As you know I’m a big fan of hands on history, and a great way to do that is to have some good books and resources for it. Here’s my favorites I’ve either bought or check out from the library for hands on roman history resources.
Great Roman history books
We checked a wide variety of books out from the library, and bought quite a few of them as well, but these were our favorite 10 books (at one point I had over 30 Roman history books checked out from the library).
- Ancient Roman Warfare– because my boys love to learn about ancient battles
- The Bloody, Rotten Roman Empire: The Disgusting Details About Life in Ancient Rome (Disgusting History)– because young boys like disgusting stuff
- Life in Roman Times (Everyday History)– because it gives you great background
- How to Be a Roman Soldier– more young boy likes
- The Romans: Gods, Emperors, and Dormice– because I like the personality in this one
- Rome: In Spectacular Cross-section– because I always love cross section books
- TOOLS OF THE ANCIENT ROMANS: A Kid’s Guide to the History & Science of Life in Ancient Rome (Build It Yourself)– because it’s cool
- Ancient Rome Step Into The Time Of The Roman Empire With 15 Step-By-Step Projects And Over 370 Exciting Pictures (Hands-On History) Ancient Rome– For inspiration
- City: A Story of Roman Planning and Construction– because anything by David Macaulay is automatically cool to me
- The Hands on History: Romans: Dress, Eat, Write and Play Just Like the Romans– more inspiration
If you’ll notice several of the books I highlighted are hands on types of books, that’s because we all enjoy looking at those books, after a while kid history books tend to get similar and the same information, so I tried to highlight a variety of types.
Roman history videos
I’m going to be honest and say right now there’s not a lot of good stuff out there right now to show kids. Or at least not that I was able to get ahold of without spending large amounts of money (I try to keep my buys to items I’ll use often and have heard good reviews of).
Also, the current trend of historical soap operas/excuse to make horrible TV shows is rather annoying. Pompeii was really just a remake of Titanic set in 79 AD. You’ll just have to picture my eyes rolling and the vast amount of sarcasm and restraint I am showing right now. Seriously I could write a 1000 words just to rant about these shows.
- Pompeii – The Last Day– great documentary on Pompeii, if you have elementary aged kids gauge how your kids will do, mine were okay, but a little wigged out by the video
- Drive Thru History: Ancient History (Extended Length)– As a heads up this is a Christian view point, but the host’s sense of humor is great for middle school kids who think everything is “lame”
- Decisive Battles of the Ancient World (History Channel)– We LOVE this series, however it is all on youtube for free (I’m linking all of the Roman battles below)
Decisive Battles (Cannae, Hannibal)
For the early part of Roman history their big foe was Carthage and Hannibal came the closest of any general of defeating and destroying Rome (for over 400 years that is, eventually the Goths did them in)
Decisive Battles (Birth of the Roman Empire)
important for the Romans finally overtaking the Greeks, also shows which combat style will win out
Decisive Battles (Spartacus)
important because it made the career of important figures in Roman history and emphasized the danger of massive numbers of slaves
Decisive Battles (Crassus)
Crassus’ defeat led to the next battle (Pompey and Caesar only got along because Crassus was in the Triumvirate)
Decisive Battles (Pompey versus Caesar)
This set Rome from being a republic to an empire
Decisive Battles (Gothic invasion of Rome)
How the Goths eventually overthrew and destroyed Rome
I never really found any great Roman history toys or other things I wanted to pick up, have you seen any that impressed you?