Classical Rome and Hellenistic Mediterranean Bibliography

500 BCE to 300 CE

copyright 1997 by Historical Novelists Center

Remember that many of your better Romans will be conversant with Greek culture, so you should do some studying in that area, too.

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Apicius Cookery and Dining in Ancient Rome *****!
edited and translated by Joseph Dommers Vehling; Dover Publications, NY
Food is so important to human life and society, that a novel without mention of the distinctive food of a culture seems stilted. This is the oldest surviving cookbook. T2

Barron, R. H.

Slavery in the Roman Empire *****!
Not only covers how one winds up a slave and lives as a slave, but how one becomes part of the important freedman class. T2

Boucher, Francois

Twenty Thousand Years of Fashion; the History of Costume and Personal Adornment ****
Harry N. Abrams, 1966; 440 pg, index, glossary
Good on the change and development of Roman styles, from the toga of the Republic to the tunic and dalmatica of the divided Empire. T1

Bourliere, Francois

The Land and Wildlife of Eurasia YY
Time-Life Books, NY, 1964, 2nd ed. 1974; 198 pg, index, bibliography
History of domestication and extinction tells you when things were found where, for animals and plants. A basic text. T3

Brauer, George C.

The Decadent Emperors: Power & Depravity in Third Century Rome ****
Barnes & Noble, 241 pgs
Good, juicy, liscivious scandal on the worst five emperors in a row: Geta, Caracalla, Elagabalus, Severus Alexander, and Gordian. Worse or marginally better than Tiberius, Nero and the other early bad boys? Here's all the evidence against one side. T2

Brockett, Oscar G.

History of the Theatre ***
Allyn and Bacon, Inc., 1977
Good university-level text on plays, staging conventions, acting forms, audience behavior, etc. T3

Buehr, Walter

Warrior's Weapons ***
Crowell, NY, 1963; illustrated by author
Good on early and non-ferrous metallurgy, including the development of swords shapes. Simply, pleasantly written. T2

Carpenter, Rhys, Edith Hamilton, William Hayes, et al

Everyday Life in Ancient Times; Highlights of the Beginnings of Western Civilization in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome **
National Geographic Society, NY, 1964; 368 pg, index
The Roman section is a decent basic overview. T1

Cornell, Tim, & John Matthews

The Cultural Atlas of the World: The Roman World ****
orig London, 1986; has been through several American publishers, including Stonehenge Press of Time-Life, and Facts On File
Excellent maps with the period names of places, which otherwise have to be dug up in maddening piecemeal. Mostly the many cities covered with several paragraphs and a couple of photos of ruins or artifacts. The articles on Roman culture at the different periods that introduce the sections are very good, and less completely military-political than they might be. T1

Cumont, Franz

Astrology and Religion Among the Greeks and Romans ***
Dover Publications, Inc., NY
The title sums it up. This is not another myth-collection, but shows the practices your characters will see and use. T2

The Mysteries of Mithra ****
Dover Publications, Inc., NY
Mithraism was a close rival to Christianity at one period, very popular in the Legions, and probably only beaten out because early Christianity gave women a notable role, taken away later. Many of your characters may know about Mithraism (out of Mesopotamia) or practice it. Unlike Christianity, Mithraism can co-exist with the Imperial cult. T2

The Oriental Religions in Roman Paganism ****
Dover Publications, Inc., NY
Besides the Roman pantheon, connected to the Greek, many completely foreign Deities moved into Rome, including Isis (whose followers were long persecuted like the later Christians), the Magna Mater, Mithra, Cybele and Attis, etc. T2

Delbrueck, Hans

Warfare in Antiquity ****
v. 1 of History of the Art of War, trans. by J. Renfroe, Jr.; University of Nebraska Press; 1975 trans of 1920 rev.; 604 pg

The Barbarian Invasions ****
v. 2 of History of the Art of War, trans. by J. Renfroe, Jr.; University of Nebraska Press; 1980 trans. of 1921 rev.; 505 pg, index, sources, translations of source documents
First volume concludes with Caesar.
Excellent discussion of the brevity of the existence of the Roman Legionnaire, who after Caesar (over a number of centuries) became a barbarian mercenary no longer capable of phalanx-like combat: changes of gear and behavior especially covered, as when later Legions are innocently and accurately described as having the same behaviors as the barbarians described by earlier authors.
Superb coverage of the development of the late Roman army, and the location and conduct of such notable battles as Teutoberger Forest and Aliso. T2

Divine, David

Hadrian's Wall: The Northwest Frontier of Rome ****
244 pgs
Examines the wall not just in terms of military science, but its effect as an economic drain to defend and man. T3

Dix, Helmut

Die Etruscanische Cognomen ****
German translating software does not contain specialist terms for onomastics! Dix believes that the Romans took the three-name system of praenomen, nomen and cognomen from their first culture-masters, the Etruscans. Very good case for it, but the names are mixed in a plethora of tables. Deep, scholarly. T1

Embleton, R., & F. Graham

Hadrian's Wall in the Days of the Romans *****!
Everything you need to know about northern Britannia in the second century CE. T2

Fox, R. L.

