Best products from r/ancientrome

We found 41 comments on r/ancientrome discussing the most recommended products. We ran sentiment analysis on each of these comments to determine how redditors feel about different products. We found 139 products and ranked them based on the amount of positive reactions they received. Here are the top 20.

Top comments mentioning products on r/ancientrome:

u/gordiep · 5 pointsr/ancientrome

The answer depends on what you mean by 'Comedy', and what era you are talking about. Plautus and Terence are the only comic poets to survive in complete manuscript form (though much of Plautus is in fact not complete at all), but at least for Plautus, what we have is only a fraction of what was commonly attributed to him. Varro himself supposedly selected the "canonical" set of plays out of 100 or more attributed to Plautus, but there is very little evidence to suggest that Plautus was, in fact, a real person. (Cf. that his actual name, "Titus Maccius Plautus", is a goofy play-name, meaning something like "Floppy-dick McClown".)

Comedy as a genre was fantastically popular in the early/mid Republic, and major poets like Ennius, Naevius, and Livius Andronicus, among others, all wrote comedies, as well as other non-comic plays and poems. Within comedy, there were a number of different sub-genres: the extant plays of Plautus and Terence are part of the so-called fabula palliata, "Comedies in Greek dress", so named because they are (we think) largely adapted from other Greek plays, and so are generally set in Greece, use Greek character names, and so on. However, there were a number of other types, including comoedia togata, comedies set in Italy/Rome, and the fabula Atellana, an apparently native Italic (not Roman, but rather Oscan) comic tradition that was more physical and broad. We have lots of different fragments from these various traditions, but very few long pieces. Probably the most are from Naevius, who wrote quite a few comedies in addition to many dramas and an epic poem, as well as Caecilius Statius, a comic playwright who was perhaps a generation younger than Plautus, according to traditional dates.

As for where to find all this stuff: there are lots of different places, but few convenient ones if you don't have the original languages. One of the oldest, though by now outdated, collections is by Otto Ribbeck (Scaenicae Romanorum Poesis Fragmenta), which is available online:

But, really, if you want a thorough overview of all this, then you really should check out Gesine Manuwald's Roman Republican Theater, which is very thorough, readable, well-organized, and bursting with additional bibliography:

Note that Manuwald's book is on Republican drama only, but there is ample evidence for interest in comedy well after this period, even into the late Imperial period. (E.g., Tertullian at one point complains about his parishioners learning bawdy songs at the theater, but not hymns.) Unfortunately, much of this material has disappeared, for whatever reason, and we have mostly indirect evidence for it in the form of e.g. commemorative inscriptions, references in contemporary authors, possible citations in authors like Petronius, and so on.

u/omaca · 12 pointsr/ancientrome

Rubicon by Tom Holland is perhaps the most popular of recent histories. It's a very well written history of the fall of the Republic. Holland has a particularly modern style. I recommend it.

Swords Against the Senate covers roughly the same period, but focuses on the influence and actions of the Roman Army during the period. Slightly more "scholarly", but equally interesting, particularly if you have an interest in the Roman military.

Anthony Everritt's much lauded biographies of famous Romans includes the excellent Cicero and Augustus, both of also deal with the autumnal years of the Republic, but obviously in the context of these two great men and the events that they lived through. I think Cicero is perhaps one of the best biographies I've ever read. Everitt also wrote a bio of Hadrain, which I have yet to get to, and the fascinating sounding The Rise of Rome, to be published later this year.

On a more broad scale, there is Robin Lane Fox's best selling The Classical Age, which covers Greek and Roman history from the earliest times to the Fall of the Empire.

Finally, Emperors Don't Die in Bed sounds exactly like what you're looking for. It's not the cheapest book, but it does offer potted biographies of the the most famous Roman Emperors and their down-fall. Fascinating stuff!


u/Caradnick · 1 pointr/ancientrome

Hey :-)
It depends on what you mean by book (as in to purchase or if you have a University Library that you could grab from). I'll assume you want to purchase one (if not, let me know).

Here is a short list of works that contain some great information about Diocletian (but are not solely about him):

Gibbon's Decline and Fall - it has it's issues but they are easily moved to the side, this work has been probably the most influential with regards to this era of Roman History (This is not exactly the most fun read, being over 1000 pages, but it is too important for me not to mention)

For a shorter read Averil Cameron's The Later Roman Empire is a great introductory work and has a good chapter on Diocletian (as well as the Tetrarchs in general), an advantage of this book is that is costs like £0.40 used so even if you hate it, you've not invested in it much!

Otherwise any really good scholarly books I can think of are more of a University book and cost around £25+ each. I have a good list of books like this if you have a want for them :-)

u/Ankyra · 1 pointr/ancientrome

If you're really an enthusiast and can afford to build yourself a nice collection, you could look into getting some Loeb Classical Library volumes which have the Latin original on one side and the English translation on the other. Others have already suggested Livy, Suetonius, Juvenal and Julius Caesar, though as I said, if you're an enthusiast, they will all be of value. I'd add Tacitus and Pliny also for good measure.

