Today’s Editor’s Picks is all about Roman history. Military history, histories of Roman society, historical fiction – you name it, you’ll find it here.
*Forthcoming* The Roman Army
The Roman Army reigned supreme for over 1,000 years. From Britain to Syria, and from the Rhine and Danube to North Africa, there is abundant evidence of the activities of its legionaries and auxiliary soldiers. After the defeat of Antony and Cleopatra in 30 BC Augustus turned the troops of the Republic into the world’s first major standing army, recruiting soldiers from all over the Roman world. Around a third of a million men policed and protected the Empire, eventually guarding frontiers like Hadrian’s Wall. This book covers the complete history of the Roman Army from 753 BC to AD 476, including its successes and failures against Rome’s enemies such as Gauls, Carthaginians, Goths and Persians.
Life in the Roman Army was not all about fighting battles. Soldiers, centurions and commanding officers left behind a variety of documents, many of which are used in this book to reconstruct their daily lives and their combat experience.
Pre-order here $22.95
Want this book sooner? The hardback is available on CasematePublishers.com (the military history branch of the Casemate Group)!
Buy it here $42.00
Using historical sources ( Livy, Suetonius, et al) as well as numismatic and sculptural evidence, Rome Women details the lives of Rome’s most influential women to examine, uniquely, what effect they had on contemporary politics, and or how far they and their reputations and actions reflected and affected women generally in Roman society. No existing book provides biographies of these extraordinary women and then examines the contemporary and later socio-political effects they had. Existing titles look at the bad women – notably the wives and mothers of emperors; Rome Women does that but also, uniquely, examines the good women too: the icons and the role models. No other book puts all if this in a socio-political context to form valuable conclusions about the effect these women had on Roman politics and society down the years. Good women such as Lucretia and Cornelia and the loyal wives described by Tacitus and Pliny are covered as are less virtuous but sophisticated and permissive women such as Clodia, Sempronia, Cynthia and Delia. The bad but politically significant are represented by Fulvia and Cleopatra (not a Roman but embroiled in things Roman) and many of the wives and daughter of the Emperors. Paperback.
Buy it here $29.95
Women in Ancient Rome
The history of women in ancient Rome is fascinating and exhilarating. It gives a unique insight into one of the world’s most dynamic, successful super-power civilizations and, at the same time, illuminates any number of admirable, exciting, evil, slatternly and dangerous women fighting to be heard and seen against insurmountable odds in a world run by men for men.
‘Silent’ is a word that is sometimes used to describe these women, because of the paucity of first-hand evidence from women for their lives; ‘silent’ can also be used to describe how the typical Roman male liked his women. Some women though broke that silence and forged an identity of their own in a largely suspicious, paranoid, patronizing, critical world.
It is those women whom we meet in this intriguing book. Paul Chrystal examines aspects of the Roman woman’s lifestyle: her evolving role in the family; the assertive, brave, pernicious and outrageous women in the public arena; we learn about women’s education and of artistic, cultured women; we meet women soothsayers, witches and ghosts; we examine the role of women in religion and in the mystery cults; women as health professionals; women’s medicine; women’s sexuality; women as mistress, prostitute and pimp.
Buy it here $29.95
The Story of Roman Bath
When the Romans built the bath and temple complex of Bath in the late first century AD, they called the place Aquae Sulis, the waters of Sulis, a British deity who was equated with the Roman goddess Minerva. It was unlike any other town in Roman Britain, it had no specific town status, compared to nearby Cirencester, which was a chartered town set up as a tribal administrative centre. All classes of people came to Aquae Sulis, to visit the temple of Sulis-Minerva, the hot springs, and the Great Bath. Soldiers on sick leave came to convalesce; Romans, Britons, and women, and slaves recorded their visits on various inscriptions since discovered during archaeological excavations. Gaius Calpurnius Receptus, a priest, was commemorated by his widow Calpurnia Trifosa; Priscus, a stonemason from Chartres in Gaul, may have repaired some of the buildings; Vettius Romulus and his wife, mourning the loss of their three-year-old daughter, had perhaps brought her to pray for a cure.
