Hercules: I greatly enjoyed Hercules: The First Superhero, so much so that I now want to explore more of your writings. What inspired you to write this Unauthorized Biography?
Philip: By profession I am a historian. Sometimes in the course of my research I need a particular book, and find that it does not exist – so I write it. In this case I was looking at the Hercules legend and found that the last biography had been written almost two thousand years ago. It was time for an update.
Hercules: The writing style was rather unique and very engaging. Are all of your subjects approached so unconventionally?
Philip: A number of reviewers have commented on this ‘voice’. It is basically my teaching style, by which I try to present academic information in an everyday manner. I tend to get excited and enthusiastic about ancient history, and my writing usually reflects this.
Hercules: I would be honored if you could share your creative journey with us. What sparked your passion for ancient history?
Philip: A little set of plastic hoplites that I was given as a child. These awoke an interest in a world that was real, but so different to our own. Once I was hooked, that interest in antiquity has only deepened over the decades.
Hercules: What inspired your decision to teach ancient history?
Philip: Like anyone who gets excited by a subject, I have the urge to share it! Someone once remarked that the secret to happiness is doing what you love and getting paid for it. Teaching ancient history works like that for me
Hercules: And what led to your writing career?
Philip: A friend and fellow historian, Adrian Goldsworthy, was tied up with a number of projects and was unable to take a proposed book project. He recommended me instead, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Hercules: You are quite prolific! According to Wikipedia you have another seventeen books under your belt, all of them Greco-Roman in theme…
Philip: At the beginning, it was uncertain if there would be a second book. However, two thousand years of ancient history have left a lot of tales that deserve to be told, and the list in my ‘future projects’ file keeps growing.
Hercules: What do you enjoy doing when you’re not visiting antiquity?
Philip: Cookery and woodwork mainly, though I also spend a lot of time in an online fantasy game called GW2. The cookery aspect has become an ongoing theme in my novels, and the online fantasy inspired an academic paper on approaches to Homeric warfare, so my hobbies have a way of feeding back into my ongoing obsession.
Hercules: How would you describe yourself as a person?
Philip: Well, my choice of home shows that I prefer mountains and the deep Canadian backwoods to cities and universities, which probably says something about me. Also, I like my life, which makes me a happy person.
Hercules: How would those closest to you describe you?
Philip: An ancient history nut who cooks a mean casserole.
Hercules: Do you have a website or a presence on social media? How can our Guests learn more about you and your work?
Philip: For social media there’s my Facebook page:
That’s where I share interesting quotes, pictures and trivia from my work, and there is a website:
Which lists all my books by date, publisher and language (For example Ancient Rome on 5 Denarii a Day is now published in Hungarian, Finnish, French, Dutch, Russian and seven other languages.) There’s also a monthly blog and notice of new books due out.
Hercules: What is next for Philip Matyszak?
Philip: More ancient history, naturally! Next year I have two new books being published – one on Sparta and another on the Greeks generally. Then there’s the next novel, and the next ‘Unauthorized Biography’ and I’ve signed contracts for three more books for after that …
Hercules: Thank you Philip. I wish you the greatest success in all your endeavors.
(c) Hercules Invictus