Ancient Rome

Ancient Rome was a frequent subject of Victorian historical fiction and also popular throughout the 20th century. It was similarly popular in movies, though it fell out of fashion for a couple of decades until the game-changing success of Ridley Scott’s Gladiator, released in 2000. Since then the floodgates of fictional Rome have been torn open.

But Rome means different things to different people. For some it is a military story of imperialism and war in foreign lands. For others it is the victim-tale of the conquered (especially if the conquered happen to be British or Judaic). For others it is broadly cultural: how could people be so similar to us and so different? There is a broad strand of historicals that touch on the New Testament stories, including many new ‘gospels’ and a wealth of faith stories, as well as some militantly anti-Christian novels. There are Roman detective novels, military historicals, sea stories, epics, and literary novels.

Biographical novels are perhaps the richest vein – for literature and ‘box office’.

Dawn Empress: A Novel of Imperial Rome (The Theodosian Women)

By Faith L. Justice - Published 2020

Genres:

Biographical Fiction

In 404 AD in Constantinople’s imperial palace, Emperor Arcadius of the Eastern Roman Empire pulls his five-year-old daughter, Pulcheria, into her dead mother’...Read Review

The Last Assassin: The Hunt for the Killers of Julius Caesar

By Peter Stothard - Published 2020

Genres:

Nonfiction

From its first pages, The Last Assassin is a trustworthy and compelling read, qualities the best histories share. I thought I’d dipped ...Read Review

A Fatal Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum: Murder in Ancient Rome

By Emma Southon - Published 2020

Genres:

Mystery/CrimeNonfiction

This is a witty and erudite summary of murder and death as a part of Roman daily life. Emma Southon’s work spans ...Read Review

The Conqueror (Constantine’s Empire)

By Bryan Litfin - Published 2020

Genres:

Military

In the early 4th century AD, Rome is ruled by the Tetrarchy or “rule by four.” The empire is divided into geographic quadrants ...Read Review

The Wall at the Edge of the World

By Damion Hunter - Published 2020

Genres:

Military

When surgeon Postumus Justinius Corvus performs an act of bravery and gallantry, he is awarded an honour, a promotion, and a reassignment from ...Read Review

The Time Travel Diaries: Time Travel Diaries 1

By Caroline Lawrence - Published 2019

Genres:

Children/Young AdultTime-slip

When London schoolboy Alex is asked to travel through time to Roman London with a paycheck of one million pounds on offer and ...Read Review

The Grove of the Caesars: Flavia Albia 8

By Lindsey Davis - Published 2020

Genres:

Mystery/Crime

This is the eighth book in Lindsey Davis’s mystery series featuring Flavia Albia, daughter of Marcus Didius Falco, an investigator in ancient ...Read Review

The Return

By Harry Sidebottom - Published 2020

Genres:

Thriller

You might suppose that a man who has earned the garlands of a Corona Civica for saving the life of a fellow Roman ...Read Review

Hiding From the Past: An Eighth Case from the Notebooks of Pliny the Younger

By Albert A. Bell - Published 2020

Genres:

Mystery/Crime

A murder from the past and an ambush on a hurried trip by Pliny the Younger in 87 CE to join his best friend, ...Read Review

The Lost Chapter

By Tod Scott Connor - Published 2019

Genres:

Nero rules Rome in the first century AD and is destroying its best citizens with his ever-growing perversity, cruelty, and terrifying reprisals. Marius, ...Read Review

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