History » Ancient History
What is ancient history? It’s somewhat hard to define in terms of a beginning and an end, but at Five Books we tend to think it includes anything from the earliest civilizations (such as the ancient Egyptians) through to about 500 AD, when the Roman empire had come to an end (Odoacer, a German warrior, appointed himself ‘king’ of Italy in 476). We’ve also included our interviews on Byzantium, the eastern part of the Roman Empire, even though that didn’t fall until 1453.
For a greater understanding of that long ago time, we’ve turned to some of the leading experts of the era to recommend the best books ever written on ancient history. Historians including Peter Brown, Robin Lane Fox and Mary Beard have all been kind enough to create reading lists for us. Our interview with Oxford’s emeritus professor Chris Pelling, on Ancient Greece, is a perennial favourite on the site and his book co-authored with Marina Wyke, Twelve Voices, highly recommended as a way of getting into the literature of the Latin and Greek worlds. (Oh, and if you want to read that literature in the original, we have reading lists for learning both Latin and Ancient Greek),
Please email us if you have suggestions for further people to interview and topics to cover. We realize that many important early civilizations aren’t on the site yet. You can also make your own list here.