Book Categories: Emperors, Life & Death, Emperor Worship, Livy, Ancient Accounts, Empire, Decline & Fall, Rome & Barbarians, Caesar, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, AD 69, Marcus Aurelius, Hadrian, Elagabalus, Theodosius I, Constantine, Julian, Galla Placidia, Roman Britain, DVDs, Miscellaneous, Fiction, Children's Books, Early Kings, Etruscans, Byzantine Empire, Italy, World Royal History
Chronicle of the Roman Emperors: The Reign-By-Reign Record of the Rulers of Imperial Rome by Christopher Scarre. Includes 328 illustrations.
Emperors of Rome by David Potter. Beginning with the accession of Augustus, this is a lavishly illustrated survey of the Roman Empire through the lives of its emperors.
Caesars' Wives: Sex, Power, and Politics in the Roman Empire by Annelise Freisenbruch.Tells the stories of five centuries of powerful Roman women, from notorious Livia and scandalous Julia to Galla Placidia, who was captured by Goth invaders and married to one of their kings.
A Pocket Dictionary of Roman Emperors by Paul Roberts. Introduces 27 important emperors, including Augustus, Trajan, Septimus Severus, Nero, and Caligula. Illustrated with coins, jewelry, busts, and ancient monuments.
Lives of the Caesars edited by Anthony Barrett. Tells the stories of 12 of Rome's most influential rulers, including notorious leaders such as Nero and Caligula, and less famous ones such as Diocletian and Vespasian. With illustrations, a timeline of Roman history, and a chart of dynasties.
Ten Caesars: Roman Emperors From Augustus to Constantine by Barry Strauss. Examines the legacy of Rome through the lives of Augustus, Tiberius, Nero, Vespasian, Trajan, Hadrian, Marcus Aurelius, Septimius Severus, Diocletian, and Constantine.
The Sons of Caesar: Imperial Rome's First Dynasty by Philip Matyszak. Reviews the long history of the Julian and Claudian families in Rome. At the heart of the account are the lives of six men -- Julius Caesar, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero -- who changed Rome from a democracy to a personal possession.
Dynasty: The Rise and Fall of the House of Caesar by Tom Holland. The lurid history of Rome's first five emperors: Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero. This is a follow-up to Holland's earlier book Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman Republic.
The Twelve Caesars by Matthew Dennison. Biographies of Roman emperors Julius Caesar, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Galba, Otho, Vitellius, Vespasian, Titus and Domitian.
Aspects of Roman History, 31 BC - AD 117 by Richard Alston. A guide to early Roman history with chapters on each emperor, exploring the successes and failures of their reigns.
Constructing Autocracy: Aristocrats and Emperors in Julio-Claudian Rome by Matthew B. Roller. How the imperial regime managed to establish itself, and how Roman elites made sense of it.
The Ruler's House: Contesting Power and Privacy in Julio-Claudian Rome by Harriet Fertik. How the emperor's household and the space he called home shaped Roman conceptions of one-man rule.
Books About the Early Kings of Rome
Books About Julius Caesar
Books About Augustus Caesar
Books About Tiberius
The Complete Roman Emperor: Imperial Life at Court and on Campaign by Michael Sommer. How emperors spent their daily lives, ran the empire, and managed their wives, courtiers, and officials. Includes biographies of all emperors. Illustrated.
Praetorian: The Rise and Fall of Rome's Imperial Bodyguard by Guy de la Bédoyère. Founded by Augustus around 27 B.C., the elite Praetorian Guard became powerful political players. Fiercely loyal to some emperors, they toppled those who displeased them.
Riding for Caesar: The Roman Emperor's Horse Guard by Michael P. Speidel. Follows the emperor's horse guard from their rally to rescue Caesar at Noviodunum in 52 B.C. to their last stand alongside Maxentius at the Milvian Bridge.
Kill Caesar! Assassination in the Early Roman Empire by Rose Mary Sheldon. Three-quarters of Rome's leaders were assassinated, and the biggest threat came from those closest to the emperor.
