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Roman Empire has been one of the greatest civilizations seen by the known history of mankind. They were the first power to introduce cooperative government that led them to the heights of influence over the whole world. Romans are considered to have given the world most ways that are still being used across the globe.
Also, besides the traditions, culture, and power over the resources of the world. Roman Empire consisted of Whole Europe, the middle east, Africa, with their boundaries spreading to the western Asian countries. At that time, the land governed by the Roman Empire knew no boundaries. They had a strong political system and an army with millions strong. The Roman empire is full of stories of slavery, dark labour, and tyranny.
What are the Best Roman History Books to read?
However, it is not wrong to say that the culture, art, and civilization of mankind has never flourished before as it did in the Reign of Romans. For those, who like to read about history and have no biased mind towards a nation. Roman History is full of culture, informative lessons, and political insights. There is a buffet for the historians and readers in Roman History books and there is no set limit for the books that you can read. If you are interested in knowing about Roman History and want to get your hands on the books. You must consider these books after reading these detailed reviews to see what would suit you best.
Best Books on Roman History: Our Top 20 Picks
Here are some of the best roman history books that you can consider to expand your knowledge on the subject:
1. SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome
There are a handful of books that have received appreciation at the level of this book. With tens of international awards, the book is considered the bible for historians who are interested in Roman History.
The book has a non-technical narrative written by Mary Beard. His narrative and tone are unmatched in terms of comprehension and an in-depth overview of the facts. The neutral, undisputed perspective towards the facts that contributed to the rise, the rise is seen by Ancient Rome and the factors behind the fall of Ancient Rome of this book make it a worthy read for all the students and those with interest in History. The book also has maps, illustrations and colorful art pieces from Ancient Rome.
- Authors: Mary Beard (Author)
- Publisher: Liveright; 1st Edition (September 6, 2016)
- Pages: 608 pages
2. The Storm Before the Storm: The beginning of the end of the Roman Republic
The Roman Republic shared power among senators, statesmen. Their hierarchy for the governing power was the most unshattered system ever seen in the history of mankind. That made the Roman Empire the strongest nation of their time. However, the story of their fall is as interesting and full of lessons as their rise.
Written by Mike Duncan, a famous historian. This book sheds some light on the facts behind the fall of the Roman Republic. There were bloody battles, political monopolies and political drama that staged the right circumstances to cause the fall of the Roman Republic. The book has great insight on economic inequality and political polarization fuelled by ambition for power among the senators. This book is the right read for those, who want to learn about pre-factors that contributed towards the final demise of the Republic.
- Authors: Mike Duncan (Author)
- Publisher: PublicAffairs; 1st Edition (October 24, 2017)
- Pages: 352 pages
3. Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of An Empire
Ancient Rome is probably the greatest empire the world has ever seen. At least in known history, there are no civilizations and governing powers that can match Ancient Rome in terms of culture, art, and military power. They ruled over 3 quarters of the world as we know it today, and in their days, no known land was out of their reign.
Such magnificent powers take centuries to flourish and come to the bloom. As interesting the story of their rise can be, the fall is full of lessons, and tragedies as well. From the beginning to the end, Ancient Roman history is filled with lessons, interesting stories of romance. Their political stage was not ordinary at all, and their governing methods are still being used across the world. Simon Baker has elaboratively explained the Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire in this concise and imaginative narrative.
- Authors: Simon Baker (Author)
- Publisher: BBC Physical Audio; Illustrated Edition (July 3, 2007)
- Pages: 448 pages
4. The History of Ancient World: From the Earliest Accounts to the Fall of Rome
While there are books that have a focus on most of the significant and events that change the lives of millions. This book is all about those millions as an individual perspective. The book has a narrative about those being ruled instead of the rulers and the cultural account of the overall events.
Written by Susan Wise Bauer, this book is a great read for a deeper account of the Ancient world history across the world. Based on solid pieces of evidence like letters, epic traditions, and literature. The book presents its readers with an imaginative overview of the general public and how their lives have been in ancient times. The book has details from the beginning of civilization to the fall of Rome. The fall of Rome is considered the end of an era for human history.
