Learning from others

Learning from others

October 18th, 2020 | Uncategorized

For a history lover, reading others’ works and learning from them is such a pleasure! Especially since my passion for Roman history doesn’t coincide all too often with my daily work as a French teacher. I mean, there’s the whole history of the Gauls but that doesn’t come up too often when teaching the imperfect verb tense. Thankfully, I get to indulge once in a while when we talk of the number system and city names (I have Jean-Benoît Nadeau and Julie Barlow’s book, The History of French, to thank for that!).

As for indulging my passion for late 1st and early 2nd century Roman history, I’ve relied heavily on these books to increase my knowledge. (P.S. I always like when I find conflicting facts and opinions within them. I wonder what it would be like to watch the two scholars debate!) I’ve broken them down into categories, but the book are alphabetized by the author’s last name.

General Roman History:

  1. Daily Life in the Roman City: Rome, Pompeii, and Ostia – Gregory S. Aldrete (who also narrates a fabulous series on Roman History called the Rise of Rome)
  2. SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome – Mary Beard (my idol)
  3. (my personal favorite despite it being a child’s picture book. I actually asked for this as a Christmas gift!) Rome in Spectacular Cross-Section – Stephen Biesty
  4. The Oxford Handbook of Roman Epigraphy – Christer Bruun and Jonathan Edmondson
  5. Running the Roman Home – Alexandra Croom
  6. Roman Clothing and Fashion – Alexandra Croom
  7. Roman Women – Eve D’Ambra
  8. The Encyclopedia of the Roman Empire – Carlos Gomez
  9. The Roman Wedding: Ritual and Meaning in Antiquity – Karen K. Hersch
  10. (the wildly entertaining read) 24 Hours in Ancient Rome: A Day in the Life of the People who Lived There – Philip Matyszak
  11. The Private Life of the Romans – Harold Whetstone Johnston

Domitian, the Flavian Dynasty, and Agricola:

  1. Caesars’ Wives: Sex, Power, and Politics in the Roman Empire – Annelise Freisenbruch
  2. (a fascinating read by an equally fascinating author!) Praetorian: The Rise and Fall of Rome’s Imperial Bodyguard – Guy de la Bédoyère
  3. (I have read this cover to cover more times than I can count) The Emperor Domitian – Brian W. Jones
  4. Domitian: Tragic Tyrant – Pat Southern
  5. (not at all biased by his son-in-law) The Agricola and Germany – Tacitus

Trajan and Hadrian:

  1. Trajan: Optimus Princeps – Julian Bennett
  2. Hadrian: The Restless Emperor – Anthony R. Birley (amazing read!)
  3. Hadrian and the Triumph of Rome – Anthony Everitt (though I did find some conflicting facts in this book, it’s still an entertaining read)

Roman Britain (I think you can guess at which is one of my favorite authors/historians):

  1. Women in Roman Britain – Lindsay Allason-Jones
  2. Roman Britain – Guy de la Bédoyère (I still cannot stop reading through this book over and again!)
  3. Roman Towns in Britain – Guy de la Bédoyère
  4. The Real Lives of Roman Britain – Guy de la Bédoyère
  5. Roman Britain – Henry Freeman
  6. A History of Roman Britain – Peter Salway
  7. The Oxford Illustrated History of Roman Britain – Peter Salway
  8. Life in Roman London – Simon Webb

There you have it! This list does not include the countless on-line resources I’ve poured through. But I feel it necessary to make special mention of a website that I have lost innumerable hours of my life navigating and reading: https://www.romanobritain.org/  . I am astounded by the incredible work that the author of the site (he goes by Decimus Mercatius Varianus) has done and the information that he’s amassed. I’m in awe of such truly amazing work and deeply appreciate it as a resource!

Let me know your thoughts on these reads. Is there one out there that I’ve missed and you think it’s worth the read? Let me know!

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