Rotten Romans by Terry Deary

(Cover picture courtesy of Pop Classics.)

Horrible Histories

It’s history with the nasty bits left in!

Want to know:

  • What Roman soldiers war under their kilts?
  • How Ancient Britons got their hair nice and spikey?
  • Why rich Romans needed a vomitorium?

Discover all the foul facts about the Rotten Romans—all the gore and more!

Terry Deary is one of those authors that has a wicked sense of humour that can make history both hilarious and interesting.  He has probably helped thousands, if not millions of kids actually enjoy history, myself included.  The Horrible Histories series is a great starting point to get kids interested in history.

However, it is only a startRotten Romans is a book that perpetuates some of the oldest myths about ancient Rome, including the long-debunked vomitoriums.  He calls the emperor Elagabalus, ‘Heliogabalus’ which is very confusing because I have never seen him called that anywhere.  Ever.  I don’t agree with how some of the emperors are portrayed, but that’s very subjective.  And that’s also the beauty of history: different people will interpret historical figures differently.

The cartoons in Rotten Romans are even better than they are in Awful Egyptians.  Martin Brown was in top form, especially in his cartoon of Caesar’s assassination in which the assassins (since there were so many in on the plot) are lined up and one shouts, “Oi!  Wait your turn!” while Caesar is bleeding to death on the floor.  The cartoons are probably my favourite part of the book.

I give this book 4/5 stars.

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