Best Books, Education, History, Nonfiction

The 20 Best Books to Learn About Ancient History

December 24, 2015

“What are the best Ancient History Books?” We looked at 18 articles and 221 different books in an attempt to answer that very question. Below you will find our results of the 20 top ancient history books of all-time. Click here to see the methodology used.

What can be Found in a “Best Ancient History Books” Listicle 
  • Greek, Roman and Egyptian History
  • Book covers with statues
  • What can’t be found: Mesopotamia and Asian History


The Top 20 Books About Ancient History (In Ascending Order)

 

20.) Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff

Appears On: 2 Lists
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Cleopatra- A Life by Stacy Schiff


19.) Handbook to Life in Ancient Rome by Lesley Adkins and Roy A Adkins

Appears On: 2 Lists
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Handbook to Life in Ancient Rome ( Facts On File Library Of World History) by Lesley Adkins, Roy A. Adkins


18.) History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides

Appears On: 2 Lists
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History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides


17.) Metamorphoses by Ovid

Appears On: 2 Lists
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Metamorphoses by Ovid


16.) On the Nature of Things by Lucretius

Appears On: 2 Lists
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On the Nature of Things by Titus Lucretius Carus,


15.) River God by Wilbur Smith

Appears On: 2 Lists
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River God (Ancient Egypt #1) by Wilbur Smith


14.) SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome by Mary Beard

Appears On: 2 Lists
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S.P.Q.R.- A History of Ancient Rome by Mary Beard


13.) The Conquest of Gaul by Julius Caesar

Appears On: 2 Lists
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The Conquest of Gaul by Gaius Iulius Caesar


12.) The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon

Appears On: 2 Lists
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The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon


11.) The Early History of Rome: (The History of Rome, #1-5) by Titus Livy

Appears On: 2 Lists
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The Early History of Rome- (The History of Rome, #1-5) by Titus Livy


10.) The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians by Peter Heather

Appears On: 2 Lists
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The Fall of the Roman Empire- A New History of Rome and the Barbarians by Peter Heather


9.) The Histories by Herodotus

Appears On: 2 Lists
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The Histories by Herodotus


8.) The Odyssey by Homer

Appears On: 2 Lists
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The Oddyssey of Homer by Homer


7.) The Oxford Classical Dictionary by Simon Hornblower

Appears On: 2 Lists
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The Oxford Classical Dictionary by Simon Hornblower


6.) The Symposium by Plato

Appears On: 2 Lists
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The Symposium by Plato, Christopher Gill


5.) The Twelve Caesars by Suetonius, translator Robert Graves

Appears On: 2 Lists
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The Twelve Caesars by Suetonius


4.) The History of the Ancient World : From the Earliest Accounts to the Fall of Rome by Susan Wise Bauer

Appears On: 2 Lists
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The History of the Ancient World - From the Earliest Accounts to the Fall of Rome by Susan Wise Bauer


3.) Fire from Heaven by Mary Renault

Appears On: 3 Lists
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Fire from Heaven (Alexander the Great #1) by Mary Renault


2.) I, Claudius by Robert Graves

Appears On: 3 Lists
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I, Claudius (Claudius #1) by Robert Graves


1.) The Iliad by Homer

Appears On: 3 Lists
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The Iliad (The Great Courses #301) by Homer



