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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: 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.

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.

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: 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: 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: 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: 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 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: Aristotle (384 BCE-322 BCE)

The Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle The Nicomachean Ethics

The work consists of ten books, originally separate scrolls, and is understood to be based on notes said to be from his lectures at the Lyceum which were either edited by or dedicated to Aristotle's son, Nicomachus. In many ways this work parallels the similar Eudemian Ethics, which has only eight books, and the two works can be fruitfully compared. Books V, VI, and VII of the Nicomachean Ethics are identical to Books IV, V, and VI of the Eudemian Ethics. Opinions about the relationship between the two works, for example which was written first, and which originally contained the three common books, is divided...

Rhetoric by Aristotle Rhetoric

The Rhetoric was developed by Aristotle during two periods when he was in Athens, the first between 367 to 347 BCE (when he was seconded to Plato in the Academy), and the second between 335 to 322 BCE (when he was running his own school, the Lyceum). The Rhetoric consists of three books. Book I offers a general overview, presenting the purposes of rhetoric and a working definition; it also offers a detailed discussion of the major contexts and types of rhetoric. Book II discusses in detail the three means of persuasion that an orator must rely on: those grounded in credibility (ethos), in the emotions and psychology of the audience (pathos), and in patterns of reasoning (logos)...

Categories by Aristotle Categories

Categories is the first of Aristotle's six texts on logic which are collectively known as the Organon. In Categories, Aristotle enumerates all the possible kinds of things that can be the subject or the predicate of a proposition. Aristotle places every object of human apprehension under one of ten categories (known to medieval writers as the praedicamenta). Aristotle intended them to enumerate everything that can be expressed without composition or structure, thus anything that can be either the subject or the predicate of a proposition. The ten categories, or classes, are: Substance, Quantity, Quality, Relation, Place, Time, Position, State, Action and Affection.

On Interpretation by Aristotle On Interpretation

Aristotle's On Interpretation (Greek Peri Hermeneias) or De Interpretatione (the Latin title) is the second of Aristotle's six texts on logic which are collectively known as the Organon. On Interpretation is one of the earliest surviving philosophical works in the Western tradition to deal with the relationship between language and logic in a comprehensive, explicit, and formal way. The work begins by analyzing simple categoric propositions, and draws a series of basic conclusions on the routine...

Posterior Analytics by Aristotle Posterior Analytics

Posterior Analytics is the fourth of Aristotle's six texts on logic which are collectively known as the Organon ("Instrument"). Posterior Analytics deals with demonstration, definition, and scientific knowledge. Demonstration is distinguished as a syllogism productive of scientific knowledge, while Definition is marked as the statement of a thing's nature, a statement of the meaning of the name, or of an equivalent nominal formula.

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...

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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: Homer

The Iliad by Homer The Iliad

A divinely beautiful woman who becomes the cause of a terrible war in which the gods themselves take sides. Valor and villainy, sacrifices and betrayals, triumphs and tragedies play their part in this three thousand year old saga. The Iliad throws us right into the thick of battle. It opens when the Trojan War has already been raging for nine long years. An uneasy truce has been declared between the Trojans and the Greeks (Achaeans as they're called in The Iliad.) In the Greek camp, Agamemnon the King of Mycenae and Achilles the proud and valiant warrior of Phthia are locked in a fierce contest to claim the spoils of war...

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: 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: Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Of Peace of Mind 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)

Book cover Of the Shortness of Life

De Brevitate Vitae ("Of the Shortness of Life") is a moral essay written by Seneca the Younger, a Roman Stoic philosopher, to his friend Paulinus. The philosopher brings up many Stoic principles on the nature of time, namely that men waste much of it in meaningless pursuits. According to the essay, nature gives man enough time to do what is really important and the individual must allot it properly. In general, time can be best used in the study of philosophy, according to Seneca.

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: 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: 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: Marcus Tullius Cicero

The Philippics by Marcus Tullius Cicero The Philippics

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...

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...

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: 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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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: 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: Walt Whitman (1819-1892)

Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman Leaves of Grass

Nearly 160 years after it was first published, Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass continues to inspire, enthrall and educate generations of readers. This collection of poems serves as a vehicle for Whitman's philosophy, ideals, love of nature and mystical musings and it subsequently became one of the corner stones of American literature. Whitman was inspired to write Leaves of Grass based on Ralph Waldo Emerson's clarion call for a truly American poet who would tell of its glories, virtues and vices...

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...


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