The Republic is a Socratic dialogue by Plato, written in approximately 380 BC. It is one of the most influential works of philosophy and political theory, and arguably Plato's best known work. In it, Socrates and various other Athenians and foreigners discuss the meaning of justice and whether the just man is happier than the unjust man by constructing an imaginary city ruled by philosopher-kings. The dialogue also discusses the nature of the philosopher, Plato's Theory of Forms, the conflict between philosophy and poetry, and the immortality of the soul.
First performed in classical Athens c. 411 B.C.E., Aristophanes’ “Lysistrata” is the original battle of the sexes. One woman, Lysistrata, brings together the women of all Greece, exhorting them to withhold sexual contact from all men in order that they negotiate a treaty. Double entendres abound as men of Greece attempt to keep Lysistrata and her prurient gang from putting an end to the Peloponnesian war. Notably risqué, this comic drama sheds light on gender relations in ancient Athens.
The Apology of Socrates is Plato's version of the speech given by Socrates as he unsuccessfully defended himself in 399 BC against the charges of "corrupting the young, and by not believing in the gods in whom the city believes, but in other daimonia that are novel" (24b). "Apology" here has its earlier meaning (now usually expressed by the word "apologia") of speaking in defense of a cause or of one's beliefs or actions.
Aesop's Fables or the Aesopica are a collection of fables credited to Aesop, a slave and story-teller believed to have lived in ancient Greece between 620 and 560 BCE. The fables remain a popular choice for moral education of children today. Many of the stories, such as The Fox and the Grapes (from which the idiom "sour grapes" derives), The Tortoise and the Hare, The North Wind and the Sun, The Boy Who Cried Wolf and The Ant and the Grasshopper are well-known throughout the world.
The Symposium (Ancient Greek: S?µp?s???) is a philosophical book written by Plato sometime after 385 BCE. On one level the book deals with the genealogy, nature and purpose of love, on another level the book deals with the topic of knowledge, specifically how does one know what one knows. The topic of love is taken up in the form of a group of speeches, given by a group of men at a symposium or a wine drinking party at the house of the tragedian Agathon at Athens. Plato constructed the Symposium as a story within a story within a story. This architecture creates the space for Plato to build his philosophy of knowledge. The speech of Socrates points out that the highest purpose of Love is to become a Philosopher, or Lover of Wisdom.
The play begins years after Oedipus has taken the throne of Thebes. The Theban chorus cries out to him for salvation from the plague sent by the gods in response to Laius's murder. Oedipus searches for the murderer, unaware that he himself is guilty of that crime.
The blind prophet Teiresias is called upon to aid the search, but, after his warning against following through with it, Oedipus oppugns him as the murderer, even though he is blind and aged. In response, an angry Tiresias tells Oedipus that he is looking for himself, causing the king to become enraged in incredulity. He then accuses the prophet of conspiring with Creon, Jocasta's brother, to overthrow him.
Oedipus calls for one of Laius's former servants, the only surviving witness of the murder, who fled the city when Oedipus became king in order to avoid being the one to reveal the truth. Soon a messenger from Corinth arrives to inform the king of the death of Polybus, whom Oedipus still believes to be his real father. At this point, the messenger informs him that he was in fact adopted and that his true parentage is unknown. In the subsequent discussions between Oedipus, Jocasta, the servant and the messenger, the second-mentioned surmises the truth and runs away in shame.
This is the second installment in Sophocles's Theban Plays that chronicles the tragic fates of Oedipus and his family. After fulfilling the prophecy that predicted he would kill his father and marry his mother, Oedipus blinds himself and leaves Thebes, to wander in the wilderness accompanied by his daughters Antigone and Ismene.
This is the final installment in Sophocles's Theban Plays, following Oedipus Rex and Oedipus at Colonus. Oedipus's daughter Antigone deliberately breaks the laws of Thebes when she buries her brother's body and is sentenced to death. She clashes with Creon, the King of Thebes, over what constitutes justice and morality: the laws of the state or the laws of the individual.
