Popular classical fiction writer Ben Kane returned to Sedbergh on Tuesday night, to give a passionate and lively talk on Roman daily life and life as a Roman legionary. Ben is the Sunday Times bestselling author of works such as the ‘Spartacus’ and ‘Hannibal’ series.

Head of Classics Jon Lidiard said: “Pupils were really engaged by Ben’s talk, and entertained by his style of delivery, fully kitted out as a Roman soldier, from his hob-nailed boots right up to his shield and helmet!

The pupils were treated to a fast-paced overview of many aspects of Roman life, brought to life by a combination of slides and artifacts ranging from hairpins to dice to swords – all of which were manhandled with great zeal by the pupils after the talk.”

Ben was born in Kenya and grew up in Ireland from the age of seven. “At school, whilst becoming an avid reader of just about any genre, I especially liked military and historical fiction. I spent nearly all my pocket money on books and devoured the contents of the local library.

Although I loved reading I never really thought about studying English or writing. Why, I’m not completely sure. I studied veterinary science and after concentrating on ‘small animal practice’ in the UK, my itchy feet took me abroad in 1997 on a three-month solo trip of part of the ancient Silk Road.

Visiting the ruins of Merv, in Turkmenistan, started my interest in the Roman campaign into Parthia in 53BC.  In 1998 I set out on a trip around the world which lasted for nearly three years. It was during this prolonged time abroad that I first had thoughts of writing military historical fiction.”

For more information on Ben’s background and books, visit

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