Emperors Don't Die in Bed by Fik Meijer, translated by S.J. Leinbach. This lively general introduction to the Roman emperors focuses on their unusual deaths, and what their final days tell us about their lives.
Death and the Emperor: Roman Funerary Monuments, From Augustus to Marcus Aurelius by Penelope J. E. Davies.
Heavenly Honours by Ittai Gradel is about Roman emperor worship, from Caesar to Constantine.
The Divinization of Caesar and Augustus: Precedents, Consequences, Implications by Michael Koortbojian. Addresses the problems related to divinization in the complex new imperial system.
The Roman Imperial Mausoleum in Late Antiquity by Mark J. Johnson. Examines the symbolism and function of later Roman mausolea that served as temples and shrines to the divinized emperors.
Early History of Rome: Books I-V of the History of Rome From Its Foundation by Livy, translated by Aubrey De Selincourt. The historian Livy died in 17 AD.
Rome and Italy by Livy, translated by Aubrey De Selincourt. Contains volumes 6 through 10 of Livy's history of Rome; covers the Samnite Wars.
(Note: Books 11 through 20 of Livy's history of Rome no longer exist.)
The War With Hannibal by Livy, translated by Aubrey De Selincourt. Livy's account of the Second Punic War, comprising volumes 21-30 of his history of Rome.
Rome and the Mediterranean by Livy, translated by Henry Bettenson. Includes books 31 through 45 of Livy's history.
(Books 46 through 142 of Livy's history of Rome no longer exist.)
The Annals of Imperial Rome by Cornelius Tacitus, translated by Michael Grant. An ancient Roman account of the reigns of Tiberius, Claudius, and Nero. (The section about Caligula no longer exists.)
The Twelve Caesars by Suetonius, translated by Robert Graves. Fascinating, easy-to-read, very entertaining introduction to the lives of the first 12 emperors of Rome. Born in 60 A.D., Suetonius served as secretary to the emperor Hadrian.
How to Be a Bad Emperor: An Ancient Guide to Truly Terrible Leaders by Suetonius, translated and edited by Josiah Osgood. Provides new translations of Suetonius's shocking biographies of Julius Caesar, Tiberius, Caligula, and Nero.
The Roman History by Velleius Paterculus, edited by J. C. Yardley and Anthony A. Barrett. Traces Roman history from Romulus and the foundation of Rome to the reign of the Emperor Tiberius. This new translation includes notes, a map, and a glossary.
The Later Roman Empire by Ammianus Marcellinus. The writer, who lived in the 4th century AD, wrote a 31-book history of the Roman empire from emperor Nerva to the death of the Eastern emperor Valens. Only the last 18 books, about the years 353 through 378, have survived.
The Later Roman Empire by Ammianus Marcellinus, translated by Walter Hamilton. An abridged version of Ammianus's history of later Rome.
Ancient Sources on the Life of Julius Caesar
Ancient Sources on the Life of Augustus
The Storm Before the Storm: The Beginning of the End of the Roman Republic by Mike Duncan. Chronicles the years 133-80 BC, a time of bloody battles, political machinations, and human drama.
The Origin of Empire: Rome From the Republic to Hadrian by David Potter. History of the early Roman Empire from 264 BCE, when the Roman army crossed into Sicily, to the death of Hadrian in 138 CE.
A Dictionary of the Roman Empire by Matthew E. Bunson. Over 1,900 entries covering more than 500 years of Roman history, from Julius Caesar and the Gallic Wars to the fall of Romulus Augustus, the last Roman emperor. From Oxford University Press.
The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Roman Empire by Eric Nelson, Ph.D. An overview of Roman history and culture from 800 BC to the 15th century AD.
The Oxford Illustrated History of the Roman World edited by John Boardman, Jasper Griffin, and Oswyn Murray.
The Romans: An Introduction by Antony Kamm. A general, concise introduction to all aspects of Roman culture. Includes photographs and maps.
Chronology of the Roman Empire edited by Timothy Venning. A chronological reference for the entire Roman state and its neighbors. Events of each year are covered in detail, including elected consuls, major battles, political and social events.
