Women of Trachis (Ancient Greek: ??a????a?, Trachiniai; also translated as The Trachiniae or The Trachinian Maidens) is an Athenian tragedy by Sophocles. The story begins with Deianeira, the wife of Heracles, relating the story of her early life and her plight adjusting to married life. She is now distraught over her husband's neglect of her family. Often involved in some adventure, he rarely visits them. She sends their son Hyllus to find him, as she is concerned over prophecies about Heracles and the land he is currently in. After Hyllus sets off, a messenger arrives with word that Heracles, victorious in his recent battle, is making offerings on Cape Cenaeum and coming home soon to Trachis. But Heracles' arrival with a beautiful young slave girl complicates the marital situation more than ever, leading to desperate measures on the part of Deianeira and a tragic denouement.
Sophocles' play recounts an episode from the Trojan War, in which the wily Odysseus and Achilles' son Neoptolemus travel to a remote island to persuade Philoctetes to come with them to Troy. A prophet has foreseen that the Greeks will need Philoctetes and his bow (given to him by Heracles before his death) in order to defeat the Trojans. The problem is that years before Odysseus had engineered Philoctetes' abandonment on the island, due to a festering, stinking wound he had received from a snakebite. Will Philoctetes forgive and forget, or will he take his revenge?
Jowett, in his always informative introduction, sees this dialogue as transitional between the early and middle dialogues. Socrates meets with Protagoras and other sophists and pursues his inquiry into virtue. The dialectic brings the thinkers to a surprising ending. Socrates narrates this dialogue.
The six Enneads (???????S) are the collected writings of the Neoplatonic philosopher Plotinus (??O????S) arranged by his student Porphyry (???F????S) into fifty-four books with each Ennead containing nine. The translator Kenneth Sylvan Guthrie arranged these books chronologically rather than according to Porphyry's numeration. This recording is organized according to Porphyry's numeration with Roman numerals indicating the Ennead and Hindu-Arabic numerals indicating the book e.g. VI.9 would be the ninth book of the sixth Ennead. A hyperlinked table of contents at Volume 1 Page 3 of the gutenberg.org text will enable you to jump to the specific Ennead if you wish to read along with the recording.
Xenophon's best memorial of his old guide, philosopher, and friend is this work, in which Xenophon brought together in simple and direct form the views of life that had been made clear to himself by the teaching of Socrates. Xenophon is throughout opposing a plain tale to the false accusations against Socrates. He does not idealise, but he feels strongly, and he shows clearly the worth of the wisdom that touches at every point the actual conduct of the lives of men.
Vergilius Maro, Publius
This book of poems, written between 42 en 39 BC, was a bestseller in ancient Rome, and still holds a fascination today. Held to be divinely inspired not only by the Romans themselves, but by the Medieval Catholic church, The Eclogues is one of the most beloved collections of Latin short poetry.
The Republic is a Socratic dialogue written by Plato around 380 BC concerning the definition of justice and the order and character of the just city-state and the just man. It is Plato's best-known work and has proven to be one of the most intellectually and historically influential works of philosophy and political theory. In it, Socrates along with various Athenians and foreigners discuss the meaning of justice and examine whether or not the just man is happier than the unjust man by considering a series of different cities coming into existence "in speech", culminating in a city (Kallipolis) ruled by philosopher-kings; and by examining the nature of existing regimes. The participants also discuss the theory of forms, the immortality of the soul, and the roles of the philosopher and of poetry in society
"Prometheus Bound" is the only complete tragedy of the Prometheia trilogy, traditionally assumed to be the work of Aeschylus. Jupiter has turned against Prometheus for protecting mankind and has ordered him to be chained to a rock. But Prometheus is comforted by his knowledge of a way to bring about the downfall of Jupiter.