"From the Gracchi to Nero: A History of Rome 133 BC to AD 68" by H.H. Scullard has been recommended, though it doesn't (entirely) cover the period you're interested in, it's very good in explaining the lead-up to the Roman Empire. I'm not sure about other's views on Scullard, so best to ask them.

Edward Gibbon has already been mentioned, I'd probably also add Colin Wells' "The Roman Empire", A. Cameron's "The Later Roman Empire" and M. Goodman's "The Roman World 44 BC-AD 180".

Best of luck with everything and congratulations on your new house!

u/PantaniAintDead · 3 pointsr/ancientrome

Hope I'm not too late to the party. In this thread you'll find a lot of material on Rome, but I wouldn't go as far as calling them sources. HBO's Rome is a historical fiction TV series, and Dan Carlin's Hardcore History, of which I'm a fan, should never substitute genuine academic work or ancient literature. If you're looking for books, there's a plethora of works to choose from.

In the lighter end of literature, you'd do well reading Mary Beard, Adrian Goldsworthy or Tom Holland - all educated in Classicism from either Oxford or Cambridge. I'd categorise most of their work as popular history, so they're easy reads, yet made with authority on the subject.

If you want your information straight from the horse's mouth, you can also look into works written by the Romans themselves, such as Livy, Plutarch or Suetonius. Reading these can be a little challenging/dull at times though, as they don't conform to our modern ways of structuring a narrative.

As for fiction, which, if done right, does have something to offer, you'd benefit from checking out I, Claudius, Memoirs of Hadrian or Julian imo.

u/Demderdemden · 2 pointsr/ancientrome

I've found Maccay's book to be pretty easy for people with no knowledge of Rome to digest. It's simple, straight forward, and packs a lot of info into a short book. It's not something I'd want to see in an academic paper, but it's a good introduction that provides enough info for someone to then go on and find those specific topics they were interested in easier.

u/whitacd · 1 pointr/ancientrome

If you're enjoying SPQR, I highly highly recommend Mary Beard's Fires of Vesuvius. It's my favorite book on the Romans.

I also really like Caesar by Goldsworthy, along with everyone else here, apparently.

u/Frodiddly · 16 pointsr/ancientrome

I would say in the period immediately following the Second Punic War.

Rome had just defeat it's greatest enemy, and would have no serious threats to it's existence for hundreds of years. The spoils from Carthage greatly enhanced the wealth of it's people (especially the elite), yet it was not quite to the point where decadence and corruption had completely overtaken the people.

The army was strong, and still owed loyalty to the state, instead of individual generals in the post-Marian reforms era. Of course, some of Rome's greatest commanders (namely, Scipio Africanus) were still alive and kicking. Territories in Spain, Sicily, and North Africa were in the process of annexation (so, perhaps dock a few points for stability there).

It would be quick turnaround in a few years, once the Glory-Seekers (i.e., Marius, Sulla, the Triumvirates), came around. But at the end of the 3rd century BCE, things were going pretty well for Roma.

I'd really disagree with the "Pax Romana" period of Augustus' reign being the best. To me, even that period looked nice on the outside, but was rotten to the core. We have a tendency to romanticize the early empire, I think. Check out Ronald Syme's book, The Roman Revolution. One might make the argument that it's a bit dated at this point, but I think it gives some very interesting insight into the Caesars, and helps de-romanticize them.

u/WanderAndDream · 1 pointr/ancientrome

This is one of my favorite books on Roman history, and it focuses closely on the relationship of the Empire and the Germanic tribes on its borders. It's written in an engrossing narrative style and is very easy to read.

"The Fall of the Roman Empire" by Peter Heather.

u/fun_young_man · 2 pointsr/ancientrome

Ronald Syme's Roman Revolution would be my 'scholarly 'recommendation.

Chronicle of the Roman Republic/Empire would be my recommendation for a true introductory look and for use as a quick reference when reading more in depth texts, plus its pretty.

A good middle of the road intro text to the republic although the translation is a little clunky

This book also comes highly recommended but I haven't read it myself.

u/RunOfTheMillGoblin · 2 pointsr/ancientrome

I'd recommend "Handbook to Life in Ancient Rome" By Leslie and Roy Adkins. Its full of diagrams and maps. Its a pretty accessible read, few topics are covered in more than a couple of paragraphs.

u/jumpstartation · 11 pointsr/ancientrome
  • The Complete Roman Army by Adrian Goldsworthy (2011).

  • Roman Warfare by Adrian Goldsworhy (2005).

    From the /r/AskHistorians book wiki:

  • Ancient Rome: A Military and Political History by Christopher S. Mackay (2004). A survey primarily covering political and military history. It provides a solid understanding of events, their significance and implications on the Roman state. It covers both Empire and Republic very efficiently. (This book is required reading for history undergrads at my university)
u/XBebop · 2 pointsr/ancientrome

I recommend Klaus Bringmann's A History of the Roman Republic. I also recommend a reader, such as Dillon and Garland's Ancient Rome: From the Early Republic to the Assassination of Julius Caesar. These two books together should give you an excellent look at the Republican era.