For some research the other day, I pulled Romans and Aliens by J.P.V.D. Balsdon, University of North Carolina Press, 1979. I had picked up this book second-hand some seven or eight years ago and was the envy of my friends because it was next to impossible to find then. Now, however, with used book dealers all over the Internet, it can be had very cheaply, for instance via the above Amazon.com link.
Although written in narrative form – and often entertainingly so – all information imparted is linked to its sources by endnotes; thus it is an excellent source book.
The book covers the entire gamut of Rome's relations with its neighbors and conquered peoples, both in the Republic and the Empire, and how the Romans, The Gods' Own People, viewed the Aliens, and the Aliens Rome.
The Library of Congress lists: 1. Rome – Civilization – Foreign influences. 2. Rome – Foreign Population. 3. Acculturation. 4. Assimilation (Sociology). 5. Citizenship – Rome. 6. Culture Conflict. 7. Aliens (Roman law).
Balsdon talks about attitudes (Snobbery Begins at Rome), patrons and clients, citizenship, exile, name conventions, and more. About communications: languages, Bad Press and Generally Good Press for Rome; and finally there is a section Different Peoples: Their Looks and Habits, ranging from lifestyle to religion, to death.
The book is easy to follow and should be a useful resource for aspiring writers of historical fiction.
Speaking of names: no wonder Balsdon, a former Fellow and Tutor at Exeter College, Oxford, went by J.P.V.D.: John Percy Vivian Dacre is quite a mouthful …