Francis Bacon: Essays

Francis_Bacon _Viscount_St_Alban_from_NPGThe Essays by Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626) were the first published work of the English statesman and thinker, appearing in 1597, with revised and expanded editions in 1612 and 1625. In introducing the essay format by pioneered by Montaigne to English, Bacon gave the genre a pointed, business-like concision, perhaps more reminiscent of Machiavelli. In this he was aided by a talent for the telling aphorism that has left a permanent mark on the language.

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Bartleby: Essays, Civil and Moral. Harvard Classics edition. HTML format.

Francis Bacon Online: The Essays. HTML format.

Gutenberg: The Essays or Counsels, Civil and Moral. Multiple formats. 

Internet Archive: The essaies of Sr. Francis Bacon. 1613 edition. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: The Essays, or Counsels Civil and Moral, edited by A.S. Gaye (1911). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Bacon's Essays, edited by Sydney Humphries (1912). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Essays, Civil and Moral and The New Atlantis, by Francis Bacon; Areopagitica and Tractate on Education by John Milton; Religio Medici, by Sir Thomas Brown, edited by Charles W. Eliot (1912). Harvard Classics edition. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: The Essays, Colours Of Good And Evil, Advancement Of Learning, edited by A.W. Pollard (1920). Multiple formats.

University of Adelaide: The Essays, Multiple formats.

Wikisource: The Essays of Francis Bacon, edited by Mary Augusta Scott (1908). HTML and other formats.

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Seneca: The Trojan Women

Marie-Lan Nguyen - Wikimedia CommonsThe Trojan Women (Latin: Troades) by Seneca is a Latin adaptation of Euripides' play of the same name, along with elements of the latter's Hecuba.

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Gutenberg: Two Tragedies of Seneca - Medea and The Daughters of Troy by Lucius Annaeus Seneca, verse translation by Ella Isabel Harris. Multiple formats. 

Internet Archive: The Ten Tragedies of Seneca. Latin text with English translation by Watson Bradshaw (1902). Multiple formats.

Loebulus. L062N - Tragedies I: Hercules Furens. Troades. Medea. Hippolytus. Oedipus. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Latin and English.

Theoi: Troades, translated by Frank Justus Miller. HTML format.

Wikisource: The Trojan Women, English translation by Miller. HTML and other formats.

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Gregory of Tours: History of the Franks

Saint_Grégoire_Sacramentaire_de_Marmoutier_à_l'usage_d'AutunThe Ten Books of Histories (Latin: Decem Libri Historiarum), more commonly known as The History of the Franks (Latin: Historia Francorum) are the major work of St Gregory of Tours (538-594 CE).

The first major historian of post-Roman Western Europe, Gregory relates the Christianization of Gaul and the rule of Merovingian Frankish kings down to his own time. He is less concerned with the interests of the Frankish Kingdom as such than with those of the church, and some modern historians have therefore seen the History of the Franks title, which was not Gregory's own, as something of a misnomer.

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Internet Archive: History of the Franks, translated by Ernest Brehaut (1916). Multiple formats.

Internet History Sourcebook: History of the Franks, Books I-X, abridged translation by Ernest Brehaut (1916). HTML format.

Latin Library: Libri Historiarum. Latin text. HTML format.

Wikisource: Historiarum Francorum libri X. Latin text. HTML and other formats.

Other Resources

Wikimedia Commons: Division of Gaul  511 CE, map of Gaul at the death of King Clovis.

Wikipedia: Gregory of Tours

YouTube: Clovis and The Franks. YaleCourses. The Early Middle Ages, 284--1000 (HIST 210), with Paul Freedman.

The Great Conversation: Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes

Virgil: The Aeneid

Sallust: The War with Catiline - one of the classical works known to have been read by Gregory.

Martianus Capella

Orosius: Seven Books of History Against the Pagans.

Latin Resources: Online materials for learning Latin.


Seneca: The Madness of Hercules

Picture by Marie-Lan Nguyen - Wikimedia CommonsThe Madness of Hercules (Latin: Hercules Furens) by Seneca the Younger is a Latin adaptation of Euripides' play of the same name. There are some differences in the plot. For example, instead of threatening to kill Hercules' children, the Theban usurper Lycus seeks to marry his wife Megara.

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Internet Archive:  Three tragedies of Seneca: Hercules furens, Troades, Medea, edited by H.M. Kingery (1908). Latin text, multiple formats.

Internet Archive: The Ten Tragedies of Seneca. Latin text with English translation by Watson Bradshaw (1902). Multiple formats.

Loebulus. L062N -  Tragedies I: Hercules Furens. Troades. Medea. Hippolytus. Oedipus. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Latin and English.

Perseus: Hercules Furens. Latin text. HTML and XML formats.

Theo.com: Herculens Furens, translated by Frank Justus Miller (1917). HTML format.

Wikisource: English translations. HTML and other formats.

