Top 10 Roman Books

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1989, Lindsey Davis published The
Silver Pigs
, her first detective novel set in classical Rome,
introducing the world to maverick classical PI and poet Falco, who
has carried on his investigations through a bestselling series of
droll thrillers known for their meticulous historical detail. The
19th Falco novel, Alexandria,
has just been published.

I have nine
shelves of Roman books. For this selection I’ve left out learning
Latin, the classics and guidebooks to individual sites, and I have
also had to leave out specialisms – glass, gardens, cookery,
law … These are ten that are scholarly but user-friendly. They
are all books I have enjoyed, all influenced my love of ancient
Rome and most of them are in regular use for my work.

1. Daily
Life in Ancient Rome
by Jérôme Carcopino

This dense
depiction of the great, bustling, aromatic, highly superior city
of Rome is now 90 years old but because it draws extensively on
classical authors, it has never gone out of date, and remains an
excellent introduction to how Rome worked and how its people thought
of themselves. Every sentence is packed with examples. The first
part is general background, the second takes us through a typical
Roman day.

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20, 2009

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