Harry Sidebottom

About The Author

Harry Sidebottom was brought up in racing stables in Newmarket where his father was a trainer. He had a basket saddle on a donkey before he could walk.

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.

His first book Ancient Warfare: A Very Short Introduction was published by OUP in 2004. It got excellent reviews. The Times Literary Supplement described it as “jam-packed with ideas and insight … a radical and fresh reading of Greek and Roman warfare that is both surprising and stimulating.” For The Guardian it was “a boot camp for the brain – a short, sharp shock to the presumptions.” The Contemporary Review dubbed it “a tour de force.” Robin Lane Fox described it in print as “outstandingly good.” It has been translated into Japanese (2006) and Chinese (2007). Translations into German and Greek are in progress.

Away from classical scholarship his other interests include fiction, travel, sport, booze, and women.
Since 2003 he has been a regular reviewer of fiction, especially historical novels, in the Times Literary Supplement. Here he has enthused about Robert Harris and Alan Massie, and probably made enemies for life of Erica Jong and Colleen McCullough.

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`.

He has travelled widely, especially around the Mediterranean. These trips have varied from the luxury of travelling as a guest speaker on a Cunard liner to a memorable solo journey into Albania not long after the fall of the dictator Enver Hoxha.

All his life he has gone racing, and played and watched rugby and cricket. He was a founder member of Woodstock Rugby Football Club. Recently he has discovered the pleasures of real tennis.

Q & A

Q and A with Harry


Books – Fiction

Throne of the Caesars

2014                                       Iron & Rust (Harper Collins)

Warrior of Rome

2013                                       The Amber Road (Penguin)

2012                                       Wolves of the North (Penguin)

2011                                        The Caspian Gates (Penguin)

2010                                       Lion of the Sun (Penguin)

2009                                       King of Kings (Penguin)

2008                                       Fire in the East (Penguin)


Books – History

2014                                         The Encyclopedia of Ancient Battles, editor with Michael Whitby                                                 (Blackwell) (forthcoming)

2004                                         Ancient Warfare : A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University                                             Press) (translations: Japanese, 2006; Chinese, 2007; German, 2008;  Greek, 2008)


Articles  and  Chapters  in  Books

2014                                       `Siege  Warfare`, in H. Sidebottom, and M. Whitby (eds.), The Encyclopedia of Ancient Battles (Blackwell).

2012                                        `Assim como os Pescadores fisgam o Atum: A Batala Naval na Antiguidade`, in P.P.A. Funari et al (eds.), Historia Militar do Mundo Antigo: Guerras e Identidades (Annablume), 39-76.

2009                                        ‘Philostratus and the Roles of the Sophist and Philosopher in the Second Sophistic`  in E. Bowie and J. Elsner (eds.), Philostratus (CUP), 69-99.

2007                                       `War, Peace, and International Relations in the Late Republic and Principate`, in P. Sabin, H. van Wees, and M. Whitby (eds.), The Cambridge History of Greek and Roman Warfare. Volume II: Rome from the late Republic to the late Empire (CUP, 2007), 3-29.

2007                                       `Severan  Historiography: Evidence, Patterns, and  Arguments`, in  S. Swain, S. Harrison, and  J. Elsner (eds.), Severan  Culture (CUP, 2007), 52-82.

2006                                       `Dio  Chrysostom  and  the  Development  of  On  Kingship  Literature`, in  D. Spencer, and  E. Theodorakopoulos (eds.), Advice  and  its  Rhetoric  in  the  Ancient  World (???, 2006), 117-57.

2005                                       `Roman  Imperialism: The  changed  outward  trajectory  of  the  Roman  empire`, Historia 54 (2005), 315-30.

2002                                       `Pausanias: Past, Present, and Closure`, Classical Quarterly 52.2 (2002), 494-9.

1998                                         ‘Herodian’s Historical Methods and Understanding of History’, in W. Haase, and H. Temporini (eds.),  Aufstieg und Niedergang der Römischen Welt II.34,4 (Walter de Gruyter,1998), 2775-2836.

1997                                         ‘The Date of the Composition of Herodian’s History’, L’Antiquité Classique, 66 (1997), 271-276.

1996                                         ‘Dio of Prusa and the Flavian Dynasty’, Classical Quarterly 46.2 (1996), 447-56.

1993                                         ‘Philosophers’ Attitudes to Warfare under the Principate’ in J. Rich, and G. Shipley (eds.), War and Society in the Roman World,  (Routledge), 241-69.

1992                                         ‘The Date of Dio of Prusa’s Rhodian and Alexandrian Orations’, Historia, 41 (1992), 407-19.


Reviews – History

2006                                        Review  of  P.A. Stadter, and  L. van  der  Stockt (ed.s), Sage  and  Emperor: Plutarch, Greek  Intellectuals, and  Roman  Power  in  the  Time  of  Trajan (98-117ad) (Leuven  University  Press, 2001), in  Phoenix LX.3-4 (2006), 375-8.

2006                                        Review of C. Ando, Imperial Ideology and Political Loyalty in the Roman Empire (University of California Press, 2000) in Classical Review 56.1 (2006), 173-5.

2005                                        Review  of  T. Whitmarsh, Greek  Literature  and  the  Roman  Empire: The  Politics  of  Imitation (Oxford  University  Press, 2001), in  Classical  Review 55.1 (2005), 83-6.

2004                                        Review of J.B. McCall, The Cavalry of the Roman Republic (Routledge, 2002), in Classical Review 54.2 (2004), 488-90.

