can’t help but think about all the things that happened there. The study of how images of Rome are seen by people later has become a lot more popular in recent years. My favorite collection is this one, which goes from Thomas Macaulay to TS Eliot and London to Bombay.

Asterix the Gaul by Rene Goscinny and Albert Uderzo

The first time I saw a modern interpretation of ancient Rome was here. As a 12-year-old, I still find it funny. Children learned to read with it. During my time as a graduate student, I learned that Paris had a lot to say about France after the Second World War and during the Fifth Republic as well. Quite a good idea.

Byzantium: The Surprising Life of a Mediaeval Empire by Judith Herrin

In the end, Gibbon was right: Roman history doesn’t end with the sack of Rome, or even when the last western emperor died. Herrin doesn’t tell the 1,000-year history of the Christian Roman empire in a single story. Instead, he tells it in a series of brilliant and vivid vignettes. It’s fun to read.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.