Photo of Roman releif sculpture of a Male Captive, taken at the theater of Aphrodisias, Greece

This is a list of interesting and accessible books which you might want to have a look at before you start your course.

The list includes texts from all three of our subject areas. These suggestions are not compulsory in any way and by no means should you try to read too many of the ones from your area(s). But if you have a look at one or two, they will give you a sense of what you will be doing and also help when you begin your studies.

  • John Baines and Jaromir Malek, The Cultural Atlas of Ancient Egypt. An 'atlas' in the traditional sense but much more than that: this provides a concise and superbly illustrated introduction to many aspects of ancient Egyptian society from prehistoric times down to the Roman period.
  • Ian Shaw, The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt. An introduction to the main periods of ancient Egyptian history and their achievements.
  • Robin Lane-Fox, The Classical World: an Epic History of Greece and Rome
  • Tom Holland, Rubicon: the Triumph and Tragedy of the Roman Republic
  • Marc Van De Mieroop, A History of the Ancient Near East ca. 3000-323 BC. Part of the Blackwell History of the Ancient World range.
  • Michael Roaf, Cultural Atlas of Mesopotamia and the Ancient Near East.
  • Paul Bahn, Archaeology: A very short introduction. This is a fun and light-hearted look at archaeology as an academic discipline.
  • John Hunter and Ian Ralston, The Archaeology of Britain: an Introduction from the Upper Palaeolithic to the Industrial Revolution. Provides an excellent introduction to the subject with chapters by leading archaeologists.
  • Colin Renfrew and Paul Bahn, Archaeology: Theories, Methods and Practice. One of the standard textbooks for students. You'll find this helpful all the way through your course and it is highly recommended that you acquire a copy and dip into it on a regular basis.
  • Homer, Iliad and/or Odyssey
  • Euripides, Medea or Trojan Women
  • Sophocles, Antigone or Oedipus
  • Aeschylus, Oresteia
  • Herodotus, Histories
  • Virgil, Aeneid
  • Ovid, Metamorphoses
  • Livy, From the Foundation of the City (Books 1-5)
  • Classics: A Very Short Introduction, by Mary Beard and John Henderson
  • Classical Mythology: A Very Short Introduction, by Helen Morales
  • Classical Literature, by Richard Jenkyns
  • Homer: the resonance of epic, by Barbara Graziosi and Johannes Haubold