2003                                        Review of C.M. Gilliver, The Roman Art of War (Tempus, 1999) in Classical Review 53.1 (2003), 171-2.

2003                                        Review of S. P. Mattern, Rome and the Enemy: Imperial Strategy in the Principate (University of California Press, 1999) in Classical Review 53.1(2003), 172-4.

2003                                        Review of N. Pollard, Soldiers, Cities, and Civilians in Roman Syria (University of Michigan Press, 2000) in Classical Review 53.2 (2003), 431-3.

2003                                        Review of P. Cartledge, The Spartans : An Epic History (Channel Four Books, 2002) in  The Times Literary Supplement 5215 (14th March 2003), 35.

2003                                        Review of G. Daly, Cannae : The Experience of Battle in the Second Punic War (Routledge, 2002) in  The Times Literary Supplement 5205 (3rd. Jan. 2003), 26.

2002                                        Review of S. Swain (ed.), Dio Chrysostom: Politics, Letters, and Philosophy (Oxford University Press, 2000) and H.J. Klauck and B. Babler, Dion von Prusa, Olympische Rede (Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 2000) in Classical Review 52.1 (2002), 44-6.

2001                                         Review of F.S. Russell, Information Gathering in Classical Greece (University of Michigan Press, 1999) in Classical Review 51.2 (2001),

2001                                         Review of A. Santosuosso, Soldiers, Citizens and the Symbols of War:
from Classical Greece to Republican Rome, 500-167 BC
(Westview Press, 1997) in Classical Review 51.1 (2001), 188.

2001                                         Review of J. Mossman (ed.), Plutarch and his Intellectual World: Essays on Plutarch (1997)in Journal of Roman Studies 91 (2001), 254-5.

2000                                        Review of K. W. Arafat, Pausanias’ Greece (Cambridge University Press, 1996) in Journal of Roman Studies 90 (2000), 232-3.

2000                                        Review of T. Buckley, Aspects of Greek History 750-323 BC: A source-based approach (Routledge, 1996) in Classical Review 50.1 (2000), 340-1.

1999                                          Review of J.-J. Flinterman, Power, Paideia and Pythagoreanism (Gieben, 1995) in Classical Review 49.1 (1999), 34-5.

1999                                          Review of J. Vanderspoel, Themistius and the Imperial Court (University of Michigan Press, 1995) in Classical Review 49.1 (1999), 37-8.

1997                                          Review of S. Fein, Die Beziehungen der Kaiser Trajan und Hadrian zu den litterati  (Teubner, 1994) in Classical Review 47.1 (1997), 209-10

1994                                          Review of D. A. Russell, Dio Chrysostom. Orations VII, XII and XXXVI (Cambridge University Press, 1992) in Journal of Roman Studies 84 (1994), 265-6.

1994                                          Review of A. Hyland, Equus: The Horse in the Roman World (Batsford, 1990), A. Hyland, Training the Roman Cavalry (Alan Sutton, 1993) and K. R. Dixon and P. Southern, The Roman Cavalry (Batsford, 1992) in Journal of Roman Studies 84 (1994), 238-9.


Reviews : Fiction

2007                                           J. Rathbone, The  Mutiny (Little, Brown, 2007) in  The  Times  Literary  Supplement  5419 (9th  Feb.  2007), 22.

2006                                           D. Sprott, Daughter  of  the  Crocodile (faber  and  faber, 2006) in  The  Times  Literary  Supplement 5404 (27th Oct. 2006), 23.

2006                                           P. Vansittart, Secret  Protocols (Peter  Owen, 2006) in  The  Times  Literary  Supplement 5385 (16th June  2006), 23.

2005                                           L. Clarke, The  Return  from  Troy (HarperCollins, 2005) in  The  Times  Literary  Supplement 5348 (30th. Sept. 2005), 23.

2004                                           D.A. Durham, Pride of Carthage (Doubleday, 2004) in The Times Literary Supplement 5307/8 (24th./31st. Dec. 2004), 27.

2004                                           E. Jong, Sappho`s  Leap (Arcadia, 2004) in The Times Literary Supplement 5295 (24th. Sept. 2004), 20.

2004                                           L. Davis, Scandal Takes A Holiday (Century, 2004) in The Times Literary Supplement 5283 (2nd.July 2004), 21.

2004                                           M. Doody, Poison in Athens (Century, 2004) in The Times Literary Supplement 5277 (21st. May 2004), 21.

2004                                           M. Renault, The Persian Boy (Arrow Books, 2003[1st. ed., 1972]), and Funeral Games (Arrow Books, 2003[1st.ed., 1981] in The Times Literary Supplement 5266 (5th.March 2004), 24.

2003                                           A. Massie, Caligula (Sceptre, 2003) in  The  Times  Literary  Supplement 5252 (28th Nov. 2003), 23.

2003                                           R. Harris, Pompeii (Hutchinson, 2003) in The Times Literary Supplement 5240 (5th Sept. 2003), 8.

2003                                           C. McCullough, The October Horse (Century, 2002) in The Times Literary                Supplement 5208 (24th Jan. 2003), 23.


Other Publications

1999                                        Contributions on ‘The Arts in the Ancient World’ to Chronology of World History (Helicon).

1994                                        Contributions (c. 13,000 words) on Roman History, and Greek and Latin Historiography to A Dictionary of Ancient History, edited by G. Speake (Blackwell – Penguin).