Awaiting his trial on charges of impiety and heresy, Socrates encounters Euthyphro, a self-proclaimed authority on matters of piety and the will of the gods. Socrates, desiring instruction in these matters, converses with Euthyphro, but as usual, the man who professes to know nothing fares better than the man who claims to be an expert. One of Plato’s well-known Socratic Dialogues, Euthyphro probes the nature of piety, and notably poses the so-called Euthyphro Dilemma: Do the gods love a thing because it is holy, or is a thing holy because it is loved by the gods?
Meno is a Socratic dialogue written by Plato. Written in the Socratic dialectic style, it attempts to determine the definition of virtue, or arete, meaning in this case virtue in general, rather than particular virtues, such as justice or temperance. The goal is a common definition that applies equally to all particular virtues. Socrates moves the discussion past the philosophical confusion, or aporia, created by Meno's paradox (aka the learner's paradox) with the introduction of new Platonic ideas: the theory of knowledge as recollection, anamnesis, and in the final lines a movement towards Platonic idealism..
In Plato's ION, Socrates questions Ion, whether he should really claim laud and glory for his 'rhapsodic' recitals of Homer's poetry.
Aphorisms from the Stoic Greek.
"The Iliad is an epic poem in dactylic hexameters, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set in the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of Ilium, by a coalition of Greek States, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles. Although the story covers only a few weeks in the final year of the war, the Iliad mentions or alludes to many of the Greek legends about the siege"
Sophocles' play dramatizes the aftermath of Agamemnon's murder by his wife Clytemnestra and her lover Aegisthus. His daughter Electra is hungry for revenge and longs for the return of her brother Orestes to help her achieve her ends.
The fable is a small narrative, in prose or verse, which has as its main characteristic the aim of conveying a moral lesson (the "moral"), implicitly or, more normally, explicitly expressed. Even though the modern concept of fable is that it should have animals or inanimated objects as characters - an idea supported by the works of famous fabulists such as Aesop and La Fontaine - Phaedrus, the most important Latin fabulist, is innovative in his writing. Although many of his fables do depict animals or objects assuming speech, he also has many short stories about men, writing narratives that seem to the modern eye more like short tales than fables.
Despite many other fables being attributed to Phaedrus, only five books are considered by scholarship to have been written by him. Phaedrus' five books of fables are here presented in a translation to English prose by Henry Thomas Ridley.
This is an incomplete dialogue from the late period of Plato's life. Plato most likely created it after Republic and it contains the famous story of Atlantis, that Plato tells with such skill that many have believed the story to be true. Critias, a friend of Socrates, and uncle of Plato was infamous as one of the bloody thirty tyrants.
This work may not be by Plato, or his entirely, but Jowett has offered his sublime translation, and seems to lean towards including it in the canon. Socrates tempted by irony to deflate the pretentious know-it-all Hippias, an arrogant polymath, appears to follow humour more than honour in this short dialogue.
Homer’s Iliad is the first great work of Western literature. Composed in twenty-four books of Greek hexameter poetry, it portrays the events of the last year of the Trojan War. Its translation into rhyming couplets by Alexander Pope is considered by some the greatest act of translation in English. Its power sweeps the reader along through an epic tale that begins with the wrath of Achilles and ends with the burial of Hector, breaker of horses.
The Odyssey is one of the two major ancient Greek epic poems (the other being the Iliad), attributed to the poet Homer. The poem is commonly dated to between 800 and 600 BC. The poem is, in part, a sequel to the Iliad, and concerns the events that befall the Greek hero Odysseus in his long journey back to his native land Ithaca after the fall of Troy.
It takes Odysseus ten years to return to his native land of Ithaca after ten years of war; during his 20-year absence, his son Telemachus and his wife Penelope must deal with a group of unruly suitors who have moved into Odysseus' home to compete for Penelope's hand in marriage, since most have assumed that Odysseus has died.
The poem is a fundamental text in the Western canon and continues to be read in both Homeric Greek and translations around the world.
