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By: Marcus Vitruvius Pollio (75 BC - c. 15 BC)

Ten Books on Architecture by Marcus Vitruvius Pollio 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: Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864)

Tanglewood Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne Tanglewood Tales

A sequel to Nathaniel Hawthorne's earlier volume of Greek mythology interpreted and retold for young people, Tanglewood Tales includes more legends and tales of ancient heroes and monsters. In his earlier book, A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys, Hawthorne had designed the book to be a book within a book. A young college student keeps a group of young children entertained by retelling Greek myths in a way in which they can easily understand. Nathaniel Hawthorne also wrote a brief introduction to Tanglewood Tales, entitled The Wayside...

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.

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: 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: 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: Plato (427-347)

Plato's Republic by Plato Plato's Republic

Plato's Republic is a Socratic dialogue which deals mainly with the definition of justice, the characteristics of a just city state and the just man. Although it was written more than two thousand years ago, many of the ideas and thoughts expounded here are still very much relevant to modern society. This is Plato's best known work and is also considered his most influential especially when it comes to the fields of philosophy and political theory. The Republic is divided into ten books and in each book Socrates discusses different topics from the immortality of the soul to the meaning of justice with his disciples like Glaucon, Thrasymachus, Adeimantus and others...

Euthyphro by Plato Euthyphro

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 by Plato The Symposium

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...

Ion by Plato Ion

In Plato’s Ion, Socrates questions Ion on whether he should really claim laud and glory for his ‘rhapsodic’ recitals of Homer’s poetry.

Timaeus by Plato Timaeus

“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...

Phaedo by Plato Phaedo

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...

Phaedrus by Plato Phaedrus

“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...

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).

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)

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: 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...

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: Publius Cornelius Tacitus

Book cover 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: Publius Ovidius Naso

Book cover Metamorphoses

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...

Heroides by Publius Ovidius Naso Heroides

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: Publius Vergilius Maro (70-19 BC)

The Eclogues by Publius Vergilius Maro The Eclogues

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.

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...

By: Sophocles (495-406 BC)

Antigone by Sophocles Antigone

This is the final installment in Sophocles's Theban Plays, following Oedipus Rex and Oedipus at Colonus. Oedipus's daughter Antigone deliberately breaks the laws of Thebes when she buries her brother's body and is sentenced to death. She clashes with Creon, the King of Thebes, over what constitutes justice and morality: the laws of the state or the laws of the individual.

Book cover Electra

Sophocles' play dramatizes the aftermath of Agamemnon's murder by his wife Clytemnestra and her lover Aegisthus. His daughter Electra is hungry for revenge and longs for the return of her brother Orestes to help her achieve her ends.

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: 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: 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: 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

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.

Book cover Parmenides

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


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