Ya Books Set In Ancient Rome

Types of Ancient Roman Ya Books

Ancient Rome has been the inspiration for many stories in literature. Young adult (YA) books have been written focusing on the culture, wars, and daily life in the Roman Empire. These YA books are often thrilling and full of excitement as they explore history in a more engaging manner than traditional textbooks. From books based on mythology to stories set in the time of the Caesers, there are many genres of YA Roman literature to choose from.

Historical Fiction

One of the most popular types of YA books about Ancient Rome is historical fiction. This genre imagines what life would have been like for an adolescent growing up during the height of the Roman Empire. It often follows a single protagonist, as they learn about responsibility, loyalty and friendship. Additionally, there are often powerful messages about standing up for what you believe in and being true to yourself. Some notable historical fiction YA novels set in Ancient Rome include Mary Pope Osborne’s “The Tales of Ancient Rome” and Caroline Lawrence’s “The Roman Mysteries”.

Dystopian Fiction

Another type of YA book set in Ancient Rome is dystopian fiction. This genre takes a modern-day concept or philosophy and applies it to the era. The story usually follows a group of young protagonists who are attempting to resist an oppressive government or conquer a tyrant. These books often contain thought-provoking messages about the nature of power and how people can stand up against oppressors. Examples of dystopian YA books set in Ancient Rome include David Levithan’s “Empires” and Lizzie Trenerry’s “The Red Slave”.

Romantic Fiction

Romantic fiction is another popular genre of YA Ancient Rome books. These stories often focus on romance between the young adults living in the time period, as they experience love, heartbreak, and betrayal while navigating the complicated political landscape of the Roman Empire. Examples of romantic YA novels set in Ancient Rome include RJ Jones’ “The Undying Terror” and Paula Harrison’s “The Roman Games”.


Mythology is another genre of Ancient Roman YA books that retells the tales of the gods and goddesses from the era. These stories often focus on teaching young readers about the culture and mythology of the time period. Many of these books contain powerful messages about the power of believing in yourself and overcoming adversity. Notable examples of mythology-based YA novels set in Ancient Rome include Bruce Coville’s “Odysseus in the Serpent Maze” and Alex Gino’s “Odysseus and the Trojan War”.


Fantasy is another genre of YA Ancient Rome books. These stories blend elements of mythology and folklore with more contemporary figures, settings and creatures. They often explore themes like good vs. evil and the supernatural. They are often thrilling and full of action and suspense. Examples of fantasy YA novels set in Ancient Rome include Paul Kater’s “Gaius Julius Caesar: The War Years” and Kathryn Lasky’s “Rise of Rome”.

Graphic Novels

Graphic novels are another type of YA Ancient Rome books. These stories are illustrated in comic-book or manga-style illustrations, but often contain deeper themes and messages. They are often a great choice for visual learners or for those who may find traditional novels too daunting. Examples of graphic YA novels set in Ancient Rome include Kate O’Hearn’s “Pegasus and the Rise of the Titans” and Yvan Alagbé’s “Julius Caesar”.

Effects on Today’s Society

YA books set in Ancient Rome are not only entertaining and educational, but they can also help to shape our present-day society. By exposing young readers to different aspects of life during the Roman Empire, such as politics, religion, and literature, they can gain a better understanding of the society that still influences our own. Additionally, many of these books contain powerful messages about equality, justice and human rights, which can help to shape our ethical decisions in the modern world.

Changes in Perception

YA books set in Ancient Rome also have the potential to change our perception of the time period. By exploring themes such as love, jealousy, and conflict, these books can open up new perspectives on this ancient civilization. Readers can gain a better understanding of the complex culture, tradition, and morality that shaped the foundation of the Western world.

Interpretation of Sources

YA books set in Ancient Rome can also help readers to gain a better understanding of the sources of this time period. Through expert analysis and interpretation, these books can help to provide better context and nuances to materials that are often seen as dry and difficult for many students to absorb. Additionally, these books can inspire young readers to look at sources in a new and creative way.

Exam Preparation

Finally, YA books set in Ancient Rome can be a great resource for students preparing for exams and other assessments. By providing engaging stories that bring the culture, politics and beliefs of the time period to life, these books can provide an incredibly valuable learning tool. They can help to expand young readers’ knowledge and provide a deeper understanding of the topics being covered.

Film Adaptations

YA books set in Ancient Rome have been adapted into several successful films, such as Gladiator and The Patriot. These adaptations have proven to be popular with a wide range of audiences, from preteen viewers to adults. Films can provide insight into Roman history while also creating an exciting and engaging visual experience. Additionally, they often contain powerful messages about justice, freedom, and heroism that can be incredibly inspiring.

Role-Playing Games

Role-playing games are another popular way to explore life in the Roman Empire. Games like Dungeons and Dragons and the Total War series allow players to explore the politics and warfare of the time period. They are often an exciting way to learn more about history while also having a thrilling and engaging experience.

Educational Resources

YA books set in Ancient Rome can also be a great tool for educators. There are many books that are specifically designed to be used in the classroom. These books often contain activities, diagrams, and primary sources that can be used to help students gain a deeper understanding of the time period. They can also be used to inspire creative thinking and help students to become more engaged in their studies.


The legacy of the Roman Empire can still be seen in many aspects of modern society. From our legal system to our language, many aspects of the Roman world can still be found today. YA books set in Ancient Rome can help to bring this culture to life and help young readers to explore it in a more engaging and entertaining way.

Moshe Rideout is a professional writer and historian whose work focuses on the history of Ancient Rome. Moshe is passionate about understanding the complexity of the Roman Empire, from its architecture to its literature, political systems to social structures. He has a Bachelor's degree in classic studies from Rutgers University and is currently pursuing a PhD in classical archaeology at UMass Amherst. When he isn't researching or writing, he enjoys exploring ruins around Europe, drawing inspiration from his travels.

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