Harry Sidebottom biography and books reviewed

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

November 2nd 2011 interview with Harry Sidebottom

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 [...]

Read interview

Harry Sidebottom reviews

Fire in the East by Harry Sidebottom

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.

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King of Kings by Harry Sidebottom

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.

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Lion of the Sun by Harry Sidebottom

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.

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The Caspian Gates by Harry Sidebottom

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?

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