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The Rotten Romans

(Horrible Histories)

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  3,244 ratings  ·  120 reviews
Follows life for folks in Roman Britain from Nero to Boudicca and includes a look at gory games, rotten recipes, and loads of frightening facts.
Paperback, 128 pages
Published March 1st 1997 by Scholastic Paperbacks (first published 1994)
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Average rating 4.02  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,244 ratings  ·  120 reviews

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Dec 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This was the first Horrible Histories book I picked up as a child and it really changed things for me and helped me to get to where I am today. I re-read this as I'm taking an A-level in archaeology and I am studying the Romans, obviously I will read lots of other books on the Romans aimed at adults, but I thought this was a nice place to start.
It intrigues me about how little information there actually is on the Romans or the celts, its more about human nature and how it's changed or not chang
Mar 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Carrie Slager
Feb 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-borrowed
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 start. Rotten Romans is a book that perpetuates some of the oldest myths about ancient Rome, including the long-debunked vomitoriums. He calls the emperor Elagabalus
Murky myths, blood-drenched battles, and meet the gruesomest of gladiators. Stars author Terry Deary.

For some fun listening:

This whole series I recommend to an older squirt.
This wasn't my favourite of these books so far, sadly!! Again not rating them as I'm definitely not the intended audience! ...more
Mar 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I started the book and before I knew it I was nearly finished. I just couldn’t put it down.
I know a bit about the Roman period, but there was always something to learn.

I did have one problem with this book, it did talk a lot about Britain. Yes, the Romans did invade Britain, but it was like I was learning about them instead of the Romans themselves.
That was the only problem I had.

You just have to remember this is a book about Horrible Histories, teaching you horrible things that happen
Jul 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: youngadult, history
If you're not a fan of reading history books intended for adults, then the Horrible Histories series is the perfect way to learn. It has a great sense of humor and keeps history entertaining. I discovered this series at the British Museum in London and have been addicted ever since! ...more
Jun 15, 2009 rated it liked it
It took me ages to read this, I don't know why. I just thought that the things about the celts wre pretty boring, considering it was a book about Romans. ...more
LBC bingo: book recommended by a book club member

Oct 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A good information book about how clever the Romans were in war, how Julius Ceaser was assassinated and much much more!
Osama Siddique
This is quite an entertaining book. Laced with a general British ire for the conquering Romans and unlike the volume on the Greeks which extols their many achievements despite the irreverent tone of the series, this one means it when it says rotten. Admittedly there is much available historical material because of all the insane and sadistic emperors such as Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero etc., as well as the bloodthirsty Roman circuses, entertainments, arenas and colosseums with their gladi ...more
This was engaging and funny, even if some of the humor is very British/obscure? Definitely the kind of jam-packed pages that would have appealed to me as a kid.
Mayar El Mahdy
Nov 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not exaggerating when I say this is exactly what I needed.

For those of you who aren't going through an existential crisis, this is still pretty cool.
Oct 06, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Aug 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book with lots of true details one doesn't usually find in history books or classes. ...more
Avik Nandy
Sep 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Book Review - Avik

Author: Terry Deary
Title: Horrible Histories: Rotten Romans
Publication Date: 1999

The main idea of the books is to explanation how, the Romans lived, Ate, Fought, and what their culture and tradition is like. It also tells us what their timeline was. It also tells us the main emperors and kings! The book is technically all about Romans.

The purpose of this book is tell us who, what, when, where, the Romans were. It is technically the same thing as the outline because it manipu
Aug 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Okay let's talk about the Horrible Histories.

You may be aware of them as a TV show, which I highly, highly recommend, but you may not be aware that they are also books! Which I also recommend!

It's hard to talk about the Horrible Histories specifically. They're hysterical short nonfiction books consisting of maybe 120 pages tops? Aimed at children, they set out to tell you all about the really nasty side of history, which I am always down for. They're smart and funny with great illustrations, and
Sella Maro
Mar 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book is filled with a lot of roman history. It has tests and quizzes you can take after each section you read. It breaks history into different sections, roman child hood,games, and the rulers of Rome. I think this book is good for all ages but probably 6-7th grade. It tells the history of the Romans but in an interesting way. For example when they were talking about war, and the generals, they actually had real letters from one of the Roman generals. A character the book talks about it Cae ...more
Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore
Jan 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: humour
Some friends have pointed out that these books (not specifically this one) aren’t 100 per cent accurate in every instance but I still find them a fun and light way of presenting history to children. What I love about them (including this one) is that besides the broad picture of the periods they cover, they also go into little facts about daily life, school, games, food (with recipes)—and of course plenty of gore, which children certainly would enjoy. Plus using little “comic strips” and diary e ...more
In "The Rotten Romans" readers can discover the full story, including: after dinner fights to the death; Julius Caesar's fatal footwear faux pas; and, Emperor Heliogabalas and his cobweb collection.