Alexander the Great *****!
A good, fat, gossipy detail biography running about 600 pages of the details you need. T3

Giacosa, Ilaria Gozzini

A Taste of Ancient Rome *****!
200 recipes for your kitchen, from Apicius but also Cato, Martial, Petronius, and Juvenal. Includes Roman habits of eating and drinking, shopping, and entertaining. T1

Ginouves, R., ed.

Macedonia from Philip II to Roman Conquest *****!
You can't do Macedonia justice without this book. Heavy on the archeology. T3

Grant, Michael

Art in the Roman Empire ****
Routledge; 146 pg
Packed with black & white illos of everything from architecture to jewelry. T2

Cleopatra: A Biography ****
Barnes & Noble
At last, a detail biography of one of the most argued personalities of her time, A Macedonian (resident overseas for a few centuries) queen who tried to revive, not the glories of ancient Egypt, but those of Alexander the Great. T2

Gladiators *****!
Barnes & Noble
Rome without gladiators? Never. This gives you a detailed study of their development from the 200's BC through their prohibition in the 400's CE. T2

Grant, Robert M.

Augustus to Constantine: The Emergence of Christianity in the Roman World
Barnes & Noble, NY
Covering from 14 CE to the death of Constantine in 337. The title says it all. T2

Hale, William Harlan, and the editors of Horizon Magazine

The Horizon Cookbook and Illustrated History of Eating and Drinking Through the Ages ****
American Heritage Publishing, Inc., 1968
Part One has the description of customs and habits, foods available, and some interesting art. Part Two has the tastiest recipes, done for the modern kitchen. Especially hits this period in Part One. T1

Hammond, N.

Philip of Macedon ***
A good biography of the king who laid the political and military basis for the success of his son, Alexander the Great. T3

Hatzoupoulos, M. B.

Philip of Macedon ****
Covers not only the ancient biographical sources, but turns to archeological knowledge of the time. T3

Hogg, Ian V.

The History of Fortification ***
St. Martin's Press, NY, 1981
Clear, interesting and accurate overview from 7000 BC through the 1970's, well illustrated with photos and diagrams; bibliography and glossary. T2

Hope, Thomas

Costumes of the Greeks & Romans *****!
19th C.; 300 pg, 700 illus.
Line drawings from ancient art (largely vase paintings) of the rich and the poor, military and civilian, and quite a bit of household goods. T1

Hyland, Ann

Equus: The Horse in the Roman World ****
New Haven/London, Yale University Press, 1990
Very complete treatment, including asses and mules, cavalry horses and race horses. Covers up through the Theodosian codes. Heavy on the Arabophilia, which leads her into unwarranted assumptions like "Erembian (equates with Libyan as to type)" when the type of the Erembian is never described by the ancients, and Arabia is a long way from the area then known as Libya, but she tried the reconstructed bits and saddles on her Roman-sized horse and herself, and otherwise used her excellent background as a breeder and 3-day eventer. Breeds are really her only weak point. T3

Training the Roman Cavalry: from Arrian's Ars Tactica *****!
Alan Sutton
Our favorite specialist in the development of horses and cavalry reminds us not all the Roman Legions marched: some rode. catch this unusual view of the Roman military, on which the ancient aristocracy, the equites, sometimes translated knights, based their superior status. T2

Ingraham, Holly

People's Names: A Cross-cultural Reference Guide to the Proper Use of Over 40,000 Personal and Familial Names in Over 100 Cultures *****!
McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, Jefferson, NC; 1997; 613 pgs, index, select annotated bibliography
Roman naming practice was so complex and picky! This may be the only place all the rules are together in one place, with lots of choices on the pick-lists, and a section of completely invented cognomens. Also, chapters for all your foreigners, whether Gauls, Germans, Egyptians, Greeks, Carthaginians, or anything much else around the Mediterranean, including Etruscans. T1

