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.
'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
Dr Harry Sidebottom, an expert on ancient warfare, classical art and the cultural history of the Roman Empire, teaches classical history at the University of Oxford, where he is a Fellow of St Benet's Hall and a lecturer at Lincoln College. Since 2006 he has been writing the Warrior of Rome s [...]
Author, and occasional reviewer for The Times Literary Supplement, Harry Sidebottom has, since 2006 been working on the Warrior of Rome series of novels featuring the Anglo-Saxon nobleman turned Roman army officer Ballista. Set in the Roman Empire during the so-called Great Crisis of the Third Century AD it is a tale of courage, treachery and brutal warfare.
I read and enjoyed Harry Sidebottom's Fire in the East a few months ago and over the coming weeks I will be reviewing the following three books that make up Harry Sidebottom's Warrior of Rome series to date. To avoid repetitive reviews I have decided to come at each book from a slightly different angle and so, with King of Kings, I will look at what I believe to be the vital ingredients in an historical fiction novel.
If I was to be brutally honest I would have to say that I found The Lion of the Sun to be the weakest of the three books so far. That is not to say that it was a bad book, it just wasn’t as much fun to read as the previous two instalments – one reason being that that Sidebottom goes rather over-the-top with the Latin asides.
What I have enjoyed about the Ballista character's development in this series is that he has shown increasing fallibility as the strain of constant battle and advancing of the years take their toll. Fans of the Warrior of Rome series will be pleased with the latest instalment: Earthquakes, blood-feuds, battles, treachery, love and loss... What is there not to like?