Iphigenia in Aulis is the last extant work of the playwright Euripides. The Greek fleet is waiting at Aulis, Boeotia, with its ships ready to sail for Troy, but it is unable to depart due to a strange lack of wind. After consulting the seer Calchas, the Greek leaders learn that this is no mere meteorological abnormality but rather the will of the goddess Artemis, who is withholding the winds because Agamemnon has caused her offense. Calchas informs the general that in order to appease the goddess, he must sacrifice his eldest daughter, Iphigenia. Agamemnon, in spite of his horror, must consider this seriously because his assembled troops, who have been waiting on the beach and are increasingly restless, may rebel if their bloodlust is not satisfied. He sends a message to his wife, Clytemnestra, telling her to send Iphigenia to Aulis on the pretext that the girl is to be married to the Greek warrior Achilles before he sets off to fight.
This is one of the few Greek tragedies that deals with historical events rather than mythological ones. The elders of the Persian court await new of the outcome of the Battle of Salamis, and mourn when they find that their king, Xerxes, has lost to the Greeks.
In this, the only extant tragedy from Aeschylus' trilogy about the House of Oedipus, Thebes is under siege from Polynices, a former prince of Thebes. After King Oedipus left his city and cursed the princes, Polynices and his brother, Eteocles, decided to rule alternately, switching at the end of every year. However, at the end of his year as king, Eteocles refused to turn power over to his brother and exiled him, fulfilling his father's curse that the two brothers could not rule peacefully. In the action of the play, Polynices and a group of Argive soldiers are attacking Thebes so that he can take his place as ruler. Eteocles must combat both the foreign forces outside the walls and the crazed, frightened women within. Note: The ending of this play is suspect. The lines Antigone and Ismene's entrance to the end may have been added later, either after Sophocles' Theban plays became popular or in the Middle Ages.
The earliest of Aeschylus' plays to survive is "The Persians" (Persai), performed in 472 BC and based on experiences in Aeschylus's own life, specifically the Battle of Salamis. It is unique among surviving Greek tragedies in that it describes a recent historical event. "The Persians" focuses on the popular Greek theme of hubris by blaming Persia's loss on the pride of its king. It is the second and only surviving part of a now otherwise lost trilogy that won the first prize at the dramatic competitions in Athens’ City Dionysia festival in 472 BCE, with Pericles serving as choregos. The first play in the trilogy was called "Phineus"; it presumably dealt with Jason and the Argonauts' rescue of King Phineus from the torture that the monstrous harpies inflicted at the behest of Zeus. The subject of the third play, "Glaucus," was either a mythical Corinthian king who was devoured by his horses because he angered the goddess Aphrodite or a Boeotian farmer who ate a magical herb that transformed him into a sea deity with the gift of prophecy. In "The Persians," Xerxes invites the gods' enmity for his hubristic expedition against Greece in 480/79 BCE; the focus of the drama is the defeat of Xerxes' navy at Salamis. Aeschylus himself had fought the Persians at Marathon (490 BC). He may also have fought at Salamis, just eight years before the play was performed. Summary by Wikipedia (edited by Expatriate)
Like Euripides' Trojan Women, this play takes place after the sack of Troy. Hecuba, widow of King Priam, suffers the loss of her daughter Polyxena and her son Polydore, and is hungry for revenge on those who have wronged her.
The Odysseys are a collection of stories about Ulysses' journey home from the war at Troy purportedly written in the 8th century BCE by Homer, a blind poet thought to have lived in the Greek colonies in Asia Minor, possibly at Smyrna. The events described are thought to have occurred centuries before being recorded by Homer, handed down orally since the twelfth century BCE, the golden era of the Greek Bronze Age when the world was populated by heroic mortals and often visited by the Gods. This verse translation in couplets by George Chapman was originally published in 1616, the first translation from the ancient Greek directly to English, although likely influenced by previous Latin translations. Chapman's translation has been admired by many, including John Keats and others. Many of these stories are familiar to us, Ulysses and the Sirens, Circe turning his crew to swine, their escape from the Cyclops on the bellies of his sheep, but Chapman's version includes violent episodes and suggestive innuendo that I don't recall from my childhood days.
Orestes, coming into Tauri in Scythia, in company with Pylades, had been commanded to bear away the image of Diana, after which he was to meet with a respite from the avenging Erinnyes of his mother. His sister Iphigenia, who had been carried away by Diana from Aulis, when on the point of being sacrificed by her father, chances to be expiating a dream that led her to suppose Orestes dead, when a herdsman announces to her the arrival and detection of two strangers, whom she is bound by her office to sacrifice to Diana. On meeting, a mutual discovery takes place, and they plot their escape.