The 201 Other Books Mentioned in the Best Ancient Articles

  • 1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed (Hardcover) by Eric H. Cline
  • A Bloodline of Kings by Thomas Sundell
  • A Dictionary of the Roman Empire M. Bunson
  • A History of Rome Livy
  • A History of the Ancient Near East ca. 3000 – 323 BC [Blackwell History of the Ancient…(Blackwell Publishing, 2006).
  • A Victor of Salamis by William Stearns Davis
  • Aeschylus’s Oresteia, translated by Ted Hughes
  • Akhenaten: King of Egypt Cyril Aldred
  • Alexander the Great (Paperback) by Robin Lane Fox
  • An Imaginary Life by David Malouf
  • Ancient Egypt Lithographs by David Roberts Fabio Bourbon
  • Ancient Inventions by Peter James and Nick Thorpe
  • Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire Author: Simon Baker
  • Antigone’s Wake by Nicholas Nicastro
  • Antony and Cleopatra by Colleen McCullough
  • Apocolocyntosis Seneca
  • As the Romans Did: A Sourcebook in Roman Social History 2nd ed. Shelton, Jo-Ann
  • Augustus: The Life of Rome’s First Emperor (Hardcover) by Anthony Everitt
  • Babylon: Mesopotamia and the Birth of Civilization (Thomas Dunne Books, 2014).
  • Besieger of Cities (also titled Elephants and Castles) by Alfred Duggan
  • Caesar: Life of a Colossus (Hardcover) by Adrian Goldsworthy
  • Carthage Must Be Destroyed: The Rise and Fall of an Ancient Civilization (Hardcover) by Richard Miles
  • Cicero: The Life and Times of Rome’s Greatest Politician (Paperback) by Anthony Everitt
  • Cleopatra by Peter Vennema
  • Conceptions of God in Ancient Egypt: The One and the Manyby Erik Hornung
  • Conquerors and Slaves,
  • Cookery and Dining in Imperial Rome Author: Apicius
  • Cooking Apicius: Roman Recipes for Today Author: Sally Grainger
  • Cornelia, Mother of the Gracchi Suzanne Dixon
  • Courtesans and Fishcakes
  • Creation by Gore Vidal
  • Daily Life in Ancient Rome by Jérôme Carcopino
  • Daphnis and Chloe Longus
  • Death and Salvation in Ancient Egypt by Jan Assmann
  • DEATH COMES AS THE END by Agatha Christie
  • DESCRIPTION DE L’EGYPTE by Taschen
  • Dragonflies by Grant Buday
  • Dynasty: The Rise and Fall of the Hou… by Tom Holland
  • Egyptian Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Goddesses, and Traditions of Ancient Egypt by Geraldine Pinch
  • Emotion, restraint, and community in ancient Rome Robert A. Kaster.
  • Empress of the Seven Hills by Kate Quinn
  • Et tu Brute
  • Etruscan Life and Afterlife : A Handbook of Etruscan Studies Larissa Bonfante
  • Exploring Roman Britain Author: Andrew McCloy
  • Find Out About: The Celts: What Life Was Like for the Warlike Tribes of Ancient Europe by Fiona Macdonald
  • Fingerprints of the Gods by Graham Hancock
  • Funeral Games by Christian Cameron
  • Funeral Games by Mary Renault
  • Gate to the Sea by Bryher
  • Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield
  • God of War by Christian Cameron
  • Histories, Book 6 Polybius
  • History of Earliest Italy Massimo Pallotino, Martin Ryle, Kate Soper
  • How to Read Egyptian hieroglyphs Mark Collier, Bill Maley, Richard Parkinson
  • If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho, translated by Anne Carson
  • Imperium : a novel of ancient Rome by Robert Harris
  • In Search of the Cradle of Civilization George Feurstein
  • Intellectual Life in the Roman Republic Elizabeth Rawson
  • international Law in Archaic Rome: War and Religion Alan Watson.
  • Isis and Osiris “Exploring the Goddess Myth” Jonathan Cott
  • Killer of Men by Christian Cameron
  • Kleopatra
  • Last of the Amazons by Steven Pressfield
  • Lavinia by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • Letters (selections) Cicero
  • Letters of the Younger Pliny Pliny, the Younger, Betty Radice (Translator)
  • Lives of the Caesars Suetonius