The Roman World, 44 BC-AD 180 by Martin Goodman. Examines the reliance of Roman emperors on a huge military establishment. Includes a long section on the momentous religious changes in this period.
Ancient Rome: A Military and Political History by Christopher S. Mackay. From the origins of the city in the Italian Iron Age to the deposition of the last emperor in 476 AD.
The Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Rome by Chris Scarre. Matching clear graphics with informative text, this atlas gives a fine overview of Roman history from the eighth century B.C. to the rise of Christian theocracy a millennium later. (Review © Amazon.com)
Books About the Byzantine Empire
Gibbon's The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon, edited by David Womersley. Abridged version of Gibbon's lengthy history of the Roman Empire's last days. For the unabridged version, see below.
The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire - Volumes 1, 2, and 3 by Edward Gibbon. Written in the 18th century, Gibbon's work is considered a masterpiece.
The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire - Volume 4 by Edward Gibbon.
The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire - Volume 5 by Edward Gibbon.
The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire - Volume 6 by Edward Gibbon. The final volume of the series.
Patricians and Emperors: The Last Rulers of the Western Roman Empire by Ian Hughes. Concise biographies of those who wielded power, from the assassination of Aetius in 454 to the death of Julius Nepos in 480.
Blood of the Caesars: How the Murder of Germanicus Led to the Fall of Rome by Stephen Dando-Collins. Suggests that the killing of Germanicus -- grandson of Mark Antony, adopted son of Tiberius, father of Caligula, and grandfather of Nero -- caused the Roman empire's collapse four centuries later.
The Tragedy of Empire: From Constantine to the Destruction of Roman Italy by Michael Kulikowski. A political history of the turbulent two centuries that led to the demise of the Roman Empire.
Caligula: The Abuse of Power by Anthony A. Barrett. Examines whether Caligula was really a depraved despot.
Caligula: The Mad Emperor of Rome by Stephen Dando-Collins. Chronicles the palace intrigues that led to Caligula becoming emperor, and details the horrors of his manic reign.
Caligula by Sam Wilkinson. This biography examines the events of Caligula's reign to investigate whether his infamy was fully deserved.
Caligula: A Biography by Aloys Winterling. Sets the emperor's story into the context of the political system to explain his notorious brutality.
Caligula: An Unexpected General by Lee Fratantuono. This military history offers a new appraisal of Caligula as a surprisingly competent military strategist.
Caligula's Nemi Ships by Charles River editors. The history of the Roman emperor's mysterious luxury boats, which were recovered -- and almost completely destroyed -- in the 20th century.
Claudius by Barbara Levick. Reassesses the reign of Roman emperor Claudius to reveal an intelligent politician ruthlessly determined to secure his position as ruler.
Claudius Caesar: Image and Power in the Early Roman Empire by Josiah Osgood. An illustrated study of the tumultuous reign of Emperor Claudius (AD 41-54).
Claudius in Fiction
I, Claudius: From the Autobiography of Tiberius Claudius, Born 10 B.C., Murdered and Deified A.D. 54 by Robert Graves. A ripping good read, this fictional autobiography set in the Roman Empire's days of glory and decadence. Best is Claudius himself, the stutterer who let everyone think he was an idiot (to avoid getting poisoned) but who reveals himself in the narrative to be a wry and likable observer. (This review © Amazon.com.)
Claudius the God and His Wife Messalina by Robert Graves. This sequel to I, Claudius tells the story of Claudius's 13-year reign as emperor of Rome.
AD69: Emperors, Armies and Anarchy by Nic Fields. After the death of Roman emperor Nero, generals of the empire fell into a bloody power struggle to decide who would wear the imperial purple.
69 AD: The Year of Four Emperors by M. Gwyn Morgan. Between the suicide of Nero in June 68 and the triumph of Vespasian in December 69, three other emperors held power in Rome: old, tightfisted, conservative Galba; Otho, once Nero's boon companion; and indolent, extravagant Vitellius.