- Authors: Susan Wise Bauer (Author)
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Illustrated Edition (March 17, 2007)
- Pages: 896 pages
5. Legions of Rome: The definitive history of every Roman Legion
While emperors ruled over the governing and political scenario of the Roman Empire. The military power was held by Legions. These imperial roman legions commanded the strongest of force on the face of the earth.
Written by Stephen Dando-Collins, the book provides an in-depth narrative on the lives of every roman Legion who commanded the mightiest forces on the earth and made possible the expansion of the Roman Empire to the known boundaries and limits of the world. The book has an in-depth review of their personal lives, their achievements in the battlefield and the account on some legendary battles fought under the command of these Imperial Roman Legions.
- Authors: Stephen Dando-Collins (Author)
- Publisher: Quercus Publishing (March 29, 2012)
- Pages: 656 pages
6. History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire- Volume 1
Edward Gibbon is well known for his deeper outlook into Ancient Roman history. He has written multiple books, each with a unique perspective on the factors and circumstances that were in the act behind the slow decline and the fall of the Roman Empire.
This volume one of the History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire covers the narrative from a common man’s perspective. The most insignificant persons whose lives were most affected by the rise and fall of the Roman Empire are those common men who lived in the streets and wanted nothing but peaceful life. The book presents and elaborative view of how the political monopoly and the fight for power among senators and legions cause the decline of the Roman Empire.
- Authors: Edward Gibbon (Author)
- Publisher: Simon & Brown (October 30, 2018)
- Pages: 864 pages
7. The history of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
Edward Gibson is one of the most renowned historians and his works are recognized by scholars to be culturally important. His books have been selected as the knowledge base of civilizations as we know it. For all the cultural and history students, these books are to considered as a must-read.
This great book has been reproduced from the original artefacts and remains to be its original condition as possible. There are library stamps that can be found from ancient libraries on the work. This book contains an overview of the complete history, instead of skimming through the facts and counting the most significant of the events that took place during the reign of the Roman Empire. The book provides a detailed account of the fall of the Roman Empire and the factors involved in that.
- Authors: Edward Gibbon (Author)
- Publisher: Palala Press (September 8, 2015)
- Pages: 604 pages
8. An Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Uniforms of the Roman World: A detailed study of the Armies of Rome and their enemies, including the Etruscans, Gauls, Huns, Sassaids, Persians and Turks
This book is more about photos, images, and illustrations than words. The Roman followed a system of Hierarchy through their military and political ranks. Their uniforms were a clear symbol of showing the ranks and titles a person held.
Written by Kevin F. Kiley, the book does not only cover the uniforms and weapons of the Roman Empire, and their political and military personnel but also has elaborative information on the weapons fashioned by the enemies of the Roman Empire including Gauls, Huns, Persians, and Turks. With their borders spread across several continents, they had many enemies and similarities with them as well. Yet, the book has a complete, accurate illustration of the uniforms and weapons used during their rule.
- Authors: Kevin F. Kiley (Author)
- Publisher: Lorenz Books; Illustrated Edition (February 16, 2013)
- Pages: 256 pages
9. Pax Romana: War, Peace, and Conquest in the Roman World
Pax Romana is considered the golden period for the Roman Empire. At the heights of their power, Roman Emperors made the world a better place through a peace treaty that lasted over 200 years. During this period, the welfare of people, infrastructures, art, culture, and laws was the top priority.
As glorious as it may sound, Romans were not known for their peace. They were but a ruthless nation who ruled over the most world through conquest. They attained the gloriously deemed peace not through coexisting with other nations but by dominating them in war. Written by Adrian Goldsworthy, the book shares a fair account of how Romans achieve peace and what possibilities were made during this glorious and one of the longest periods of peace in the world.
- Authors: Adrian Goldsworthy (Author)
- Publisher: Yale University Press; First Edition (September 13, 2016)
- Pages: 528 pages
10. Ten Caesars, Roman Emperors from Augustus to Constantine
Roman Caesars are the most powerful humans in human history those influenced the lives of millions and changed the face of the world as we see it now. This book has an in-depth overview of the life of the ten most influential Caesars of the Roman Empire that ruled over the world and saw the empire to its best.
Written by Barry Strauss, the book contains details from Augustus, the founder of the Roman Empire to Constantine who turned Christian and moved the capital to Constantinople. They ruled for centuries and grew Rome to be the most powerful and terrifying power that was unmatched in terms of power, culture, art. Besides the terror and power over the world, these emperors gave law, language, architecture, and art. The book is a mindful read for all those who want to know the actual history of the world and the origin of most recent laws and cultural traditions.
