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Hungry? Scroll down to see Roman cookbooks
(plus music to accompany your Roman banquet!)

THE ROMAN NUDE: Heroic Portrait Statuary 200 BC-AD 300 by Christopher H. Hallett Statues of important Romans frequently represented them nude. Men were portrayed naked holding weapons (the naked emperor might wield the thunderbolt of Jupiter), while Roman women assumed the guise of the nude love-goddess, Venus. Comprehensively illustrated with black and white photographs of nude Romans represented in a wide range of artistic media, this book investigates how this tradition arose, and how the nudity of these images was meant to be understood by contemporary viewers.
DOMUS: Wall Painting in the Roman House by Mazzoleni, Pappalardo, & Romanor One of the most beautiful books you’ll ever own. From Publishers Weekly: “This guide to the frescoed walls of 28 early first-millennium Italian villas is hugely expensive, but worth it; turning its pages feels as intimate as standing in the rooms themselves. At 11 1/4" x 12 3/4", the gorgeous full-bleeds among the 350 color illustrations (with three foldouts) on choice textured stock feel like walls, and the colors, including the subtly shaded blues of the Villa of Livia’s long east wall, are superb.”
THE COMPLETE COLLECTION OF ANTIQUITIES from the Cabinet of Sir William Hamilton by Schutze & Gisler-Huwiler This spectacular compilation of plates represents a superb collection of ancient vases. As an envoy to the British Embassy in Naples, Sir William Hamilton (1730-1803) built the finest collection of ancient vases of his time, which he ultimately sold to the British Museum. The catalogues that resulted, published in four volumes, are today rare volumes that fetch astronomical prices. This massively oversized volume reproduces the originals in exacting detail.
THE COMPLETE CHRONICLE OF THE EMPERORS OF ROME by Roger Michael Kean & Oliver Frey describes the lives of every man (and a few women) who aspired to the purple from Augustus in 23 BC to Justinian I, who died in AD 565. All 118 emperors and barbarian rulers of the classical period are brought vividly to life, illustrated by drawings of their busts and coinage. Includes 390 illustrations, over 70 color maps, nine family trees, a glossary, list of Latin/English place names, and a table of rulers, popes and patriarchs.
WORKING IX TO V: Orgy Planner, Funeral Clowns, and Other Prized Professions of the Ancient World by Vicki León “Three decades of research rapture” resulted in the author’s light-hearted survey of livelihoods available to the ancient Greeks and Romans, copiously illustrated with vintage drawings and engravings. By the author of Outrageous Women of Ancient Times and Uppity Women of Ancient Times.
ROME AT WAR: Caesar and His Legacy Steven contributed a brief introduction to this omnibus edition of three excellent book-length works: Caesar’s Gallic Wars by Kate Gilliver, Caesar’s Civil War by Adrian Goldsworthy, and Rome at War AD 293-696 by Michael Whitby.
Steven reports: “Recently, here in Berkeley, I attended a talk by Erich Gruen, UC Classics Emeritus. His book The Last Generation of The Roman Republic was a seminal work when I was trying to understand the political intricacies of Gordianus’ Rome. His new book, Rethinking the Other in Antiquity, is a thought-provoking look at how the Greeks, Romans and Jews viewed outsiders. As always, Gruen’s scholarship is impeccable, but more than that, this book is a great read. Gruen writes clearly and engagingly while conveying complex ideas—no mean feat.”
ANCIENT ROME ON FIVE DENARII A DAY by Philip Matyszak Mock travel guide gives a vivid picture of daily life in ancient Rome (on a budget!). By the same author: Chronicle of the Roman RepublicThe Enemies of Rome: From Hannibal to Atilla the HunThe Sons of Caesar: Imperial Rome’s First Dynasty
By Stephen Dando-Collins: CAESAR’S LEGION: The Epic Saga of Julius Caesar’s Elite 10th Legion & the Armies of Rome •• CLEOPATRA’S KIDNAPPERS: How Caesars 6th Legion Gave Egypt to Rome & Rome to Caesar •• MARK ANTONY’S HEROES: How the 3rd Gallica Legion Saved an Apostle & Created an Emperor •• NERO’S KILLING MACHINE: The True Story of Rome’s Remarkable 14th Legion •• BLOOD OF THE CAESARS: How the Murder of Germanicus Led to the Fall of Rome
ANCIENT CITIES BROUGHT TO LIFE by Jean-Claude Golvin The renowned French artist brings to life the teeming streets of the ancient world with marvelous aerial views. ARE WE ROME? The Fall of an Empire and the Fate of America by Cullen Murphy How closely does America’a imperial destiny mirror that of Rome, and what lessons can we learn from the past?
JULIUS CAESAR: The Life & Times of the People’s Dictator by Luciano Canfora A radically new interpretation of one of the most controversial figures in history. CHRONICLE OF THE ROMAN REPUBLIC by Philip Matyszak Copiously illustrated survey of Rome and its rulers from Romulus to Augustus.
THE DAY OF THE BARBARIAN by Alessandro Barbero Adrianople, 378 A.D., the battle that signaled the end of the Roman Empire. By the author of The Battle: A New History of Waterloo. JUSTINIAN’S FLEA by William Rosen The story of history’s first pandemic, the bubonic plague of 542 A.D. that killed 5000 people per day in Constantinople.
ROME, INC. by Stanley Bing Businessman’s wry survey of Roman history finds that “corporations willing to kill people do better than those which are not.” 69 A.D. by Gwyn Morgan Steven’s favorite Roman History prof from his days at UT Austin takes a fresh look at the tumultuous “year of four emperors” that followed Nero.
THE EDUCATION OF JULIUS CAESAR by Arthur D. Kahn Frequently referred to in Steven’s Author’s Notes, this look at Caesar’s life is iconoclastic, opinionated, and highly stimulating. CAESAR’S LEGACY: CIVIL WAR & THE EMERGENCE OF THE EMPIRE by Josiah Osgood The triumph of Augustus marks the end of one era and the beginning of another.
THE NAKED OLYMPICS by Tony Perrottet A wide-eyed look at the ancient games and the Bacchanalian celebrations and spectacles that attended them. PAGAN HOLIDAY by Tony Perrottet The author retraces the footsteps of ancient travel writers and contrasts his own experiences as a tourist. A great armchair vacation.
CRETE by Barry Unsworth The Booker Prizewinning novelist travels to the ancient island of Crete, where, according to the Greeks, “everything began.” SAILING THE WINE DARK SEA: Why the Greeks Matter by Thomas Cahill The author of the best-selling How the Irish Saved Civilization looks at the rise and fall of Greece.
THE BEGINNINGS OF ROME by T.J. Cornell How archaeological discoveries revolutionized our thinking about the origins of Rome; a superb work of scholarship. ANTIQUITY by Norman Cantor A compact, sweeping look at the history of the ancient world to 500 A.D. by the author of The Civilization of the Middle Ages.
THE ASSASSINATION OF JULIUS CAESAR by Michael Parenti views Caesar as a reformer and friend of the people cut down by reactionary forces of oppression. MAMMOTH BOOK OF EYEWITNESS ANCIENT ROME ed. by Jon Lewis 500 pages of memoirs, letters, inscriptions, reports and household accounts present the Roman way of life.
CICERO by Anthony Everitt Major new biography of the man who stood at the center of Roman politics in the last, tumultuous years of the dying Republic. RUBICON: The Last Years of the Roman Republic by Tom Holland “Pulls readers deep into the treacherous riptide of Roman politics.” (Booklist) By the author of Persian Fire.

