Ancient Greek & Roman

The Beacon at Alexandria
by Gillian Bradshaw
The last days of Rome's eastern dominion come to life in this historical novel of a woman in conflict with an oppressive society.
   
   

Goddess of Yesterday
by Caroline Cooney

In ancient Sparta, young Anaxandra must assume a false identity to ensure her safety. She guards against the jealousy and suspicion of Helen, the beautiful wife of King Meneleus, whose actions will trigger a tragic war with Troy.

The Silver Chalice
by Thomas Costain

Basil, a sensitive artisan, is purchased from slavery and commissioned to create a decorative casing for the Chalice that Jesus used at the Last Supper. Basil travels to Jerusalem, Greece, and Rome, meets the apostles, braves the perils of persecution, and finally makes a fateful choice that allows him to “see” Jesus. The dramatic plot, compelling characters, and spiritual depth of The Silver Chalice made it one of the most popular historical novels of the twentieth century.

   

The Coutesan's Daughter
by Priscilla Galloway


From humble beginnings, Phano rises to become one of ancient Athens' most powerful citizens through her marriage to Theo, but they both have powerful enemies who don't share their political views.

Troy
by Adele Geras

Told from the point of view of the women of Troy, portrays the last weeks of the Trojan War, when women are sick of tending the wounded, men are tired of fighting, and bored gods and goddesses find ways to stir things up.

Ithaka
by Adele Geras

Many years have passed since the end of the Trojan War, and Penelope is still waiting for her husband, Odysseus, to return home. The city of Ithaka is overrun with uncouth suitors from the surrounding islands who are vying to win Penelope's hand in marriage, thereby gaining control of the land. When a naked, half-drowned man washes up on the beach, everything changes. . . .

Told through the eyes of Klymene, a young girl who is like a daughter to Penelope—and who longs for more than friendship from the young prince Telemachus—Ithaka captures the quiet strength and patience of a woman's enduring love for her husband and the ensuing chaos that threatens all as Penelope is pressured to remarry.

Sirena
by Donna Jo Napoli

The gods grant immortality to the mermaid Sirena when she rescues a human man from the sea and they fall in love, but his mortality creates great conflict between love and honor when he is called to defend Greece in the Trojan War.

   

Last of the Amazons
by Steven Pressfield

In the time before Homer, the legendary Theseus, King of Athens (an actual historical figure), set sail on a journey that brought him into the land of tal Kyrte, the “free people,” a nation of proud female warriors whom the Greeks called “Amazons.” The Amazons, bound to each other as lovers as well as fighters, distrusted the Greeks, with their boastful talk of “civilization.” So when the great war queen Antiope fell in love with Theseus and fled with the Greeks, the mighty Amazon nation rose up in rage.

Last of the Amazons is not merely a masterful tale of war and revenge. Pressfield has created a cast of extraordinarily vivid characters, from the unforgettable Selene, whose surrender to the Greeks does nothing to tame her; to her lover, Damon, an Athenian warrior who grows to cherish the wild Amazon ways; to the narrator, Bones, a young girl from a noble family who was nursed by Selene from birth and secretly taught the Amazon way; to the great Theseus, the tragic king; and to Antiope, the noble queen who betrayed tal Kyrte for the love of Theseus.

With astounding immediacy and extraordinary attention to military detail, Pressfield transports readers into the heat and terror of war. Equally impressive is his creation of the Amazon nation, its people, its rituals and myths, its greatness and savagery. Last of the Amazons is thrilling on every page, an epic tale of the clash between wildness and civilization, patriotism and love, man and woman.

Tides of War: A Novel of Alciblades and the Peloponnesian War
by Steven Pressfield

Brilliant at war, a master of politics, and a charismatic lover, Alcibiades was Athens’ favorite son and the city’s greatest general.

A prodigal follower of Socrates, he embodied both the best and the worst of the Golden Age of Greece. A commander on both land and sea, he led his armies to victory after victory.

But like the heroes in a great Greek tragedy, he was a victim of his own pride, arrogance, excess, and ambition. Accused of crimes against the state, he was banished from his beloved Athens, only to take up arms in the service of his former enemies.

For nearly three decades, Greece burned with war and Alcibiades helped bring victories to both sides — and ended up trusted by neither.

Narrated from death row by Alcibiades’ bodyguard and assassin, a man whose own love and loathing for his former commander mirrors the mixed emotions felt by all Athens, Tides of War tells an epic saga of an extraordinary century, a war that changed history, and a complex leader who seduced a nation.

Fire from Heaven
by Mary Renault

Alexander’s beauty, strength, and defiance were apparent from birth, but his boyhood honed those gifts into the makings of a king. His mother, Olympias, and his father, King Philip of Macedon, fought each other for their son’s loyalty, teaching Alexander politics and vengeance from the cradle. His love for the youth Hephaistion taught him trust, while Aristotle’s tutoring provoked his mind and Homer’s Iliad fueled his aspirations. Killing his first man in battle at the age of twelve, he became regent at sixteen and commander of Macedon’s cavalry at eighteen, so that by the time his father was murdered, Alexander’s skills had grown to match his fiery ambition.

Funeral Games
by Mary Renault

After Alexander’s death in 323 B.C .his only direct heirs were two unborn sons and a simpleton half-brother. Every long-simmering faction exploded into the vacuum of power. Wives, distant relatives, and generals all vied for the loyalty of the increasingly undisciplined Macedonian army. Most failed and were killed in the attempt. For no one possessed the leadership to keep the great empire from crumbling. But Alexander’s legend endured to spread into worlds he had seen only in dreams.

The Persian Boy
by Mary Renault

The Persian Boy traces the last years of Alexander’s life through the eyes of his lover, Bagoas. Abducted and gelded as a boy, Bagoas was sold as a courtesan to King Darius of Persia, but found freedom with Alexander after the Macedon army conquered his homeland. Their relationship sustains Alexander as he weathers assassination plots, the demands of two foreign wives, a sometimes-mutinous army, and his own ferocious temper. After Alexander’s mysterious death, we are left wondering if this Persian boy understood the great warrior and his ambitions better than anyone.

The Praise Singer
by Mary Renault

Born into a stern farming family on the island of Keos, Simonides escapes his harsh childhood through a lucky apprenticeship with a renowned Ionian singer. As they travel through 5th century B.C. Greece, Simonides learns not only how to play the kithara and compose poetry, but also how to navigate the shifting alliances surrounding his rich patrons. He is witness to the Persian invasion of Ionia, to the decadent reign of the Samian pirate king Polykrates, and to the fall of the Pisistratids in the Athenian court. Along the way, he encounters artists, statesmen, athletes, thinkers, and lovers, including the likes of Pythagoras and Aischylos. Using the singer's unique perspective, Renault combines her vibrant imagination and her formidable knowledge of history to establish a sweeping, resilient vision of a golden century.

Quiver
by Stephanie Spinner

When her father commands that she produce an heir, the huntress Atalanta gives her suitors a seemingly impossible task in order to uphold her pledge of chastity, as the gods of ancient Greece look on.

Firebrand
by Marion Zimmer Bradley

Blending archaeological fact and legend, the myths of the gods and the feats of heroes, Marion Zimmer Bradley breathes new life into the classic tale of the Trojan War-reinventing larger-than-life figures as living people engaged in a desperate struggle that dooms both the victors and the vanquished, their fate seen through the eyes of Kassandra-priestess, princess, and passionate woman with the spirit of a warrior.