The Odyssey is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is, in part, a sequel to the Iliad, the other Homeric epic. The Odyssey is fundamental to the modern Western canon; it is the second-oldest extant work of Western literature, while the Iliad is the oldest. Scholars believe the Odyssey was composed near the end of the 8th century BC, somewhere in Ionia, the Greek coastal region of Anatolia. The poem mainly focuses on the Greek hero Odysseus (known as Ulysses in Roman myths), king of Ithaca, and his journey home after the fall of Troy. It takes Odysseus ten years to reach Ithaca after the ten-year Trojan War. In his absence, it is assumed Odysseus has died, and his wife Penelope and son Telemachus must deal with a group of unruly suitors, the Mnesteres or Proci, who compete for Penelope's hand in marriage.
The women of Athens are sick of the Peloponnesian war that has dragged on for year after year after year, causing great hardship to everyone. They decide to deny the men sex until they agree to make peace, using the one thing that perhaps men enjoy more than killing each other. Does it work? Listen and find out. This comedy by Aristophanes was first performed in 411 BC
Gaius Petronius Arbiter
Satyricon (or Satyrica) is a Latin work of fiction in a mixture of prose and poetry. It is believed to have been written by Gaius Petronius, though the manuscript tradition identifies the author as a certain Titus Petronius. As with the Metamorphoses of Apuleius, classical scholars often describe it as a "Roman novel", without necessarily implying continuity with the modern literary form.
The surviving portions of the text detail the misadventures of the narrator, Encolpius, and his lover, a handsome sixteen-year-old boy named Giton. Throughout the novel, Encolpius has a hard time keeping his lover faithful to him as he is constantly being enticed away by others. Encolpius's friend Ascyltus (who seems to have previously been in a relationship with Encolpius) is another major character. It is a rare example of a Roman novel, the only other surviving example (quite different in style and plot) being Metamorphoses written by Lucius Apuleius. It is also extremely important evidence for the reconstruction of what everyday life must have been like for the lower classes during the early Roman Empire.
(Summary taken from Wikipedia)
The Apology is Plato's version of the speech given by Socrates as he defended himself in 399 BC against the charges of "corrupting the young, and by not believing in the gods in whom the city believes, but in other daimonia that are novel" . "Apology" here has its earlier meaning of speaking in defense of a cause or of one's beliefs or actions. The general term apology, in context to literature, defends a world from attack (opposite of satire-which attacks the world). The text is written in the first person from Socrates' point of view, as though it were Socrates' actual speech at the trial. During the course of the speech, Socrates twice mentions Plato as being present. There is, however, no real way of knowing how closely Socrates' words in the Apology match those of Socrates at the actual trial, even if it was Plato's intention to be accurate in this respect
Vergilius Maro, Publius
The Aeneid is a Latin epic written by Virgil in the 1st century BC that tells the legendary story of Aeneas, a Trojan who traveled to Italy, where he became the ancestor of the Romans. The first six of the poem's twelve books tell the story of Aeneas' wanderings from Troy to Italy, and the poem's second half treats the Trojans' ultimately victorious war upon the Latins, under whose name Aeneas and his Trojan followers are destined to be subsumed. The poem was commissioned from Vergil by the Emperor Augustus to glorify Rome. Several critics think that the hero Aeneas' abandonment of the Cartheginian Queen Dido, is meant as a statement of how Augustus' enemy, Mark Anthony, should have behaved with the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra. (Summay by Wikipedia and Karen Merline)
The Aeneid is a Latin epic written by Virgil in the 1st century BC that tells the legendary story of Aeneas, a Trojan who traveled to Italy, where he became the ancestor of the Romans. The first six of the poem’s twelve books tell the story of Aeneas’ wanderings from Troy to Italy, and the poem’s second half treats the Trojans’ ultimately victorious war upon the Latins, under whose name Aeneas and his Trojan followers are destined to be subsumed. The poem was commissioned from Virgil by the Emperor Augustus to glorify Rome. Several critics think that the hero Aeneas’ abandonment of the Carthaginian Queen Dido, is meant as a statement of how Augustus’ enemy, Mark Anthony, should have behaved with the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra.
