The reference staff take turns putting together book displays in two locations on the second floor of our library. It is an opportunity to be creative and to showcase the many facets of our adult collection.
As a boy in the '60's, I watched many "sword and sandal" movies on Saturday afternoon TV. These included the "Sons of Hercules" films, Italian B-movies featuring muscular actors like Steve Reeves, here pictured. You could extend the genre to include many more Hollywood films, such as Ben Hur and Cleopatra.
In the last decade, the genre has come around again, with new films about gladiators, the siege of Troy, the battle of Marathon, and an HBO series about ancient Rome. I began to notice that popular fiction mirrored the on-screen revival, with new fiction titles and series with settings from the Bronze Age to Byzantium. Once I began to look, I easily found more than enough books for a two week display back in September.
After some positive feedback from a patron by way of one of our branch managers, followed by her request for my list, to put the display up at her branch, I thought that I might as well post my list here. It took a bit of work to assemble, and it will be out of date in a year or two. Maybe someone here can use it. It's mostly recent popular fiction, but you will see Massie's older Roman titles and Vidal's Julian. I did not include Graves's Claudius novels or Yourcenar's Hadrian. The list here was a little truncated to fit on a large bookmark to accompany the display.
Sword & Sandal: Antiquity in Popular Fiction Barone, Sam / Mystic Empire, Dawn of Empire, Empire Rising Bradshaw, Gillian / various Cockrell, Amanda / The Legions of the Mist Davis, Lindsay / Falco series Dietrich, William / The Scourge of God Doherty, P. C. / The Gates of Hell: A Mystery of Alexander the Great Downie, Ruth / Medicus, Terra Incognita Dufaux / Swords of Rome Duffy, James / Sand of the Arena Durham, David Anthony / Hannibal's Children, Pride of Carthage Ford, Michael Curtis / The Ten Thousand, Gods and Legions, The Last King, The Fall of Rome Geagley, Brad / Day of the False King Gemmell, David / Shield of Thunder, Troy: The Fall of Kings George, Margaret / Cleopatra, Helen of Troy Iggulden, Conn / Emperor series McCullough, Colleen / Masters of Rome series Manfredi, Valerio / Spartan Massie, Allan / Caesar Nicastro, Nicholas / The Isle of Stone Oden, Scott / Men of Bronze, Memnon Pressfield, Steven / Gates of Fire, Tides of War, Last of the Amazons, The Virtues of War, The Afghan Campaign Rivers, Francine / Mark of the Lion series Roberts, John Maddox / SPQR series Saylor, Steven / Gordianus the Finder series Tarr, Judith / Bring Down the Sun Vidal, Gore / Julian Wishart, David / Parthian Shot Wolfe, Gene / Soldier of the Mist, Soldier of Arete, Soldier of Sidon