- Authors: Barry Strauss (Author)
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Illustrated Edition (March 5, 2019)
- Pages: 432 pages
11. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Penguin Classics)
These books by Edward Gibbon on the account of the Roman Empire and its rise and fall require no introduction for those who love to read about the historical volumes. He has provided the most detailed and in-depth account of the events and circumstances that made Rome the greatest power in the world.
He has written six volumes covering each aspect including the rulers, governing bodies, their hierarchy system, wars, legions, society, and culture. There is no part left unattended and if you are looking to have the most in-depth analysis of the Roman Empire. Edward Gibbon’s books are definitely a worth reading choice for you. These are 4-5 volumes of his world-famous series that focus on the top, and the then slow decline of the society, and imperials through their political ambitions and fight for power among their ranks.
- Authors: Edward Gibbon (Author), David P. Womersley (Editor, Introduction)
- Publisher: Penguin Classics; Abridged Edition (January 1, 2001)
- Pages: 795 pages
12. Chronicle of the Roman Emperors: The Regin by Reign Record of the Rulers of Imperial Rome
The Roman emperors held sovereign power over the billions in their empire. They commanded a force of millions strong. Such might has never seen before or after the Roman empire in the known history of Mankind.
This is the first book that sheds light on the line of succession and into their personal lives. Written by Chris Scarre, this book is the right read for those who want to look into the lives of Roman Emperors. These roman emperors had coins with their portrait that make the timeline of their succession and rule easy to understand. This book will provide you a detailed account of all Roman Emperors’ life, the timeline of their power and succession of these emperors through Ancient Rome.
- Authors: Chris Scarre (Author)
- Publisher: Thames & Hudson; 1st Edition (May 1, 2012)
- Pages: 240 pages
13. The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire: Volumes 1-3 of 6 (Everyman’s Library)
There are hundreds of books written on the history and fall of the Roman Empire. An empire as mighty as the Roman Empire that ruled over billions and commanded the military comprising on millions does not simply vanish from the face of earth overnight. It takes decades for such power to slowly decline and fall.
No books provide such an in-depth account of the events and circumstances involved behind the fall of the Roman Empire like these volumes. Written by Edward Gibbon, these are the most in-detail account of the history of slow decline and the fall of the Roman empire. There are no events that have left un-noticed and nothing has been ignored. There are 6 elaborative volumes on the history of the roman empire, and how it fell to ruins with the slow and gradual decline.
- Authors: Edward Gibbon (Author)
- Publisher: Everyman’s Library (October 26, 1993)
- Pages: 1902 pages
14. Heart of Europe: A history of the Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire lasted over a thousand years. The span is longer than the Roman Empire itself. However, there are formidable opinions over their dominance on the religion and Peter H. Wilson shows how the Holy Roman Empire is a millennial story of Europe. The perspective over the historical event is far better than the individual folk tales and versions of events by European nations.
Heart of Europe is about the rise and fall of church and how the title of Holy Roman Emperors influenced religion and supremacy in the region. This book is the right read for all those who do not have an interest in the political and warfare events and want to read only about the notable cultural, civilization and religious events.
- Authors: Peter H. Wilson (Author)
- Publisher: Belknap Press: An Imprint of Harvard University Press; 1st Edition (April 4, 2016)
- Pages: 1008 pages
15. As the Romans Did: A sourcebook in Roman Social History, 2nd Edition
Despite the Geopolitical drams, conquests that went over centuries and all barbarism during the rise of the Roman empire. There is no second opinion on the Romans being a rich nation in terms of culture, civics, and ethics.
This second edition by Jo-Ann Shelton provides the readers with a historical and cultural background that runs deep into the Ancient Roman Civilization. The book covers all the social aspects from family life to housing, education, entertainment, religion, work-life, and political aspects. This book is a great way to learn all about the ancient Roman traditions. The book astonishingly creates the similarities of most modern world traditions to their origin with the Roman Empire and their rule.
