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How did the city state of Rome come to dominate so much of Europe and beyond? We will follow the story of Rome’s expansion through conquest and alliance, the wars against Carthage, and the civil wars that racked the Republic as individuals fought for power, finally culminating in the accession of the first Emperor.

You can still enrol for this course, which starts Wednesday 24th September (1.30 – 3.30pm) either online or with the Leicester Branch office.

Whilst it is not essential to do any background reading before the course begins, you may find it useful to do so. The reading list below contains books that you can read. You don’t have to read all of these. Indeed, we don’t specify any that you must read. Instead, these are readings you can use to gain a preliminary understanding of topics, as well as to study in more depth those parts of the course you are particularly interested in. You may also want to take a look at magazines such as British Archaeology, World Archaeology and Current Archaeology.


Broodbank, C. 2013. The Making of the Middle Sea: a History of the Mediterranean from the beginning to the emergence of the Classical world. Thames & Hudson.

Cunliffe, B. 2008. Europe between the Oceans: 9000 BC – AD 1000. Yale University Press: New Haven and London.

Miles, R. 2011. Ancient Worlds: The Search for the Origins of Western Civilisation. Penguin. (A DVD of the BBC TV series which this book accompanies is also available).


Caesar. The Conquest of Gaul (Published by Penguin Classics etc)

Livy. The History of Rome (Published by Penguin Classics etc)

Plutarch. Roman Lives (Published by Oxford World Classics etc)

Polybius. The Histories (Published by Oxford World Classics etc)


Cornell, T. 1995. The Beginnings of Rome: Italy and Rome from the Bronze Age to the Punic Wars (c.1000-264 BC). The Routledge History of the Ancient World Series. Routledge.

Cowan, R. 2009. The Roman Conquests: Italy. Pen & Sword Military. (Other books in this series by this author looking at the Roman conquest of other provinces are also available).

Gwynn, D. M. 2012. The Roman Republic: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press.

Holland, T. 2004. Rubicon: The Triumph and Tragedy of the Roman Republic. Abacus.

Miles, R. 2011. Carthage Must Be Destroyed. Penguin.


Everitt, A. 2007. Augustus: The Life of Rome’s First Emperor. Random House.

Goldsworthy, A. 2007. Julius Caesar. Phoenix Press.

Southern, P. 2012. Mark Antony. Amberley Publishing.

Tyldesley, J. 2009. Cleopatra: Last Queen of Egypt. Profile Books.