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Machiavelli: Discourses on Livy

OrigenDeLaRepublicaRomana_CastoPlasenciaThe Discourses on the First Ten Book of Titus Livius, (Italian: Discorsi sopra la prima deca di Tito Livio), often known simply as The Discourses, were written by Niccolo Machiavelli in the second decade of the sixteenth century, in the sme period as his most famous book, The Prince. In contrast to the monarchical concerns of that work, Machiavelli focuses in The Discourses on the political of republican government, through a commentary on Livy's account of the early history of Rome. Many scholars have argued that The Discourses provide a fuller picture of Machiavelli's political beliefs than does the Prince.

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Biblioteca Philosophica: Discorsi sopra la Prima Deca Di Tito Livio. Italian text. HTML format.
Gutenberg: Discourses on the First Decade of Titus Livius, translated by Ninian Hill Thomson. Multiple formats. 
Internet Archive: Discorsi sopra la prima deca di Tito Livio. Vol I | Vol II. Italian text. Multiple formats.
Internet Archive: The Prince and the Discourses. The Discourses translated by Christian E. Detmold. With an Introduction by Max Lerner. Modern Library (1940). Multiple formats.
Marxists.org: Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livius, translated by Christian Detmold (1882). HTML format.
Online Library of Liberty: Niccolo Machiavelli, The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 2 (The Prince, Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livius, Thoughts of a Statesman). Translated by Christian Detmold. Multiple formats.
University of Adelaide: Discourses of Niccolo Machiavelli on the First Ten Books of Titus Livy. English translation. Multiple formats.
Wikisource: Italian text and English translation by Henry Neville. HTML and other formats.

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Machiavelli: The Prince

800px-Santi_di_Tito_-_Niccolo_Machiavelli's_portraitThe Prince (Italian: Il Principe) by Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527), one of the most influential political texts ever written, was dedicated to Lorenzo II de Medici in the early sixteenth century, a time when Machiavelli's native Florence was teetering between monarchical and republican rule. The fact that Machiavelli worked on this manual of advice for monarchs at the same time as his fervently republican Discourses on Livy, suggests that his deepest interest may have been the institute of the state itself.

Although he was writing in a long tradition of 'mirrors for princes', Machavelli's ruthless pragmatism was a new departure which damned him in the eyes of many then and since, but which contributed to a tradition of political realism taken up by Hobbes among others. The emergence of modern elite theory from the late nineteenth century underlined his lasting influence on Italian political thought.

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Constitution Society: The Prince, translated by William Kenaz Marriott. HTML format.
Early Modern Texts: The Prince, adapted and translated into modern English, by Jonathan Bennett. PDF format.
Feedbooks: The Prince, translated by Ninian Hill Thompson. EPUB, Kindle and PDF formats.
Gutenberg: The Prince, translated by William Kenaz Marriott. Multiple formats. 
Ibiblio.org: Il Principe, Italian text, edited by Sálvio Marcelo Soares (2009). PDF format.
Internet Archive: The Prince and the Discourses. The Prince translated by Luigi Ricci and revised by E.R.P. Vincent. With an Introduction by Max Lerner. Modern Library (1940). Multiple formats.
Marxists.org: The Prince, translated by W.K. Marriott. HTML format.
Online Library of Liberty: Niccolo Machiavelli, The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 2 (The Prince, Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livius, Thoughts of a Statesman). Translated by Christian Detmold. Multiple formats.
The Prince Book Free. Marriott English translation and other languages. Multiple formats.
University of Adelaide: The Prince, translated by W.K. Marriott Multiple formats.
Wikisource: Italian text and multiple translations. HTML and other formats.

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Montaigne: Essays

Montaigne-DumonstierThe Essays (French: Essais) by Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592) inaugurated a literary form on their first publication in 1580. His  Essais or 'attempts' at various subjects were part of a larger project of-self reflection. His focus on the individual personality, in contrast to the ancient writers on whom he dew copiously, had a profound influence on later writers.

He knew Greek authors mainly though Latin and French, but his broad classical learning informed an eclectic philosophical world view which drew on Cicero, stoicism and skepticism. The latter was influence was strengthened by Montaigne's experiences as a nobleman during the French Wars of Religion. His belief in tolerance forms an important part of his legacy.

Free online texts

Early Modern Texts: Essays, Bks 1-11, translated by Jonathan Bennett. PDF format. Modern English translation with some editorial alterations.
Gutenberg: Essays of Michel de Montaigne — Complete, translated by Charles Cotton. Multiple formats. 
Internet Archive: The Essays of Michel de Montaigne, Vol I | Vol II. Translated by Charles Cotton and revised by William Carew Hazlitt. Multiple formats.
The Montaigne Project: Les Essais de Montaigne. Full Searchable HTML text in French.
Online Library of Liberty: Essays of Montaigne in 10 Volumes, translated by Charles Cotton. Multiple formats.
University of Adelaide: The Essays of Montaigne, translated by Charles Cotton. Multiple formats.
University of Oregon: Montaigne's Essays, translated by John Florio, 1603. PDF format.
Wikisource: Multiple French editions | English translation by John Florio, 1603 | English translation by Charles Cotton 1686, revised by William Carew Hazlitt in 1877.