Xenophon the Athenian was born 431 B.C. He was a pupil of Socrates. He marched with the Spartans, and was exiled from Athens. Sparta gave him land and property in Scillus, where he lived for many years before having to move once more, to settle in Corinth. He died in 354 B.C. "Anabasis" is a Greek work which meane "journey from the coast to the center of a country." This is Xenophon's account of his march to Persia with a troop of Greek mercenaries to aid Cyrus, who enlisted Greek help to try and take the throne from his brother Artaxerxes, and the ensuing return of the Greeks, in which Xenophon played a leading role. This occurred between 401 B.C. and March 399 B.C.
H. G. Dakyns lived from (1838 - 1911).
In one of Plato's more accessible works, Apollodorus tells a friend about a drinking party (or symposium) attended by many of intellectuals of late 5th century Athens. The men are one their second night of celebration for Agathon's victory at the city Dionysia, and decide that instead of drinking, they should give speeches in praise of love.
This dialogue brings Socrates face to face with the famous sophist Gorgias and his followers. It is a work likely completed around the time of "Republic" and illuminates many of the spiritual ideas of Plato. The spirituality, as Jowett points out in his wonderful introduction, has many ideas akin to Christianity, but is more generous as it reserves damnation only for the tyrants of the world. Some of the truths of Socrates, as presented by Plato, shine forth in this wonderful work on sophistry and other forms of persuasion or cookery.
The story of how Jason and a group of famous heroes of Greece took to sea in the Argos has been told many times, before and after Apollonius of Rhodes, wrote his Argonautica, in the 3rd century b.C.. It is not only the oldest full version of the tale to arrive to our days, but also the only extant example of Hellenistic epic. This was already a popular myth by the times of Apollonius, who makes the story of how Jason and the Argonauts sail to Colchis in search of the Golden Fleece, and have to go through a lot of adventures to fulfill their task, a mix of simple narrative and scholarly catalog. The Argonautica had a deep impact on European literature as a whole.
Laws (Greek: ??µ??) is Plato's last and longest dialogue. It is generally agreed that Plato wrote this dialogue as an older man, having failed in his effort in Syracuse on the island of Sicily to guide a tyrant's rule, instead having been thrown in prison.
Euripides' tragedy focuses on the disintegration of the relationship between Jason, the hero who captured the Golden Fleece, and Medea, the sorceress who returned with him to Corinth and had two sons with him. As the play opens, Jason plans to marry the daughter of King Creon, and the lovesick Medea plots how to take her revenge.
Titus Lucretius Carus
On the Nature of Things, written in the first century BCE by Titus Lucretius Carus, is one of the principle expositions on Epicurean philosophy and science to have survived from antiquity. Far from being a dry treatise on the many topics it covers, the original Latin version (entitled De Rerum Natura) was written in the form of an extended poem in hexameter, with a beauty of style that was admired and emulated by his successors, including Ovid and Cicero. The version read here is an English verse translation written by William Ellery Leonard. Although Leonard penned his version in the early twentieth century, he chose to adhere to both the vocabulary and meter (alternating between pentameter and hexameter) of Elizabethan-era poetry.
While the six untitled books that comprise On the Nature of Things delve into a broad range of subjects, including the physical nature of the universe, the workings of the human mind and body, and the natural history of the Earth, Lucretius repeatedly asserts throughout the work that his chief purpose is to provide the reader with a means to escape the "darkness of the mind" imposed by superstition and ignorance. To this end he offers us his enlightening verses, that through them might be revealed to us "nature's aspect, and her laws".
"Our intention is, that Timaeus, who is the most of an astronomer amongst us, and has made the nature of the universe his special study, should speak first, beginning with the generation of the world and going down to the creation of man..."
'Timaeus' is usually regarded as one of Plato's later dialogues, and provides an account of the creation of the universe, with physical, metaphysical and ethical dimensions, which had great influence over philosophers for centuries following. It attributes the order and beauty of the universe to a benevolent demiurge - a 'craftsman' or god - fashioning the physical world after the pattern of an ideal, eternal one.
The dramatic setting of the dialogue is the day after a discussion in which Socrates has described his ideal state - as in the 'Republic'. A conversation between Socrates, Critias, Hermocrates and Timaeus, including Critias' account of Solon's journey to Egypt (where he hears the story of Atlantis), soon gives way to the monologue by Timaeus that forms the bulk of the work.