Following the Romans’ departure, from the fifth and sixth centuries the rise of Christianity ultimately caused the decline of pagan worship, and as the old gods were neglected, so were the buildings of Aquae Sulis, which disappeared under an accumulation of silt and mud. The Baths and the temple of Sulis-Minerva were rediscovered in the eighteenth century and the Roman Baths that we see today were rebuilt by the Victorians. Patricia Southern’s new history charts the rise and fall of Roman Bath and examines the baths as they are today, part of a major World Heritage Site.
Buy it here $16.00
Republic: The Pillars of Rome
With barbarians at the gate and enemies within, two men must fight for the soul of the Republic and the greatest empire in the world. A cave hacked out of the rock, lit by flickering torches – two young boys appeal to the famed Roman oracle for a glimpse into their future. The Sybil draws a blood-red shape of an eagle with wings outstretched. An omen of death. As they flee from the cave in fear, Aulus and Lucius make an oath of loyalty until death. An oath that will be tested in the years to come. Thirty years on and Aulus, now Rome’s most successful general, faces his toughest battle. Barbarian rebels have captured his wife, and are demanding the withdrawal of Roman legions from their land in return for her life. It is unthinkable for Aulus to agree, and he fears her life must be forfeit to Rome. Meanwhile, Lucius has risen to high rank in the Senate; a position he uses and abuses. But when Lucius is suspected of arranging a murder, the very foundations of the Republic are threatened. Lucius and Aulus soon find themselves on very different sides of the conflict – perhaps the prophecy of the eagle will come true after all. History and adventure, brutality and courage combine to powerful effect, making The Pillars of Rome an outstanding opening to the Republic series.
Buy it here starting at $10.00
Read the rest of the trilogy…
The Mirror of Venus
Though images of women were ubiquitous in the Roman world, these were seldom intended to be taken simply at face value. The importance of marriage, motherhood and political stability was often conveyed to the Roman people through carefully constructed representations of the women of the ruling house. Mythological representations were used to present moral and political lessons to the women of Rome. Ancient sexual politics are apparent everywhere. Roman society was, on most levels, male dominated and women’s roles were sometimes subordinate to political and cultural needs and imperatives.
This is the first general book to present a coherent, broad analysis of the numerous images of women in Roman art and to interpret their meaning and significance, all set against the broader geographical, chronological, political, religious and cultural context of the world of the Roman republic and empire and of Late Antiquity. Images of mortal women – empresses and other female members of the imperial family, elite women from around the empire, and working women from Rome, Ostia, Pompeii and elsewhere – will be analyzed alongside images of goddesses and personifications of complex mythological figures such as Amazons. This book will examine images of women in the form of sculptures and coins, historical friezes and decorated tombstones, mosaics and wall paintings, metalwork and many decorated everyday items.
Buy it here $34.95
Antony & Cleopatra
The immortal lovers of novels, plays and films, Antony and Cleopatra were reviled by contemporary Romans, but history has transformed them into tragic heroes. Somewhere between their vilification by Augustus and the judgment of a later age there were two vibrant people whose destinies were entwined after the assassination of Julius Caesar in March 44 BC. Mark Antony’s reputation for recklessness, hard drinking, and womanizing overshadowed his talents for leadership and astute administration. Cleopatra was determined to reconstitute the ancient empire of the Ptolemies, and Antony as legally appointed ruler of the east gave her much, but not all, of what she desired.
Their association went far beyond territorial agreements. They had three children, and may have married according to Egyptian law. This blending of politics and sex led to the ultimate ruin of both, since their main rival Octavian-Augustus was able to portray Cleopatra as the arch enemy of Rome and Antony as her bewitched consort. His propaganda was effective, and in the end Antony’s soldiers deserted him. When all was lost, Antony and Cleopatra committed suicide, and were buried side by side in Alexandria.
Buy it here $19.95
The Last Roman: Vengeance
Fifth century of the Byzantium Empire. Flavius Belisaurius is son of the Governor of Dorostorum City, and his father has two goals: to keep out the barbarians and to expose the deep roots of secular and ecclesiastical corruption. Seeking to prevent a raid, the Governor enlists the help of the powerful magnate, Gaius Donatus. Donatus’s corruption is widespread but his support is crucial to win the battle. But Donatus betrays this trust and Belisaurius Junior witnesses the death of his father and the irretrievable tarnishing of his reputation. With Belisaurius’s life changed for good he swears vengeance on the man that betrayed his father and begins a journey from which there is no virtuous way back.
Buy it here $16.95
Read the rest of the trilogy…