Bibliography and Other Sources

source books

While preparing to write my Roman-era novels, I indulged myself in buying several dozen books (all right, over a hundred now, but who’s counting?), most by academic specialists. They cover everything from politics and military affairs (they were inseparable in the Empire!) to fashion, food preparation, legal affairs, entertainment, sports, and medicine. Some of the books that proved more useful are listed here. Many of the older ones include an excellent index. Some of the newest ones have no index at all, so they really exercised my memory when trying to find a detail I wanted to check while writing. All were fascinating reading.

CAVEAT! While I keep the content of this website at nothing worse than PG-13, some of these references have sections that are DEFINITELY R-rated. Teachers and parents who want to share them with students should inspect them to make sure there is nothing that is unsuitable for their students to see. I have not read every page of every book, so even those that I think are no more than PG-13 might contain R-rated material in sections I have not read.

General information on many topics
What Life Was Like: When Rome Ruled the World: The Roman Empire 100 BC-AD 200. Time-Life Books, 1997.

Adkins, Lesley and Roy A. Adkins. Handbook to Life in Ancient Rome. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.

Aldrete, Gregory S. Daily Life in the Roman City: Rome, Pompeii, and Ostia. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2004.

Allason-Jones, Lindsay. Women in Roman Britain. New Edition. York: Council for British Archeology, 2005.

Angela, Alberto. A Day in the Life of Ancient Rome. Translated by Gregory Conti. New York: Europa Editions, 2009.

Beard, Mary. SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome. New York: Liveright Publishing, 2016.

Carcopino, Jerome. Daily Life in Ancient Rome: the People and the City at the Height of the Empire. Edited by Henry T. Rowell. Translated by E. O. Lorimer. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1968.

Crook, J. A. Law and Life of Rome, 90 BC.―A.D. 212. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1967.

Davis, William Stearns. A Day in Old Rome: A Picture of Roman Life. New York: Biblo and Tannen, 1925.

Knapp, Robert. Invisible Romans. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2011.

Matyszak, Philip. Ancient Rome on Five Denarii a Day. London: Thames & Hudson, 2007.

Rodgers, Nigel. Life in Ancient Rome: People and Places: An Illustrated Reference To The Art, Architecture, Religion, Society And Culture Of The Roman World With Over 450 Pictures, Maps And Artworks. London: Hermes House, 2014.

Ward, Allen M., Fritz M. Heichelheim, and Cedric A. Yeo. A History of the Roman People, 5th Edition. USA: Prentiss Hall, 2009.

Roman provinces
Allason-Jones, Lindsay. Women in Roman Britain. New Edition. York: Council for British Archeology, 2005.

Salway, Peter. The Oxford Illustrated History of Roman Britain. London: BCA, 1993.

King, Anthony. Roman Gaul and Germany. United States: University of California Press, 1990.

Dowley, Tim. The Kregel Pictorial Guide to Everyday Life in Bible Times. Sioux Falls, SD: Kregel Publications, 1999.

Korb, Scott. Life in Year One: What the World Was Like in First-Century Palestine. New York: Riverhead Books, 2010.

Vamosh, Miriam Feinberg. Daily Life at the Time of Jesus. Herzlia, Israel: Palphot Ltd, 2004.

Military and Warfare
Adkins, Lesley and Roy A. Adkins. Handbook to Life in Ancient Rome. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.

Beard, Mary. SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome. New York: Liveright Publishing, 2016.

Dando-Collins, Stephen. Legions of Rome: The Definitive History of Every Imperial Roman Legion. New York: St. Martins Press, 2010,

Goldsworthy, Adrian. The Complete Roman Army. London: Thames & Hudson Ltd., 2003.

Matyszak, Philip. Legionary: The Roman Soldier’s Unofficial Manual. London: Thames & Hudson, 2009.

Rossi, Lino. Trajan’s Column and the Dacian Wars. Translated by J. M. C. Toynbee. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1971.

Watson, G. R. The Roman Soldier. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1969.

Webster, Graham. The Roman Imperial Army of the First and Second Centuries A.D. 3rd ed. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1985.

Roman Medicine
Celsus, Aulus Cornelius and Collier, G. F. A Translation of the Eight Books of Aulus Cornelius Celsus on Medicine (1831). London: Kessinger Publishing, LLC, 2008.

Edelstein, Ludwig. Ancient Medicine: Selected Papers of Ludwig Edelstein. Translated by C. Lilian Temkin. Edited by Owsei Temkin and C. Lilian Temkin. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987.

Nunn, John F. Ancient Egyptian Medicine. London:British Museum Press, 1996.

Phillips, E. D. Aspects of Greek Medicine. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1973.

Scarborough, John. Roman Medicine. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1969.

Legal Affairs
Anonymous. The Institutes of Justinian. Translated by John Baron Moyle. Good Press, 2019. Kindle Edition.

