Welcome Parents & Educators!

For the folks at home, we would like to provide a list of suggested books and films to keep you and your family entertained and informed. Explore the ancient Mediterranean through these works of fiction and nonfiction.  

Kids (8-12)

Rick Riordon’s Percy Jackson Series 

I was just a normal kid, I went to school (got expelled a lot, but that wasn’t my fault), played sports and hung out with my best friend. Until I accidentally vaporized my maths teacher. Now, I spend my time at Camp Half Blood, battling monsters and generally trying to stay alive.

National Geographic Kids’ Weird But True!: Greek Mythology

Dive a little deeper into the incredible stories from Greek mythology. Weird-but-true facts accompanied by lush original full-color art cover everything kids need to know about all their favorite Greek gods, heroes, monsters, quests, muses, and famous philosophers. 

René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo’s The Adventures of Asterix 

The year is 50BC, and all Gaul is occupied. Only one small village of indomitable Gauls still holds out against the invaders. But how much longer can Asterix, Obelix and their friends resist the mighty Roman legions of Julius Caesar? Anything is possible, with a little cunning plus the druid Getafix’s magic potions! 

Young Adult (13-17)

Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. Despite their differences, the boys develop a tender friendship, a bond which blossoms into something deeper as they grow into young men.

Poetry

Homer’s The Odyssey

The epic tale of Odysseus and his ten-year journey home after the Trojan War forms one of the earliest and greatest works of Western literature. Confronted by natural and supernatural threats – ship-wrecks, battles, monsters and the implacable enmity of the sea-god Poseidon – Odysseus must use his bravery and cunning to reach his homeland and overcome the obstacles that, even there, await him.

Homer’s The Iliad

The first of the world’s great tragedies, The Iliad centres on the pivotal four days towards the end of the ten-year war between the Greeks and the Trojans. In a series of dramatic set pieces, it follows the story of the humiliation of Achilleus at the hands of Agamemnon and his slaying of Hektor: a barbarous act with repercussions that ultimately determine the fate of Troy.

Catullus’ Poems

Of all the classical poets Gaius Valerius Catullus (c. 84-54 BC) is the most accessible to the modern reader. Presented alongside the original Latin text, this new translation reflects Catullus’ mastery of poetic forms as diverse as the lyric, the inventive epigram, and the romantic legend, and shows his passionate, and sometimes dedicated to his lover Lesbia.

Ovid’s Metamorphosis 

Ovid’s sensuous and witty poem begins with the creation of the world and brings together a dazzling array of mythological tales, ingeniously linked by the idea of transformation – often as a result of love or lust – where men and women find themselves magically changed into extraordinary new beings.

Virgil’s The Aeneid

It tells of Aeneas, survivor of the sack of Troy, and of his seven-year journey: to Carthage, where he falls tragically in love with Queen Dido; then to the underworld,; and finally to Italy, where he founds Rome. It is a story of defeat and exile, of love and war, hailed by Tennyson as ‘the stateliest measure ever moulded by the lips of man’.

Non Fiction

Edith Hamilton’s Mythology

For decades readers have chosen this book above all others to discover the thrilling, enchanting and fascinating world of Western mythology. From Odysseus’s adventure-filled journey to the Norse god Odin’s effort to postpone the final day of doom, Edith Hamilton’s classic collection not only retells these stories with brilliant clarity but shows us how the ancients saw their own place in the world and how their themes echo in our consciousness today.

James Evans’ Ancient Astronomy

The subject of this book is the Western astronomical tradition from ancient Babylonia to the European Renaissance, with special emphasis on the Greek period. Throughout the book two questions constantly recur: what evidence permits us to reconstruct the astronomy of the ancient past? How was astronomy actually practised? 

G. Julius Caesar’s De Bello Gallico

Caesar’s War in Gaul is one of the great classics of military and historical literature. It gives great insight into Roman and Gaulish military matters, politics and the culture of Gaul. The expeditions to Britain also afford a fascinating glimpse into pre-historic society on that island.

Sanford Holst’s Phoenician Secrets 

The mysterious Phoenicians and the ancient Mediterranean are experienced in richer detail than ever before in this well researched and intriguing narrative. Instead of seeing darkness in the years before classical Greece, we now see glimmers of light revealing a continuous parade of remarkable societies, great leaders and epic events.

Past Worlds: The Times Atlas of Archaeology

Starting with the origins of mankind, and ending with the Industrial Revolution, this atlas contains maps, site reconstructions, artefacts and art objects from archaeological sites all over the world.

Film & TV

BBC Ancient Worlds

An illuminating and spectacular six-part odyssey tracing the development of Western civilisation – from the first cities of Mesopotamia to the fall of the Roman Empire.

HBO’s Rome

Every city has its secrets. HBO presents this epic series about the furious historical events that saw the birth of the Roman Empire.

Help us grow our list! Comment below or email us at lr218@st-andrews.ac.uk.

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