CATULLUS & HIS WORLD by T.P. Wiseman Superb study of Catullus and the world that shaped him; a powerful inspiration to Steven when he wrote The Venus Throw.

REMUS: A ROMAN MYTH by T.P. Wiseman The tale of Romulus and Remus yields startling ideas about the foundation myths of Rome.

CAESAR’S LEGION by Stephen Dando-Collins Roman military buffs will devour this grunt’s-eye-view of the epic history of Caesar’s Tenth Legion.

GREECE & ROME AT WAR by Peter Connolly Fine scholarship and wonderful illustrations create a vivid presentation of how the ancients waged war.


Beloved by armchair travelers and wide-eyed tourists, this series of spiral-bound books offers unique glimpses into the past by juxtaposing colorful transparencies (showing sites as they once appeared) directly over contemporary images (showing the sites as they appear today). Fun to use and immensely instructive!

THE ANCIENT CITY: ATHENS & ROME by Connolly & Dodge A terrific visual reference in brilliant color, full of cut-away drawings, architectural studies, bird’s-eye views, maps, etc.

THE LAST GENERATION OF THE ROMAN REPUBLIC by Erich S. Gruen A carefully argued political history of the age of Caesar and Cicero, executed with meticulous scholarship.

DECLINE & FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE by Edward Gibbon An affordable abridgment (800 pages) of one of the world’s most famous histories, about the final centuries of the Roman Empire.

HANDBOOK TO LIFE IN ANCIENT ROME by Lesley & Roy Adkins An extremely useful and concise illustrated reference to a wide range of topics, including Roman history, religion, literature, family life, etc.

CLEOPATRA OF EGYPT by Walker & Higgs This catalogue for the major touring exhibit represents the state of the art of Cleopatra studies.

CITY: A STORY OF ROMAN PLANNING & CONSTRUCTION by David Macaulay Meticulous drawings bring every aspect of a Roman city to life. Marketed to younger readers, but fascinating for all ages.

SPARTACUS AND THE SLAVE WARS Translator Brent Shaw collects 80 original documents regarding slaves and gladiators and the bloody revolts that preceded Spartacus.

DAILY LIFE IN ANCIENT ROME by Jerome Carcopino Carcopino’s classic account of Roman daily life is still the standard, as he guides us from the first hour of the day to the last, conveying the sights, sounds and smells of the city.

OXFORD CLASSICAL DICTIONARY Hardly a day passes that Steven doesn’t consult this 1640-page reference work with 6200 entries from Abacus to Zosimus.

PENGUIN HISTORICAL ATLAS OF ANCIENT ROME Illustrations, photos and maps focus on specific regions and events, such as Caesar’s conquest of Gaul, Claudius’s invasion of Britain, etc.

Cookbook Corner:
Food, Wine & Music of the Ancient World

FOOD FIT FOR PHARAOHS by Marie Berriedale-Johnson Recipes from the ancient Land of the Nile, by the British Museum’s chef du tempe perdu. See also: The Pharaoh’s Kitchen and Food & Cooking in Ancient Egypt.
MEALS & RECIPES FROM ANCIENT GREECE by Eugenia Ricotti An archaeologist gleans 56 recipes from ancient sources in this publication by the J. Paul Getty Museum. EAT, DRINK & BE MERRY: Food & Wine in Byzantium ed. by Brubaker & Linardou Eating rituals in the Byzantine world, from monastery to palace to military campaign.
HORTUS: The Roman Book of Gardening by John Henderson Grow your own Roman garden! Ancient texts celebrate gardening in verse and prose. Learn more about Roman gardens here. APICIUS: Cookery and Dining in Imperial Rome by Joseph Dommers Vehling The oldest known cookbook offers a picture of what the Romans ate, with 49 illustrations.
COOKING APICIUS: Roman Recipes for Today by Sally Grainger A new scholarly edition of Apicius with modern interpretations of 64 of the recipes. APICIUS: A Critical Edition With an Introduction And English Translation by Grocock, Grainer & Shadrake Revisits all surviving manuscripts in Europe and the USA and proposes many new readings and interpretations.
THE PHILOSOPHER’S KITCHEN: Recipes from Ancient Greece and Rome for the Modern Cook by Francine Segan Ancient recipes from the author of Shakespeare’s Kitchen. SIREN FEASTS by Andrew Dalby A comprehensive history of food and gastronomy in the ancient Greek world, beautifully illustrated
AROUND THE ROMAN TABLE by Patrick Faas duly notes “the Roman appetite for foodstuffs we would scarcely feed our dogs”—but also includes over 150 more palatable recipes to sample! ROMAN COOKERY by Mark Grant While some Roman cookbooks detail banquet foods of the elite, this one provides easily made recipes for a pleb’s breakfast, lunch or dinner. Revised second edtion.
A TASTE OF ANCIENT ROME by Ilaria Gozini Giacosa The cookbook Steven reaches for when planning a meal for Gordianus. Recipes bring ancient Rome to the tip of your tongue. CLASSICAL COOKBOOK by Dalby & Grainger Scholarly research and recipes include the cuisine of Ancient Greece as well as Rome.

...don’t forget the wine:

ANCIENT WINE: The Search for the Origins of Viniculture by Patrick E. McGovern As medicine and mind-altering social lubricant, wine has been a part of human civilization for 7,000 years. VINUM: THE STORY OF ROMAN WINE by Stuart J. Fleming Beautifully illustrated, fascinating study of wine in Roman history and culture. A must for wine lovers!

...and, to accompany with your Roman banquet:
Music of the Ancient World

What did music sound like in the ancient world? These speculative efforts, using scholarship and authentic instruments, attempt to recapture elusive musical landscapes of the ancient world. Music from Ancient Rome, Volume I: Wind Instruments and Volume II: String Instruments Musique de la Grèce AntiqueSecular Music of Greek Antiquity, Volume I and Volume II Ancient EgyptAmbient Egypt: Sounds from Ancient SourcesAnkh: The Sound of Ancient Egypt

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