The Roman Succession Crisis of AD 96-99 and the Reign of Nerva by John D. Grainger. Explores how and why the infamous emperor Domitian was killed, the rule of his successor Nerva, and Nerva's own successor, Trajan, who became a respected emperor against the odds.
The Histories by Tacitus, translated by Kenneth Wellesley. Describes the murderous "year of the Four Emperors," AD 69, when the Roman Empire was torn apart by civil war. Penguin Classics edition.
Marcus Aurelius by Anthony R. Birley. A scholarly study of an emperor who was human and just throughout his long reign, which was frequently punctuated by wars.
Marcus Aurelius: A Life by Frank McLynn. Biography of the Roman emperor who was also a philosopher, based on all available original sources.
Marcus Aurelius in Love by Marcus Aurelius, introduction and translation by Amy Richlin. A collection of passionate love letters between Roman orator Marcus Cornelius Fronto and future emperor Marcus Aurelius.
The Emperor's Handbook: A New Translation of the Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, translated by C. Scot Hicks and David V. Hicks. Philosophical reflections of a 2nd century Roman emperor (originally written in Greek). Marcus Aurelius was the father of emperor Commodus.
A Companion to Marcus Aurelius edited by Marcel van Ackeren This collection of essays explores the emperor's biography, background, and role as leader and lawgiver.
The Inner Citadel: The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius by Pierre Hadot. A study of the philosopher-emperor, Stoicism, and Roman culture in the second century.
Marcus Aurelius: A Guide for the Perplexed by William O. Stephens. A concise introduction to the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus's life and writing.
How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius by Donald Robertson. The principles of Stoicism taught through the story of its most famous proponent.
Hadrian: The Restless Emperor by Anthony R. Birley. Scrutinizes Hadrian's private life -- including an unhappy marriage and a devoted homosexual attachment -- and his public works. (This review © Amazon.com.)
Hadrian and the Triumph of Rome by Anthony Everitt. Biography of a brave, astute Roman emperor who was an accomplished huntsman, poet, and student of philosophy.
Hadrian: Empire & Conflict by Thorsten Opper. A new appraisal of the Roman emperor's personality, rule, and military role, illustrated with key works of art and objects.
Hadrian's Wall by Adrian Goldsworthy. A historical and archaeological investigation that sifts fact from legend while situating the wall in the wider scene of Roman Britain.
Following Hadrian: A Second-Century Journey Through the Roman Empire by Elizabeth Speller. This biography captures the emperor as a builder and an inveterate traveler, guiding readers on a grand tour of the Roman Empire at its greatest, from the barren frontiers of Britain to the urban splendor of Rome itself.
Hadrian and the Cities of the Roman Empire by Mary Taliaferro Boatwright. A comprehensive investigation into the vibrant urban life that existed under Hadrian's rule.
Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar, translated by Grace Frick. Novel that reimagines Hadrian's arduous boyhood, his triumphs and reversals, and finally, as emperor, his gradual reordering of a war-torn world.
The Emperor by Georg Ebers. Novel about the emperor Hadrian, written by a 19th century Egyptologist.
Lady of the Eternal City by Kate Quinn. Elegant, secretive Sabina must keep the peace between two deadly enemies: her husband Hadrian, Rome's brilliant and sinister emperor, and battered warrior Vix, her first love.
The Crimes of Elagabalus: The Life and Legacy of Rome's Decadent Boy Emperor by Martijn Icks. Young emperor Elagabalus made himself a god, played pranks, was the subject of salacious rumors, and was murdered by his own guards at the age of 18. This biography distinguishes the reality of his life from myth.
The Emperor Elagabalus: Fact or Fiction? by Leonardo de Arrizabalaga y Prado. The third-century Roman emperor miscalled Elagabalus Heliogabalus was made into myth after his death. This book identifies known facts about his reign.
Theodosius and the Limits of Empire by Mark Hebblewhite. This biography of Roman emperor Theodosius I (AD 379-395) traces his rise to power and tumultuous reign.
A.D. 381: Heretics, Pagans, and the Dawn of the Monotheistic State by Robert Easton. In 381, Theodosius decreed that all subjects must believe in the Trinity, ending diversity of beliefs in the empire.
