I've listed the name of the recommender after each set of Roman novels (or other info--the people on this list are astonishingly knowledgeable, as I already knew, but continue to marvel at). Lisa Avanger (C513024@MIZZOU1.missouri.edu) sent info about Johanna Shafer's list which is included here; Stefan Cramme (email@example.com) has compiled a list of 1500 or so titles (that's not a typo!) of fictional books dealing with ancient Rome and written in modern European languages, and has on the back-burner a Roman-fiction project that sounds incredibly interesting, if a bit daunting. Jan van Puffelen (J.van.Puffelen@uni4nn.iaf.nl) sent a list compiled by Rick Heli, I believe, and available by ftp (supposedly: I've had bad luck with getting it) from netcom.netcom.com. The file is called /ftp/pub/he/heli/RomanMys/roman.mysteries, and e-mail questions or comments on it should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
I've kept with each book an edited-down version of the responder's comments on books (I hope I haven't misquoted anyone), when that was given. When I could, I added missing info to responses. (If anyone's interested in receiving a completely updated list, let me know and I'll send that along when I have finished sorting!) At the end I've appended Johanna Shafer's list of recent mysteries, etc., and some excerpts (mostly of English selections) from the large annotated compilation that Jan van Puffelen sent of Roman mysteries in modern European languages and English (including some translations of English-language potboilers!) THEN I've added my own previous list to this already despicably long posting, at the request of some responders I hasten to add. There's some duplication, but not much considering how many different people were giving their favorites. Thanks to everyone who responded, again! Notes in brackets are mine; names of contributors are put in brackets at the end of each group of suggested novels.
My original suspicions about the lack of interest in Carthage were perhaps a bit too strong, and Flaubert's *Salammbo* is a sort of big thing to have overlooked, considering that several movies, including *Cabiria*, the early silent movie which Fellini shows clips from inside *Roma*, were based (if somewhat loosely) on it.
Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
William Ware's 1889 novel, Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra, and the successor volume, Aurelian. [Richard Stoneman, RSTONEMAN@routledge.com]
"The TLS for 23 June 1995 reviews novels by William Golding, The Double Tongue, and Lindsey Davis, Time to Depart, which take place in the ancient world." [Philip E. Schwartz, Friends Seminary, NYC, email@example.com]
JOHANNA SHAFER's list: Lindsey Davis: Mary Renault: Silver Pigs The King Must Die Shadows in Bronze The Bull from the Sea Venus in Copper The Persian Boy The Iron Hand of Mars The Last of the Wine Poseidon's Gold John Maddox Roberts (SPQR series) Steven Saylor SPQR Roman Blood SPQR II Arms of Nemesis The Sacrilege Catilina's Riddle The Temple of the Muses Colleen McCullough Ronald Burns The First Man in Rome Roman Nights The Grass Crown Fortune's Favorite Taylor Caldwell Pillar of Iron Carole Clemeau The Ariadne Clue Cristoph Ransmeyer Die Letzte Welt (translated into Spanish: El Ultimo Mundo) Wintilea Horia's Prix Goncourt Dieu est ne en exil Elizabeth Peters Trojan Gold Donna Tartt The Secret History Bryher The Coin of Carthage The Heart to Artemis (?) Roman Wall (?)
JAN VAN PUFFELEN's list: The booklist compiled by Jan van Puffelen describes mystery novels set in ancient Rome. The list contains the following sections: Novels in Dutch Novels in English Novels in French Novels in German Novels in Italian Novels in Spanish Roman Mysteries in Anthologies Roman Mysteries in Magazines Mysteries by Time Period Biographies of the Authors Jan thanks Stefan Cramme (firstname.lastname@example.org) for providing all of the information and ratings for mysteries published in France and Germany, Jan Theo Bakker (BMDW@rullf2.LeidenUniv.nl) for information on mysteries published in Italy, and Dennis Lien (D-LIEN@vm1.spcs.umn.edu) for information on the Wallace Nichols stories. This list is posted for subscribers to rec.arts.mysteries, alt.books.reviews and sci.classics on a monthly basis. It is available via ftp from netcom.netcom.com. Get the file /ftp/pub/he/heli/RomanMys/roman.mysteries Email questions/comments to email@example.com. Some excerpts: Burns, Ron, _Roman Nights_ (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1991). Marcus Aurelius, Emperor of Rome, is away in Germany, fighting barbarians. Meanwhile, someone is killing the Stoic philosophers one by one. Senator's son Livinius Severus sets out to discover why. [*] Burns, Ron, _Roman Shadows_ (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1992). Junior Roman Senator Gaius Livinius Severus finds himself engulfed in danger and intrigue in the turbulent days following the assassination of Julius Caesar. [*+] Hambly, Barbara, _Search the Seven Hills_ (New York: Ballantine, 1983 Published in hardcover as _The Quirinal Hill Affair_). It is A.D. 116. The Roman Streets are quiet. The moon is full. The perfect setting for the perfect crime... A young philosopher seeks a kidnapped woman in the areas of Ancient Rome's Quirinal Hill. Are some of Rome's early Christians behind it? [***] O'Hagan, Joan, _Roman Death, A_ (New York: Doubleday, 1988). Set during the dictatorship of Julius Caesar. The marriage alliance of the Fufidii and Scauri families is headed for trouble after one of the principals is found dead. When Fufidius' wife is accused of murder and incest, only Cicero can hope to win her case. An unusual multiple point-of-view mystery which sheds light on the life of women in ancient Rome. [**+] Jean-Pierre N`eraudau, 2 novels in French (German trans. available of one) Hans Dieter Stoever's books in German (both adult and juvenile mysteries) Rosario Magr's Italian novels For lots more, see Jan's list!!!
Carolyn Keene, Rendezvous in Rome (NY 1992, new edition?), a Nancy Drew mystery set in modern Rome; plot involves an Etruscan necklace.
Macaulay, Lays of Ancient Rome (London 1842): hypothetical and imaginative reconstructions of what early Roman "epics" might have been like.
William Shakespeare, playwright and poet: Coriolanus (compare Plutarch's Life of Coriolanus); The Rape of Lucrece (poem about the rape of Lucretia by Tarquinius Superbus and her subsequent suicide; story can be found in the first book of Livy's History of Rome).
Rosemary Sutcliff, a.k.a. Shirley Felts, two pre-Roman Britain books: Sun Horse, Moon Horse (NY 1978), in which a boy becomes chieftain of his tribe; and Warrior Scarlet (NY 1958).
Mika Waltari, The Etruscan (NY 1956, translated by Lily Leino) and others (The Egyptian, The Roman?).
Marguerite Yourcenar, Anna, soror-- (Paris 1981), title based on Dido's words in the fourth book of the Aeneid of Vergil.
G.A. Henty (1832-1902), The Young Carthaginian: A Story of the Times of Hannibal (London/Glasgow undated, probably ...). Boy's adventure story; main character is a boy from Carthage during the time of the second (?) Punic War.
Marilyn Hirsh, Hannibal and His Seven Elephants (NY 1977), children's story.
to add (from Lisa Avanger on Classics List 7/2/95):
1.) Howard Fast's, Spartacus, NY: Dell, 1980, c1979. (fiction)
2.) Aram Ilich Khachaturian's (1903-1978) Spartacus (musical composition) (to be included in revised music list)
3.) Arthur Koestler's, The Gladiators, Hutchinson, c1965 (fiction; German)
4.) Giuseppe Porsile's (1640-1770) Spartaco (opera) and more.
John Buchan, Julius Caesar (London 1932). Serious biography, by the famous Scottish novelist.
Taylor Caldwell, A Pillar of Iron (Garden City, NY, 1965), about Cicero and his time.
Alfred Leo Duggan [1903-1964], Winter Quarters (NY 1956), set in the late Republic; Three's Company (NY 1958), about the second Triumvirate (Lepidus, Antony and Octavian).
Howard Fast, Spartacus (NY 1951), about the famous slave-revolution of 73 BCE.
Benita Kane Jaro, The Key (NY 1988), about the poet Catullus.
Allan Massie, Caesar (NY 1994, published in Britain 1993 by Hodder and Stoughton), about Julius Caesar.
Colleen McCullough, The First Man in Rome (1990), The Grass Crown (1992), Fortune's Favorites (1993), historical novels about Republican Rome.
Joan O'Hagan, A Roman Death (NY 1989). About Catullus, poet of the late Republic.
John Maddox Roberts, the Decius Caecilius Metellus mysteries, set during crucial periods of the Roman Republic: SPQR (NY 1990); SPQR II: The Catiline Conspiracy (NY 1991); The Sacrilege (NY 1992); The Temple of the Muses (NY 1992); Mightier Than the Sword; Saturnalia.
Steven Saylor, a series of action/mystery novels set at crucial times during the Roman Republic: Roman Blood (NY 1990), about the murder of Sextus Roscius of Ameria the Elder in 79 BCE, a case solved by Cicero; Arms of Nemesis (NY 1992), about the slave uprising of Spartacus in 73 BCE; Catilina's Riddle (NY 1993), about the Catilinarian conspiracy of 63 BCE; The Venus Throw (NY 1995), set in the period of the first Triumvirate (Crassus, Pompey and Julius Caesar, 60-53 BCE).
William Shakespeare, playwright and poet: Julius Caesar (compare Plutarch's Life of Julius Caesar); Antony and Cleopatra (compare Plutarch's Life of Antony); Cymbeline (set in Roman Britain); Pericles (set in the Roman East? Kings of Antioch and Tyre appear, as do Governors of Tarsus and Mytilene).
Rosemary Sutcliff, a.k.a. Shirley Felts, a series of children's books set in Roman Britain: The Eagle of the Ninth (NY 1954); Frontier Wolf (NY 1981), about a young army officer who is sent to Northern England as punishment, to assume command of a motley group known as the Frontier Wolves! [is this republic or empire??]
John and Esther Wagner, The Gift of Rome (Boston 1961), about Cicero.
R.F. Wells, With Caesar's Legions: the adventures of two Roman youths in the conquest of Gaul (NY 1951, 1963), aimed at young school-boys reading Caesar's Commentaries.
Thornton Wilder, playwright: The Ides of March (NY 1948), re-telling of the story of the death of Julius Caesar (44 BCE).
Joanne S. Williamson, The Eagles Have Flown (NY 1957), set during the (late?) Republic.
SEE ALSO: "The Republic of Rome," by the Avalon Hill Game Company (Baltimore 1990), a "game of political intrigue in the ancient world (264-43 BC)", a "bookcase" game. Available in game and comics stores; note on back reads in part "Be forewarned! REPUBLIC OF ROME is not a wargame in the traditional sense. It is a game of political intrigue with military overtones that literally oozes the rich detail of the period's history. A deck of 192 illustrated cards sets the scene for the panoramic spectacle that was the Roman republic. As that history unfolds before them, each player's faction of influential Senators vies for political power, military commands, and economic advantages against the backdrop of a turbulent world...." Solitaire and two-player version possible.
Hermann Broch, The Death of Vergil (Der Tod Vergils), trans. J.S. Untermeyer (NY 1945).
John Buchan, Julius Caesar (London 1932); Augustus (Boston 1937). Serious biographies of the two men by the famous Scottish novelist.
David Malouf, An Imaginary Life (NY 1978), about Ovid's exile.
Allan Massie, Let the Emperor Speak: a novel of Caesar Augustus (Garden City, NY, 1987, first American edition of British novel originally titled Augustus).
Gore Vidal, Messiah (Boston 1965). [is this correct period?]
John Edward Williams, Augustus (NY 1972).
Lloyd C. Douglas, The Robe (Boston 1942), basis for the famous movie; set immediately after the death of Jesus.
Pauline Gedge, The Raven and the Eagle (NY 1978), about the uprising against the Romans of Queen Boadicea, leader of the Iceni and other British tribes, in 62 CE; also, Child of the Morning (NY 1977) on Queen Hatshepsut of Egypt (ca. 1570-1320 BCE), and The Twelfth Transforming (NY 1984) about Akhenaton, ruler during the 18th dynasty of Egypt, same period.
Donna Gillespie, The Light Bearer (NY 1994), about a woman soldier in Germany under the Emperor Nero (54-68 CE).
Ralph A. Graves, The Lost Eagles (NY 1955), period of Julio-Claudian Emperors.
Robert Graves, I, Claudius (NY 1934 and later reprints); Claudius the God and his wife Messalina (London 1934 and later reprints), both about the Emperor Claudius (41-54 CE) and his family from Augustus to Nero.
Katharine Kincaid, Beloved Bondage (NY 1993), about the Emperor Caligula (!).
Paul L. Maier, The Flames of Rome: a documentary novel (Garden City, NY, 1981).
Naomi Mitchison, Blood of the Martyrs: how the slaves in Rome found victory in Christ (Chicago 1939, rpt. 1994). "Christian epic" of the time of Nero.
H. Warner Munn, The Lost Legion (Garden City, NY, 1980), set in time of the Emperor Caligula (37-41 CE).
Anthony Price, The Boudica Killing (62 CE)?
Francine Rivers, author of series Mark of the Lion: An Echo in the Darkness (Wheaton, IL, 1994), about a female slave during period of early Christians; A Voice in the Wind (Wheaton, IL, 1993), same setting.
Vincent Sheean, Beware of Caesar (NY 1965), story of the Emperor Nero (54-68 CE) and Seneca, orator and man of letters, and Nero's former tutor, close friend and advisor.
Henryk Sienkiewicz, Quo Vadis? (English translation by J. Curtin, London 1897, originally published in Polish in 1896), about the Christians under the reign of the Emperor Nero. (Current translation:...)
Rosemary Sutcliff, a.k.a. Shirley Felts, Song for a Dark Queen (NY 1979), about Boadicea, queen of the Iceni, who led them and other British tribes in a valiant but futile revolt against the Romans in 62 CE.
Karl Tunberg, The Quest of Ben Hur (NY 1981). Period of the reign of Nero; re-telling of the story by Lew Wallace.
Gore Vidal, by William Howard, Gore Vidal's Caligula (NY 1979), a novel based on Gore Vidal's original screenplay Caligula, which was so hideously deformed by its producers that in the end Vidal refused to have his name associated with the movie.
(Major General) Lew Wallace, Ben-Hur (1880), about early Christians. Set in time of Nero.
Leonard Wibberley, The Testament of Theophilus: a novel of Christ and Caesar (NY 1973), time of Emperors Tiberius (14-37 CE) and Caligula (37-41 CE).
Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Blood Games: a novel of historical horror [3rd in the Count de Saint-Germain series] (NY 1979), set in the 18th century, but deals also with vampires and the time of Nero (!).
Edward George Earle Bulwer-Lytton, The Last Days of Pompeii (1834).
Lindsay Davis, the Marcus Didius Falco detective novels: Silver Pigs (NY 1989); Shadows in Bronze (NY 1990); Venus in Copper (NY 1991); The Iron Hand of Mars (NY 1993); Poseidon's Gold (NY 1994); and Last Act in Palmyra (London 1994). All are set in the time of the Emperor Vespasian (69-79 CE).
Sven Delblanc, Jerusalem's Night (Stockholm 1984) and others, in Swedish. 70 CE.
Lion Feuchtwanger [1884-1958], The Jew of Rome (NY 1936, translation of Die Sohne), about Josephus, set in 1st century CE, Flavian period; Josephus (..?).
Willa Gibbs, A Fig in Winter (NY 1963), about the Emperor Marcus Aurelius (161-180).
Sulamith Ish-Kishor, Drusilla: A Novel of the Emperor Hadrian (NY 1970). The young daughter of a Roman senator pleads with the Emperor for the life of a condemned subject.
Robert H. Pilpel, Between Eternities (San Diego, CA, 1985), about the Emperor Marcus Aurelius (161-180 CE).
Barbara Ker Wilson, In the Shadow of Vesuvius (Cleveland, OH, 1963), about two children who become slaves to a Roman senator, around the year 79 CE (when Vesuvius erupted).
Henry Winterfield, Detectives in Togas (NY 1956, translation of Caius ist ein Dummkopf); Mystery of the Roman Ransom (NY 1971, translation of Caius geht ein Licht auf by Fritz Biermann), both mysteries solved by Roman schoolboys in the time that the graffiti in Pompeii was written. Set in Pompeii.
Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Locadio's Apprentice (NY 1984), a boy from Pompeii becomes apprenticed to a physician around the year 79 CE (when Vesuvius erupted).
Marguerite Yourcenar, The Memoirs of Hadrian (English translation Garden City, NJ, 1957; published in French originally, Paris 1951), about the Emperor Hadrian's obsessive love for the youth Antinous.
Alfred Leo Duggan [1903-1964], Family Favorites (NY 1960), about the Emperor Elagabalus (218-222).
Ralph Dulin, The Unconquered Sun (NY 1963). Set in the time of the Emperor Aurelian; told through eyes of wife Severina. Includes good descriptions of travel through the Balkans, a region that was being devastated by the invading Goths.
Wilma P. Hays, The Story of Valentine (NY 1956), children's story of the martyrdom of St. Valentine (290s CE).
Charles Kingsley, Hypatia: New Foes with an Old Face (London 1853), about the famous female philosopher and the social atmosphere among Christians and pagans of the 3rd to 4th century CE. Also, on Alexandria?: Alexandria and her Schools (Cambridge, England, 1854).
Gladys Schmitt [1909- ], Confessors of the Name (NY 1952), about the persecution of the Christians under the Emperor Decius (249-251 CE).
Jill C. Wheeler, There's No Place Like Rome (Bloomington, MN, 1988), children's novel about two children who travel back to Rome under the Empire (284-476) to replace a lost coin. [check time?]
Gillian Bradshaw, The Beacon at Alexandria (NY 1986), about a noble girl from the city of Ephesus, Asia Minor, in the time of the Eastern Emperor Valens 364-78, who disguises herself as a eunuch and sails to Alexandria in order to study medicine and become a doctor; The Bearkeeper's Daughter (Boston 1987) about Theodora, Empress to the Emperor Justinian 527-65 CE; Imperial Purple (Boston 1988) about the Emperor Theodosius II, 408-50 CE; also, a children's book: The Land of Gold (NY 1992) about a Nubian princess who is helped to her rightful place on the throne of Nubia by two friendly Egyptians and the dragon Hathor! Gillian Bradshaw has also written a trilogy set in King Arthur's England: Hawk of May (NY 1980), Kingdom of Summer (NY 1981) and In Winter's Shadow (NY 1982).
Michael Crichton, Eaters of the Dead ..., tenth-century fantasy-seeing Romans from Asian point of view.
Robert Graves, Count Belisarius (NY and London 1938) about the nobleman who lived about 505 to 565 CE.
Hella S. Haasse, Threshold of Fire: a novel of fifth century Rome (Chicago 1993, translation of Nieuwer Testament).
Gary Jennings, Raptor (NY 1992), about Theodoric, King of the Ostrogoths 454?-526. Historical fiction about the Goths who were invading the Empire.
Kathleen Robinson, Heaven's Only Daughter (NY 1993), time of the Emperor Honorius (395-423 CE).
Vivian Schurfranz, Roman Hostage (Chicago 1975). Set in 4th-century Constantinople, hero is a young Visigoth who returns to his people to play a part in the Battle of Adrianople (378).
William Shakespeare, playwright and poet: Titus Andronicus (set in late Empire, before reign of Saturninus; Titus Andronicus is a Roman general fighting the Goths).
Rosemary Sutcliff, a.k.a. Shirley Felts, children's books based on the story of the Holy Grail, in the time of King Arthur: The Light Beyond the Forest (NY 1980), The Road to Camlann (NY 1982); The Shining Company (?) (NY 1990); The Sword and the Circle (NY 1981); Sword at Sunset (NY 1963). Also, The Shield Ring (NY 1972), in which a young British girl in 11th century CE England is witness to the waning power of the Norse in their continuing conflict with the Normans; and, set in the 12th century, The Witch's Brat (NY 1970).
Harry Turtledove, "Videssos Cycle" (= The Misplaced Legion, Emperor for the Legion, The Legion of Videssos, and The Swords of Videssos). Books about a hypothetical Roman legion lost in China; reworking of Byzantine history with some Republican Rome thrown in (versions of stories from Polybius and others). Turtledove also wrote Agent of Byzantium (appeared as Isaac Asimov presents Agent of Byzantium, NY 1987), a political intrigue thriller set in mid-Byzantine period (1081-1453); also, Death in Versunna
Gore Vidal, Julian (Boston? 1962), about the Emperor Julian the Apostate, who tried to revive the Roman state religion, during his rule in 361-363 CE; Romulus, the Broadway adaptation from the original Romulus the Great by F. Durrenmatt, translated by G. Nellhaus, preface by G. Vidal, NY 1966, about Romulus Augustulus, the last Roman Emperor in the West.
Margot Arnold, The Catacomb Conspiracy [a Penny Spring and Sir Toby Glendower mystery], Woodstock, VT (Foul Play Press), 1991. A woman anthropologist solves a mystery in Rome.
Anthony Burgess, The Kingdom of the Wicked (NY 1985), about the early period of Christianity.
Ron Burns: Roman Nights; Roman Shadows
Noah Gordon, The Physician (NY 1986), about an English boy who travels to the Arab world to get medical training. Also, The Rabbi (NY 1965).
Barbara Hambly, Search the Seven Hills = The Quirinal Hill Affair
Jan de Hartog, The Centurion (NY 1989) and (perhaps?)The Captain (NY 1966); The Children (NY 1968).
Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Marble Faun (a mystery set in 19th-century Rome).
Edward D. Hoch, The Three Travelers
John James, Not for All the Gold in Ireland: Photinus, a Greek trader, is the hero; the novel is set in Roman Britain and Ireland.
Ernest Kellogg, The Triumph (NY 1986), set in first century CE.
Wallace Nichols, The Case of the Empress' Jewels; The Two Musicians
Andre Norton and Susan Schwartz, Empire of the Eagle (1993 or 1994?).
Walter Pater, Marius the Epicurean (London 1885), about early Christianity and its relation to Roman philosophy.
Anthony Price, A Green Boy
Rosemary Sutcliff, a.k.a. Shirley Felts, The Lantern Bearers (NY 1959)
Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Four Horses for Tishtry (NY 1985), about a slave-girl under the Roman Empire with a love for horses and trick-riding.
James Yoffe, The Problem of the Emperor's Mushrooms [see Jan van Puffelen's list]