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Classics and Books from Antiquity

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By: Apollonius Rhodius (3rd Cent. -3rd Cent.)

Book cover Argonautica

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.

By: Aristophanes (446-389 BCE)

Book cover Frogs

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.

Book cover Clouds

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.

By: Confucius 孔子 (551-479 BCE)

Book cover Analects of Confucius

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.

By: Euripides (484 BC - 406 BC)

Book cover Orestes

In accordance with the advice of the god Apollo, Orestes has killed his mother Clytemnestra to avenge the death of his father Agamemnon at her hands. Despite Apollo’s earlier prophecy, Orestes finds himself tormented by Erinyes or Furies to the blood guilt stemming from his matricide. The only person capable of calming Orestes down from his madness is his sister Electra. To complicate matters further, a leading political faction of Argos wants to put Orestes to death for the murder. Orestes’ only hope to save his life lies in his uncle Menelaus, who has returned with Helen after spending ten years in Troy and several more years amassing wealth in Egypt...

Book cover Alcestis

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.

By: Hesiod

Book cover Works and Days, The Theogony, and The Shield of Heracles

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.

By: Plato (Πλάτων) (c. 428 BC - c. 347 BC)

Book cover Republic (version 2)

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...

Book cover Gorgias

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.

Book cover Protagoras

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.

Book cover Critias

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.

Book cover Alcibiades I

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...

Book cover Lesser Hippias

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.

By: Pliny the Younger (61 - ca. 112)

Book cover Letters of Pliny

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)...

By: Virgil (70 BC - 19 BC)

Book cover Aeneid, prose translation

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.

By: Aeschylus (c. 525 BCE - c. 456 BCE)

Seven Against Thebes by Aeschylus Seven Against Thebes

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...

By: Alexander Pope (1688-1744)

An Essay on Man by Alexander Pope An Essay on Man

Pope’s Essay on Man, a masterpiece of concise summary in itself, can fairly be summed up as an optimistic enquiry into mankind’s place in the vast Chain of Being. Each of the poem’s four Epistles takes a different perspective, presenting Man in relation to the universe, as individual, in society and, finally, tracing his prospects for achieving the goal of happiness. In choosing stately rhyming couplets to explore his theme, Pope sometimes becomes obscure through compressing his language overmuch...

By: Anthony Trollope (1815-1882)

Doctor Wortle's School by Anthony Trollope Doctor Wortle's School

Anthony Trollope’s fortieth novel, published in 1881, concerns a respectable Christian boys’ school whose proprietor unknowingly hires a woman who apparently has two husbands: A devoted English scholar and an abusive drunkard from the American south. The book interweaves a sensitive and realistic exploration of Dr. Wortle’s moral dilemma with a humorous look at small-town gossip and--of course--a romance involving the doctor’s beautiful young daughter. (

By: Aristophanes (446BC - 385BC)

Lysistrata by Aristophanes Lysistrata

Lysistrata read by the Classics Drama Company at DePaul. The Classics Drama Company at DePaul is a new gathering of Thespians and Classicists dedicated to performing and understanding ancient literature. If you live in Chicago and attend DePaul University, we welcome new additions to our group. Contact Dr. Kirk Shellko (kshellko@depaul.edu), if interested.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...

By: Charles Dickens

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens Great Expectations

From the opening passage itself of Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, the reader is drawn into the world of the hero, Pip, who is at that time, seven years old. The author creates an unforgettable atmosphere: the gloom of the graveyard, the melancholy of the orphan boy, the mists rising over the marshes and the terrifying appearance of an escaped convict in chains. Told in first person (one of the only two books that Dickens used this form for, the other being David Copperfield) Great Expectations is a classic coming of age novel, in which we trace the growth and evolution of Pip or Philip Pirrip to give his full name...

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities

Its immortal opening lines, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." set the stage for a sweeping narrative that combines drama, glory, honor, history, romance, brutality, sacrifice and resurrection. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens is one of the most widely read and famous works of historical fiction in the English language. Dickens had recently launched his magazine All the Year Round in 1859. In the same year, he began featuring A Tale of Two Cities in 31 weekly installments in his new magazine...

By: Charles K. (Charles Knapp) Dillaway (1804-1889)

Book cover Roman Antiquities, and Ancient Mythology For Classical Schools (2nd ed)

By: Charles Stuart Calverley (1831-1884)

Book cover Verses and Translations

By: E.M. Berens

Myths and Legends of Ancient Greece and Rome by E.M. Berens Myths and Legends of Ancient Greece and Rome

Silver footed, fair haired Thetis, Ares the God of War, Nike the Goddess of Victory, The Furies and The Muses, Zeus the presiding deity of the Universe and the magical, mysterious Olympus, are some of the amazing, mythical Greek and Roman deities you'll encounter in this book. Myths and Legends of Ancient Greece and Rome by EM Berens was originally intended for young readers. Written in an easy and light style, the author attempts to bring the pantheon of gods into a comprehensible format....

By: Ernest Arthur Gardner (1862-1939)

Book cover Religion and Art in Ancient Greece

By: Euripides (480-406 BC)

The Bacchae by Euripides The Bacchae

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.

Book cover Hippolytus

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.

By: Flavius Josephus (37 - c.100)

The Antiquities of the Jews by Flavius Josephus 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.

Minor Works of Josephus by Flavius Josephus Minor Works of Josephus

There are 3 parts to this collection.(1) Against Apion is a two-volume defense of Judaism as classical religion and philosophy, stressing its antiquity, as opposed to what Josephus claimed was the relatively more recent tradition of the Greeks. Some anti-Judean allegations ascribed by Josephus to the Greek writer Apion, and myths accredited to Manetho are also addressed.(2) Discourse To The Greeks Concerning Hades describes the author's views on the afterlife against the prevailing view of the "Greeks" (i...

By: Flora J. (Flora Juliette) Cooke (1864-1953)

Nature Myths and Stories for Little Children by Flora J. (Flora Juliette) Cooke Nature Myths and Stories for Little Children

By: Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844-1900)

Book cover Homer and Classical Philology
Book cover We Philologists Complete Works of Friedrich Nietzsche, Volume 8

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