The Heritage Classical Curriculum recommends reading three or four age
appropriate "core" selections, as well as three or more
books from our "supplemental" reading list. More information
about the methodology associated with the Heritage program can be found
in the Curriculum User Guide.
Young Readers' Core Selections
These selections are engaging and easy-to-read for elementary school students.
They emphasize the most romantic stories of Roman history and provide an excellent foundation
for future studies.
Famous Men of Rome by John Haaren
Biographical sketches of thirty of the most prominent characters in Roman history,
from legendary times to the fall of the Western Empire. It begins with the legends
of the Kingdom of Rome and then follows prominent Roman from the days of the Early
Republic to the age of Constantine the Great. This book
is from the Famous Men series by John Haaren and A. P. Poland, and is very popular
Story of the Romans by Helene Guerber
This book covers the history of Rome from the legend of Romulus to the closing days
of the western empire. Short, accessible chapters tell important stories from
Roman history in simple prose, written at 6th grade level, but understandable to even
younger readers. An excellent first introduction to Roman history for grammar school students.
Stories from Roman History by Lena Dalkeith
A dozen short, and nicely illustrated stories from Roman history, written for
elementary school children. Its subjects are many of the most famous men in Roman history,
from Romulus to Caesar. Only a third the size
of most comprehensive histories, it nevertheless covers many of the most romantic incident
of Republican Rome.
Intermediate Readers' Core Selections
These selections cover much of the same material as those recommended for beginners,
but are more appropriate for middle school age students. They provide a somewhat more
sophisticated introduction to Roman history, but are still story-based and accessible
to students with a wide range of abilities. Once an intermediate student has learned
the basics, he can turn to any of a number of biographies of famous Romans, or
enjoy some of Church's excellent historical fiction of the era.
The Story of Rome by Mary Macgregor
This history of Rome is filled with exciting stories from the most Romantic
periods of Roman history, although it focuses more on the Kingdom and Republican
eras than on the Imperial age. This history of Greece is accessible and well
organized, and it is considerably more detailed than Guerber's. Because of its
length, we do not recommend it for 6th grade or younger,
but it is an excellent reference, thoroughly engaging, and a good candidate for
a middle school student's first foray into Roman history.
City of the Seven Hills by Samuel Harding
This middle school historical reader, from the from the
Lake History series, covers the history of
Republican Rome in clear, accessible prose. It is considerably shorter
than Macgregor's history, and tells fewer stories in somewhat more detail, but
provides a clear and thorough review of the major events of Roman history.
Outlines of each chapter are also provided for review.
The Aeneid for Boys and Girls by Alfred J. Church
This version of Vigil's great epic is re-written for young people, but retains a great deal of
the romance and drama of the original. The adventures of Aeneas on
wanderings from Troy to various Greek isles, to Carthage, and finally to his
his eventual home in Italy among the Latins is vividly retold,
but so combat intensive, it is likely to appeal mainly
to students who appreciate martial drama.
The Burning of Rome by By Alfred J. Church
This book covers a dramatic period of Nero’s reign, encompassing the
catastrophic fire that destroyed Rome, and also the rebellion, known as
Piso’s Conspiracy, that soon followed. Although this is a work of historical
fiction, virtually all of the characters
in this book are based on historical Romans, and the levels of treachery,
cowardice, martyrdom, and villainy displayed by the characters in this
drama would be incredible if it were not actually true.
Plutarch's Lives by W. H. Weston
This is our favorite rendition of Plutarch's Lives. Instead of including all fifty
biographies, Weston focuses only on twelve of Plutarch's most
famous subjects. His work is therefore able to retain a great deal more of the
character of Plutarch's original narrative than more highly condensed versions.
Since Plutarch was a moral philosopher as well as a biographer, retaining the tone and dialogue
of the original collection is key to understanding his contribution to Western thought.
Plutarch's complete lives run over a thousand pages. This is an excellent condensation.
Advanced Readers' Core Selections
These selections are meant to appeal to students who are already familiar with
the basic stories of Roman History and would like a more in depth study.
The Heritage Classical Curriculum high school program provides an exceptionally good transition
between an elementary knowledge of Roman History, and a full-fledged introduction
to the classics. It does not require students to read unabridged translations
of any of the great works of the ancients, but instead introduces them to
faithful, but shortened and simplified versions. This course of study should
prepare mature students to appreciate the classics if and when they do read
them in college, and will give them a very respectable familiarity with
the great works, even if they never take a college level class in Roman
Historical Tales: Roman by Charles Morris
Morris is a terrific author and these retellings of a few dozen vignettes from Roman
history provide an excellent review for anyone whose Roman History needs an enjoyable
refresher. Morris includes both famous and lesser known stories in his collection
so even those who are familiar with introductory accounts will find plenty of new
and entertaining material.
Hannibal by Jacob Abbott
This riveting story of Hannibal, the Carthaginian general who nearly conquered Rome,
is told with as much interest as if it were an adventure novel. The book covers
both the first and third Punic wars in order to provide an introduction and conclusion
to the epic struggle of the Second Punic war, a war masterminded by the
greatest enemy in Roman history. Hannibal was perhaps the greatest general of
Ancient times, and certainly one of the greatest of all times. His brilliant
strategies inflicted horrendous casualties on Rome, with only a fraction of the
men and resources. Had he prevailed, it would have altered the course of all
of western history.
Pictures from Roman Life and Story by Alfred J. Church
This book covers the first two centuries of Imperial Rome, from the death of Caesar Augustus
to the reign of Marcus Aurelius. It tells the story of many lesser known incidents of the
era, from the palace intrigue of the early Caesars, to short biographies of several
imperial era gentlemen and scholars. It is written as a series of vignettes, rather than a comprehensive
history, but captures the spirit of the age very well.
Julius Caesar by Ada Russell
The life of Julius Caesar spans one of the most fascinating and important periods in
all of Ancient history, and this book does an excellent job of bringing all the
characters of the age to life. The first century B.C. saw the collapse of a corrupt
republic, a number of savage civil wars, and the rise of a relatively benign
tyranny under Caesar. The book devotes just enough attention to the political
dramas of the time to give intermediate students some idea of the vicious
politicking of the era, without being tiring.
Augustus Caesar by Rene Francis
This fascinating biography of Caesar Augustus does an excellent job of explaining the delicate transition between the
era of the Roman republic and that of the Empire. Julius Caesar began to lay the foundation
of the empire, but at the time of his death most Roman institutions had not yet been
transformed. It was the genius of Augustus that enabled the Roman Empire to rise
from the ashes of a degenerate republic to become the most powerful and brilliantly
organized empire the world had yet seen.
Helmet and Spear by Alfred J. Church
The major clashes between Greece and Rome, and their despotic or barbarian
neighbors is given here. Six major conflicts are covers: the Persian invasion
of Greece, the fight between Greece and Carthage for Sicily, the Macedonian
Invasion of Persia, the Punic Wars, Rome's early encounters with Barbarian
Celts and Germans, and Rome's fall to the Barbarians.
Supplemental Reading Selections
We recommend that students who are studying Roman History for the first time
read four or more selections from our supplemental reading list, in addition to their
core material. All selections should be age and interest appropriate, but
any student can select their supplemental reading from any difficulty level.
In addition to those listed below, "core" reading selections from above ones reading
level are highly recommended. Intermediate students, in particular, may enjoy
some of the simplified classics recommended for advanced readers.
Copyright © Heritage History 2012
All rights reserved