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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.

By: Euripides (480 BC - 406 BC)

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

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.

By: Unknown (427? BC - 347? BC)

Book cover Theaetetus

Theaetetus (Ancient Greek: Θεαίτητος) discusses concepts including perception, true judgment and knowledge. Socrates compares the human mind to a piece of wax and is critical of lawyers who seek only to persuade.

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...

By: Cyril of Alexandria (376-444)

Book cover That Christ Is One

Cyril of Alexandria was the leading voice of Nicene orthodoxy in the Christological controversies between Constantinople (381) and Chalcedon (451). Assuming the mantle of the Cappadotian fathers, he answered the auguments of Nestorius who had changed the liturgy of Constantinople by altering the prayer which referred to Mary as the Mother of God. Although he died seven years before the Council of Chalcedon, his writings and formulations heavily influenced not only Chalcedon, but the entire trajectory of orthodox christological thought.

By: Unknown (427? BC - 347? BC)

Book cover Parmenides

Parmenides (Ancient Greek: ΠΑΡΜΕΝΙΔΗΣ) recounts a meeting between Socrates, Zeno and Parmenides. Topics discussed include universals, plurality and the One.

Book cover Parmenides

Parmenides (Ancient Greek: ΠΑΡΜΕΝΙΔΗΣ) recounts a meeting between Socrates, Zeno and Parmenides. Topics discussed include universals, plurality and the One.

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

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.

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.

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: Unknown (427? BC - 347? BC)

Book cover Statesman

Statesman (Ancient Greek: Πολιτικός) discusses God's role in maintaining the universe and describes the statesman as a good shepherd who promotes intermarriage between the orderly and courageous.

Book cover Sophist

Sophist (Ancient Greek: Σοφιστής) discusses being and not-being while drawing a distinction between the philosopher and the sophist.

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

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.

By: Unknown (427? BC - 347? BC)

Book cover Cratylus

Cratylus (ΚΡΑΤΥΛΟΣ) discusses whether things have names by mere convention or have true names which can only be correctly applied to the object named and may have originated from God.

Book cover Charmides

Charmides (Χαρμίδης) discusses the virtue of temperance.

By: Aristophanes (446-389 BCE)

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: Unknown (427? BC - 347? BC)

Book cover Laches

Laches (Λάχης) discusses examples of courage including weapons masters, soldiers who stand firm in battle, ferocious animals and the wise person who endures evils.

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

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...

By: Unknown (427? BC - 347? BC)

Book cover Philebus

Philebus (ΦΙΛΗΒΟΣ) discusses pleasure, wisdom, soul and God.

Book cover Lysis

Lysis (Λύσις) discusses friendship and love between the good and bad.

Book cover Menexenus

Menexenus (ΜΕΝΕΞΕΝΟΣ) is thought to have been written by Plato (ΠΛΑΤΩΝ). The dialogue consists of Socrates (ΣΩΚΡΑΤΗΣ) recounting a funeral oration he claims to have learned from the female philosopher Aspasia (ΑΣΠΑΣΙΑ) who may have been wealthy, a courtesan or both.

Book cover Euthydemus

Euthydemus (Εὐθύδημος) and Dionysodorus the sophists discuss the meaning of words with Socrates.

By: Euripides (484 BC - 406 BC)

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

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: Unknown (427? BC - 347? BC)

Book cover Eryxias

Eryxias (ΕΡΥΞΙΑΣ) may not have been written by Plato (ΠΛΑΤΩΝ). The dialogue discusses whether wealth has value and what the aim of philosophy should be.

By: John B. Bury (1861-1927)

Book cover Students’ Roman Empire part 2, A History of the Roman Empire from Its Foundation to the Death of Marcus Aurelius (27 B.C.-180 A.D.)

The writings of J. B. Bury, on subjects ranging from ancient Greece to the 19th-century papacy, are at once scholarly and accessible to the layman. This work covers the period from the beginning of the Roman Empire until Gibbon begins; from Augustus through Marcus Aurelius and the Antoinine Emporers.