Kiefer, Otto

Sexual Life in Ancient Rome *****!
Barnes & Noble, NY
Wicked, wicked Rome! Even if your protagonists are pure of heart, mind, and body, it's hard to resist the urge to show all the temptatiion they're resisting. The less inhibited of you should get this very quickly. T1

Kohler, Carl

A History of Costume ****
Dover Publications, Inc., NY
Hand-sized, info-packed, based on surviving clothes first and artwork secondarily. Author's line drawings of construction and detail. Neophytes should use with a picture book, which it will greatly clarify. T1

Lefkowitz, Mary R. and Maureen B. Fant

Women's Life in Greece and Rome: A Source Book in Translation *****!
Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 1992
All the exerpts they could find in ancient literature to do with women: marriage contracts, economic documents, mentions in trial oratory, histories and legends, translated from the Greek and Latin. This is the raw material from which others' views of the period are built. T2/3

Livingston, Helen

In the Footsteps of Caesar; Walking Roman Roads in Britain ****
Dial, London; 192 pgs
From London into Wales and Yorkshire, this book follows the roads through a contemporary landscape documented in photos and through their history in the text. Emphasis on Roman remains along the route. If you can't make the trip, this will make up the lack; if you can make the trip, take this and two pairs of walking shoes along. T3

Majno, Guido, MD

The Healing Hand: Man and Wound in the Ancient World *****!
Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1975
Heavy research and testing, too, to see how well period practices actually worked. Fascinating reading. Among others, covers classic medicine of the Ancient Near East and Egypt, as well as Hippocrates of Greece and Galen of Rome. T1

Matz, David

An Ancient Rome Chronology, 264-27 BC ****
McFarland & Company, Jefferson NC, 1996; 240 pg, appendices, bibliography, index
Excellent basis for working this period (later Republic). We can only hope Matz has the next volume in the works. Six sections: politics; law, decrees, and speeches; military and warfare; literature; art and architecture; and the real good stuff in miscellaneous, like disasters, births, marriages, sports events, religious changes, etc. T1

McEvedy, Colin

The Penguin Atlas of Ancient History ***
Penguin Books, 1967; 96 pg, index
A handy, small book, showing who rules what when, in the stretch from Persia to the Atlantic, from prehistory to about 300 CE. T1

Meier, Christian

Caesar ****
Basic; 513 pg
Detail biography, concentrating not exclusively on the man, but placing him in juxtoposition to the wider political and social situation of the flagging Republic. T3

Mommsen, Theodor

The Provinces of the Roman Empire ****
Barnes & Noble, 752 pgs
No lightweight, this is one of the better references for life outside of the immediate Italian-Roman world. There is room for lots of books out here, where Roman meets Celt, Iberian, Scythian, Egyptian, Numidian, Carthaginian, etc. T2

Newark, Tim

Women Warlords: An Illustrated Military History of Female Warriors ***
Blandford, NY, 1989; index; Angus McBride, illustrator
Primarily useful here on Zenobia, Queen of the East, and the Palmyrene War of Aurelian, without whom Rome would have lost Egypt, Syria, and Asia Minor. T2

O'Brien, John, M.

Alexander the Great: The Invisible Enemy ****

Peddie, John

The Roman War Machine ****
Alan Sutton, London
Rather than just Legionnary arms and tactics, this book concentrates on the backup an army needs. The logistics of food and communication are covered well. T2

Perowne, Stewart

Hadrian ***
Barnes & Noble, NY
This biography covers the usual accomplishments, which were considerable, with the unusual point that Hadrian may have inadvertently and certainly unwillingly contributed to the strengthening of Christianity. T2

Reader's Digest

Everyday Life Through the Ages *
Reader's Digest, Pleasantville, NY, 1992
"Citizens of Proud Rome" pg 86-101 The pictures are lovely, of statuary, wall paintings, ceramics, etc., with the usual heavy debt to Pompeii and Herculaneum, as well to Eastern mosaics. Thin, even for this fast overview book. T1

Rodgers, William Ledyard, V.Adm, USN ret.

Greek and Roman Naval Warfare, A Study of Strategy, Tactics, and Ship Design from Salamis (480 BC) to Actium (31 BC) ****
1937, 1964; now from Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD; 555 pg (thick; there are 618 pg books notably smaller), index, Authorities Consulted at the end of each chapter.
Brilliant reconstructions of the ships, based on explicit engineering data, which he is used to finding "in any handbook," the like of which we have not been able to find, on use of human strength. His experience with rowed cutters, rather than power launches, is also valuable. See especially his reconstruction of Actium, where the Egyptian fleet charges the Roman line, rather than Cleopatra being guilty of flight while her side had not yet lost. T3

Sakellariou, Michael

Macedonia, 4000 Years of Greek Culture ****
Takes the area from prehistory to the present.