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Aristophanes: Wealth

658px-Dionysos_Ploutos_BM_F68Wealth or Plutus (Greek: Πλοῦτος) is Aristophanes' last extant comedy, produced in 388 BC.

The play centres on Chremylus, an exasperated Athenian who asks the Delphic oracle if he should bring his son up to be good or bad in order to prosper in life. The oracle leads him to a blind man who turns out to be the god of wealth, Plutus. Chremylus arranges for his sight to be restored at the temple of Asclepius. As a result, Plutus is able to reward the good and impoverish the bad. The newly wealthy Chremylus then receives a stream of visitors to his home, whose various situations illustrate the way Athenian society has been turned up side down as a result.

Free online texts

Gutenberg: The Eleven Comedies, Volume 2 - The Wasps - The Birds - The Frogs - The Thesmophoriazusae - The Ecclesiazusae -- Plutus. English translation, multiple formats.

Internet Archive: L 179 - Aristophanes III - Lysistrata, Thesmophoriazusae, Ecclesiazusae, Plutus. Bilingual Greek-English Loeb edition. 

Poetry in Translation: Wealth, translated by George Theodoridis. Multiple formats.

University of Adelaide: Plutus. English translation, multiple formats.

Wikisource: Greek text and English translations. HTML and other formats.

Other Resources

History of Ancient Greece: o54- Old Comedy and Aristophanes. Podcast by Ryan Stitt.

Wikipedia: Plutus (play).

The Great Conversation: Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes

Ancient Greek resources: Learn to read Greek classics in the original.


Aristophanes: Ecclesiazusae

Ecclesiazusae (Greek: Ἐκκλησιάζουσαι} or Assemblywomen is a comedy by Aristophanes, probably first produced at Athens in 392 BC. Like the earlier Lysistrata, the play imagines women taking over the city. On this occasion, inspired by their ringleader Praxagora, they disguise themselves as men to pack the assembly, and vote to hand control over to themselves. they also enact a series of communistic measures, something which has been seen, probably anachronistically, as a satire on Plato's political program. 

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Gutenberg: The Eleven Comedies, Volume 2 - The Wasps - The Birds - The Frogs - The Thesmophoriazusae - The Ecclesiazusae -- Plutus. English translation, multiple formats.

Internet Archive: L 179 - Aristophanes III - Lysistrata, Thesmophoriazusae, Ecclesiazusae, Plutus. Bilingual Greek-English Loeb edition. 

Poetry in Translation: Women in Parliament, translated by George Theodoridis. Multiple formats.

University of Adelaide: Ecclesiazusae. English translation, multiple formats.

Wikisource: Greek text and English translations. HTML and other formats.

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Aristophanes: Thesmophoriazusae

ThesmophoriasuzaeKraterThesmophoriazusae (Greek: Θεσμοφοριάζουσαι) or Women at the Thesmophoria is a comedy by Aristophanes, first produced at Athens in 411 BC, probably at the Dionysia. As with Lysistrata, thought to have been produced at the Lenaea in the same year, gender forms a significant theme of the work, which is set during the Thesmophoria, a festival attended solely by women.

The tragic poet Euripides features as a central character. who learns that the festival-goers intend to kill him because of the negative portrayal of women in his work. After failing to persuade his fellow tragedian Agathon to infiltrate the festival on his behalf, Euripides sends an elderly relative instead. After the infiltrator is discovered, attempts to rescue him devolve into a series of parodies of Euripides' plays.

Thesmophoriazusae at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Picture by Wikimedia Commons user Daderot

Free online texts

Gutenberg: The Eleven Comedies, Volume 2 - The Wasps - The Birds - The Frogs - The Thesmophoriazusae - The Ecclesiazusae -- Plutus. English translation, multiple formats.

Internet Archive: L 179 - Aristophanes III - Lysistrata, Thesmophoriazusae, Ecclesiazusae, Plutus. Bilingual Greek-English Loeb edition. 

Internet Classics Archive: Thesmophoriazusae. English text in HTML and TXT format.

Poetry in Translation: Women at the Festival, translated by George Theodoridis. Multiple formats.

University of Adelaide: Thesmophoriazusae. English translation, multiple formats.

Wikisource: Greek text and English translations. HTML and other formats.

Other Resources

History of Ancient Greece: o54- Old Comedy and Aristophanes. Podcast by Ryan Stitt.

Librivox: Chorus of Women from Thesmophoriazusae. Public domain audiobook.

Stanford News: Gender-swapped play takes on the ‘men’s rights’ movement, by Hannah Leblanc, 11 May 2017.

Wikipedia: Thesmophoriazousai

The Great Conversation: Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes

Aristophanes: Lysistrata, Ecclesiazusae - two other plays in which women play a prominent role. The Frogs - another play targeting the tragic poets.

Euripides: Medea - one of the plays which contributed to the author's reputation for an equivocal attitued towards women.

Plato: Symposium - also employs the poet Agathon as a character.

Ancient Greek resources: Learn to read Greek classics in the original.