Reaching heights of unheard of glory only to meet an apparently reasonless fall, the Roman empire is one of the most interesting civilizations of the ancient world. From thinkers and philosophers to warriors and statesmen, it saw a number of notable men. Here’s a list of 10 best books based on history of the Roman Empire to get you started on your journey learning about the empire and its inhabitants.
10 Best Books Based on History of The Roman Empire:
- SPQR by Mary Beard
- The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon
- Rome: An Empire’s Story by Greg Woolf
- The World of Late Antiquity by Peter Brown
- The Twelve Caesars by Suetonius
- Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
- The Roman Revolution by Ronald Syme
- The Punic Wars by Adrian Goldsworthy
- Cicero by Anthony Everitt
- Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
SPQR by Mary Beard
Beard is a prolific historian, and her book teems with information about the glorious and longlasting Roman empire. Additionally, it is a perfect introduction to the empire. Beard, in this book, traces the broad meanders of Roman history for laymen. Her easily accessible yet jam packed with information book makes her a great author to start with.
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon
Gibbon’s book on the mysterious fall of the Roman empire that has eluded historians is a classic. Written in the eighteenth century in three volumes spanning thousands of pages, this is a revelation into the life and times of the Roman empire.
Rome: An Empire’s Story by Greg Woolf
This is a condensed chronicle of over a millennium of the Roman rule, and looks into its creation, sustenance and decline. From the lens of architecture, literature and institutions, Woold takes us through a tour of the space and time of the Roman empire. The result is supremely interesting and informative.
The World of Late Antiquity by Peter Brown
this book takes a social, cultural and anthropological look at the classical civilizations, examining their triumphs and pitfalls. In addition, Brown compares the ancient civilizations, Roman, Greek and Persian with each other. This, of course, creates a vivid picture of the Roman empire, highlighted by contrast.
The Twelve Caesars by Suetonius
This classic by the North African Suetonius who made his way into the inner circles of Rome is a delight. Perhaps one of the earliest chronicles of history, it records the reign of the first twelve rulers of Rome, with sharpness and humour. Interwoven with politics and statesmanship are common gossip and local life – making the book more enriching.
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
When reading about ancient Rome, the best way is to read from people of ancient Rome. Written by Aurelius, the only Roman emperor who was also a philosopher, this book provides a view of the universe through the eyes of a Roman. This book is thus essential to understand the spiritualism and quality of philosophy of the times.
The Roman Revolution by Ronald Syme
This book locates in history two events of extreme significance. The first is the fall of the Roman empire and second the rise of Emperor Augustus. Perhaps the definitive book on the state of affairs at the twilight of the Roman empire, this is not only a bingeworthy read but also prompts us to think. It also engages with controversy, while discarding touted opinions.
The Punic Wars by Adrian Goldsworthy
Militancy was an important part of Roman identity, and Roma warfare historian Goldsworthy explores exactly that. He delves into one of the largest conflicts of ancient times, between Rome and Carthage. With the fluidity of a fictional narrative and genuineness of a well-researched history book, he looks at the war holistically.
Cicero by Anthony Everitt
This biography of the most famous ancient antihero and orator reveals not just the nature of a single man, but that of a whole civilization. Capturing the zeitgeist of the late Republican Rome within its pages, along with the general Roman outlook towards life, this book is revelatory.
Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
A crucial politician and general who was instrumental in the Roman transition from Republic to Empire, Caesar is perhaps the greatest tragic hero of all times. Shakespeare’s play is fictional, but its basis in research and authentic portrayal of Caesar’s life and times is commendable indeed.