I am currently completely obsessed with reading about Ancient Rome!
I’m ALSO obsessed with Victoria Beckham (front cover of Vogue Australia this month), Ultraceuticals 50+ SPF suncream, and my new Hexagonal Ray-Bans.
But getting back to Ancient Rome… why am I obsessed?
I’m not entirely sure why. It’s not a particularly natural interest of mine.
I never studied it in high school.
I didn’t know anything about Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, Augustus – except on a very superficial level.
I pretty much avoided anything to do with politics, war, military history… but here I am, completely intoxicated by all the crazy stories!
What do I love about it?
I love the drama, the intrigue, the corruption, the ups and downs of a growing society.
I love hearing about all the leaders of Rome in chronological order, learning about the lesser known characters, the rise and fall of emperors, what made them a good leader, what made them a bad leader, the beginnings of western civilisation, the history of western politics, war strategies (surprisingly interesting!), the history of a war obsessed empire, the history of Christianity and beginnings of the Islamic Empire.
One particular topic I’m fascinated about is political propaganda. Why were the Romans so swayed by it? What is it about mankind that makes us all so susceptible political propaganda and savvy marketing?
I have already read 3 books about Roman and Byzantine History, and I have listened to 180 podcasts about the History of Rome (and now re-listening to them all – because they’re just so good!).
Someone asked me, why not go study Ancient History? I looked it up and discovered that it’ll cost me about $19,500 to do a 3 year degree – holy crap no thanks.
To me, it is just pure entertainment.
Some people watch tv in the evenings, I’m just happy to read.
And happy to tell people random facts!
The Ancient Romans were delighted by all the imported fruits from their growing empire (pomegranates, oranges, apricots, peaches) but they simply called them all “[country of origin] + Apples”. Everything was an apple! Ha so cute!
I recently read Rome by Robert Hughes (famous art critic for TIME magazine), pictured above, and oh boy, I don’t recommend it at all!
Yes, he had a very interesting perspective on ancient Roman art, but everything else was very hard to read as it jumped about, he repeated himself, he was so vague, he wrote as if the reader already knew all about the history of Rome (I have a basic understanding and I found it hard to follow).
So I’m picking up another book, considered to be an “undisputed masterpiece of English historical writing” and I’ll let you all know how I go haha!