Coins for the Holidays - Young Adults/Adult books
   ( High School onwards)

"Imperial Governor"
George Shipway

Description :  Novel - Roman Britain at the time of Boudicca's revolt.    Well researched,  
fascinating and thoroughly recommended.  

Age Group :  15 onwards

Recommended Coins :  Nero or Claudius

Coin Image
Coins of Nero and Claudius

(Coins - courtesy of Mark Lehman)

"Eagle in the Snow"
Wallace Breem

Description :  Fiction - A General with only one Legion -  the XX  -  defending the German
frontier of the Roman Empire in the chaos of the very early 400s AD.

Age Group  16 onwards

Recommended Coin :   Honorius

Coin of Honorius

"Household Gods"
Judith Tarr & Harry Turtledove

Description :  Fiction -   "Time traveller genre"    A female attorney who wakes up in the Roman
Empire at the time of Marcus Aurelius.  She is a single mother and a strong character who finds
herself having to adapt to a lot of changes involved in life in the 2nd century AD.    "Time
traveller"fiction can be rather hackneyed, but these authors have gone to great pains to convey a
real feeling of life at that time - the real nitty gritty of it !

Age Group : 15 onwards

Recommended Coin :    Marcus Aurelius

Coin Image
Marcus Aurelius Denarius - photo courtesy of Kevin Ingleston

"Winter Quarters"
Alfred Duggan

Description :  Fiction - .   A  interesting picture of the Roman Army at the time of the 1st
Triumvirate of Julius Caesar, Pompey and Crassus, as seen from the aspect of two Gauls who
join the Roman Army.   They journey through different parts of the Roman Empire and then take
part in the ill-fated Parthian campaign of 54 B C., which ended in the disastrous defeat of Crassus
at Carrhae.

Age Group :  15 onwards

Recommended Coin :   Late Republican Roman

Coin Image
L. Scribonius Libo Denarius 62 BC - photo courtesy of Mark Lehman

"Three's Company"
 Alfred Duggan

Description :    Set at the time of the 2nd Triumvirate of Octavian, Mark Antony and Lepidus, and
the ensuing civil war.

Age Group :  15 onwards

Recommended coin :  Roman Imperatorial

Coin Image
Mark Antony Legionary Denarius - photo courtesy of Mark Lehman

"Family Favourites"
 Alfred Duggan

Description : Set in the early 3rd century AD, this follows the rule of the outrageous Emperor
Elagabalus. - but book not easy to find.

Age Group 16 onwards

Recommended Coin :   Elagabalus

Coin Image
Denarius of Elagabalus - photo courtesy of Kevin Ingleston

"The Little Emperors"
 Alfred Duggan

Description :  Fiction  - Set in the early 5th Century Britain as the power of the Roman Empire
and its administration collapes.

Age Group : 15 onwards

Recommended Coin :  Honorius 

Coin Image
Coin fo Honorius

Other historical novels by British author Alfred Duggan
(not always easy to find but worth the try!)

"King of Pontus"   ( also sold under the title  "He died old" )
About Mithradates VI the Great of Pontus - a truly remarkable ruler at the end of the Hellenistic
Age and with the rise of Rome in the 1st Century BC
Recommended Coin
Pontos Amisos at the time of Mithradates VI - Head of Ares on Obv

Coin Image
Pontos Amisos with helmeted head of Ares - courtesy of Wayne Sayles

"Elephants & Castles"  - Set in Macedon after the death of Alexander, the story of Antigonos
and his son, Demetrios Poliorketes
Recommended coin  -  Demetrios Poliorketes - Macedonian Helmet

Coin Image
Demetrios Poliorketes of Macedonia coin - courtesy of ACE

"Children of the Wolf"  - The early days of Rome
Recommended Coin =Commemorative issue  -  Urbs Roma

Coin Image
URBS ROMA Wolf and Twins - photo courtesy of Kevin Ingleston

"Knight with Armour"  - the First Crusade
Recommended Coin = Crusader

Coin Image
Crusader coin - photo courtesy of Wayne Sayles

" I, Claudius" and "Claudius the God"
Robert Graves

Description :  A "classic" - told as  the "autobiography" of the Emperor Claudius, who
limped and stuttered and no-one imagined that one day he would rule, and that is how
he survived !   All the machinations of the Julio-Claudians are brought to light - the
plotting, the betrayals and murders.   Written in the 1930s, and made more recently 
into a wonderful series by the BBC  - maybe here the idea should be to give a DVD or
Video of that series to accompany the coin?

