The novel and your collection

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Aliasuk, Sep 30, 2020.

  1. Aliasuk

    Aliasuk Member

    Just discovering the appeal of Roman coins and particularly the complexity of the historical background. As I’m on chemotherapy in the UK and because of COVID, am looking to an extended ‘lockdown’ for the rest of the year so I have time on my hands!

    My question to the group: who is your recommended/favourite fiction author for this period (and why)?

    Indeed any links of fiction to your favourite coins?

    I believe I am in capable hand!!
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  3. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    Any books from the following authors (in no particular order):
    Griff Hosker
    Peter Darman
    S.J.A. Turney
    Ben Kane
    R.W. Peake
    Jonathan Lunn
    Simon Scarrow
    Anthony Riches
    Bernard Cornwell
    Adrian Goldsworthy
    Judson Roberts

    This should keep you in reading material.

    I made a personal commitment to stop watching television, so I read several books per week. My imagination is much better than anything Hollywood can produce. Good luck to you with your treatment.
    capthank, TIF, PlanoSteve and 11 others like this.
  4. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Well-Known Member

    Aliasuk, Best of luck on your cancer treatments :D! I had a cancer battle 3 years ago & came out of it a winner. Always think positive ;). A wonderful novel I finished earlier this year is The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. It's a story of two boys who grew up together in Afghanistan before the Russian invasion, & a study of loyalty, betrayal & redemption. The plot is tense & complex with a surprise ending. Hosseini's books have been sold in 70 different countries.
  5. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    Alfred Duggan is an excellent author with numerous historical novels set in the Greek, Roman, and medieval periods.

    Knight with Armour (1946)
    The Conscience of the King (1951)
    The Little Emperors (1951)
    Thomas Becket of Canterbury (1952)
    Lady for Ransom (1953)
    Leopards and lilies (1954)
    God and My Right (1955)
    Winter Quarters (1956)
    Three's Company (1958)
    Founding Fathers (1959)
    aka Children of the Wolf
    The Cunning of the Dove (1960)
    The King of Athelney (1961)
    aka The Right Line of Cerdic
    Lord Geoffrey's Fancy (1962)
    Besieger of Cities (1963)
    aka Elephants and Castles
    Family Favourites (1963)
    Count Bohemond (1964)
    The Romans (1965)

    This list is taken from the very useful site, "Fantastic Fiction":
    capthank, PlanoSteve, DonnaML and 4 others like this.
  6. PlanoSteve

    PlanoSteve Well-Known Member

    @Aliasuk welcome to CT! :happy:;)

    You're getting some great suggestions already, & as I'm sure you will (or have) discover(ed), many of the write-ups by members in the "Ancients" forum will rival fiction publications. :singing: And remember, often with this subject, non-fiction is "stranger" than fiction. :D

    Hope you do well with the treatments! I had 9 weeks of proton radiation (prostate) & recently got my "2 yr" clean bill of health. :happy::singing:;)
  7. IanG

    IanG Well-Known Member

    If you haven't already read it, do try 'I, Claudius' by Robert Graves. It often appears on lists of the 100 best English language novels (not just historical novels) of the last 100 years. I also recommend 'Julian' by Gore Vidal about the life of Julian II, the last pagan Emperor. Although works of fiction both books are based on historical facts and extensive research. I loved them. My Claudius and Julian coins are shown below.

    Claudius - As, Rome, 50-54 AD


    Julian II - Double Maiorina, Thessaloniki, 360-363 AD.


    I wish you well with your treatment.
  8. kevin McGonigal

    kevin McGonigal Well-Known Member

    Try Robert Fabbri and his series on Vespasian. A lot of Vespasian's coins are out there and the series goes from Tiberius to Vespasian..
    IanG likes this.
  9. Parthicus

    Parthicus Well-Known Member

    Robert Graves' "I, Claudius" and "Claudius the God" are the obvious but correct first choices. Colleen McCullough wrote several novels in set in the late Republican/Imperatorial period that are lengthy but worth sticking with. There are also quite a lot of mystery novel series set in ancient Rome- I rather like the ones by Steven Taylor (starring "Gordianus the Finder") and Ruth Downie's "Medicus" series, about an army doctor during the reign of Hadrian. (Note that the Medicus books have different titles in the US and UK, don't get tricked into buying the same book twice.) If you also want to read about ancient Greece, Mary Renault is worth checking out, especially her trilogy about Alexander the Great ("Fire from Heaven", "The Persian Boy", and "Funeral Games").
  10. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Welcome to CT. Sorry to hear about the COVID - get well soon!

    I rather liked Lest Darkness Fall by L. Sprague de Camp. It is an alternative history of Rome at the time of the Gothic Wars, 5th century A.D.