  • Made in China: Ideas and Inventions from Ancient China by Suzanne Williams
  • Magic in ancient Egypt Geraldine Pinch
  • Magicians of the Gods: The Forgotten… by Graham Hancock
  • Marathon by Christian Cameron
  • Master and God by Lindsey Davis
  • Medicus : a Novel of the Roman Empire by Ruth Downie
  • Meditations (Inti Classics): by Marcu… by Marcus Aurelius
  • Memnon by Scott Oden
  • Mesopotamia: The Invention of the Cities (Scarecrow Press, 2002).
  • Nefertiti : a novel Michelle Moran
  • Nefertiti : the Book of the Dead Nick Drake
  • Odes Pindar
  • On behalf of Caelius Cicero
  • Our Oriental Heritage (Simon & Schuster, 1954).
  • Pagans and Christians by Robin Lane Fox
  • Parallel Lives (Greek and Roman) Plutarch
  • Percy Jackson & the Olympians Rick Riordan
  • Pericles the Athenian by Rex Warner
  • Persian Fire: The First World Empire and the Battle for the West (Hardcover) by Tom Holland
  • Phaedo Plato
  • Plato’s Symposium
  • Poems Sappho
  • Res Gestae Divi Augusti: The Achievements of the Divine Augustus Augustus.
  • Roma : the novel of ancient Rome by Steven Saylor
  • Roman Battle Tactics 109BC – AD313 (Elite) Author: Ross Cowan
  • Roman Britain (Historical Map & Guide) Author/Publisher: Ordnance Survey
  • Roman Britain by Keith Branigan
  • Roman Britain: A New History Author: Guy de la Bédoyère
  • Roman Britain: Outpost of the Empire Author: H.H. Scullard
  • Roman Civilization. 3rd ed. Vol. 1 Lewis, Naphtali, and Meyer Reinhold
  • Roman Lives Plutarch
  • Rome Against Caratacus – The Roman Conquest of Britain Author: Graham Webster Publisher: Routledge
  • Rome and Her Empire by Barry Cunliffe
  • Rome and Italy : Books VI-X of the History of Rome from its Foundation (Penguin Classics) B. Radice
  • Rome and the Mediterranean : Books XXXI-XLV of the History of Rome from its Foundation (Penguin Classics) A. de
    Selincourt
  • Rome in the East : the transformation of an empire Warwick Ball
  • Rome: An Oxford Archaeological Guide by Amanda Claridge
  • Rome’s Saxon Shore: Coastal Defenses of Roman Britain AD 250-500 (Fortress) Author: Nic Fields
  • Royal Women of Amarna Dorothea Arnold
  • Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman Republic (Paperback) by Tom Holland
  • Sarasvati River and the Vedic Civilization NS Raiaram
  • SECRETS FROM THE SAND: My Search for Egypt’s Past by Zahi Hawss:
  • Social Conflicts in the Roman Republic
  • Spartacus : the Gladiator by Ben Kane
  • Spend the Day in Ancient Greece: Projects and Activities That Bring the Past to Life by Linda Honan
  • SPQR Latin dictionary
  • Tales of Ancient Egypt by Roger Lancelyn Green
  • Taxes and Trade in the Roman Empire (200 BC – AD 400).” Hopkins, Keith
  • TEMPLES TOMBS AND HIEROGLYPHS: A Popular History of Ancient Egypt by Barbara Mertz
  • Terry Jones’ Barbarians by Alan Ereira
  • The A to Z of Mesopotamia (Scarecrow Press, 2010).
  • The Aeneid Virgil
  • The Afghan Campaign by Steven Pressfield
  • The Agricola and The Germania Author: Tacitus
  • The Ancient Gods Speak: A Guide to Egyptian Religionedited by Donald B. Redford
  • The Annals of Imperial Rome Tacitus
  • The Apology (Last Days of Socrates) Plato
  • The Arrows of Hercules by L. Sprague de Camp
  • The Art of Love Ovid
  • THE BARRINGTON ATLAS OF THE GREEK AND ROMAN WORLD
  • The Beginnings of Rome T. J. Cornell
  • The Bull from the Sea by Mary Renault
  • The Campaigns of Alexander (Paperback) by Arrian
  • The Centaur by John Updike
  • The Civil War Lucan
  • The Classical Cookbook Author: Andrew Dalby and Sally Grainger
  • The Classical Foundations of Modern Historiography Arnaldo D. Momigliano, Riccardo Di Donato
  • The Colosseum by Keith Hopkins and Mary Beard
  • The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt by Richard H. Wilkinson
