The Kings of Early Rome
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)
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.
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.
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 Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians by Peter Heather. Shows how Europe's barbarians, transformed by centuries of contact with Rome on every possible level, eventually pulled the Roman empire apart.
The Restoration of Rome: Barbarian Popes and Imperial Pretenders by Peter Heather. After the fall of the Roman Empire, each of the three greatest contenders for imperial power -- Theoderic, Justinian, and Charlemagne -- operated with a different power base but was successful in his own way.
Rome and the Barbarians: 100 B.C. - A.D. 400 by Thomas S. Burns. Shows how Rome's relations with the barbarians slowly evolved from ignorance, hostility, and suspicion toward tolerance, synergy, and integration.
Roman Barbarians: The Royal Court and Culture in the Early Medieval West by Yitzhak Hen. A study of the formative period when Roman and Christian practices mingled with Germanic practices to produce medieval civilization.
The Fall of Rome: And the End of Civilization by Bryan Ward-Perkins. Argues that the fall of Rome was not a peaceful blending of barbarians into Roman culture, but a time of horror and dislocation that destroyed a great civilization.
Caligula: The Corruption of Power by Anthony A. Barrett. Was Caligula really a depraved despot? Barrett reevaluates this infamous figure in the context of the system that gave him absolute power.
Caligula by Sam Wilkinson. This biography examines the events of Caligula's reign to investigate whether his infamy was fully deserved.
Caligula: Divine Carnage: Atrocities of the Roman Emperors by Stephen Barber and Jeremy Reed. Documents in full the atrocities of Caligula and other mad emperors. Also included is a bloody history of gladiators and the depraved Roman arena.
Caligula: A Biography by Aloys Winterling. Sets the emperor's story into the context of the political system to explain his notorious brutality.
Caligula: Emperor of Rome by Arther Ferrill. The author believes Caligula was indeed a madman. This book was published in 1991. Out of print, but available from Alibris.
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.
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).
Nero by Edward Champlin. Biography of the notorious Roman emperor.
Nero by Jurgen Malitz. Nero's crimes are notorious, but this biography also outlines his surprisingly responsible political agenda, his initial popularity, and his patronage of the arts.
Nero Caesar Augustus: Emperor of Rome by David Shotter. Reveals the many contradictory faces of Nero and gives a balanced introduction to the paranoid, self-indulgent emperor.
The Great Fire of Rome by Stephen Dando-Collins. In AD 64, a fire engulfed most of the city of Rome. With its capital in ruins, the empire teetered on the edge of collapse as Nero struggled to save it... and his skin.
Nero's Killing Machine: The True Story of Rome's Remarkable 14th Legion by Stephen Dando-Collins. The 14th legion achieved glory when it put down the rebellion of Britain's Queen Boudicca, an accomplishment that led Nero to honor it with the title "Conqueror of Britain."
Octavia: A Play Attributed to Seneca edited by Rolando Ferri. This tragic play -- thought to have been written by Seneca, a Roman who lived during the reigns of emperors Caligula, Claudius, and Nero -- focuses Nero's divorce from the princess Octavia, daughter of Claudius. The book includes an introduction and a detailed commentary. (The book's editor believes the play was wrongly ascribed to Seneca, and actually written during the reign of the Flavian dynasty.)
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. An accessible and 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.
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.
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 only love letters to survive from antiquity.
A Companion to Marcus Aurelius edited by Marcel van Ackeren. Marcus Aurelius ruled the Roman Empire from AD 161 until his death in 180. His influence on philosophy continues in the modern age. This collection of essays explores his biography, background, and role as emperor, military leader, and lawgiver.
The Inner Citadel: The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius by Pierre Hadot. This study offers a fresh picture of the philosopher-emperor, a fuller understanding of Stoicism, and insight into Roman culture in the second century.
Marcus Aurelius: A Guide for the Perplexed by William O. Stephens. A clear and concise introduction to the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus's life and writing.
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.
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.
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.
Constantine the Emperor by David Potter. Biography of Roman emperor who was an aggressive warrior, a sometimes-cruel partner, and an immensely shrewd ruler.
Constantine: Dynasty, Religion and Power in the Later Roman Empire by Timothy Barnes. Biography that challenges the scholarly belief that Roman emperor Constantine remained tolerant in matters of religion to the end of his reign.
Life of Constantine by Eusebius, Averil Cameron, Stuart George Hall. The emperor Constantine converted the the Roman Empire to Christianity. Eusebius wrote his life and preserved his letters so that his policy would continue. This English translation is the first based on modern critical editions.
