Biography

Augustine: The Confessions

The Confessions (Latin: Confessiones) is a work by St Augustine, written between 397 and 400 CE, recounting his conversion to Christianity. It is often regarded as founding the genre of autobiography.

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Free online texts

Christian Classics Ethereal Library: The Confessions and Letters of St. Augustine, with a Sketch of his Life and Work. Confessions translated by J.G. Pilkington. Multiple formats.

Georgetown University: The Confessions of Augustine - An Electronic Edition. Latin text with commentary by James J. O'Donnell. HTML format.

Georgetown University: Augustine's Confessions, translated by E.B. Pusey. TXT format.

Gutenberg: The Confessions of St Augustine. Multiple formats.

Latin Library: Augustine of Hippo, Latin texts.

Loebulus. L026 - Augustine -- Confessions I: Books 1-8. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Latin and English.

Loebulus. L027 - Augustine -- Confessions II: Books 9-13. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Latin and English.

Wikisource: Confessions, translated by Albert Outler. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Confessions, translated by J.G. Pilkington. Multiple formats.

Other Resources

BBC Radio 4 In Our Time: Augustine's Confessions. Melvyn Bragg with Kate Cooper, Morwenna Ludlow and Martin Palmer.

History of Philosophy without any gaps: Life and Time: Augustine's Confessions - podcast by philosopher Peter Adamson.

PhilPapers: Augustine - bibliography with open access option.

Wikipedia: Confessions (Augustine).

Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes

Augustine: The City of God.

Cicero: Hortensius.

Latin resources: Learn to read Latin texts in the original.

Bloom's Western Canon: The Confessions is listed.


Xenophon: Memorabilia

The Memorabilia (Greek: Ἀπομνημονεύματα, Apomnemoneumata) is a work by Xenophon, containing his reminiscences of Socrates. Unlike his Apology, and that of Plato, it is not intended as an account of Socrates' defence at his trial, although it does attempt to refute the charges put forward on that occasion.

Xenophon is one of only three writers to present contemporary accounts of Socrates, along with Plato and Aristophanes. His view of Socrates has certain features in common with that of later philosophical schools such as the Stoics and Skeptics.

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Free online texts

Gutenberg: The Memorabilia, multiple formats. 

Internet Archive: L 168 Xenophon IV Memorabilia Oeconomicus Symposium Apologia. Loeb edition, Greek text with English translations by E.C. Marchant and O.J Todd. Multiple formats.

Perseus: Greek text (Clarendon, 1921). English text, translated by E.C. Marchant (Heinemann, 1923). HTML and XML format.

University of Adelaide: Memorabilia, translated by H.G. Dakyns. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Απομνημονεύματα (Ξενοφών). Greek text. Multiple formats.

Other Resources

BBC Radio 4 In Our Time: Xenophon. Melvyn Bragg with Paul Cartledge, Edith Hall and Simon Goldhill.

History of Philosophy without any gaps: Socrates without Plato: the Accounts of Aristophanes and Xenophon - podcast by philosopher Peter Adamson.

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Xenophon.

Leo Strauss Center: Xenophon, Oeconomicus and Memorabilia (St. John’s College Annapolis), 1969-70. Audio recordings of Strauss's lectures.

University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law: I.F. Stone Breaks the Socrates Story. 1979 New York Times Magazine interview.

Wikipedia: Memorabilia (Xenophon).

Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes

Xenophon: Apology, Symposium.

Plato: Apology.

Aristophanes: The Clouds - along with Xenophon and Plato, this play is the only other surviving contemporary account of Socrates.

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


Diogenes Laertius: Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers

Although largely a secondary compilation based on previous authors, the loss of earliers sources has made Diogenes Laertius' Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers an indispensible source for the history of Greek philosophy. Relatively little is known about its author, thought to have lived in the early third century AD. A man of no great philsophical insight, Diogenes had a zeal for system that led him to classify most philosophers into Ionian or Italian traditions. The most valuable material preserved by him includes three letters of Epicurus.

Free online and downloadable texts

Loebulus. L184 - Diogenes Laertius -- Lives of Eminent Philosophers I: Books 1-5. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English.

Loebulus. L185 - Diogenes Laertius -- Lives of Eminent Philosophers II: Books 6-10. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English.

mikrosapoplous.gr Διογένης Λαέρτιος: Βίοι και γνώμαι των εν φιλοσοφία ευδοκιμησάντων, ed. H S Long, Oxford 1964. Greek text.

Library of Congress: Libro de la vita de philosophi et delle loro elegantissime sentencie. Abbreviated Italian version of the Latin translation by Ambrosius Traversarius. Venice, Joannes Rubeus Vercellensis, 20 May 1489.

Perseus: Greek text - English translation (R.D. Hicks, 1925). Online texts.

Wikisource: Lives of the Eminent Philosophers  (1925), by Diogenes Laërtius, translated by Robert Drew Hicks, A Loeb Classical Library edition; volume 1 published 1925; volume 2 published 1925. online text.

Other Resources

Librivox: The Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers, Book VI - public domain audiobook.

Ontology.co: Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers by Diogenes Laërtius. A Bibliography.

Tertullian.org: Diogenes Laertius: the Manuscripts of "The Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosphers".

Wikipedia: Diogenes Laertius - Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers.

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

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


The Historia Augusta

The Historia Augusta or Augustan History is an anonymous collection of biographies of Roman Emperors of the period 117-284 CE, probably written in the late fourth or early fifth century. It is a highly controversial work from which historians have sought to glean insights despite suspicions that much of it is fictitious.

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Free Online texts

Intratext: Historia Augusta - latin text, HTML format.

LacusCurtius: Historia Augusta. HTML English and Latin text based on public domain Loeb editions edited by Susan H. Ballou and Hermann Peter, translated by David Magie. 

Loebulus. L139 - Scriptores Historiae Augustae I: Hadrian. Aelius. Antoninus Pius. Marcus Aurelius. L. Verus. Avidius Cassius. Commodus. Pertinax. Didius Julianus. Septimius Severus. Pescennius Niger. Clodius Albinus. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Latin and English.

Loebulus. L140 - Scriptores Historiae Augustae II: Caracalla. Geta. Opellius Macrinus. Diadumenianus. Elagabalus. Severus Alexander. The Two Maximini. The Three Gordians. Maximus and Balbinus. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Latin and English.

Loebulus. L263 - Scriptores Historiae Augustae III: The Two Valerians. The Two Gallieni. The Thirty Pretenders. The Deified Claudius. The Deified Aurelian. Tacitus. Probus. Firmus, Saturninus, Proculus and Bonosus. Carus, Carinus and Numerian. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Latin and English.

The Latin Library: Scriptores Historiae Augustae - Latin text, HTML format.

Wikisource: Historia Augusta - partial Latin text, HTML format.

Other resources

Livy.org: Introduction to the Historia Augusta

Newcastle University: David Rohrbacher, The Sources of the Historia Augusta re-examinedHistos 7 (2013) 146-80.

Wikipedia: Augustan History

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

Suetonius: Lives of the Twelve Caesars - an example of the kind of work on which the Historia Augusta is purportedly modelled.

Latin Resources: Online materials for learning Latin.


Xenophon: Cyropaedia

The Cyropaedia (Greek: Κύρου παιδεία 'The Education of Cyrus') is a work by Xenophon, which presents an account of the education of the Persian king Cyrus the Great, in order to address the question of why people obey some rulers and not others.

Although Xenophon had some experience of the Persian Empire as a result of the expedition chronicled in the Anabasis, it is not clear how far his picture of Cyrus is intended as historical. As an idealized vision of the proper education of a ruler, the work had a formative influence on the literary genre known as 'mirrors for princes'.

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Free online texts

Cyrus' Paradise: The World's first online commentary on an ancient text. Greek text with crowdsourced English commentary.

Loebulus. L051 - Xenophon -- Cyropaedia I: Books 1-4. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English. Also at the Internet Archive.

Loebulus. L052 - Xenophon -- Cyropaedia II: Books 5-8. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English. Also at the Internet Archive.

Gutenberg: Cyropaedia - The Education of Cyrus, translated by H.G. Dakyns. Multiple formats.

Perseus: Greek text (Oxford, 1910). English text, translated by Walter Miller (1914). HTML and XML formats.

Wikisource: Κύρου Παιδεία, Greek text. Multiple formats.

Continue reading "Xenophon: Cyropaedia" »


Plutarch: Parallel Lives

The Parallel Lives (Greek: Βίοι Παράλληλοι) is a collection of biographies by Plutarch, most of which are in pairs, enabling the life of a prominent Roman to be compared with that of a prominent Greek. The lives are a paradigmatic case of a concern with character which is often a central preoccupation of ancient historians.