It's a really good book if you're learning about ancient Rome, for it makes jokes ("Dad's mad, Blad") and gives interesting information you don't find anywhere else (Did you know the Celts admired their hair so much that they didn't wear helmets in battle?). It tells stories and has made-up diaries of
Mark Speed
Jun 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor, historical
I bought this book to see what the whole Horrible Histories series was about because I was writing Apocalypse Later: A guide to the end of the world by Nice Mr Death at the time.

The concept is pretty clever: make history amusing. A friend told me that his kids watch the TV show and, thanks to it, are able to recite the lineage of the Tudor monarchs (or something). I think this goes a bit deeper than teaching by rote, and it tries to give the reader an idea of what it was actually like living in
Dane Cobain
Feb 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The Rotten Romans has always been one of my favourite Horrible Histories books, on a par with the Vicious Vikings. Considering I was a keen reader and I grew up in the golden age of contemporary children's fiction (Terry Deary, R. L. Stine and J.K. Rowling just for starters), that's not a bad accolade!

As always, Deary's writing does a great job of teaching you the history of one of the world's most fascinating civilisations, and it's got great visuals, too. I imagine there's even an audio book,
Mar 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: history buffs and people who think history is dull
3.5 stars

This is another grimly entertaining read from the Horrible Histories series, giving an unconventional view of life in the Roman Empire. The strange facts within tell of everything from Rome's eccentric emperors and brutal armies; to its bizarre eating habits and gruesome taste in entertainment. And the strange facts aren't limited to what we generally think of as Rome. You can also learn a bit about the ancient Britons and Celts, and their less-than-civil interactions with the Romans.
May 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
My second Horrible Histories review but I truly believe that these books are a fantastic entry into forming an historical opinion on epochs through time. These books got me into history during KS2 and gave me an inquiring mind. A depth of lessons almost contained within each chapter of the book. Perfect read for KS2 mainly possibly a gifted year 2 child.

The humour, information and games in the book offers depth to history as a subject which no other book can do, in my opinion. This one and the C
Apr 18, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, romans, kids
A good, fun and enthusiastic way to teach children about the Romans. It does suffer from some pretty poor mistakes in places - such as claiming they invented the word 'barbarian' when it was actually the Greeks, or perpetuating the Hollywood driven myth that the Emperor put his thumb down to condemn a beaten gladiator to death when it was him putting his thumb into his fist and keeping it level that actually signalled that.

Overall though it's still a great starter book to get kids more intereste
Aug 27, 2016 rated it liked it
History without the boring bits to get kids interested in learning about past civilisations. Gore, violence, brutality and general horribleness - presented in a way that interests and not repels. There is also s bit of humour along the way.
Although aimed at children, I was entertained and educated by this book. My only gripe is that there was not enough detail in places and that the book was too brief. But then this book could be treated as a sort of introduction, inspiring the reader to read f
JB Hater Derp
Oct 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: m-read, school, s-read, 2014-15
Such fun! My boys loved it. It was a fantastic addition to our history curriculum. The only thing that could have made it better is a bit more detail. There are some stores that they told that would have been better in they had included more detail. However, it was still a great jumping off point... one can always do research to find the rest of the information. It just would have been nice if it was included.
Sep 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
As a child history was one of my favourite school subjects thus making Horrible Histories the perfect books for me.

Nowadays children have the television series yet I belong to the older group that had the books. Personally, I believe any child who has an interest in history should give these books a go. They’re truly gripping and so many topics are covered.

Honestly, Horrible Histories are well worth a read.
Sue Keay
May 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Horrible Histories do a remarkable job of condensing history into chunks manageable by children (or those with a short attention span). Julius Caesar covered in one page. Yet despite its brevity the Rotten Romans is informative and entertaining. The graphic descriptions of brutality appealed to one of my kids and gave the other nightmares, so the books may not be suitable for everyone.
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A former actor, theatre-director and drama teacher, Deary says he began writing when he was 29. Most famously, he is one of the authors of the Horrible Histories series of books popular among children for their disgusting details, gory information and humorous pictures and among adults for getting children interested in history. Books in the series have been widely translated into other languages ...more

Other books in the series

Horrible Histories (1 - 10 of 13 books)
  • Angry Aztecs
  • The Incredible Incas
  • Awful Egyptians
  • The Ruthless Romans
  • The Groovy Greeks
  • The Vicious Vikings
  • The Awesome Egyptians
  • The Terrible Tudors
  • The Vile Victorians
  • The Slimy Stuarts

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