Constantine the Great: And the Christian Revolution by G. P. Baker.
Constantine and the Christian Empire by Charles M. Odahl. A rounded and accurate portrait of the emperor, extensively illustrated and fully documented.
Constantine and the Conversion of Europe by Arnold Hugh Martin Jones.
Constantine, Divine Emperor of the Christian Golden Age by Jonathan Bardill. Explores how Roman emperor Constantine's propagandists exploited traditional imagery of rulership to portray him as elected by God to save his people.
Constantine: History, Historiography, and Legend by Samuel N.C. Leiu and Dominic Monserrat is about Emperor Constantine I. Examines the reign of Constantine, the first Christian emperor and the founder of Constantinople.
The Emperor Constantine by Hans A. Pohlsander. A concise account of one of the most important figures in ancient history. Emphasizes the significance of Constantine as Rome's first Christian emperor.
Constantine: Unconquered Emperor, Christian Victor by Paul Stephenson. Biography of the Roman emperor who gave birth to the idea of a unified Christian Europe underpinned by religious tolerance.
Constantine and the Bishops: The Politics of Intolerance by H. A. Drake. Shows how Constantine's policies were constructed to ensure the stability of the empire. Despite the emperor's conversion to Christianity, Rome remained a world filled with gods.
Constantine's Bible: Politics and the Making of the New Testament by David L. Dungan. Discusses the Roman emperor Constantine's achievement in transforming orthodox, Catholic Christianity into imperial Christianity.
The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Constantine edited by Noel Lenski. A comprehensive one-volume survey of the pivotal Roman emperor Constantine I and his times.
Constantine the Great: York's Roman Emperor edited by Elizabeth Hartley, Jane Hawkes, Martin Henig, Frances Mee. Celebrates the 1700th anniversary of the proclamation of Constantine as Emperor in York on 25th July, 306. Includes essays and an illustrated, scholarly catalogue of objects, including the monumental marble head of Constantine from York.
The Living Wood by Louis De Wohl. Novel about Saint Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine, and her quest for the True Cross.
The Last Pagan: Julian the Apostate and the Death of the Ancient World by Adrian Murdoch. The emperor Julian (332-363) had an aristocratic Christian upbringing, but later attempted to establish paganism as the faith of the Roman world.
Julian the Apostate by G. W. Bowersock. A compact assessment of the Apostate's life and reign.
Julian the Apostate by Shaun Tougher. Julian sharply divided opinion among his contemporaries. Was he the prospective saviour of the Roman Empire, or out-of-touch and living in the past? Was he a shrewd military man or a rash risk-taker?
Julian's Gods by Rowland Smith. The emperor's surviving speeches and treatises, satires and letters show him as a highly educated man, an avid student of Greek philosophy, and a talented author in his own right.
Emperor and Author: The Writings of Julian 'the Apostate' edited by Nicholas J. Baker-Brian and Shaun Tougher. Collection of papers on Julian (r. AD 361-363), the last pagan emperor of Rome, noted for his challenge to Christianity.
Sons of Hellenism, Fathers of the Church by Susanna Elm. Compares the writings of Julian, the last non-Christian Roman Emperor, and his most outspoken critic, Bishop Gregory of Nazianzus, a central figure of Christianity.
Gods and Legions: A Novel of the Roman Empire by Michael Curtis Ford. Novel about the 4th century Roman emperor Julian the Apostate, told from the viewpoint of his doctor.
Julian: A Novel by Gore Vidal. A military genius on the level of Julius Caesar, essayis, and philosopher Julian became embroiled in a fierce intellectual war with Christianity that provoked his murder only four years into his brilliantly humane reign.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Divinization of Caesar and Augustus: Precedents, Consequences, Implications by Michael Koortbojian. Addresses the problems related to divinization in the complex new imperial system.
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.
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.
Nero: Destroyer of Rome by Julian Morgan. Children's book.
Nero by Pete Diprimio. Children's biography.
Hadrian: Consolidating the Empire by Julian Morgan. Children's book.
The Life & Times of Constantine by Kathleen Tracy. Biography for children ages 9 to 12.
Constantine: Ruler of Ancient Rome by Julian Morgan. Children's book about emperor Constantine I.
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.
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.
Nero. Hans Matheson plays the notorious emperor in this television movie.
Nero's Golden House. Documentary about the emperor and his grandiose palace.
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.
History of Greece
Attila the Hun & His Empire
The Frankish Empire
The Life of Charlemagne
Boadicea's Revolt Against Rome
World Royal History
Cleopatra, Pharaoh of Egypt