Age Group : 16 onwards

Recommended Coins :   Any of the Julio-Claudians - there are quite a number of
Roman coins which portray more than one member of that family - all of whom are
mentioned in the books.   See below ........  Claudius with Livia reverse

Coin Image
Claudius AE with Livia reverse - courtesy Ancient Imports

"The Black Sea"
 Neal Ascherson

Description : This book covers a lot of territory in more ways than one - part ancient history, part
modern history and also a traveller's companion.   For those who love to learn about places not
on the usual tourist routes - read this and think about planning a journey.

Age Group : 18 onwards

Recommended Coin :  Coin of the Kingdoms of Pontus or Bosphorus

Coin Image
Cotys II of Bosphorus - photo courtesy of Beast Coins

"Monumental Coins"
 Marvin Tameanko


Description :  For anyone who loves history and ancient architecture and coins - a
wonderfully illustrated book by well known authority, Marvin Tameanko, who also happens to
be an ACE supporter and Mentor of an ACE school in Canada 

Age Group : 15 onwards

Recommended Coins   Choose from the many Roman Imperial coins which depict
temples and other buildings.  Some of these can be obtained quite reasonably.

Coin Image
Antoninus Pius Denarius - photo courtesy of Harlan J. Berk

Coin Image
Probus Antoninianus - photo courtesy of Kevin Ingleston

"ALEXANDER the Great"

Image of Alexander - courtesy of Stephen Arnold

A search on Amazon, a wander through Borders or Barnes & Noble bring one
to a wide assortment of books on Alexander, from simplified largely illustrated
books for younger readers, to learned tomes for the Alexander enthusiast,
who, though we find it surprising, may never have thought of owning a coin of
Alexander the Great.  Besides beautiful silver coins, there are  fairly
inexpensive Alexander bronzes.     The "Alexander"  film on DVD may appeal
to teenagers, instead of a book.

Age Group :  A variety of books to suit almost any age and taste and level of knowledge.

Recommended Coin :     Alexander  !

Coin Image
Alexander the Great Drachm - photo courtesy of Souzanna Steverding

Coin Image
Alexander the Great AE- photo courtesy of Scott Urich


Image courtesy of Souzana Steverding

The variety of books available on the subject of "The Roman Empire"  - many at truly
bargain prices and wonderfully illustrated -  makes such a book a gift which suits
everyone, no matter what their age, as the intellectual level of different books  and
their contents may be chosen from a large assortment to suit the recipient.

Age Group :  A variety of books to suit almost any age and taste and level of knowledge

Recommended Coins :  This general subject also allows for a large selection from
which to make a coin gift - but the ones that spring to my mind feature the Shewolf
with Romulus and Remus. . 

Coin Image
Denarius of Domitian - wolf and twins reverse

VRBS ROMA commemorative coin, wolf and twins reverse - photo courtesy of Kevin Ingleston

"Island of Ghosts"
Gillian Bradshaw

Description :   Fiction - After defeat on the Danubian frontier, Sarmartian cavalry are drafted
as auxiliaries into the Roman Army and sent to Hadrian's Wall in the 2nd century AD

Age Group : 15 onwards

Recommended Coin :   Marcus Aurelius  or Commodus

Coin Image
Denarius of Commodus - photo courtesy of Kevin Ingleston

"Beacon at Alexandria"
Gillian Bradshaw

Description :   Fleeing a forced marriage, the heroine arrives in Alexandria in the last quarter
of the 4th Century AD, where disguising her gender, she takes up the study of medicine -
fascinating details of contemporary medical practice.    Later forced to leave Egypt, she winds
up practising medicine at a Roman Army outpost in Thrace, and more action ensues. 

Age Group :  15 onwards

Recommended Coin :  Gratian  or Theodosius

(Coin - courtesy of Beast Coins)

"Render unto Caesar"
Gillian Bradshaw

Description :   Fiction - An Alexandrian Greek travels to the Rome of Augustus and
encounters the Roman culture.  Many strains run through this book - the arrogance of
the new Super Power of Rome, the Romans' attitude to homosexual love, slavery and
to foreigners such as the Greek main protagonist, as well as the basic tale of intrigue.