Rabbi Louis Ginzberg was one of the outstanding Talmudists of the twentieth century. He was born on November 28, 1873, in Kovno, Lithuania; he died on November 11, 1953, in New York City. Ginzberg taught at the Jewish Theological seminary from 1903 to 1953. For 50 years, he trained two generations of Conservative Rabbis.
The Legends of the Jews is an epic 7-volume compilation of traditional Jewish stories loosely related to the Bible. Volumes 1-4 contain the stories, while volumes 5-7 contain Ginzberg's notes and commentary. Over the millenia, these stories, which expand on the Bible, flesh out the lives of biblical figures. In the process, they help bring to life the Bible's valuable lessons.
The Legends of the Jews has been called a monumental work of scholarship. It is studied by serious students of both Judaism and Christianity. And yet the stories continue to be accessible and understood by all. They were designed to impart lessons of the Torah, and any child or adult will find much to enjoy about this work.
Athens is in a sorry state of affairs. The great tragedian, Euripides, is dead, and Dionysus, the god of the theater, has to listen to third-rate poetry. So, he determines to pack his belongings onto his trusty slave, Xanthias, and journey to the underworld to bring back Euripides! Hi-jinks ensue.
Eurpides' tragedy tells of Theseus' chaste son Hippolytus, who refuses to worship Aphrodite in favor of Artemis. Aphrodite gets revenge by causing Hippolytus' stepmother Phaedra to fall in love with him, unleashing a chain of tragic events.
The tragedy is based on the mythological story of King Pentheus of Thebes and his mother Agavë, and their punishment by the god Dionysus (who is Pentheus' cousin) for refusing to worship him.
Lucian of Samosata
The endeavour of small Greek historians to add interest to their work by magnifying the exploits of their countrymen, and piling wonder upon wonder, Lucian first condemned in his Instructions for Writing History, and then caricatured in his True History, wherein is contained the account of a trip to the moon, a piece which must have been enjoyed by Rabelais, which suggested to Cyrano de Bergerac his Voyages to the Moon and to the Sun, and insensibly contributed, perhaps, directly or through Bergerac, to the conception of Gulliver’s Travels. The Icaro-Menippus Dialogue describes another trip to the moon, though its satire is more especially directed against the philosophers.
"It must equally be considered a splendid performance; and for the present we have no hesitation in saying that it is by far the best representation of Homer's Iliad in the English language." - London Times, 1865
"The merits of Lord Derby's translation may be summed up in one word, it is eminently attractive; it is instinct with life; it may be read with fervent interest; it is immeasurably nearer than Pope to the text of the original. Lord Derby has given a version far more closely allied to the original, and superior to any that has yet been attempted in the blank verse of our language." - Edinburgh Review, January 1865.
The Fall of Troy also called "Posthomeric" is an account of the Trojan war from the Arrival of Penthesleia to the sack of Troy.
Alcestis is the earliest surviving play by Euripides. Alcestis, the devoted wife of King Admetus, has agreed to die in his place, and at the beginning of the play she is close to death. In the first scene, Apollo argues with Thanatos (Death), asking to prolong Alcestis' life, but Thanatos refuses. Apollo leaves, but suggests that a man will come to Pherae who will save Alcestis. Euripides' play is perhaps the most unusual Greek drama ever written: a tragedy that is not a tragedy.
Terence's six plays are comedies written while he was a slave to a Roman senator. NOTE: the main plot elements in Hecyra are quite unacceptable today: Pamphilus has just married a woman he does not recognize that he had earlier raped in a drunken fit; nor does she recognize him. His mistress Bacchis is upset with the marriage and rejects him. He then wanders off, returning only in time to discover his wife with a new child that can't possibly be his. It takes both Mother and Mother-in-Law, and Bacchis, to bring a happy ending out of this confusion.
