The Bible, King James Version (KJV) - Introduction
Variously known as the Greatest Story Ever Told, The Book of Books and many other names, the Bible is reputed to be the biggest bestseller of all time. Translated into thousands of world languages and studied, worshiped and revered in the four corners of the earth, the Bible remains Christianity's canonical text and is considered the Word of God. The King James Version (KJV) is a translation commissioned by the Church of England in 1604 and the work continued till 1611. However, it wasn't the first translation into English from the original Hebrew, and some portions in Aramaic...
By: Plato (427BC - 347BC)
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?
The Symposium (Ancient Greek: Συμπόσιον) 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...
In Plato’s Ion, Socrates questions Ion on whether he should really claim laud and glory for his ‘rhapsodic’ recitals of Homer’s poetry.
“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...
Plato's Phaedo is one of the great dialogues of his middle period, along with the Republic and the Symposium. The Phaedo, which depicts the death of Socrates, is also Plato's seventh and last dialogue to detail the philosopher's final days (the first six being Theaetetus, Euthyphro, Sophist, Statesman, Apology, and Crito).In the dialogue, Socrates discusses the nature of the afterlife on his last day before being executed by drinking hemlock. Socrates has been imprisoned and sentenced to death by an Athenian jury for not believing in the gods of the state and for corrupting the youth of the city...
“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...
By: Publius Cornelius Tacitus
The Germania (Latin: De Origine et situ Germanorum, literally The Origin and Situation of the Germans), written by Gaius Cornelius Tacitus around 98, is an ethnographic work on the Germanic tribes outside the Roman Empire. Germania fits squarely within the tradition established by authors from Herodotus to Julius Caesar. Tacitus himself had already written a similar essay on the lands and tribes of Britannia in his Agricola. The Germania begins with a description of the lands, laws, and customs...
A Dialogue Concerning Oratory, or the Causes of Corrupt Eloquence
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.
By: Gaston Maspero (1846-1916)
History Of Egypt, Chaldea, Syria, Babylonia, and Assyria
History Of Egypt, Chaldæa, Syria, Babylonia, and Assyria is the masterwork of one of the fathers of modern egyptology. This work, in twelve volumes, was translated from the French original, “Histoire ancienne des peuples de l’Orient classique” and published in 1903-1904. Maspero was a largely self-taught master of hieroglyphic translation. In November 1880, he was placed at the head of a French archeological mission, which developed later into the Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale...
By: Flavius Josephus (37 - c.100)
The Antiquities of the Jews
Antiquities of the Jews was a work published by the important Jewish historian Flavius Josephus about the year 93 or 94. It is a history of the Jewish people, written in Greek for Josephus' gentile patrons. Beginning with the creation of Adam and Eve, it follows the events of the historical books of the Hebrew Bible, but sometimes omits or adds information.Volume 1 contains Books 1-5 and ends with the dedication of Samuel and death of Eli the priest.
By: William Morris (1834-1896)
The 13th century Icelandic Völsungasaga is usually read by people studying the Poetic Edda or Wagner’s Ring – which obscures the fact it is a much better story than practically everything derived from it. A riddle-telling dragon, a broken sword, a hooded mysterious wanderer – cannibalism, incest, mutilation, and sensitive hearts. This is R-rated Tolkien – and the unashamedly archaic Magnússon-Morris translation is up for the adventure.Passages spoken in Old Norse are taken from the edition of Sophus Bugge, Berlin, 1891.
By: Samuel Butler (1774-1839)
|The Atlas of Ancient and Classical Geography
By: Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Of Peace of Mind
How to maintain a tranquil mind amongst social upheaval and turmoil, addressed to Serenus. (Introduction by Jonathan Hockey)
By: Mallanaga Vatsyayana
The Kama Sutra
The Kama Sutra, or Aphorisms on Love, has survived at least 1400 years as a dominant text on sexual relations between men and women. Vatsyayana claimed to have written the Kama Sutra while a religious student, “in contemplation of the Deity” - but references to older works, shrewd disputations by Vatsyayana of those authors' recommendations, and careful cataloging of practices in various of the Indian states indicate much more emphasis on kama, or sensual gratification. Part of the book discusses the 64 arts of love employed by masters of coitus...
By: Publius Ovidius Naso
The Metamorphoses of Ovid is probably one of the best known, certainly one of the most influential works of the Ancient world. It consists of a narrative poem in fifteen books that describes the creation and history of the world through mythological tales, starting with a cosmogony and finishing with the deification of Julius Caesar. Published around 8 AD, the Metamorphoses are a source, sometimes the only source, for many of the most famous ancient myths, such as the stories of Daedalus and Icarus, Arachne or Narcisus...
The Heroides, also known as the Heroines, the Letters of the Heroines or simply as Epistles are a very famous collection of poems by Ovid, not only for their interesting subject – letters by famous mythological characters addressed to their beloved ones – but also because it’s considered by some the first example of the Epistle as a literary genre – a statement made by Ovid himself in his Ars Amatoria. The book as we have it nowadays consists of 21 letters, divided in two parts. The first...
By: 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...
By: Marcus Vitruvius Pollio (75 BC - c. 15 BC)
Ten Books on Architecture
On Architecture is a treatise on architecture written by the Roman architect Vitruvius and dedicated to his patron, the emperor Caesar Augustus as a guide for building projects. The work is one of the most important sources of modern knowledge of Roman building methods as well as the planning and design of structures, both large (aqueducts, buildings, baths, harbours) and small (machines, measuring devices, instruments). He is also the prime source of the famous story of Archimedes and his bath-time discovery.
By: Phaedrus (c. 15 BC - c. AD 50)
The Fables of Phaedrus
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...
By: James Baikie
Peeps at Many Lands: Ancient Egypt
Written primarily for children, James Baikie’s ‘peep’ at ancient Egypt is a really well done, historical account of the ways of that fascinating land so many years ago. It has stood well the test of time, being both well researched and well written. It’s a fun book for everyone, and families especially will enjoy listening together.
By: Titus Lucretius Carus (94? BC - 49? BC)
On the Nature of Things
Written in the first century b.C., On the Nature of Things (in Latin, "De Rerum Natura") is a poem in six books that aims at explaining the Epicurean philosophy to the Roman audience. Among digressions about the importance of philosophy in men's life and praises of Epicurus, Lucretius created a solid treatise on the atomic theory, the falseness of religion and many kinds of natural phenomena. With no harm to his philosophical scope, the author composed a didactic poem of epic flavor, of which the imagery and style are highly praised.
By: Euripides (480-406 BC)
This tragedy is based on the mythological story of King Pentheus of Thebes and his mother Agave, and their punishment by the god Dionysus (who is Pentheus' cousin) for refusing to worship him.
By: Titus Livius (c55BC - c17AD)
From the Foundation of the City
Ab urbe condita, is a monumental history of ancient Rome written in the Latin language by Titus Livius(Livy), an ancient Roman historian. The work covers the time from the stories of Aeneas, the earliest legendary period from before the city's founding in c. 753 BC, to Livy's own times in the reign of the emperor, Augustus. The last year covered by Livy is 745 AUC, or 9 BC, the death of Drusus. About 25% of the work survives.Livy's History of Rome was in demand from the publication of the first packet...
By: Walter Pater (1839-1894)
|Plato and Platonism
By: John Mark
Jesus of Nazareth, A Biography
"Jesus of Nazareth, a Biography, by John Mark," recognizes the author of the second Gospel as that "John, whose surname was Mark" (Acts 15:37), whom Barnabas chose as companion when he sailed for Cyprus on his second missionary journey. In making use of the new title, the plan of the Editor is to present "The Gospel: According to Mark" as it would be printed were it written in the twentieth rather than the first century. (Introduction from Forward, by D. Appleton & Co, Publishers, 1922)
The Ramayana Book 2
The Ramayana is an ancient Sanskrit epic. It is attributed to the Hindu sage Valmiki and forms an important part of the Hindu canon (smṛti). The Ramayana is one of the two great epics of India, the other being Mahabharata. It is the story of Rama, who emabrks on an epic journey followed by the fight with Ravana, the demon king who abducted Rama's wife, Sita. The epic depicts the duties of relationships, portraying ideal characters like the ideal servant, the ideal brother, the ideal wife and the ideal king. (Introduction by Om123)
By: Ferrar Fenton (1832-1920)
The Bible in Modern English, NT: John, 1John, Matthew, Mark
The ordering novelty in the New Testament is that it places the Gospel of John and the First Epistle of John at the beginning before the Gospel of Matthew, thus placing the Acts of the Apostles immediately after the Gospel of Luke. Work on the translation began in 1853 by a London businessman called Ferrar Fenton (1832–1920). The complete Bible was first published in 1903, though parts were published as separate volumes during the preceding 11 years. The translation is noted for a rearranging of the books of the Bible into what the author believed was the correct chronological order. His translation of the New Testament is based on the Greek text of Westcott and Hort.
By: Gaius Sallustius Crispus (Sallust) (86-34 BC)
The Catiline Conspiracy and the Jugurthine War
The Catiline Conspiracy and The Jugurthine War are the two separate surviving works of the historian commonly known as “Sallust”. Nearly contemporary to the events he describes, he is supposed to have been a retired officer of Caesar’s army. “Catiline” contains the history of the memorable year 63. Sallust describes Catiline as the deliberate foe of law, order and morality (although party politics may have influenced his view). Still, Sallust does recount Catiline’s noble traits, including his courage in the final battle...
By: John Lord (1810-1894)
Beacon Lights of History, Vol 1: The Old Pagan Civilizations
The first of 14 volumes, this book discusses ancient civilization looking primarily at religion and philosophy.
|Ancient States and Empires
By: Pliny the Elder
The Natural History
"Naturalis Historia" (Latin for "Natural History") is an encyclopedia published circa AD 77-79 by Pliny the Elder. It is one of the largest single works to have survived from the Roman empire to the modern day and purports to cover the entire field of ancient knowledge, based on the best authorities available to Pliny. The work became a model for all later encyclopedias in terms of the breadth of subject matter examined, the need to reference original authors, and a comprehensive index list of the contents...