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"Favorite Ancients Novel?" Topic

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05 Jan 2019 6:01 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Crossposted to Ancients Media board

Areas of Interest


819 hits since 5 Jan 2019
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian05 Jan 2019 6:00 p.m. PST

What is your favorite novel set prior to 500 AD?

14Bore05 Jan 2019 6:11 p.m. PST

Never read Ben Hur but might be my guess

Personal logo D6 Junkie Supporting Member of TMP05 Jan 2019 6:13 p.m. PST

Funeral Games by Mary Renault

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP05 Jan 2019 6:15 p.m. PST

Darkness Over Cannae by J.N. Dolfen.

Personal logo StoneMtnMinis Supporting Member of TMP05 Jan 2019 6:21 p.m. PST

The SPQR mysteries by John Robert Maddox.

BorisTheSpider05 Jan 2019 6:28 p.m. PST

Harry Sidebottom's Ballista stories

Personal logo Milhouse Supporting Member of TMP05 Jan 2019 6:35 p.m. PST

Gates of Fire by Pressfield

Oberlindes Sol LIC05 Jan 2019 6:36 p.m. PST

Ancient Evenings by Norman Mailer (1983).

rick3205 Jan 2019 6:42 p.m. PST

I have become partial to Christian Cameron's writings. If I had to choose, I think his "Alexander, God of War" is one for f his best, if you like it, I recommend his Tyrant series and Marathon series.

I am also enjoying Glenn Iliffe's King of Ithaca series on the Trojan War as told by a warrior fighting for Odysseus. Yes, not historical, with fantastical elements but I think it works rather well.

And finally, Steven Pressfield's Gates of Fire. It ignited my passion for ancient history both fiction and non-fiction. A real treat is to listen to the abridged version read by Derek Jacobi. I cannot recommend Pressfield's Alcibiades books and I found Cameron the superior storyteller for Alexander but Gates of Fire is worth reading and re-eeading

Winston Smith05 Jan 2019 7:07 p.m. PST

Julian by Gore Vidal.

Lest Darkness Fall by L Sprague de Camp.

I Clavdivs and Clavdivs the God by Robert Graves.

lloydthegamer Supporting Member of TMP05 Jan 2019 7:34 p.m. PST

Macro and Cato novels by Simon Scarrow
Gordianus the Finder novels by Steve Saylor

Both series are excellent

Ragbones Supporting Member of TMP05 Jan 2019 7:45 p.m. PST

Eagle in the Snow by Wallace Breem.

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian05 Jan 2019 7:47 p.m. PST

Please be specific about the title, thank you.

Gone Fishing05 Jan 2019 8:07 p.m. PST

Quo Vadis by Sinkiewicz.

Ragbones Supporting Member of TMP05 Jan 2019 8:28 p.m. PST

Tides of War, by Steven Pressfield.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP05 Jan 2019 8:41 p.m. PST

The Eagle of the Ninth

óboth by Rosemary Sutcliff

I also like Gates of Fire and Lest Darkness Fall, though as a point of order, the latter is set after 500AD, and is a time-travel/alternate history SF work.

Allen5705 Jan 2019 8:58 p.m. PST

The Gordians the finder series by Saylor or the Marius Mules series by Turney.

dragon605 Jan 2019 9:36 p.m. PST

So I'll cheat a little, Count Belisarius by Robert Graves

The last of the wine by Mary Renault

Zephyr105 Jan 2019 10:01 p.m. PST

"An Elephant for Aristotle" is pretty darn good. Got it somewhere in my book collection… :-)

Personal logo Milhouse Supporting Member of TMP05 Jan 2019 10:22 p.m. PST

Almost forgot, The Ransom by Maloof . A novel about King Priam retrieving Hectors body from Achilles. Superb.

Perris070705 Jan 2019 10:26 p.m. PST

Hannibal by Harold Lamb. Great read!

goragrad05 Jan 2019 10:31 p.m. PST

Eagle of the Ninth and The Silver Branch – Sutcliff.

Benvartok06 Jan 2019 12:21 a.m. PST

Ross Leckie – Hannibal
Ross Leckie – Scipio
Ursula Le Guin – Lavinia
Harry Sidebottom – warrior of Rome series – fire in the east, king of kings, lion of the sun
Adrian Goldsworthy – Vindolanda
Steven Pressfield- gates of fire

But if choosing one then Lavinia over Hannibal. The Le Guin book is about the Trojan founding of Rome, excellent read!

4DJones06 Jan 2019 2:23 a.m. PST

Salammbo, by Gustave Flaubert

Personal logo Dschebe Supporting Member of TMP06 Jan 2019 3:27 a.m. PST

Sinuhe, by Mika Waltari.