Galla Placidia: The Last Roman Empress by Hagith Sivan. Biography of Galla Placidia (c. 390-450), a bloodthirsty princess who became a barbarian's bride and, later, the devious regent of the western Roman empire.
Rome's Christian Empress: Galla Placidia Rules at the Twilight of the Empire by Joyce E. Salisbury. The daughter of Roman emperor Theodosius I, Galla Placidia was taken hostage after the fall of Rome to the Goths.
Vespasian by Barbara Levick. This biography of the uncharismatic Roman emperor challenges the validity of his good reputation and universally acknowledged achievements.
The Emperor Commodus: God and Gladiator by John S. McHugh. Ridiculed by historians since his own time, Commodus is synonymous with debauchery and megalomania. This book sets his reign in historical context, showing that he inherited an empire devastated by plague and war.
Caracalla: A Military Biography by Ilkka Syvänne. Guilty of many murders and massacres (including his own brother, ex-wife and daughter), Caracalla was nonetheless popular with the army.
Emperor Alexander Severus: Rome's Age of Insurrection, AD 222-235 by John S. McHugh. Alexander Severus came to the throne through the brutal murder of his cousin Elagabalus, and was assassinated himself. The years between were filled with rebellions and court intrigue. Yet ancient sources present his reign as a golden age of justice and tolerance.
Maximinus Thrax: From Common Soldier to Emperor of Rome by Paul N. Pearson. More than seven feet tall, Maximinus became emperor in a military coup.
Theodosius II: Rethinking the Roman Empire in Late Antiquity edited by Christopher Kelly. Ten essays about Theodosius II (AD 408-450), the longest reigning Roman emperor. Although he has been dismissed as mediocre and ineffectual, his eastern empire retained its integrity while the West was broken up by barbarian invasions.
Galerius and the Will of Diocletian by Bill Leadbetter. Studies Roman emperor Diocletian's imperial strategy, wars, religious views and abdication; and the failures and successes of his successor Galerius against the backdrop of Constantine's remorseless drive to power.
Trajan: Optimus Princeps by Julian Bennett. Biography of the Roman emperor.
Septimius Severus: The African Emperor, edited by Anthony Birley, is a biography of the emperor who ruled from 193 to 211. He was succeeded by his son Caracalla.
Philip the Arab: A Study in Prejudice by Yasmine Zahran. Originally from Syria, Roman emperor Philip I ruled from AD 244 to 249. He is remembered for being sympathetic to the Christian faith and bringing peace with the Sassanid Empire.
Representing Agrippina: Constructions of Female Power in the Early Roman Empire by Judith Ginsburg. Agrippina the Younger, mother of the notorious emperor Nero, was one of the most powerful women in the history of the Roman empire. This book takes a fresh look at literary and material representations of Agrippina.
Julia Domna, Syrian Empress by Dr B. Levick. Julia Domna, who died in 217, was the Syrian-born wife of Roman emperor Septimius Severus, and mother of Emperor Caracalla. This book examines key questions about the powerful empress.
Coining Images of Power by Erika Manders. Patterns in the representation of Roman emperors on imperial coinage, A.D 193-284.
Contested Monarchy: Integrating the Roman Empire in the Fourth Century AD edited by Johannes Wienand. Reappraises the transformation of the Roman monarchy between the Principate and Late Antiquity, focusing on the century from Diocletian to Theodosius I (284-395).
Familia Caesaris: A Social Study of the Emperor's Freedmen and Slaves by P. R. C. Weaver. Shows how the emperor's slaves and freedman differed from others of their class.
Rome and the Friendly King: The Character of Client Kingship by David C. Braund. How a client king's power related to Roman authority and to his subjects.
Emperors and Usurpers in the Later Roman Empire: Civil War, Panegyric, and the Construction of Legitimacy by Adrastos Omissi. How successive imperial dynasties attempted to legitimate themselves and communicate with their subjects.
Emperors and Bishops in Late Roman Invective by Richard Flower. A study of texts written by three bishops who attacked Roman emperor Constantius II (337-61) for his tyrannical behaviour and heretical religious beliefs.