- Authors: Jo-Ann Shelton (Editor)
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; 2nd Edition (January 9, 1998)
- Pages: 512 pages
16. A brief history of the Romans
Romans had a humble background of a single village community in the Italian peninsula. They rose to the heights of power that were never seen by the world before. Their empire spread across the continents and commanded over millions.
Written by Mary T. Boatwright, Daniel J. Gargoia, Richard J.A Talbert, and Noel Lenski, this book is a great read for all those who love to read about the history and want an account on how a small village turned to the heights of power that are still a legend in the known history. The book has a fascinating narrative that lets you peek into the everyday life of a Roman and how that turned to be the most influential and powerful culture.
- Authors: Mary T. Boatwright (Author), Daniel J. Gargola (Author), Noel Lenski (Author), Richard J.A. Talbert (Author)
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; 2nd Edition (October 11, 2013)
- Pages: 396 pages
17. Roman Empire
While there are books that cover the Rise of the Roman Empire, and then there are books that are focused on cultural aspects of the fall of the Roman Empire. This unique and complete book by Nigel Rodgers and Hazel Dodge is the complete insight on Rising, Fall, Cultural and civilization aspects of Ancient Rome.
The book covers a complete history of the rise and fall of the Roman Empire. It presents a dramatical imagination of the most influential civilization the world has ever known. The book contains over 10000 photographs & other illustrations to better understand the narrative and facts.
- Authors: Nigel Rodgers (Author), Hazel Dodge (Contributor)
- Publisher: Metro Books; 1st Edition (January 1, 2008)
- Pages: 512 pages
18. Roman History: A captivating Guide to Ancient Rome, Including the Roman Republic, The Roman Empire, and the Byzantium
Empires such as Rome take centuries to reach their heights of power. It is mostly not about the power they enjoyed during their best times but the journey that enabled them to reach where they are. Captivating history is known for their narrative that takes their readers’ imagination to the next level and it is not wrong to say, that these books are a captivating account of the historical facts.
Based on three books, the first part of this series covers the foundation of Rome and how it was made possible. There are myths associated with such a vast empire, and how they rose to power. However, the book is about differentiating those myths among the realities. There is an in-depth elaboration of their culture, their dominance over nations through war, and conquest. The second part is about the political stage of how Rome become the Roman Republic and turned to the Roman empire. While the third part of this series covers the cultural aspects along with the Christianisation of Empire.
- Authors: Captivating History (Author)
- Publisher: Captivating History; Illustrated Edition (January 10, 2020)
- Pages: 202 pages
19. The Eternal City
The influence Rome had and still holds over the modern western civilization and culture is undeniable. Their viable shadows of the influence are seen across western Europe and in the parts of Africa.
In this book by Ferdinand Addis, the unraveled parts of the ancient roman empire and their capital are covered. The book has a great insight into the art, culture, civilization, and religion that is still having an impact on European cultures and civilizations. The Eternal City is about ancient Roman capital and the practiced traditions that have not ceased to exist and are playing an important role in the modern world society as well.
- Authors: Ferdinand Addis (Author)
- Publisher: Pegasus Books; Illustrated Edition (November 6, 2018)
- Pages: 672 pages
20. The Rise of Rome: From the Iron Age to Punic Wars (History of the Ancient World)
By the third century BC, a modest and humble settlement from Rome rose to the heights of power that have never been seen before or after in the known history of mankind. They conquered Italy and build an empire over the whole Mediterranean.
The Roman Empire started from the Iron age and the story of their rise is as motivating, and lesson worthy as the legends state. Such magnificent powers take centuries to come to the height of their power and so did Rome. This elaborative history of the Rise of Rome by Kathryn Lomas is the right book for those who want to have a deeper look into the Ancient world history on how Rome came to the height of their power and what factors were involved.
- Authors: Kathryn Lomas (Author)
- Publisher: Belknap Press: An Imprint of Harvard University Press; 1st Edition (February 26, 2018)
- Pages: 432 pages
Choosing the Best Roman History Books
Empires such as Ancient Rome take centuries to come to the heights of power. Yet, the Roman empire is unmatched in terms of their geographical conquests, the military might and their cultural and civilization innovations that are still followed by most of the western culture.
These books provide you an in-depth insight into the facts and figures and circumstances involved behind the rise, the glory and then the fall of the Roman Empire. We have critically reviewed these books so you can choose the right book for your reading leisure.