The Ides of March, with the infamous assassination of Julius Caesar, became a turning point in Roman History. This date is one of the historical markers of Rome’s transition from the Roman Republic to the Roman Empire.
Do you know why the Romans referred to March 15th as the Ides of March? I didn’t, so here’s a fun fact:
The Romans did not number days of a month sequentially from the first through the last day. Instead, they counted back from three fixed points of the month: the Nones (5th or 7th, depending on the length of the month), the Ides (13th or 15th), and the Kalends (1st of the following month). The Ides occurred near the midpoint, on the 13th for most months, but on the 15th for March, May, July, and October. The Ides were supposed to be determined by the full moon, reflecting the lunar origin of the Roman calendar. On the earliest calendar, the Ides of March would have been the first full moon of the new year. [Source: Wikipedia]
Today, I’ve chosen some fascinating titles on Julius Caesar and Roman history. Spend the Ides of March learning about the person and empire that made this date notable!
This is the most authoritative history of Roman Britain ever published for the general reader. It weaves the ‘voices’ of individuals into the story of Roman Britain. For nearly four centuries, from AD 43 to 410, Britain was a small province on the northwestern edge of the vast Roman Empire. Patricia Southern’s masterly new history tells the story from first contact, through invasion and conquest, coexistence to eventual decline incorporating the political, social and cultural history of ‘Britannia’. For the first time the wealth of ‘voices’ from the varied population of Roman Britain are placed center stage in the narrative. Indirectly via the works of ancient historians, analysts and biographers, and directly from building inscriptions, religious dedications, gravestones, graffiti, leaden curse tablets, artifacts and coins. Writers such as Gaius Julius Caesar, the geographer Strabo, the historian Tacitus, and the annalist Cassius Dio, describe Britain and the main historical events, but perhaps the most vivid source is the corpus of letters from the fort at Vindolanda in Northumberland, where named individuals talk about birthday parties and complain about the terrible state of the roads…
Buy it here $19.95
Shakespeare’s famous historical play tells of the events leading up to the assassination of Roman leader and dictator, Julius Caesar, and its immediate aftermath, with Rome plunged into civil war. Classics Illustrated tells this wonderful tale in colourful comic strip form, offering an excellent introduction for younger readers. This edition also includes theme discussions and study questions, which can be used both in the classroom and at home to further engage the reader in the story.
The Classics Illustrated comic book series began in 1941 with its first issue, Alexandre Dumas’ “The Three Musketeers”, and has since included over 200 classic tales released around the world. This edition is specifically tailored to engage and educate young readers with some of the greatest works ever written, while still thrilling older readers who have loving memories of this series of old.
Pre-order here $9.95
Antony & Cleopatra
The story of one of the most compelling love affairs ever.
Amazingly this is the first biography of Antony and Cleopatra a love story of which is emblazoned in the public mind by Shakespeare.
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 judgement 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 $24.95
In Bed with the Romans
Our popular impression of the Roman Empire is of a seamy, salacious world in which intrigue and sexual license were ubiquitous at the highest levels of state. Here we explore that familiar elite world as well as the role sex played in broader Roman society from the late Republic to the third century AD – from sex in Roman marriage to homosexuality, from sexual graffiti and prostitution to sexual medicine and aphrodisiacs.
In Bed with the Romans provides a balanced account of sex and sexuality in ancient Rome over three hundred pivotal years, while at the same time providing a lively and explicit account of the sexual exploits of a number of key protagonists at the end of the Republic and early Empire, the men and women who have come down to us as alleged or actual adulterers, sexual predators or deviants. We meet Clodia, vituperated by Cicero, loved and hated by Catullus; Cleopatra – lover to both Caesar and Antony; Fulvia, excoriated by Octavian; the mothers, wives, mistresses, siblings and children of the Julio-Claudian emperors; Hadrian and his infatuation with Antinous; and we witness the serial depravity of Elagabalus.
Buy it here $34.95
The Romans in 100 Facts
The Romans are one of the most famous civilizations in history, and with good cause. Over a period spanning nearly 1,000 years, the Romans came, saw and conquered land after land. This book looks at Roman history from the foundation to collapse of the empire, covering famous Romans, famous events and some of the more bizarre moments of Roman history.
Among the Roman emperors are Julius Caesar, Spartacus and Nero. The great tales of these giants of history are told through facts about battles, uncontrolled decadence, and the power-plays between emperors. However, there are also some more unexpected stories. The Romans, for example, couldn’t decide on the foundation story of Rome. The tale of Romulus and Remus was used for centuries, but a completely contradictory story appeared in the first century AD about how the Romans were actually refugees from Troy.
Jem Duducu condenses the colossal story of the Romans into 100 accessible facts in this fun introduction to the Roman Empire.
Pre-order here $13.00