Historical fiction based in the ancient world has long been a fruitful way to encourage the interest of non-specialists in the ancient world. These novels can also be used profitably to improve classroom pedagogy. I regularly assign a work of historical fiction in my online Intro to Ancient Rome course. This summer, I opted for Steven Saylor’s most recent addition to his Gordianus series, The Throne of Caesar. My students in the summer are nearly all STEM majors who are looking to complete a core requirement, often while simultaneously working full-time. I need to select novels that are readable, follow Roman history accurately, and add dimension to the world and characters that they are studying. Ideally, the novel will also encourage the students to think about some aspect of Roman history from a new perspective.
By Jen Ebbeler | August 3, 2018