    Wikipedia has an article on it with a rundown of the plot. A c. 1938 American archaeologist finds himself in Rome in the 6th century with nothing but the clothes on his back and a pocketful of Italian money of the Mussolini era. As I recall, his first visit is to a money-changer who goes over his weird coins (nickel!) and makes a deal...alternate history with coins.
    Theodosius, IanG and Pellinore like this.
  11. ominus1

    ominus1 Supporter! Supporter

    ..uh..that's also the name of one of a Star Trek OS series episodes..:)...and welcome to you @Aliasuk :)..good thoughts good words good deeds..
    +VGO.DVCKS, PlanoSteve and Alegandron like this.
  12. rrdenarius

    rrdenarius non omnibus dormio Supporter

    @Aliasuk welcome to ancient coin collecting and good luck with your treatments.
    I read several book series a few years ago. The two authors I liked best were Lindsey Davis and Ruth Downie. I could relate to the troubles surrounding the main characters. I listed the first books in each series:
    • The Silver Pigs: A Marcus Didius Falco Mystery (Marcus Didius Falco Mysteries Book 1) Oct 3, 2006 by Lindsey Davis
    • Medicus: A Novel of the Roman Empire (The Medicus Series, 1) Paperback – March 11, 2008 by Ruth Downie
    Two historic books that I liked:
    • 69 A.D.: The Year of Four Emperors by Gwyn Morgan - 2007
    • Rome vs Carthage the war at sea by Christa Steinby
    The Silver Pigs by Lindsey Davis.jpg Caveat Emptor A Novel of the Roman Empire.jpg Medicus Ruth Downie.jpg the year of 4 emperors 69 AD.jpg Rome vs Carthage war at sea.jpg
  13. robinjojo

    robinjojo Well-Known Member

    There are two classic works of fiction set in the Claudian Dynasty period, "I Claudius" and "Claudius the God", by Robert Graves. Perhaps you've read them, but if you haven't, I think you would enjoy them.

    If you are interested in a well written novel set in Greek Mythology, check out "Circe" by Madeline Miller.
  14. OutsiderSubtype

    OutsiderSubtype Well-Known Member

    There are many good suggestions already in this thread.

    I echo the praise of Ruth Downie and Lindsey Davis for lighthearted Roman murder mysteries. They could very well be what you want, nothing like a good murder to get you through quarantine!

    The Circe book by Madeline Miller is one of the most fun reads I've had in a long time. It's a wonderful take on the myths that is true to the original stories but also has a very modern perspective.

    The Robert Graves books are of course all time classics of English literature, and the Colleen McCullough books are good too. I will say this though - both authors should be read with an understanding of their personal lives and the politics of their times.
    Robert Graves for example had extreme difficulties with the women in his life which shows through in the Claudius books.

    Here are a couple of other fiction suggestions:

    The Irish author Colm Tóibín reimagined the story of Clytemnestra in House of Names.

    The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff, and most of her other historical books. They're sort of children's literature, but only in the same way The Hobbit or Treasure Island are. They're worth reading for adults who haven't read them before.

    The alternate history writer Harry Turtledove wrote some non-alternate history historical fiction under the name H.N. Turtletaub. In particular, Justinian is an "autobiography" of the Byzantine emperor Justinian II and is quite good. He also wrote a series of novels about two Hellenistic-era Greek merchants but those aren't quite as good in my opinion.
  15. DonnaML

    DonnaML Well-Known Member

    I highly recommend the novels of Harry Sidebottom, an Oxford history professor. They are set in the mid 3rd century, and (so far) cover the reigns of Maximinus Thrax to Gallienus.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2020
  16. Aliasuk

    Aliasuk Member

  17. Aliasuk

    Aliasuk Member

    Many thanks! What riches,
    but where to start! Can I press you for your own ‘top 3’ (or 4 or 5!)
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  18. Aliasuk

    Aliasuk Member

    DonnaML - Yes I have read these. In fact his writing is what led to my appeal to the group. I know that Sidebottom has been criticised for the amount of academic detail in his novels, but I found it fascinating and absorbing and a painless way of learning about the domestic, religious and political structure of the time. Plus of course some blood and guts action!
    Indeed I am about to reread from the start with the added perspective that my own knowledge of the historical context is now greater and my own collection of denarii has begun (call me a late developer!). Can I press you on another recommendation?
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  19. Aliasuk

    Aliasuk Member

  20. Aliasuk

    Aliasuk Member

  21. Aliasuk

    Aliasuk Member

    Al Kowsky- many thanks for your kind message. With so many recommendations from this group my next couple of years are spoken for!! I know of the Kite Runner and will certainly get hold of a copy asap
    +VGO.DVCKS and DonnaML like this.
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