Houses, Villas, and Palaces in the Roman World by Alexander Gordon MacKay. Roman domestic architecture from the time of the Etruscans to the late Roman Empire. Illustrated.
A Monument to Dynasty and Death by Nathan T. Elkins. The story of Rome's Colosseum and the emperors who built it.
The Emperor and Rome: Space, Representation, and Ritual edited by Björn C. Ewald and Carlos F. Noreña. The impact of imperial building programs, representations of the emperor in the city, and rituals linking emperor and people.
Military & Law
The Emperor of Law: The Emergence of Roman Imperial Adjudication by Kaius Tuori. How the emperor of Rome came to assume the mantle of a judge, from Augustus to the days leading up to the Severan dynasty.
The Emperor and the Army in the Later Roman Empire, AD 235-395 by Mark Hebblewhite. Each emperor employed a range of strategies to convince the army that the empire could only prosper under his rule.
Storming the Heavens: Soldiers, Emperors, and Civilians in Imperial Rome by Antonio Santosuosso.
Colleen McCullough's "Masters of Rome" series of novels: Entertaining novels emphasizing personal lives and politics of real historical figures. The books in the series are The First Man in Rome (about Caesar's uncle by marriage, Gaius Marius); The Grass Crown (about Sulla); Fortune's Favorites (about Pompey, Sulla, and Caesar); Caesar's Women (about Aurelia, Servilia, and Julia); Caesar: A Novel (about Julius Caesar); The October Horse (about Caesar, Cleopatra and the fall of the Roman republic); and Antony and Cleopatra: A Novel. McCullough is also the author of The Thorn Birds and other bestsellers.
Caligula by Simon Turney. Was Caligula really a monster? Let his sister Livilla tell you how her quiet, caring brother became the most powerful man on earth and Rome was changed forever...
Commodus by Simon Turney. On the brink of disaster, Roman emperor Commodus tries to hold the empire together, but only one woman can hold him together.
The Course of Honour by Lindsey Davis. In ancient Rome, future emperor Vespasian falls in love with a slave in the household of the imperial family.
Master & God: A Novel of the Roman Empire by Lindsey Davis. Gaius Vinius is a reluctant member of Emperor Domitian's personal guard. Flavia Lucilla is a hairdresser in the imperial court. Together they watch Domitian unravel into madness.
The Emperors by Frank Manley. Poems about Roman emperors.
Books About Roman Britain
Books About Boadicea
Famous Men of Ancient Rome: Lives of Julius Caesar, Nero, Marcus Aurelius and Others by John H. Haaren and A. B. Poland. For children ages 9 to 12.
Books About Julius Caesar
Books About Augustus Caesar
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These DVDs are formatted for North American audiences.
Caligula: Reign of Madness. Documentary from A&E's "Biography" series. A compelling look at one of the most notorious rulers in history, whose name is synonymous with depravity and madness.
I, Claudius. Excellent, racy miniseries from BBC's "Masterpiece Theater" series.
Modern Marvels: Hadrian's Wall. Walk the 74-mile barrier that marked the edge of the Roman Empire with world-renowned scholars.
In Search of History: The Roman Emperors. Go deep into the private lives of the mighty emperors. Visit the remains of their opulent mansions and see stunning reconstructions of what these palaces looked like at their prime.
When Rome Ruled. Six-part National Geographic series. Episodes include The Real Caligula, Doomsday Pompeii, Killing Caesar, and Ancient Superpower.
Roman Vice. Luxury made the Roman world go round. This documentary uses recent archeological evidence to bring this tumultuous period to life. Explore Roman funeral practices, secret societies and mysterious cults, and the grand palaces of Nero and Tiberius.
Rome: The Complete Series. HBO television series starring Ciaran Hinds as Julius Caesar.
Movies & Documentaries About Julius Caesar
Movies & Documentaries About Augustus Caesar
Movies & Documentaries About Nero
Movies & Documentaries About Constantine
Movies & Documentaries About the Byzantine Empire