Dr Harry Sidebottom teaches classical history at the University of Oxford, where he is a Fellow of St Benet's Hall and a lecturer at Lincoln College. He has an international reputation as a scholar, having published widely on ancient warfare, classical art and the cultural history of the Roman Empire. Originally from Newmarket in Suffolk, he now lives with his wife and two sons in Woodstock near Oxford.
He was educated at various schools and universities, including Oxford, where he took his Doctorate in Ancient History at Corpus Christi College. In similar fashion he has taught at various universities including Oxford, where he is now Fellow and Director of Studies in Ancient History at St Benets Hall, and Lecturer in Ancient History at Lincoln College.
His main scholarly research interests are Greek culture under the Roman empire (thinking about the compromises and contradictions involved when an old and sophisticated culture is conquered and ruled by what it considers a younger and less civilised power) and warfare in classical antiquity (looking at how war was both done and thought about by Greeks and Romans). He has published numerous chapters in books, and articles and reviews in scholarly journals becoming an internationally recognised scholar in these fields.
Since 2006 he has been working on the Warrior of Rome series of novels featuring the Anglo-Saxon nobleman turned Roman army officer Ballista and his Familia which are set in the Roman Empire during the so-called 'Great Crisis of the Third Century AD'.
Sidebottom is also a regular reviewer of fiction, especially historical novels, in the Times Literary Supplement.
Harry Sidebottom books reviewed
Fire in the East
In the autumn of AD255 a Roman officer, Marcus Clodius Ballista, is sent east to defend the city of Arete on the Euphrates from attack by the Sassanid Persians, the religio...
King of Kings
AD256: The Roman Empire is threatened from within. With the cult of Christianity spreading like wildfire, dangerous and powerful men vie for influence. Ballista, battle-blo...
Lion of the Sun
Mesopotamia, AD 260: Betrayed by his most trusted adviser, the Roman Emperor Valerian has been captured by the Sassanid barbarians. The shame of the vanquished beats down m...
The Caspian Gates
AD262 - the Imperium is in turmoil after the struggle for the throne. Furthermore, Ephesus, Asia's metropolis, lies in ruins, shattered by a mighty earthquake. Its citi...
Ancient Warfare: A Very Short Introduction (2004)
Warrior of Rome
- Fire in the East (2008)
- King of Kings (2009)
- Lion of the Sun (2010)
'Sidebottom's prose blazes with searing scholarship' The Times
'A well-constructed, well-paced and gripping account' The Times Literary Supplement
'An exceptionally gifted storyteller, drawing on prodigious learning' Tim Severin, author of the Viking trilogy
'The best sort of red-blooded historical fiction - solidly based on a profound understanding of what it meant to be alive in a particular time and place' Andrew Taylor, author of The American Boy
'Harry Sidebottom's epic tale starts with a chilling assassination and goes on, and up, from there' Professor Mary Beard, Chair of Classics, University of Cambridge
'I don't think I've ever experienced antiquity so directly: the brutality, the directness of expression and feeling, the deep bonds formed amid unmitigated violence' Professor David Konstan, Professor of Classics, Brown University
'A vivid, racy and gripping novel ... from a major scholar who happens also to be a brilliant master of fiction' Dr Jas Elsner, Fellow of Archaeology and Classical Art, University of Oxford