There are some great books that will enhance your understanding of the first century and provide a background to the culture, politics, religion and customs of the classical world.
Here are some recommendations.
Drawing on literary, artistic, and archaeological evidence, as well as on scholarly sources, the new edition introduces a number of additional topics, including fuller theoretical analysis of key concepts such as sex, gender, and sexuality; cultural and religious exchanges between Greeks and Egyptians; the mystique of Alexander the Great; and an entire chapter on the living conditions of non-elite Romans. The text combines fine cultural detail with a breadth of perspective, prompting readers to contrast ancient norms of sexual behaviour with those of today, and contextualises the longstanding academic disputes over ancient sexuality. Strikingly relevant to our own understanding of the interplay between social institutions and personal sexual conduct, this new edition, like its forerunner, will be greatly valued by general and academic readers alike.