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By: Phaedrus (c. 15 BC - c. AD 50)

The Fables of Phaedrus by Phaedrus 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: Xenophon

Xenophon's Anabasis by Xenophon Xenophon's Anabasis

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...

By: Padraic Colum (1881-1972)

The Adventures of Odysseus and the Tale of Troy by Padraic Colum The Adventures of Odysseus and the Tale of Troy

Also known as “The Children’s Homer,” this is Irish writer Padraic Colum’s retelling of the events of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey for young people. Colum’s rich, evocative prose narrates the travails of Odysseus, King of Ithaca: his experiences fighting the Trojan War, and his ten years’ journey home to his faithful wife Penelope and his son Telemachus.

The Golden Fleece and the Heroes Who Lived Before Achilles by Padraic Colum The Golden Fleece and the Heroes Who Lived Before Achilles

This is Irish folklorist Padraic Colum's masterful retelling of many Greek myths, focusing on Jason and the Argonauts' quest to find the Golden Fleece. He also includes the stories of Atalanta, Heracles, Perseus, Theseus, and others.

By: Titus Lucretius Carus (94? BC - 49? BC)

On the Nature of Things by Titus Lucretius Carus 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: John Luther Long (1861-1927)

Madame Butterfly by John Luther Long Madame Butterfly

Madame Butterfly is the story of the young Japanese girl Cho-Cho San, who marries a flighty American naval officer, and is thenceforth outcast from her relatives. Anxiously she awaits the return of her beloved husband, but when he finally anchors in the harbour, Cho-Cho San does not get the happy ending she was hoping for. This short story by John Luther Long has inspired Giacomo Puccini to write the opera of the same name. (Introduction by Availle)

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.

By: Titus Livius (c55BC - c17AD)

Book cover 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: Valmiki

The Ramayana Book 2 by Valmiki 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: Gaius Sallustius Crispus (Sallust) (86-34 BC)

The Catiline Conspiracy and the Jugurthine War by Gaius Sallustius Crispus (Sallust) 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: Pliny the Elder

The Natural History 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...

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: Lucius Apuleius

Metamorphosis or The Golden Ass by Lucius Apuleius Metamorphosis or The Golden Ass

The Metamorphosis, also known as The Golden Ass, is one of the very few novels of the Ancient World that survived to our days; one of the two novels of Roman Literature that we can still read; and the only one preserved in its entirety (the other one being the extremely fragmentary Satyricon). The story of the Metamorphosis, the tale of a man turned into a donkey that goes through many adventures to become a man again, inspired many other similar ones later on. However, more than just the plot, the style of the Golden Ass also made it famous...

By: Gaius Julius Caesar

Commentaries on the Gallic War by Gaius Julius Caesar Commentaries on the Gallic War

Commentarii de Bello Gallico (English: Commentaries on the Gallic War) is Julius Caesar's firsthand account of the Gallic Wars, written as a third-person narrative. In it Caesar describes the battles and intrigues that took place in the nine years he spent fighting local armies in Gaul that opposed Roman domination.The work has been a mainstay in the teaching of Latin to schoolchildren, its simple, direct prose lending itself to that purpose. It begins with the frequently quoted phrase "Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres", sometimes quoted as "Omnia Gallia in tres partes divisa est", meaning "All Gaul is divided into three parts".

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: 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: 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: Thomas Hodgkin (1831-1913)

Book cover Theodoric the Goth

Theodoric the Great (~454-526) was king of the Ostrogoths during the time of the terminal decline of the Western Roman Empire. After wandering with his people through the Balkans, at times allied with the Eastern Empire, and at others, its enemy, he was invited by the Emperor Zeno to invade and conquer Italy on behalf of the Empire. He defeated the Germanic king Odovacar, who had himself deposed the last Emperor of the West, and established the Ostrogothic Kingdom in Italy. He became known as "King of the Goths and Romans in Italy", ruling according to the principle of civilitas. His reign was a time of stability and prosperity. ( Patrick Eaton)

By: Unknown

The Dhammapada by Unknown The Dhammapada

The Dhammapada is is a Buddhist scripture, containing 423 verses in 26 categories. According to tradition, these are verses spoken by the Buddha on various occasions, most of which deal with ethics. It is is considered one of the most important pieces of Theravada literature. Despite this, the Dhammapada is read by many Mahayana Buddhists and remains a very popular text across all schools of Buddhism. – Excerpted from Wikipedia

By: Plato (424/423 BC - 348/347 BC)

Book cover Apology

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 (from the Ancient Greek ἀπολογία).

By: Aristotle (384 BCE-322 BCE)

De Anima by Aristotle De Anima

On the Soul (Greek Περὶ Ψυχῆς (Perì Psūchês), Latin De Anima) is a major treatise by Aristotle on the nature of living things. His discussion centres on the kinds of souls possessed by different kinds of living things, distinguished by their different operations. Thus plants have the capacity for nourishment and reproduction, the minimum that must be possessed by any kind of living organism. Lower animals have, in addition, the powers of sense-perception and self-motion (action). Humans have all these as well as intellect...

On the Heavens by Aristotle On the Heavens

On the Heavens (Greek: Περί ουρανού, Latin: De Caelo or De Caelo et Mundo) is Aristotle's chief cosmological treatise. In it Aristotle argues that the Earth is a sphere by pointing to the evidence of lunar eclipses. Aristotle also provides a detailed explanation of his theory of 'gravity' arguing that things which contain 'earth' fall towards the centre of the Universe because 'earth' is naturally attracted to the centre of the Universe. Aristotle argues that if the planet Earth was moved to the location of the Moon then objects which contain 'earth' would not fall towards the centre of the Earth but rather towards the centre of the Universe...

On Generation and Corruption by Aristotle On Generation and Corruption

On Generation and Corruption (Ancient Greek: Περὶ γενέσεως καὶ φθορᾶς, Latin: De Generatione et Corruptione, also known as On Coming to Be and Passing Away) is a treatise by Aristotle. Like many of his texts, it is both scientific and philosophic (although not necessarily scientific in the modern sense). The philosophy, though, is essentially empirical; as in all Aristotle's works, the deductions made about the unexperienced and unobservable are based on observations and real experiences...

By: Gaius Petronius Arbiter

Book cover The Satyricon

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...

By: Plato (426-347 BCE)

Book cover Meno

Meno (Ancient Greek: Μένων) 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.. (Introduction by Wikipedia)

By: Pliny the Elder

The Natural History, volume 2 by Pliny the Elder The Natural History, volume 2

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...

By: Aristotle (384 BCE-322 BCE)

Parva Naturalia by Aristotle Parva Naturalia

Parva Naturalia [the "short treatises on nature" (a conventional Latin title first used by Giles of Rome)] is a collection of books by Aristotle, which discuss natural phenomena involving the body and the soul. The books are as follows:I - On Sensation and the SensibleII - On Memory and RecollectionIII - On Sleeping and WakingIV - On DreamsV - On Prophecy in SleepVI - On Longevity and Shortness of LifeVII - On Youth and Old Age, Life and Death VIII - On Respiration

By: Plato (424-348 BC)

Book cover Laws

Νόμοι (Laws) is Plato's final dialogue written after his attempt to advise the tyrant Dionysius II of Syracuse. The dialogue takes place between: an Athenian Stranger (Socrates? A god in human form?); the quiet Lacedaemonian Megillus; and the Cretan Cleinias. The Stranger asks whether humans live to be more effective at waging war or if there is something more important a legislator should seek to achieve. During their pilgrimage Cleinias discloses his role in the establishment of a new colony...

By: Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC)

On the Laws by Marcus Tullius Cicero On the Laws

De Legibus (On the Laws) is a philosophical dialogue between: Cicero's friend Titus Pomponius Atticus; Cicero's brother Quintus; and Cicero himself. The dialogue is written in the style of Plato who was greatly revered by Cicero. De Legibus forms a continuation of Cicero's own work De re Publica (On the Commonwealth or On the Republic) and is also a response to Plato's work Νόμοι (Laws). It is unknown how many books the work originally contained but several complete books have been lost. Cicero's...

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...

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: Marcus Fabius Quintilianus

Institutio Oratoria or On the Education of an Orator, volume 1 by Marcus Fabius Quintilianus Institutio Oratoria or On the Education of an Orator, volume 1

Marcus Fabius Quintilianus was of Spanish origin, being born about 35 A.D. at Calagurris. At Rome he met with great success as a teacher and was the first rhetorician to set up a genuine public school and to receive a salary from the State. He left behind him a treatise "On the causes of the decadence of Roman oratory" (De causis corruptae eloquentiae), some speeches and his magnum opus, the only one to survive to our days. His Institutio Oratoria, despite the fact that much of it is highly technical, has still much that is of interest today, even for those who care little for the history of rhetoric.


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