'Timaeus' is translated by Benjamin Jowett and his comprehensive introduction to and analysis of the work precedes the text itself, which he describes as "the growth of an age in which philosophy is not wholly separated from poetry and mythology".
This is a classical text on aesthetics and proper style in writing and rhetoric, including commentary on various ancient Greek works such as those of Plato, Homer, and Demosthenes. Authorship of this treatise is disputed/unknown, but the text is traditionally attributed to Longinus or Pseudo-Longinus. Introduction by Andrew Lang.
Homeric Hymns are thirty-three poems each paying homage to a certain Greek god. Only a few of the poems are more than 250 lines while the rest are about a dozen lines each. They are written in Homeric style and traditionally attributed to Homer but their true provenance is unknown. The Epigrams are a series of fragments on disparate topics including sailors, children and potters and are similarly attributed to Homer although it appears Hesiod and others wrote some of them. Finally, Battle of Frogs and Mice is a light-weight parody -- literally, at one-fiftieth the number of lines -- of Homer's famous battle of Greeks and Trojans epic, Illiad.
Works and Days provides advice on agrarian matters and personal conduct. The Theogony explains the ancestry of the gods. The Shield of Heracles is the adventure of Heracles accepting an enemy's challenge to fight.
“For there is no light of justice or temperance, or any of the higher ideas which are precious to souls, in the earthly copies of them: they are seen through a glass, dimly…”
Socrates and his earnest friend Phaedrus, enjoying the Athenian equivalent of a lunchtime stroll in the park, exchange views on love and on the power of words, spoken and written.
Phaedrus is the most enchanting of Plato’s Erotic dialogues (capitalised in honour of the god). The barefoot philosopher urges an eager young acquaintance – who has allowed his lover’s oratorical skills to impress him overmuch – to re-examine the text of Lysias’s speech in the light of his own exalted (and Platonic) vision of Love.
Not long ago this early example of literary dismantling was itself deconstructed by a contemporary sage - Jacques Derrida.
The present reader tries to present Socrates as he conceivably was: the chortling, pot-bellied ex-soldier, a flirtatious yet charismatic talker with a serious passion for Truth.
Pliny the Younger
The largest surviving body of Pliny's work is his Epistulae (Letters), a series of personal missives directed to his friends, associates and the Emperor Trajan. These letters are a unique testimony of Roman administrative history and everyday life in the 1st century CE. Especially noteworthy among the letters are two in which he describes the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in August 79, during which his uncle Pliny the Elder died (65 and 66 in this edition), and one in which he asks the Emperor for instructions regarding official policy concerning Christians (Trajan Letter 97). Other letters include a ghost story, a story about a dolphin, descriptions of Pliny's villa, and Pliny's opinions on legacy-hunting, the treatment of slaves and the decline in respect for orators.
The Meditations is divided into 12 books that chronicle different periods of Marcus' life. Each book is not in chronological order and it was written for no one but himself. The style of writing that permeates the text is one that is simplified, straightforward, and perhaps reflecting Marcus' Stoic perspective on the text. Depending on the English translation, Marcus' style is not viewed as anything regal or belonging to royalty, but rather a man among other men which allows the reader to relate to his wisdom. A central theme to Meditations is the importance of analyzing one's judgment of self and others and the development of a cosmic perspective. As he said "You have the power to strip away many superfluous troubles located wholly in your judgment, and to possess a large room for yourself embracing in thought the whole cosmos, to consider everlasting time, to think of the rapid change in the parts of each thing, of how short it is from birth until dissolution, and how the void before birth and that after dissolution are equally infinite". He advocates finding one's place in the universe and sees that everything came from nature, and so everything shall return to it in due time. Another strong theme is of maintaining focus and to be without distraction all the while maintaining strong ethical principles such as "Being a good man". His Stoic ideas often involve avoiding indulgence in sensory affections, a skill which will free a man from the pains and pleasures of the material world. He claims that the only way a man can be harmed by others is to allow his reaction to overpower him. An order or logos permeates existence. Rationality and clear-mindedness allow one to live in harmony with the logos. This allows one to rise above faulty perceptions of "good" and "bad".