Another of the plays by Terence translated from the Latin by Riley. "A certain citizen of Athens had a daughter named Pamphila, and a son called Chremes. The former was stolen while an infant, and sold to a Rhodian merchant, who having made a present of her to a Courtesan of Rhodes, she brought her up with her own daughter Thais, who was somewhat older." (From Translator summary)
Hmmm, so kidnapping and slavery to start off; then there will be eunuchs and rape before the play ends. And it is a comedy?! Ah, well, it was 200BC. Times and opinions (thank goodness) have changed at least a bit since then.
"Micio and Demea are two brothers of dissimilar tempers. Demea is married, and lives a country life, while his brother remains single, and resides in Athens." Things quickly get a bit messy with hushed-up debauchery, kidnapping/elopement/theft of a slave, general carousing, and marriage nuptials - the usual for the day perhaps, except that: "The Play concludes with a serious warning from Demea, who advises his relatives not to squander their means in riotous living; but, on the contrary, to bear admonition and to submit to restraint in a spirit of moderation and thankfulness."
Terence's six plays are comedies written while he was a slave to a Roman senator. In this one, a severe father compels his son Clinia, in love with Antiphila, to go abroad to the wars; and repenting of what has been done, torments himself in mind.
The Analects, or Lunyu, also known as the Analects of Confucius, are considered a record of the words and acts of the central Chinese thinker and philosopher Confucius and his disciples, as well as the discussions they held. Written during the Spring and Autumn Period through the Warring States Period (ca. 475 BC - 221 BC), the Analects is the representative work of Confucianism and continues to have a substantial influence on Chinese and East Asian thought and values today. William Jennings was a rector of Grasmere, and late colonial chaplain. He served at St. John's Cathedral in Hong Kong.
The apparent sacrifice of Iphigenia at Aulis by her own father Agamemnon was forestalled by the godness Artemis, who by an adroit sleight of hand that fooled all participants, substituted a deer for the daughter. Wafted magically away to the “Friendless Shores” of savage Tauris and installed as chief priestess presiding over the human sacrifice of all luckless foreigners, Iphigenia broods over her “murder” by her parents and longs for some Greeks to be shipwrecked on her shores so she can wreak a vicarious vengeance on them. Little does she expect her own little brother Orestes to be one of those Greeks brought to her altar.
Possibly the most beautiful of the plays of Euripides, the Iphigenia in Tauris relates the final resolution of the dark tragedy of the House of Atreides. Filled with radiant imagery of sunlight and sea-foam and bird-flight (reproduced beautifully by the learned Oxford scholar Gilbert Murray), this is not a tragedy but a story with a happy ending, in which all the innocent are freed and equilibrium is restored. Despite the happy ending, this is no light romance; throughout the play the plangent tones of human sadness, homesickness, and exile remind the reader that happiness is the ephemeral thing, while sadness takes so many eternal forms.(Expatriate)
Lysistrata has had enough. She is tired of the constant war that is ravaging Greece and has come up with a solution: Together with female friends from other Greek cities, she persuades all women of Greece to pledge an oath and refrain from all sexual contact with their husbands and lovers. The idea is that what men really want is sex, and that they are willing to do anything to get it - even abandoning their pride and make peace. And while the Athenian women retreat into the sacred Acropolis, the men gather outside and debate what is to be done...
This famous play by Aristophanes, first staged in 411 BCE, sheds a light on the relation of the sexes in Ancient Greece, and is probably the first instance of a War of the Sexes.
The translator of this version is unknown, but it is rumored to have been Oscar Wilde.
Strepsiades is an Athenian burdened with debt from a bad marriage and a spendthrift son. He resolves to go to the Thinking Shop, where he can purchase lessons from the famous Socrates in ways to manipulate language in order to outwit his creditors in court. Socrates, represented as a cunning, manipulative, irreverent sophist, has little success with the dull-witted Strepsiades, but is able to teach the old man's son Phidippides a few tricks. In the end, the play is a cynical, clever commentary on Old Ways vs. New Ways, to the disparagement of the former.
Tacitus, Publius Cornelius
The scene of the Dialogus de Oratoribus, as this work is commonly known, is laid in the sixth year of Vespasian, 75 a.D. The commentators are much divided in their opinions about the real author; his work they all agree is a masterpiece in the kind; written with taste and judgement; entertaining, profound, and elegant. It is normally considered to have been written by Tacitus, even though some ascribe it to Quintilian. The main subject is the decadence of oratory, for which the cause is said to be the decline of the education, both in the family and in the school, of the future orator. In a certain way, it can be considered a miniature art of rhetoric.