Age Group :  16 onwards

Recommended Coin :  Augustus

Coin Image
Denarius of Augustus - photo courtesy of Ralph DeMarco

"Imperial Purple"

Gillian Bradshaw

Description : Fiction - Set in Tyre in the 5th Century, the plot weaves through intrigue in
tumultuous times, with real life personae included.   Will the heroine, a weaver (!) succeed in
defeating a deadly plot !

Age Group :  15 onwards

Recommended Coin :  Theodosius II

Coin Image
Coin of Theodosius photo courtesy of Ancient Imports

"The Bearkeeper's Daughter"
Gillian Bradshaw

Description :  Fiction -  the "Bearkeeper's Daughter" is, of course, the Empress Theodora....
of low origins, but the chosen wife of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian.  Set later on in her life,
this is a marvellous picture of Byzantine court life.   

Age Group : 16 onwards

Recommended Coin :   Justinian

Coin Image
Coin of Justinian - photo courtesy of Barry & Darling

"The Sand-Reckoner"
Gillian Bradshaw

Description :  The genius of Archimedes  is the illuminating light of this book, set in the 3rd
century BC in Syracuse under King Hieron.

Age Group : 15 onwards

Recommended Coin : Hieron II of Syracuse

Coin Image
Coin of Hieron II - courtesy of Ancient Imports

Gore Vidal

Description :  The life of the Emperor Julian, fascinatingly recreated.   Brought up a Christian,
interested in philosophy and the military, his rule was the last surge of the Pagan world in an
Empire becoming centralized around Christianity.

Age Group : 16 onwards

Recommended Coin :      Julian

Coin Image
AE 1 coin of Julian - photo courtesy of Kevin Ingleston

"The Belt of Gold"
Cecilia Holland

Description :  Byzantium in the late 8th /early 9th century under the Empress Irene.

Age Group : 16 onwards

Recommended Coin :      Byzantine  - ideally Irene or Constantine VI & Irene, but
realistically a Byzantine prior to 780 AD  had likelihood of still being in circulation

Coin Image
Here is Maurice Tiberius in his wonderful consular robes which give a real feel of Byzantium compared with the earlier western Roman Emperors' clothing and headgear. - photo courtesy of Beast Coins

Howard Fast

Howard Fast

Description :  An early and one of the most famous books about Spartacus and the slave revolt
he led, this is told in retrospect after the revolt was crushed by Crassus in 71 BC.  It may seem
politically dated and there are few real facts actually known about Spartacus for the author to rely
on, but an interesting read nonetheless.

Age Group : 16 onwards

Recommended Coin :   Republican - see wonderful image below of a coin - Diana with a
hound reverse -   in circulation at the time of Spartacus' revolt  having been minted the
year before !

Coin Image
Roman Republican Denarius. Diana, hound reverse - photo courtesy of Imperial Coins

Allan Massie

Description :  Though not of the literary caliber of Robert Graves' "I, Claudius",  wherein
Augustus features largely; this story of the younger man, Octavian, advancing to become the first Roman Emperor, under the name "Augustus" has its merits.

Age Group : 16 onwards

Recommended Coin :     Octavian or, as he was known later, Augustus

Coin Image
AE coin Ocatvian obverse, Julius Ceasar rev. - photo courtesy of Herakles Numismatics

"The King Must Die"   &   "The Bull from the Sea"
Mary Renault

Description :  These are wonderful books, the one taking up the story where the earlier one
leaves off.   They basically relate the story of Theseus, set in the late Bronze Age of  Mycenaean
Greece, and later Minoan Crete.  Many subtle mythological references come into play - amazing
atmosphere - a tremendous feat of writing.

Age Group : 16 onward

Recommended Coins :  Since this is set circa 1400 BC, there were no coins  but the central
place taken by bulls in the second novel would mean that to me at least a Sicilian man-faced
bull coin of around 335 BC would be a perfect fit.... Or another option is a search amongst
ancient Greek coins which produces many wonderful bull images, such as this Pantikapaion
Bull's head reverse
Coin Image
Photo courtesy of Harlan J. Berk

Coin Image
Photo courtesy of Imperial Coins

Other Ancient Greece-centred books by Mary Renault :

"The Praise Singer"
"The Last of the Wine"
"The Mask of Apollo"

Coin Image
Photo courtesy of John Jencek

      Here are other books  centered on Alexander the Great

      " Fire from Heaven"
      "The Persian Boy"
       "Funeral Games "

 "The First Man in Rome"  and  "The Grass Crown"
Colleen McCullough

 "The First Man in Rome"  and  "The Grass Crown"
Colleen McCullough

Description :  Set in the late Roman Republic ( around 110 BC), these are  the first two in a
series of extremely well researched and fascinating books.    They chronicle the rise of Gaius
Marius and Sulla, and the interwoven connections with the family of the future Julius Caesar for
whom it sets the stage. This is a big, powerful book with intriguing detail and generous
background information.

Age Group : 16 onwards

Recommended Coin :     Late Republican Denarius

Coin Image
Republican Denarius with Sulla in Quadriga rev. - photo courtesy of Harlan J. Berk

"Fortune's Favorites"  and  "Caesar's Women"

Colleen McCullough

Description :  In these third and fourth books,  the author moves her story on as time and history
dictate from the declining Sulla to Julius Caesar and Pompey.   Perhaps an over emphasis on
Caesar's heartless sexual conquests at times, but the same rich detail and well researched
factual background are evident

Age Group :  16 onwards

Recommended Coin :  Roman Imperatorial

Coin Image
The reverse celebrates Pompey's victory in Hispania - photo courtesy of John Jencek

"Caesar"  and  "The October Horse"
Colleen McCullough

Description : As McCullough's Masters of Rome series progresses, we come next to the 5th
volume "Caesar", which concentrates more than previously in the series on battles, but, as the
story proceeds,  Cato, Cicero, Mark Antony and Brutus become players, as Julius Caesar's
power is consolidated, but his enemies emerge.
In the 6th volume  "The October Horse" the author leads up to Caesar's assassination, and its
aftermath,  the victory of Mark Antony & Octavian  over Caesar's assassins at Philippi in
42 BC,  but with the seeds of the ascendancy of Octavian becoming obvious.  

Age Group:   16 onwards

Recommended Coin :  Julius Caesar

Coin Image
Denarius of Julius Ceasar - photo courtesy of Beast Coins

“The Raven and the Eagle”
Pauline Gedge

Description: Set in Roman Britannia, during the early days,  this wonderful book relates the epic
uprisings, all doomed, of the Britons against the Romans.  The characters come alive, the
background is fully researched, and though sadly it has not yet been reissued here in the US, you
can order it online from the large and reputable bookstore “Chapters” in Canada… it is worth it !

Age Group : 16 onwards

Recommended Coin :    Claudius

Coin Image
Sestertius of Claudius - photo courtesy of Imperial Coins

Ancient Mysteries

The following  is a short list of mysteries and their authors, where the action is set in Ancient
Rome - due to the genre, plot descriptions are not given, but the occasional historical anacronism
will raise a classical eyebrow !

Lindsey Davis 
 - the Marcus Didius Falco series -
set in the time of Vespasian - Falco not only shows us Ancient Rome as the background, but the provinces ....Britannia, Gaul, Syria, Greece, etc.                See some of the titles below

Silver Pigs
Shadows in Bronze
Venus in Copper
The Iron Hand of Mars
Poseidon's Gold
Last Act in Palmyra
Two for the Lions
One Virgin too many
The Jupiter Myth
See Delphi and Die
Coin Image
Vespasian Denarius - photo courtesy of Harlan J. Berk

Steven Saylor
The Gordianus the Finder 
( Sub Rosa) series 
set in the last period of the
Republic - 79 BC on

Roman Blood
Arms of Nemesis
Catilina's Riddle
The Venus Throw
and others - some books are
 a collection of short mysteries
See also Saylor's
Ancient Mysteries book list

Coin Image
Balbus denarius - photocourtesy of Imperial Coins

David Wishart  - the Marcus Corvinus series
Ovid;  Germanicus;  Sejanus; 
Parthian Shot;
and others

Rosemary Rowe - the Libertus Mysteries - set in Britannia
A Roman Ransom

Tom Harper
The Mosaic of Shadows -
(set in the Byzantine era towards the end of the 11th century).
Coin Image
Coin of Alexius Comnenus - photo courtesy of Beast Coins

We hope that you found this list useful.
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