Best Books about Roman History

Like any normal person, I love reading 1,000 page books about Roman history. In case you're looking for some good reads on this fascinating subject, here are my favorites.

  • I, Claudius by Robert Graves. This is the book that first got me interested in Roman history. Set in the early days of the empire, it covers the reigns of Augustus, Tiberius, and the mad emperor Caligula. One of the few books that I've stayed up all night to read.

  • Count Belisarius by Robert Graves. Also by Robert Graves, this book deals with the Byzantine Empire during the reign of Justinian the Great. The reign of Justinian was a tumultuous time, during which 40% of the population was killed by a plague, and rival chariot-racing factions rioted and destroyed half the capital. Still, Justinian managed to build the Hagia Sofia, rewrite the legal code, and recapture Italy thanks to his brilliant general Belisarius.

  • Claudius the God Can't get enough Robert Graves? Claudius the God is the sequel to I, Claudius.

  • The First Man in Rome by Colleen McCullough. This book is set around the year 100 B.C. in the late Republic. German hordes threaten to overrun Italy, and only the general Gaius Marius can ensure victory for the Romans. For his efforts, he is made consul an unprecedented six times, but is stymied in his ambitions by jealous rivals.

  • The Grass Crown by Colleen McCullough. Picking up where The First Man in Rome left off, this is the story of Gaius Marius and Sulla, his greatest rival. Factional conflicts between the Optimates and Populares lead to an escalating series of reprisals which will ultimately destroy the fabric of Republic.

  • Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon. The classic book on Roman history, starting with the Roman Empire at its zenith and tracing its long decline and eventual death.

Have book recommendations? Post them in the comments! Think you are already an expert on Roman history? Try my quiz: Impossible Roman History. Happy reading.

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level 63
Jun 15, 2016
Cool books, wish I had the opportunity to get them. Also, Any plans to feature that "Impossible Roman History"?
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level ∞
Jun 16, 2016
No, it's too hard!
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level 58
Jun 16, 2016
Just so you know, Plebeian is mispelled
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level ∞
Jun 16, 2016
Nice catch, fixed it on the quiz.
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level 70
Jun 16, 2016
I recommend visiting Rome!