By: Publius (Ovid) Ovidius Naso (c. 43 BC - 18 AD)

Book cover Fasti

The Fasti is a Latin poem in six books, written by Ovid and believed to have been published in 8 AD. The Fasti is organized according to the Roman calendar and explains the origins of Roman holidays and associated customs, often through the mouths of deities and with multiple aetiologies. The poem was left unfinished when the poet was exiled to Tomis, so only the first six months of the year appear in the poem.

By: Alfred John Church (1829-1912)

Book cover Stories from Virgil

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."

By: Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus (c. 46 - c. 120)

Book cover Morals (Moralia), Book 2

The Moralia (loosely translatable as "Matters relating to customs") of the 1st-century Greek scholar Plutarch of Chaeronea is an eclectic collection of 78 essays and transcribed speeches. They give an insight into Roman and Greek life, but often are also fascinating timeless observations in their own right. Many generations of Europeans have read or imitated them, including Montaigne and the Renaissance Humanists and Enlightenment philosophers. The Moralia include "On the Fortune or the Virtue of...

By: Aristotle (384 BC - 322 BC)

Book cover Physics

Physics (Greek: Φυσικὴ ἀκρόασις; Latin: Physica, or Physicae Auscultationes) discusses concepts including: substance, accident, the infinite, causation, motion, time and the Prime Mover.

By: Sappho (c. 630 BC - c. 570 BC)

Book cover Sappho: A New Rendering

Sappho lived in the Greek-speaking Aeolian islands off the coast of Turkey. She is one of the very few female poets from antiquity. Although her work was very popular in ancient Greece and Rome, only small fragments survive today. This book includes translations of these fragments, as well as a poem from Ovid's Heroides, "Sappho to Phaon," a fictional letter from Sappho to her assumed lover.

By: Pliny the Elder (23-79)

Book cover Natural History Volume 4

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 BC - 322 BC)

Book cover Magna Moralia

Magna Moralia (Ancient Greek: ΗΟΙΚΩΝ ΜΕΓΑΛΩΝ, English: Great Ethics) discusses topics including friendship, virtue, happiness and God. It is disputed whether Aristotle wrote Magna Moralia. This author concludes that it is absurd to suggest that God contemplates only God but does not propose an alternative activity for God.

By: Elizabeth Cary (1585-1639)

Book cover Tragedy of Mariam

The Tragedy of Mariam (1613) is the first original drama written in English by a woman. Elizabeth Cary drew on Jewish histories by Josephus to create a closet drama (written to be read, rather than performed live) about Mariam, the second wife of Herod the Great. At the beginning of the play, Mariam believes that Herod has been killed by Octavius, and struggles with how to respond. On the one hand, she is relieved, as she is angry with Herod for killing her brother and grandfather. On the other, she knows that he loved her, and she feels caught by her sense of duty as his wife. When Herod unexpectedly returns, Mariam must decide what to do.

By: Bernhard Pick (1842-1917)

Book cover Apocryphal Acts of Paul, Peter, John, Andrew and Thomas

The full title of this book, published in 1909, is The Apocryphal Acts of Paul, Peter, John, Andrew and Thomas. As early as the second century, numerous legends concerning the fates of the Christian apostles were in circulation. These Acts, widely regarded as originating circa 150 CE, are among the earliest accounts still in existence of the lives, preaching and martyrdoms of the apostles Paul, Peter, John, Andrew and Thomas. They are written in a fantastic and romantic style, and although they were influential in later Christian conceptions of these apostles, they are historically worthless as biographies...

By: Emilie Kip Baker (1873-1951)

Book cover Stories of Old Greece and Rome

The Stories of Old Greece and Rome is an easy to read summary of all of the famous and not so famous Greek and Roman mythological stories. All of the famous Heroes are here: Theseus, Jason, Hercules, and all of the well known Deities. These stories tell the real detail of the myths, not the ones that have become sanitized (and dare I say it, 'Disneyfied') over the centuries. These are not stories for children, as the old gods and heroes were vengeful and some might say sadistic in their treatment of minor slights and misdemeanors...

By: Homer (c. 8th cen - c. 8th cen)

Book cover Odysseys of Homer

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...

By: Decimus Iunius Iuvenalis (-2nd Cent.)

Book cover Satires

Decimus Iunius Iuvenalis, known in English as Juvenal, was a Roman poet active in the late 1st and early 2nd century AD. The details of the author's life are unclear, although references within his text to known persons of the late 1st and early 2nd centuries AD fix his terminus post quem (earliest date of composition). The Satires are a collection of satirical poems by Juvenal written in the late 1st and early 2nd centuries AD. Juvenal is credited with sixteen known poems divided among five books; all are in the Roman genre of satire, which, at its most basic in the time of the author, comprised a wide-ranging discussion of society and social mores in dactylic hexameter...

By: Omar Khayyám (1048-1131)

Book cover Quatrains of Omar Khayyam of Nishapur

In 1906, Eben Francis Thompson,scholar and poet, published a limited edition of his translation of the Quatrains of Omar Khayyam. This edition contains 878 quatrains, and represents the most extensive translation of Omar's rubai in any language.In the Introduction, Nathan Haskell Dole writes: Mr Thompson has put into English verse this whole body of Persian poetry. It is a marvel of close translation, accurate and satisfactory. He has succeeded in doing exactly what he set out to do - to add nothing and to take nothing away, but to put into the typical quatrain, as determined by Fitzgerald and others, exactly what Omar and his unknown imitators said.

By: Bhartṛhari (c. 400-500)

Book cover Vairagya Shatakam

Vairagya Shatakam is one of the best books that gives the true picture of Renunciation. The book talks on how a common man gets lured by the endless desires which when satisfied fetches him nothing but the desires again. It concludes saying how these unsatiable desires mislead the man from knowing his real nature-omnipotence, omnipresence and omniscience!

By: Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BCE)

Book cover On the Nature of the Gods

De Natura Deorum (On the Nature of the Gods) outlines Stoic, Epicurean and Academic (Skeptical) views on religious questions. Problems discussed include: evil, the origin of the world, divination, and characteristics of God(s).

By: Omar Khayyám (1048-1131)

Book cover Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám (Le Gallienne) - Version 2

One of the greatest works of poetry in history, this lyric poem presents the deep feelings and emotions of the poet on subjects such as life, death, love, God and destiny.

By: Aristotle (384 BC - 322 BC)

Book cover Constitution of Athens

The Constitution of Athens (Greek: Ἀθηναίων πολιτεία) was written by Aristotle or his student. The text was lost until discovered in the late 19th century in Egypt. Topics discussed include Solon's legislative reforms abolishing debt slavery and the rise and decline of democracy and tyranny in Athens.

By: Athanasius of Alexandria (c. 297-373)

Book cover Four Discourses Against The Arians

In spite of Nicea's condemnation of Arius in 325, Arianism was far from dead. For decades after Nicea, political intrigue and personality clashes continued to confuse the doctrinal issues. Additionally, the line separating othodoxy from Arianism was blurred by a number of "semi-Arians" who agreed with the theology of orthodoxy but continued to object to the "homoousios" of the Nicene Formula. In this milieu, Athanasius of Alexandria tirelessly worked to cut through the confusion and restore unity...

By: Sir Edwin Arnold (1832-1904)

Book cover Book of Good Counsels - From the Sanskrit of the "Hitopadesa"

The term ‘Hitopadesha’ is a combination of two Sanskrit terms, ‘Hita’ (welfare/ benefit) and ‘Upadesha’ (counsel). As the term suggests, The Hitopadesha is a collection of tales that gives good counsel. Hitopadesa was presumably written by Narayan Pandit and is an independent treatment of the Vishnu Sarman's Panchatantra (3rd century BC) which it resembles in form. In Hitopadesha, Vishnu Sarman is depicted as a Sage who undertakes to give good counsel to the sons of Sudarsana, the king of Pataliputra, through stories within stories involving talking animals...


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