Salmonson, Jessica Amanda

The Encyclopedia of Amazons: Women Warriors from Antiquity to the Modern Era *****!
Paragon House, NY, 1991; 290 pg, no index, bibliography
Very few Roman women made it in here, but there are plenty of Hellenistic warrior-queens of Egypt and Macedon, and many a Scythian or other eastern Amazon, including Zenobia, who nearly conquered the eastern half of the Empire. T2

Salway, Peter

The Oxford Illustrated History of Roman Britain ****
Oxford University Press; 563 pg
Excellent grounding from the first invasion by Caesar to the early 400's. T1-2

Wand, J. W. C.

A History of the Early Church to A. D. 500 ****
1937; now from Routledge; 300 pgs
Covers the development of the Christers from a conventional viewpoint, watching the development of Paulism into the state cult of the Empire: missionaries, heretics, councils, and all. T2

Wannington, B. H.

Carthage: A History
Barnes & Noble
A more contemporary approach using archeological data on the Carthaginian empire would be appreciated. This owes much to Roman and Hebrew authors, who were absolutely hostile to the Carthaginians, as were the Greeks, who fought them so continually over Sicily. T2

Warry, John

Warfare in the Classical World ****
Salamander Books, London, 1980
Excellent coverage of naval as well as land forces, including very recent reconstructions of pentekonters, triremes, etc. Covers the enemy troops, as well as the Greeks and Romans. T1

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Age, Gender & Status Divisions at Mealtimes in the Roman Household ****

Ancient World Web *****!

Superb linksite, which it would be silly to try and duplicate here. Especially fine for including Asian, American, and African sections, not just Europe and the Near East.

Diotima: Women & Gender in the Ancient World *****!

A guide to other web sources, also includes bibliographies of interest. The other half of the species is too often treated "like normal" (for us) or merely as "comfort women," in novels. Yet as the changing front page story here shows, it is not so simple if you are accurate. Has a whole section, "De Feminis Romanis."


Official and Original Project Gutenberg Web Site and HomePage*****!

"Fine Literature Digitally Republished. Since 1971 putting classic books into electronic form." You can download all the major classics for free, each as a single big text file. MUCH better than Perseus. Burn your own reference CD-R.

H-GIG Historical Times & Places ***

A thorough-going linksite maintained by the University of California at Riverside, H-GIG sorts by area, by era (ancient<yours>, Medieval, early Modern, Modern, and 20th C), or by topic (military, women, etc.). It's a good place to start a hunt for books and essays online.

The Internet Classics Archive: English Language Translations of Classical Texts Online *****!

MIT Classics department compiles the Perseus Project and other sources. Includes Plutarch, Tacitus, Virgil, and a lot of others. Each work (play, essay, epic) loads as a single page, making it easy to Search for specific words, and has a Download option. Very large works are available as one page or three, to cut time. Get the "unlimited time for $20" deal from a direct web service with a local access number for you, and you can consider this site part of your home library that doesn't have to be dusted. This is what we all hoped the Internet would be!

A List of Roman Emperors ***

Just names and dates reigned, including the split Empire. Also has a 1867 engraved map of the Empire at its greatest extent, in 119 CE, with all the old names, in case you haven't been able to find where Moesia lies or the narrow limits of Hispania. T1

Model of Rome at the University of Caen *****!

Clear photos of a miniature reconstruction, gone quite brown, we believe, with age. The whole city, not just the forum, including gates and the islands of the Tiber. Includes the apartment buildings as well as the temples. Excellent translation of text to English, with none of the peculiarities one gets in instructions from Japanese firms. T2

Online Medieval & Classical Library ****

Exceedingly large index page takes a long time to load, so you can guess how many entries it has! This is one of those online libraries, with texts in translation, not just a linksite.

The Pompeii Forum Project, a.k.a. Cyberruins of Pompeii *****!

Contains complete plans and maps of the entire excavated area, coded so that you can tell which walls belong to which building - everything is quite cheek by jowl. Between this and Caen, you will be able to picture Roman cities. Don't let the sometimes-title fool you into thinking this is VR. Wouldn't it be great if someone started with this plan and did reconstruct the city in a 3D program? T3

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