  • The Complete Roman Army Author: Adrian Goldsworthy
  • The Complete Temples of ancient Egypt Richard H Wilkinson
  • The Confessions Saint Augustine
  • The Deciphered Indus Script n. JHA and N.S. Rajaram
  • The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff
  • The Egyptian Book of the Dead: The Book of Going Forth by Day translated by Raymond Faulkner and Ogden Goelet
  • THE EGYPTIAN by Mika Waltari
  • THE EYE OF OSIRIS by R. Austin Freeman
  • The Foundation of Rome: Myth and History Alexandre Grandazzi, Jane Marie Todd
  • The Fox by M.N.J. Butler
  • The Gathering Night by Margaret Elphinstone
  • The Georgics Virgil
  • The Ghosts of Cannae: Hannibal & the Darkest Hour of the Roman Republic (Hardcover) by Robert L. O’Connell
  • The Golden Ass Apuleius
  • The Golden Fleece (also titled Hercules, My Shipmate) by Robert Graves
  • The Golden Mean : A Novel of Aristotle and Alexander the Great by Annabel Lyon
  • The Gourdification (or Apocolocyntosis) Attributed to Seneca
  • The Greeks: a portrait of self and others
  • The House of Death : a Mystery of Alexander the Great by P. C. Doherty
  • The Isle of Stone by Nicholas Nicastro
  • The King Must Die by Mary Renault
  • THE LAST CAMEL DIED AT NOON: An Amelia Peabody Mystery by Elizabeth Peters
  • The Last of the Wine by Mary Renault
  • The Laughter of Aphrodite by Peter Green
  • THE LIFE AND TIMES OF AKHNATON by Arthur Weigall
  • The Lost World of Pompeii by Colin Amery and Brian Curran Jr
  • The Mask of Apollo by Mary Renault
  • The Memoirs of Cleopatra
  • The Mind of Egypt: History and Meaning in the Time of the Pharaohs by Jan Assmann
  • The Moon in the Cloud by Rosemary Harris
  • The Oxford History of ancient Egypt Ian Shaw
  • The Oxford History of the Roman World J. Boardman, J. Griffin, O. Murray
  • The Peloponnesian War (Paperback) by Donald Kagan
  • The Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Rome Christopher Scarre, Chris Scarre
  • The Pericles Commission by Gary Corby
  • The Persian Boy by Mary Renault
  • The Persian Expedition (Paperback) by Xenophon
  • The Politics Aristotle
  • The Praise Singer by Mary Renault
  • The Priests of ancient Egypt Serge Sauneron
  • The Punic Wars (Hardcover) by Adrian Goldsworthy
  • The Rigveda A Historical Analysis Shrikant G. Talageri
  • The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt: The History of a Civilisation from 3000 BC to Cleopatra (Hardcover) by Toby A.H.
    Wilkinson
  • The Rise of Rome: Books 1-5 Livy
  • The Roman History: The Reign of Augustus (Classics) Author: Cassius Dio
  • The Roman Revolution by Ronald Syme
  • The Roman Triumph by Mary Beard
  • The Romans: from village to empire
  • The Sand Reckoner by Gillian Bradshaw
  • The Satires Juvenal
  • THE SCARAB MURDER CASE: A Philo Vance Detective Story by S.S. Van Dine
  • The Search for God in Ancient Egypt by Jan Assmann
  • The Song of Achilles
  • The Sun’s Bride by Gillian Bradshaw
  • The Ten Thousand by Michael Curtis Ford
  • THE TOMB OF TUTANKHAMEN by Howard Carter
  • The Virtues of War by Steven Pressfield
  • The War with Hannibal : Books XXI-XXX of the History of Rome from its Foundation (Classics S.) A. de Selincourt
  • The Wreckage of Agathon by John Gardiner
  • Tides of War by Steven Pressfield
  • Treasury of Egyptian Mythology: Classic Stories of Gods, Goddesses, Monsters, and Mortals by Donna Jo Napoli
  • Tyrant by Valerio Massimo Manfredi
  • War, women, and druids : eyewitness reports and early accounts of the ancient Celts Philip Freeman
  • Who Were the Romans? by Phil Roxbee Cox
  • Works and Days Hesiod
  • World of Odysseus
  • Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus o… by Reza Aslan

The Article Sources Arranged by Publish Date

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