The Aeneid is the most famous Latin epic poem, written by Virgil in the 1st century BC. The story revolves around the legendary hero Aeneas, a Trojan prince who left behind the ruins of his city and led his fellow citizens to Italy, where he became the ancestor of the Romans. The first six of the poem’s twelve books tell the story of Aeneas’ wanderings from Troy to Italy, while the poem’s second half treats the Trojans’ victorious war upon the Latins. This is the recording of J.W.MacKail's prose translation.
The purpose of The Junior Classics is to provide, in ten volumes containing about five thousand pages, a classified collection of tales, stories, and poems, both ancient and modern, suitable for boys and girls of from six to sixteen years of age.
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are in themselves exceedingly brief, less than ten pages of large type in the original. Yet they contain the essence of practical wisdom, set forth in admirable order and detail. The theme, if the present interpreter be right, is the great regeneration, the birth of the spiritual from the psychical man: the same theme which Paul so wisely and eloquently set forth in writing to his disciples in Corinth, the theme of all mystics in all lands.
This is Charles Johnston's translation of and commentary on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Johnston's interpretation of this seminal yogic text focuses on "the birth of the spiritual from the psychical man."
Yoga sutras by Patanjali is a seminal work in yoga, this book is more about control of mind and the true goal of yoga. The sutras are extremely brief, and the translation in neat English makes it very easy for people to understand the ancient Sanskrit text. It starts with the birth and growth of spiritual man through the control of mind. In all, this is a "all in one" book for yoga philosophy written by the master himself.
As Jowett relates in his brilliant introduction, 95% of Plato's writing is certain and his reputation rests soundly on this foundation. The Alcibiades 1 appears to be a short work by Plato with only two characters: Socrates and Alcibiades. This dialogue has little dramatic verisimilitude but centres on the question of what knowledge one needs for political life. Like the early dialogues, the question is on whether the virtues needed by a statesman can be taught, on the importance of self-knowledge as a starting point for any leader. While this may be only partially the work of Plato, or even not his at all, Jowett favoured the work with his magisterial translation and appears to favour its inclusion in the canon of true works.
Marcus Tullius Cicero
Friendship. Old Age. Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 BC - 43 BC) was a Roman statesman, orator, lawyer, and philosopher. He is considered one of Rome’s greatest orators and prose stylists. One commentator has written, “The influence of Cicero upon the history of European literature and ideas greatly exceeds that of any other prose writer in any language.”
Lucius Annaeus Seneca
De Beneficiis (English: On Benefits) is one of the moral essays composed by Seneca, Roman author of the 1st century CE. It deals with Stoic ethics, mainly in regards to political leadership, concerning the award and reception of gifts and favours within society. While the title is traditionally translated as "On Benefits", other possible translations are "On gifts and services"; "On the Award and Reception of Favors" and "On kind deeds".
Selection of text from the four-volume work by Epictetus commonly referred to as the Discourses. The sections are mostly quite short but packed with wisdom and hard earned experience. Also included is the Encheiridion ("Manual"), a summary of theoretical and applied Stoicism.
The Polity of the Lacedaemonians talks about the laws and institutions created by Lycurgus, which train and develop Spartan citizens from birth to old age. It only because of Xenophon that we have most of our knowledge about the Spartans. Xenophon the Athenian was born 431 B.C. He was a pupil of Socrates. He marched with the Spartans, and was exiled from Athens which may explain why he is so negative and sarcastic when describing the Athenian democracy. Sparta gave him land and property in Scillus, where he lived for many years before having to move once more, to settle in Corinth. He died in 354 B.C..
A poem by the Latin poet Virgil, the second of his three known works. "Georgic" means "to work the land," and on such matters of labour Virgil dwells and celebrates. In a dramatic survey of practices including agriculture, viticulture, animal husbandry, and bee-keeping, as well as the themes and mythos of labour, pastoral life, the glory of Roman citizenship, and the chaos that disrupts the fruitfulness of our daily lives, Virgil weaves a lyrical tapestry of both Greek and Roman thread portraying the complex relationship between humanity and the divine.
This book tells of a girl named Alice falling through a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures.