Back to Steven’s Bookshop


Find out what the Ancients read for pleasure in the massive Collected Ancient Greek Novels and in Anthology of Ancient Greek Popular Literature (which includes the delightful “Life of Aesop”). The Romans gave us The Golden Ass by Apuleius, a ribald tale of a man transformed into a donkey (splendidly translated by Robert Graves, author of I, Claudius), and the even more ribald Satyricon by Petronius (inspiration for the movie Fellini Satyricon).

Few historians can match the intense drama and majestic sweep of Livy, who lived in the age of Augustus and recounted the story of Rome from its beginning. The texts fill four volumes brimming with tragedy and triumph: I. The Early History of Rome, II. Rome and Italy, III. The War with Hannibal, and IV. Rome and the Mediterranean.

CICERO: MURDER TRIALS trans. by Michael Grant Includes Cicero’s speech for Sextus Roscius, accused of parricide — the inspiration for Steven’s first novel, Roman Blood. Great reading for true crime fans!

CICERO: SELECTED POLITICAL SPEECHES trans. by Michael Grant Includes speeches which inspired three of Steven’s novels — Catilina’s Riddle, The Venus Throw, and A Murder on the Appian Way.

JULIUS CAESAR: THE CONQUEST OF GAUL trans. by S.A. Handford Caesar’s fascinating account of his campaigns in Gaul. (As readers of Rubicon know, Gordianus’s son Meto did a lot of ghost-writing for J.C..)

JULIUS CAESAR: THE CIVIL WAR trans. by Jane Gardner Primary inspiration for Steven’s ongoing novels dealing with the Civil War between Caesar and Pompey, including Rubicon and Last Seen in Massilia.

SALLUST: CONSPIRACY OF CATILINE Our primary source (along with material in Cicero: Selected Political Speeches) for the events which inspired Steven’s novel Catilina’s Riddle.

SUETONIUS: THE TWELVE CAESARS trans. by Robert Graves The primary source for Graves’ I, Claudius also includes Suetonius’s seminal biography of Julius Caesar.

POEMS OF CATULLUS trans. by Peter Whigham The complete works of the scandalous poet who figures so prominently in Steven’s novel The Venus Throw.

THE AENEID by Virgil, trans. by David West Aeneas, survivor of Troy, journeys to Italy and founds the Roman race. This prose translation reads like a gripping adventure novel.

PLAUTUS: THE ROPE & OTHER PLAYS trans. by E.F. Watling When Gordianus goes to the theater, often it’s to see a comedy by Plautus, who inspired A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.

PLAUTUS: THE POT OF GOLD & OTHER PLAYS trans. by E.F. Watling “The Pot of Gold” is the comedy Gordianus and Eco see in the “Death Wears a Mask” in Steven’s The House of the Vestals. Great fun to read.

PLUTARCH: FALL OF THE ROMAN REPUBLIC trans. by Rex Warner Includes Plutarch’s biographies of Marius, Sulla, Pompey, Caesar, Cicero, and Crassus (villain of Steven’s Arms of Nemesis).

PLUTARCH: MAKERS OF ROME trans. by Ian Scott Kilvert The lives of nine Romans including Antony, Coriolanus, and Sertorius (subject of Steven’s story “The White Fawn” in A Gladiator Dies Only Once).

Back to Steven’s Bookshop