Quintus Horatius Flaccus
Flawlessly hammered out, as if from eternal bronze—"aere perennius"—The Odes of Horace are the consummate expression of the pride, the reserve, the tragic playfulness, the epicurean calm, the absolute distinction of the Imperial Roman spirit. A few lines taken at random and learned by heart would act as a talisman in all hours to drive away the insolent pressure of the vulgar and common crowd. - John Cowper Powys (1916)
Lucan's only surviving work, De Bello Civili, more generally known as the Pharsalia, is an epic poem about the civil war between Julius Caesar and Pompey the Great. The title given by posterity to the poem refers to the Battle of Pharsalus, which took place in 48 BC near the city of Pharsalus, in Thessaly. The work is important as an example of Roman Historic Epic, since divine intervention plays little part in the narrative and very few supernatural occurrences happen in the story. Lucan's Civil War is considered a major expression of literature from the Neronian times, and has attracted renewed scholarly attention in the past decades. The work remains unfinished, due to the untimely death of its author.
This book, originally published in two volumes, collects the most important complete public orations by Demosthenes, arguably the most famous Athenian orator, that we still have access to. Demosthenes was a Greek statesman and orator of ancient Athens. His orations are nowadays important sources of contemporary Athenian oratorical expression and provide an insight into the politics and legal affairs of Athens during the 4th century BC.
Marcus Tullius Cicero
A philippic is a fiery, damning speech delivered to condemn a particular political actor. The term originates with Demosthenes, who delivered an attack on Philip II of Macedon in the 4th century BCE.Cicero consciously modeled his own attacks on Mark Antony, in 44 BC and 43 BC, on Demosthenes's speeches, and if the correspondence between M. Brutus and Cicero are genuine [ad Brut. ii 3.4, ii 4.2], at least the fifth and seventh speeches were referred to as the Philippics in Cicero's time. They were also called the Antonian Orations by Aulus Gellius. It is ironic that they were named after a series of speeches that failed to effectively warn the Greeks of the danger of Philip of Macedon whose son, Alexander the Great, went on to be one of the greatest conquerors of all time. After the death of Caesar, Cicero privately expressed regrets that the murderers of Caesar had not included Antony in their plot and became focused on discrediting Antony. Cicero even promoted illegal action, such as legitimatizing Octavian's private army. In total, Cicero made 14 Phillipics in less than two years - an impressively energetic feat for the over 60 ex-consul. Cicero's focus on Antony, however, would contribute to his downfall as he failed to recognize the threat of Octavian and ignored and promoted illegal actions. Cicero's attacks on Antony did not go unpunished and in 43 BC he was proscribed and killed. His head and hands were publicly displayed in the forum discouraging those who would openly oppose the new Triumvirate of Octavian, Mark Antony and Lepidus.
Whether or not it was actually written by Aeschylus, as is much disputed, "Prometheus Bound" is a powerful statement on behalf of free humanity in the face of what often seem like the impersonal, implacable Forces that rule the Universe. As one of the most compelling rebel manifestos ever composed, it has appealed not only to the expected host of scholars of Greek drama, but also to a fascinatingly free-spirited array of translators, especially since the early 19th century; Percy Bysshe Shelley, Henry David Thoreau, and activist-poet Augusta Webster are among those who have tried their poetic and linguistic powers at rendering it into English. Elizabeth Barrett Browning published not one but two completely different translations of it, the first in 1833 when she was twenty-seven years old and the second eighteen years later. It is this second, far greater, translation presented here.
Pliny the Elder
The Natural History of Pliny the Elder is one of the largest single works to have survived from the Roman Empire. The full work consists of 37 books, covering more than 20.000 topics ranging from astronomy and mathematics to botany and precious stones. The book became a model for later encyclopaedias and gives a fascinating overview of the state of scientific knowledge almost 2000 years ago. This version of the Natural History (or, the "Pliny") has been adapted for a younger audience.This first volume contains Book I (Dedication) and Book II (An Account of the World and the Elements) out of a total of 9 books. ( Foon)
Pliny the Elder
The Natural History of Pliny the Elder is one of the largest single works to have survived from the Roman Empire. The full work consists of 37 books, covering more than 20.000 topics ranging from astronomy and mathematics to botany and precious stones. The book became a model for later encyclopaedias and gives a fascinating overview of the state of scientific knowledge almost 2000 years ago. This version of the Natural History (or, the "Pliny") has been adapted for a younger audience. This fourth volume contains Book VII (The Natural History of Birds) and Book VIII (The Various Kinds of Insects) out of a total of 9 books.
Pliny the Elder
The Natural History of Pliny the Elder is one of the largest single works to have survived from the Roman Empire. The full work consists of 37 books, covering more than 20.000 topics ranging from astronomy and mathematics to botany and precious stones. The book became a model for later encyclopaedias and gives a fascinating overview of the state of scientific knowledge almost 2000 years ago. This version of the Natural History (or, the "Pliny") has been adapted for a younger audience. This second volume contains Book III (Man, His Birth and His Organization) and Book IV (The Nature of Terrestrial Animals) out of a total of 9 books.
The 'Peace' was brought out four years after 'The Acharnians' (422 B.C.), when the War had already lasted ten years. The leading motive is the same as in the former play—the intense desire of the less excitable and more moderate-minded citizens for relief from the miseries of war.
Trygaeus, a rustic patriot, finding no help in men, resolves to ascend to heaven to expostulate personally with Zeus for allowing this wretched state of things to continue. With this object he has fed and trained a gigantic dung-beetle, which he mounts, and is carried, like Bellerophon on Pegasus, on an aerial journey. Eventually he reaches Olympus, only to find that the gods have gone elsewhere, and that the heavenly abode is occupied solely by the demon of War, who is busy pounding up the Greek States in a huge mortar. However, his benevolent purpose is not in vain; for learning from Hermes that the goddess Peace has been cast into a pit, where she is kept a fast prisoner, he calls upon the different peoples of Hellas to make a united effort and rescue her, and with their help drags her out and brings her back in triumph to earth. The play concludes with the restoration of the goddess to her ancient honours, the festivities of the rustic population and the nuptials of Trygaeus with Opora (Harvest), handmaiden of Peace, represented as a pretty courtesan.
Such references as there are to Cleon in this play are noteworthy. The great Demagogue was now dead, having fallen in the same action as the rival Spartan general, the renowned Brasidas, before Amphipolis, and whatever Aristophanes says here of his old enemy is conceived in the spirit of 'de mortuis nil nisi bonum.' In one scene Hermes is descanting on the evils which had nearly ruined Athens and declares that 'The Tanner' was the cause of them all. But Trygaeus interrupts him with the words:
"Hold-say not so, good master Hermes; Let the man rest in peace where now he lies. He is no longer of our world, but yours."
Here surely we have a trait of magnanimity on the author's part as admirable in its way as the wit and boldness of his former attacks had been in theirs.
Euripides' play follows the fates of the women of Troy after their city has been sacked, their husbands killed, and as their remaining families are about to be taken away as slaves. However, it begins first with the gods Athena and Poseidon discussing ways to punish the Greek armies because they condoned Ajax the Lesser for dragging Cassandra away from Athena's temple. What follows shows how much the Trojan women have suffered as their grief is compounded when the Greeks dole out additional deaths and divide their shares of women. This translation by Gilbert Murray was published in 1915.
Alfred John Church
Alfred J. Church created 26 stories from the original Greek version of Virgil's Aeneid. He included well-known ones, such as "The Horse of Wood" and "The Love and Death of Dido," as well as many others perhaps less well-known, such as "King Evander" and "The Funeral Games of Anchises."
This book describes the adventures of ten Kumaras, i.e., young men, (all of whom are either princes or sons of royal ministers), as narrated by the men themselves. These narratives are replete with accounts of demigods, ghosts, gamblers, intrigues with voluptious women, astonishing coincidences, cockfights, anthropophagy, sorcery, robberies, murders and wars.
This book tells of a girl named Alice falling through a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures.