The Best Classics Books for Teenagers, recommended by Olly Murphy

Caesar, Cicero, Achilles, Socrates, Plato: millennia later, we still talk about them. Olly Murphy, classics teacher at Wycombe Abbey, one of England’s top girls’ schools, recommends books and explains why classics remains one of the most exciting subjects for teenagers to study.

The Best Classics Books for Children, recommended by Annelise Gray

Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire continue to fascinate children and provide fertile ground for historical novels that resonate with today’s readers. Author and classicist Annelise Gray talks us through some of her favourite books for children set in the ancient Mediterranean world and Roman Britain.

The Best Trojan War Books, recommended by Stephen Fry

The tale of the Trojan War—its causes, its heroes, the wooden horse, the gods and goddesses who dramatically change the course of events—has fascinated us down the ages and is embedded in our collective imagination. But where do the stories come from? British author and actor Stephen Fry lists some of the books that were most useful for Troy, his retelling of the Trojan War.

The best books on Virgil, recommended by Sarah Ruden

Virgil is one of the most influential poets in the history of Western literature. Here, another poet, Sarah Ruden, talks about the challenges of translating the Aeneid and why, although we know little about Virgil as a man, his great poem’s take on the violence and power struggles it depicts is deeply ambivalent.

The best books on Sparta, recommended by Andrew Bayliss

Their reputation for self-discipline and self-denial made their way into the English language, but what the ancient Spartans were really like remains a source of debate among scholars, not least because they wrote little themselves. Andrew Bayliss, Senior Lecturer in Greek History at the University of Birmingham and author of an excellent, short book on The Spartans, talks us through what we know about the heroes of Thermopylae, including the darker sides of their culture and society.

The best books on Augustus, recommended by Peter Wiseman

Is it possible that Augustus was not the first Roman emperor, but the last of Rome’s great populist champions? That’s what classicist Peter Wiseman argues in his book, The House of Augustus: A Historical Detective Story. Drawing on a lifetime of research and writing on this period, the emeritus professor of classics and ancient history gives a brilliant overview of the Augustan age, and recommends what to read to better understand the adopted son of Julius Caesar, who found Rome in brick and left it in marble.

The best books on The Odyssey, recommended by Emily Wilson

The Odyssey has been constantly rewritten by centuries of writers, but like so much of Greek myth, it's always already open to revising its own narrative. Emily Wilson, Professor of Classics at the University of Pennsylvania and the first woman to translate the Odyssey into English, recommends the best books to read after (or alongside) the Ancient Greek epic, and offers sage wisdom about both translating ancient epics and why everyone can learn from the Odyssey today.

The best books on Ancient Greece, recommended by Christopher Pelling

Ancient Greece’s legacy can be seen all around us, including in our political system — but many of us don’t know that much about it. Fortunately, we have someone who has devoted his life to studying this remote time and place to give us a reading list. Chris Pelling, Emeritus Regius Professor of Greek at Oxford, recommends his top five books on Ancient Greece.

The best books on Greek Myths, recommended by Lucy Coats

Lucy Coats, author of one of the best books Greek myth books for children, recommends her own favourites. There’s one for children, one for teenagers, one for scholars, one to read out loud and one that’s very definitely adult in content…

The best books on Ancient Rome, recommended by Harry Sidebottom

From the first book he recommends to students coming up to Oxford to read ancient history, to a short, popular book that weaves together all the scholarly research on the fall of the Roman Empire and the terrible things that happened as Rome was sacked by the Vandals, Oxford historian Harry Sidebottom talks us through five must-read books on Ancient Rome.