Give me your reccomendations on books about the Republic and Empire.
September 2, 2004 6:08 PM   Subscribe

As a lay...very lay...student of Roman Republic and Empire, and anticipating the upcoming HBO/BBC series Rome with relish, I'm reading everything I can get my hands on about both Republic and Empire. Currently I'm reading an abridgement of The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire I just inherited. What next? [insert Latin for "more inside" here].
posted by WolfDaddy to Education (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Obvious first suggestion, read all of Gibbon and not just a cut version. It's wonderful from beginning to end, there aren't any slow bits, and the hardbound three-volume set looks massively intellectual on your bookshelves.
posted by jfuller at 6:11 PM on September 2, 2004

Response by poster: I've read/viewed both fact and fiction: Colleen McCullough's Masters of Rome series, Robert Graves, Suetonius, I, Claudius the miniseries (endlessly), Catullus, Cicero, and Seneca. I love epics, and Roman history is definitely that, but my reading/scholarship is haphazard and clumsy. Soooo...looking for good history and fiction to keep me entertained, and am not sure what to add to both entertain me and give me more cred. :-)
posted by WolfDaddy at 6:12 PM on September 2, 2004

posted by kenko at 6:24 PM on September 2, 2004

Maybe some Josephus.

Thomas Sowell's Conquest and Culture may be interesting as a tangent. Not about the Romans per se, but it assesses their cultural impact on Europe and other "the Romans gave us London" kinds of things.
posted by weston at 7:08 PM on September 2, 2004

Scribble, scribble, scribble. ;)

I, Claudius!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:30 PM on September 2, 2004

titus livy's histories of rome. also available online...
posted by callicles at 7:53 PM on September 2, 2004

Response by poster: twoforoneaskmefilter: Since so much good stuff on Rome is available online, anyone know if there's any sites which depict pre-Empire stemmata? I'm not finding anything, which I find odd.

Basically, I'd like to tie some of the famous families from Republican Rome to the Julio-Claudians and am having no luck, ie, how exactly was someone with "Valeria Messala" as part of their name during the late Republic antecedent to the "Valeria Messalina" who was Claudius' third wife? I can't seem to follow the family ties through a few generations that cross from Republic-fall to Empire-rise.

Also, thanks so much everyone for links and suggestions. kenko, missing frickin' Caesar in my reading to date has had me banging my head on my monitor for a couple of hours now. heh.
posted by WolfDaddy at 9:16 PM on September 2, 2004

[magis notitia huic prodigium]

or maybe just [magis notitia]
posted by milovoo at 9:45 PM on September 2, 2004

Oh, and more importantly, I like A Short History of Byzantium It's the abridged version of a three volume set. I found the fights between the Blues and the Greens to be an fascinating part, it's like classical-era soccer hooliganism gone way out of hand.
posted by milovoo at 9:56 PM on September 2, 2004 [1 favorite]

If you're wanting to branch out a bit, this winter I picked up Goths and Romans AD 332-489 by Peter Heather. It's definitely a scholarly book, but it's not terribly difficult. Of course, I like reading stuff like this for fun, so YMMV.
posted by emmling at 1:11 AM on September 3, 2004

You may want to read Beloved and God by the late Royston Lambert - it's interesting as all get out.
posted by malpractice at 2:26 AM on September 3, 2004

How it all started
posted by monkey closet at 2:32 AM on September 3, 2004

Try Cyril Robinson's "A History of Rome"
posted by gwint at 7:29 AM on September 3, 2004

Gregorovius, Rome in the Middle Ages. The only non-ancient work that really stands with Gibbon, and covers a period that Gibbon didn't.
posted by jfuller at 8:05 AM on September 3, 2004

i haven't read it yet, but Athenaeus and his World: reading Greek culture in the Roman empire sounds fascinating.
posted by lescour at 8:12 AM on September 3, 2004

Any of Peter Brown's stuff on Late Antiquity is good. AHM Jones's Later Roman Empire is also worth a look. Wolfram's Roman Empire and Germanic Peoples examines the "other side" of the Empire. You may also want to check out the Rome section of the Internet Ancient History Sourcebook.
posted by ahughey at 4:52 PM on September 3, 2004 [1 favorite]

Oh, I almost forgot: Craig Williams, Roman Homosexuality: Ideologies of Masculinity in Classical Antiquity.
posted by ahughey at 4:57 PM on September 3, 2004

Response by poster: What, you think I'm gay or something? Whatever gave y'all that idea?! Do I look gay? *runs skips*


*comes back*
After being daunted for years by the sheer size of Gibbon's work (til I realized that McCullough's series in total has to be at least as long if not much longer), I'm finding his writing hugely entertaining. No dry boring history text, this.
posted by WolfDaddy at 8:16 AM on September 4, 2004

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