And only after this one: Funerary Games by Mary Renault, The first man in Rome by Colleen McCulough…

advocate06 Jan 2019 3:29 a.m. PST

Robert Graves, "I Claudius" – or "I Clavdivs" as my father always called it.

Huscarle06 Jan 2019 5:23 a.m. PST

So many to choose from, but some of my favourites not mentioned above are:-

David Wishart's "Marcus Corvinus" novels (the best of the Roman detective stories IMHO), opens with "Ovid", and "The Horse Boy" a novel set around the Boudiccan revolt.

Patricia Finney "The Crow Goddess" & "Shadow of Gulls"

Alfred Duggan "Winter Quarters" & "Three's Company"

Gillian Bradshaw "Island of Ghosts"

Paul Doherty's Ancient Egyptian trilogy containing "An Evil Spirit Out of the West", "The Season of the Hyaena", & "The Year of the Cobra".

Lauren Haney's "Lieutenant Bak" series starting with "The Right Hand of Amon"

Scott Oden "Memnon"

Rosemary Sutcliff "The Sword at Sunset"

Henry Treece "Jason"

George Shipway "Warrior in Bronze"

Personal logo Florida Tory Supporting Member of TMP06 Jan 2019 7:15 a.m. PST

I, Claudius

The "v" is only used for inscriptions.


Coelacanth Supporting Member of TMP06 Jan 2019 7:57 a.m. PST

Soldier of the Mist by Gene Wolfe.


Big Red Supporting Member of TMP06 Jan 2019 8:47 a.m. PST

Twilight of Empire series by Ian Ross – starts with War at the Edge of the World.

rmaker06 Jan 2019 12:00 p.m. PST

Lindsay Davis's Falco and Flavia Albia series.
Another vote for Lieutenant Bak.
Dragon of the Ishtar Gate by DeCamp.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP06 Jan 2019 2:00 p.m. PST

Sword at Sunset, by Rosemary Sutcliff. Her Eagle of the Ninth is a close second.

JARROVIAN Supporting Member of TMP06 Jan 2019 2:03 p.m. PST

My list is almost a duplicate of Huscarle's, but I would add any Christian Cameron, Goldsworthy's Vindolanda, and the Egyptian 'Hippopotamus Marsh' trilogy of Pauline Gedge.
I also enjoyed the first 4 of Anthony Riches' Roman books.
As for favourites, it's a toss up between 'Winter Quarters' and 'Sword at Sunset'

Winston Smith06 Jan 2019 2:31 p.m. PST

I, Claudius

The "v" is only used for inscriptions.


As Foghorn Leghorn would say, "It's a joke, son."

Winston Smith06 Jan 2019 4:36 p.m. PST

Peregrine Primus, Avram Davidson.

Scott MacPhee06 Jan 2019 5:36 p.m. PST

Mary Renault: The King Must Die and The Bull from the Sea

khanscom06 Jan 2019 8:19 p.m. PST

"Jason" by Henry Treece

Lucius06 Jan 2019 9:05 p.m. PST

"Lavinia", by Ursula K. Le Guin, of all people, is a dark horse favorite, in which the earliest days of the Roman Republic finally get their due.

Colleen McCullough gets a vote for "The Song of Troy" for re-telling the Trojan War as a struggle by the Greeks to break Troy's monopoly on tin, which makes a lot more sense than the whole Helen thing.

sixlasers07 Jan 2019 6:47 a.m. PST

Try S. Turneys novels. The series is called Marius's Mules and is now up to book eleven. It follows the adventures of a fictitious legate called Fronto who campaigns with Caesar through all the Gallic wars and into the civil war that followed. Very readable and lots of action. Also the books are available on Kindle for a very reasonable price.

Major Mike07 Jan 2019 6:57 a.m. PST

Casca: The Eternal Mercenary by Barry Sadler

athun2507 Jan 2019 8:10 a.m. PST

Colleen McCullough for The First Man in Rome (the book, and the entire series).

gisbygeo Supporting Member of TMP07 Jan 2019 3:46 p.m. PST

'Votan' by John James

Patrick Sexton Supporting Member of TMP08 Jan 2019 11:36 a.m. PST

If it falls into the now stretched time frame; Sword at Sunset, by Rosemary Sutcliff.

HappyHiker15 Jan 2019 6:19 a.m. PST

The Iliad. :-)

By Homer Simpson apparently.

steve186519 Jan 2019 3:23 p.m. PST

I Claudius by R. Graves
Island of ghost and the sand reqiner by Gillan Bradshaw

BW195919 Jan 2019 4:27 p.m. PST

Another vote for "Gates of Fire" by Pressfield.

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