The lives included are: 

Theseus and Romulus;  Lycurgus and Numa Pompilius; Solon and Poplicola; Themistocles and and Camillus; Pericles and Fabius; Alcibiades and Coriolanus; Timoleon and Aemilius Paulus; Pelopidas and Marcellus; Aristides and Cato the Elder; Philopoemen and Flamininus; Pyrrhus and Gaius Marius; Lysander and Sulla;  Cimon and Lucullus; Nicias and Crassus; Eumenes and Sertorius; Agesilaus and Pompey; Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar; Phocion and Cato the Younger; Agis / Cleomenes and Tiberius Gracchus / Gaius Gracchus; Demosthenes and Cicero; Demetrius and Antony; Dion and Brutus. There are also four unpaired lives, those of Aratus of Sicyon, Artaxerxes, Galba and Otho.

Plutarch's Lives at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

Online Texts

Gutenberg: Plutarch's Lives - Vol 1, Vol 2, Vol 3, Vol 4. Multiple formats.

LacusCurtius: Plutarch's Lives, HTML format.

Loebulus. L046 - Plutarch -- Lives I: Theseus and Romulus. Lycurgus and Numa. Solon and Publicola. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English.
Loebulus. L047 - Plutarch -- Lives II: Themistocles and Camillus. Aristides and Cato Major. Cimon and Lucullus. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English.
Loebulus. L065 - Plutarch -- Lives III: Pericles and Fabius Maximus. Nicias and Crassus. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English.
Loebulus. L080 - Plutarch -- Lives IV: Alcibiades and Coriolanus. Lysander and Sulla. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English.
Loebulus. L087 - Plutarch -- Lives V: Agesilaus and Pompey. Pelopidas and Marcellus. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English.
Loebulus. L098 - Plutarch -- Lives VI: Dion and Brutus. Timoleon and Aemilius Paulus. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English.
Loebulus. L099 - Plutarch -- Lives VII: Demosthenes and Cicero. Alexander and Caesar. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English.
Loebulus. L100 - Plutarch -- Lives VIII: Sertorius and Eumenes. Phocion and Cato the Younger. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English.
Loebulus. L101 - Plutarch -- Lives IX: Demetrius and Antony. Pyrrhus and Gaius Marius. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English.
Loebulus. L102 - Plutarch -- Lives X: Agis and Cleomenes. Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus. Philopoemen and Flamininus. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English.
Loebulus. L103 - Plutarch -- Lives XI: Aratus. Artaxerxes. Galba. Otho. General Index. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English

Wikisource: Βίοι Παράλληλοι, Greek text. The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans, English text, translated by John Dryden, 1683.

Other Resources

Librivox: Parallel Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans - public domain audiobook.

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

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

Bloom's Western Canon: The Parallel Lives is listed.


Suetonius: Lives of the Grammarians

The Lives Of The Grammarians (Latin: De Illustribus Grammaticis) by Suetonius is a series of 20 short lives, forming part of a larger biographical collection on literary figures, De Viris Illustribus.

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Online Texts

Gutenberg: The Lives of the Twelve Caesars, Volume 13: Grammarians and Rhetoricians. Multiple formats.

Loebulus. L038 - Suetonius -- Suetonius II: Claudius. Nero. Galba, Otho, and Vitellius. Vespasian. Titus, Domitian. Lives of Illustrious Men: Grammarians and Rhetoricians. Poets (Terence. Virgil. Horace. Tibullus. Persius. Lucan). Lives of Pliny the Elder and Passienus Crispus. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Latin and English.

The Latin Library: De Grammaticis. Latin text, HTML format.

Wikisource: Lives of Eminent Grammarians, translated by Alexander Thomson & T. Forester. Online, downloadable as PDF/MOBI/EPUB.

Other Resources

Librivox: Lives of the Eminent Grammarians - part 1 - part 2 - public domain audiobook.

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

Latin Resources: Online materials for learning Latin.


Suetonius: The Lives of the Twelve Caesars

The Murder of Caesar, by Karl Theodor von Piloty (1865).The Lives of the Twelve Caesars by Suetonius is often seen primarily as a source of gossipy anecdotes, something its author was well-placed to provide thanks to his position at the imperial court and access to its archives. Yet as Mary Beard argues, his work read as a whole, from the rise of Julius Caesar to the reign of Domitian, has important things to say about the transmission of political power.

Free online texts

Gutenburg: The Lives of the Twelve Caesars, translated by Alexander Thomson. Multiple Formats.

Loebulus. L031 - Suetonius -- Suetonius I: Julius. