books Roman politics

I’d like some suggestions for Fiction books that are heavily into Republican Rome politics. The SPQR series by John Maddox Roberts, First Man in Rome series by Colleen McCullough, etc.

Historically accurate as far as possible.

Caesar Dies by Talbot Mundy (why, yes, I was just gushing about Mundy in another thread… Obsessive, eh?) The Tros of Samothrace series is also good…although immense. Six enormous volumes. I really have to give fair warning: this is a serious reading task, and you shouldn’t start into it without having the time and attention. (Just as you shouldn’t just leap into the Aubrey/Maturin books without some serious dedication.) But if you can muster the energy…excellent material.

Also, purely for fun, I Am A Barbarian by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

I remember Tros Of Samothrace, one of the books I read after LotR, back in the day when there was little adult fantasy out there. Yes, it’s big, but compared to the whole First Man in Rome series by Colleen McCullough it’s like a Big-Little book.

Just got Caesar Dies, based on your rec, free on Kindle.

Robert Harris (the guy who wrote Fatherland and Enigma) is set to finish his Ciceronian trilogy this year. I enjoyed Imperium and Lustrum a lot and hope his third book is as good.

McCulloch’s series is great (although Caesar is annoyingly perfect and she certainly shows all her working).

ETA Although it’s the wrong time period John Hersey’s The Conspiracy is also excellent.

Avoid anything by Conn Iggulden.

Rubicon by Tom Holland reads very easily if you’re alright with actual history that reads like fiction.

The Roma Sub Rosa series by Steven Saylor, or at least the first book, Roman Blood, was really, really good.

I especially liked how they realistically portrayed how the protagonist detective, Gordianus the Finder could respect and admire a young slave and reflect on how unfair it was for him to be a slave while others far dumber and more evil weren’t while at the same time, never questioning slavery as an institution.

From amazon reviewer Colin P. Lindsey

The history in this book is so bad I almost feel that this book should have warning stickers pasted all over it. I think it is entirely misleading to call this historical fiction. There is very little even remotely historically accurate within it. I was so cranky by page two with the historical mistakes that I was scribbling in the margins annotating errors. Some will point out that the author admits to making some changes to historical fact for the sake of story-telling. That is an understatement akin to calling a nuclear detonation an “explosion”


“You purchased this item on June 18, 2010”:stuck_out_tongue:

Great minds and all of that. :slight_smile:

You might like the Greek politics in Persian Fire but now I’m waiting with bated breath for the “purchased in October 2010” post.

Ever since I saw the movie Spartacus (I haven’t seen the various TV series) I’ve been fascinated by the story, which takes place in Republican Rome. Howard cFast’s Spartacus is the one the movie is nominally based on, although they changed things significantly. Yes, it’s THAT Howard Fast. He had an interesting range – he wrote science fiction, too. But there’s plenty of Roman politics in it*.

For a completely different take on the story, read Koestler’s The Gladiators

*One of the changes in the film is that Dalton Trumbo wrote in the character of Gracchus, played wonderfully by Charles Laughton. Sadly, of course, there was no Gracchus at the time of the revolt. The Gracchus brothers were important guys much earlier in the Republic.

Um, err- how about “added to watchlist!”:o:p

Saylor does perhaps overdo the horrors of Roman slavery a bit. For instance, IRL there were no galley slaves in ancient Rome. As to whether it might happen that mine-slaves might simply be thrown off a cliff when the mine closed down – who can say?

That link just says the practice wasn’t commonplace.

Yeah, but the important thing is that both Greeks and Romans considered rowing too important a business to leave to slaves – especially rowing warships, as in Ben Hur. If you ever had to put slaves to the oar in an emergency, you would be sure to promise them freedom afterwards and keep the promise. And nobody would be expected to row in chains.