Of all peoples, civilizations, empires, cultures and time periods there are in history, I regret to inform you that I find the Ancient Romans to be most fascinating. “Collective groan” I know, I know. The Romans are such an easy answer. But ya, there is a reason for that.
The Romans capture our attention because they were such a unique and commanding force in the human timeline. They were defining. I apologize as this is obviously Eurocentric, but every history buff across the world has at one point researched these people. The Renaissance, another famous period in history was born of a desire to bring back a taste of Ancient Roman culture.
I learned about Ancient Rome in high school and university. I watched documentaries and Hollywood blockbusters on them (Gladiator being an incredibly fun, yet inaccurate one). I have watched many TV shows multiple times following their drama (Rome/Spartacus). I have read fiction and non-fiction (SPQR by Mary Beard is recommended) learning their story. And, all big museums usually dedicate a room to them. So yes, it has been very easy to get into the Roman mood.
I understand the Romans weren’t the good guys; though they weren’t necessarily the bad guys either. They did conquer and subjugate a huge portion of what was considered the “known world”, leaving much death in their wake. But, they had laws, they built, they created, and for a long time, they prospered. They were complicated, and yet we have huge amounts of information and evidence of their reign.
To those who don’t know, ancient Rome was 3 periods. The Kingdom of Rome (with its likely fictional line up of Kings), The Roman Republic and The Roman Empire. The most captivating to me is the Republic, as that is when the most complicated yet memorizing characters emerged. Also, there were war elephants crossing the Alps!
I would recommend, if you want to learn more, A History of Rome Podcast by Mike Duncan – He does a great job describing the Republic, character by character! Link Below;