Crook, J. A. Law and Life of Rome, 90 BC.―A.D. 212. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1967.

Gaius and Greenidge, Abel Hendy Jones. Institutes of Roman Law (With Active Table of Contents). Translated by Edward Poste. 2011. Kindle Edition.

Entertainment and Leisure
Harris, H. A. Sport in Greece and Rome. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1972.

Apicius, Marcus Gabius. Apicius: Cookery and Dining in Imperial Rome Edited and translated by Joseph Dommers Vehling. New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1977.

Giacosa, Ilaria Gozzini. A Taste of Ancient Rome. Translated by Anna Herklotz. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992.

Soyer, Alexis. Food, Cookery, and Dining in Ancient Times: Alexis Soyer’s Pantropheon. New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 2004.

Language and Literature
Adkins, Lesley and Roy A. Adkins. Handbook to Life in Ancient Rome. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.

Kennedy, Benjamin Hall. The Revised Latin Primer. Edited and revised by Sir James Mountford. London: Longmans, Green and Co. LTD, 1962.

Simpson, D. P. Cassell’s New Latin Dictionary. New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1960.

Wheelock, Frederic M. Latin: An Introductory Course Based on Ancient Authors. 3rd Ed. New York: Barnes & Noble, Inc., 1963.

Delphi Classics ( has published a series of ebooks (Delphi Ancient Classics Series) containing the entire works of many authors of Greek, Latin, and early Christian literature. Both the original language and English translations are included. Also included are biographical and historical information, commentaries, and images related to the work.

Bruce, F. F. “Some Roman Slave-Names,” Proceedings of the Leeds Philosophical Society: Literary and Historical Section 5 (1938), Part I, pp.44-60.

Chase, George Davis. “Origin of the Roman Praenomina.” Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, Vol. 8 (1897), pp. 103-184.

Websites worth visiting

CAVEAT: While I haven’t found anything at these sites that is worse than a PG-13 rating, I haven’t explored them completely. There may also be new material that I haven’t seen even in the sections I have visited. You will want to check content level for yourself.

UNRV History
(UNRV provides a forum for those who study Rome in all forms. A wide range of topics are covered here. The email newsletter includes book reviews and giveaways.)

Ancient History Encyclopedia
(Historical info about many ancient cultures for history enthusiasts, teachers, and students)

The Roman Empire in the First Century
(Companion website for the 2006 PBS series on the Roman Empire.)

ORBIS: The Stanford Geospatial Network Model of the Roman World
(The Google Maps equivalent for traveling in the Roman Empire.)
I spent more than an hour calculating how long it would take to ride a horse from Mainz to Rome before I found this site. The site took three clicks. It includes land and sea options, and it even calculates what the fare would have been.

Digital Atlas of the Roman Empire (DARE)
An indispensable tool when I’m planning the details of a journey in one of my novels. Created by Johan Åhlfeldt, who is now at the Centre for Digital Humanities, University of Gothenburg, Sweden (, it locates almost every known site from Roman times, including mansiones, forts, towns, cities, bodies of water, etc., on a topographical map. In short, everything an author needs to accurately present the setting of a novel.

Online and DVD university courses
The Great Courses
The Great Courses markets DVDs, CDs, and both video and audio downloads of courses in ancient history and classical languages. All are taught by professors recognized for their excellence in teaching.

There are many related to the Roman empire and literary classics. The historical courses that I’ve bought have been worth every penny and then some! Lectures are 30 minutes, and some contain beautiful visuals, many original to the professor teaching the course.

CAVEAT: I haven’t watched every segment of every course. Roman art often illustrated R-rated and even X-rated themes. While I haven’t seen anything past PG-13 in the segments I’ve watched, you will want to prescreen if you are using these with teens.

Each course comes with a printed course guide that includes many references, and the DVD purchase also includes the video download. I can heartily recommend what I’ve watched of the following:

Experiencing Rome: A Visual Exploration of Antiquity’s Greatest Empire. Steven L. Tuck, Ph.D.

Pompeii: Daily Life in an Ancient Roman City. Steven L. Tuck, Ph.D.

The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World. Robert Garland, Ph.D.

Rome and the Barbarians. Kenneth W. Harl, Ph.D.

Great Ancient Civilizations of Asia Minor Kenneth W. Harl, Ph.D.

Great Battles of the Ancient World. Garrett G. Fagan, Ph.D.

Classical Archaeology of Ancient Greece and Rome John R. Hale, Ph.D.

If you want to refresh the Latin you already learned or learn it for the first time, I can heartily recommend the following course. Since my last Latin course was more than 40 years ago and one of my Roman characters teaches a German some Latin in my novel, Faithful, I certainly needed a refresher!

Latin 101: Learning a Classical Language Hans-Friedrich Mueller, Ph.D.

Fact and Fiction by Carol Ashby