I love the quality of commenting and discussion on this site - with how bad comments are on most of the internet, I've been really blown away with the amounts of wisdom and smart things we've gotten in the comments.
I try to take sharp and thought-provoking comments and make them into their own top level post, so they get full exposure. I try to do especially do this for comments on older entries that otherwise wouldn't be seen.
Now, it's really exciting when comments on comments are generating good discussion. This is what I've been looking for - a place where smart, ambitious, expansive, cool, good people communicate and talk and work on things.
Anyways, a while back Stefanie left a comment that became the entry "Life Manifest."
Roy just replied to her work with an exercise that I think worthy of some consideration -
"I, Claudius" has rapidly become my second favorite historical fiction. It's written by the author as an 'autobiography' of the Emperor Claudius, who had all sorts of troubles in his life -- he was lame and could barely walk, was bullied often as a child and overlooked, his father was most likely killed by poisoning at a young age, he stuttered, and had a variety of other issues. And yet, he survived and became Emperor.
I want to recommend it, since it's excellent especially on audiobook (the narrator is awesome, hilarious, does voices well, understands drama, and obviously knew Roman history well enough himself to cover it very credibly).
But the more I thought about recommending the book, the more I realized you need a lot of background on Roman history to truly appreciate it. It's a great book for weaving together the pieces of Roman history from the end of Republic through to the establishment of the Empire, but you need the background on the Republic, Civil Wars, and early Empire first.
So I thought about it. Here's my recommended order for learning some Roman history, with a mix of links to podcasts, books, and audiobooks --
1. Hardcore History's The Death of the Roman Republic series: Hardcore History is my favorite podcast, with Dan Carlin really bringing history to life. This is the best place to dive into Rome, adn it explains all the tensions and conflict of the late Roman Republic which led to the Civil Wars, introduces you intimately to many of the personalities involved, and is really enjoyable and exciting in the process. It's entirely free, so start here.