Lives and Stories of the Ancients

Authors: Rev. Alfred J. Church
Publisher: G. P. Putnam & Sons
Dates: 1884–1894

Alfred Church was a classicist, who wrote books for young people in many genres. The books in this series can be considered episodic history. Each chapter tells the story of a particularly interesting person or event, in moderate detail. These books are most enjoyable for an intermediate or advanced student who is already familiar with Greek and Roman history, and desires to increase his knowledge.

In In the Days of Cicero, for example, Church gives us chapters on Verres, one of the most corrupt magistrates in Ancient Rome, and Atticus, a close friend, and Cicero's banker, as well as stories about more well known contemporaries such as Caesar and Pompey. In Roman Life and Story Church tells stories about Livia, the wife of Augustus, the Piso Conspiracy during Nero's reign, and tells detailed stories of Otho, Galba, and Vitellius, the three emperors who each reigned briefly in 69 A.D. In his book on Greek history, he also gives interesting stories that are sometimes passed over in introductory courses.

For anyone interested in a classical education, Church's books are an invaluable resource. He is especially gifted at exciting a real interest in history in the intermediate student; and provides a perfect transition from introductory level history books to college studies.

Roman Life in the Days of Cicero   by Alfred J. Church   82 credits
Cicero's public life in Rome corresponded to the last four decades of the Roman Republic. He was a young man during the proscriptions of Sulla and Marius, and an old man at the Death of Julius Caesar. Although he did not write any comprehensive history himself, his speeches and letters give great insight into the goings-on of the times. This collection of anecdotes is mostly derived from the writings of Cicero and refer to characters with whom he had personal interactions.

Pictures from Greek Life and Story   by Alfred J. Church   102 credits
This is not a comprehensive history of Greece, but rather a series of stories and anecdotes pertaining to the golden age of Athens, from the age of Solon (about 600 B.C.) to the death of Socrates (400 B.C.). Although a few Spartans and Thebans (Leonidas, Pausanias, Epaminondas) are mentioned, the heroes of Athens: Miltiades, Aristides, Themistocles, Pericles, Alcibiades and others are the central characters. Rather than giving an introductory account, this books assumes a familiarity with Greek history and tells the stories of its heroes in fascinating detail appropriate for high school or older students.

Pictures from Roman Life and Story   by Alfred J. Church   107 credits
This is not a comprehensive history of Rome, but rather a series of stories and anecdotes pertaining to the early years of the empire, specifically the first two centuries A.D. Most of the emperors between Augustus and Aurelius are portrayed, as well as important characters such as Maecenas, Horace, Agricola, Pliny, Martial, Livia, Seneca and others.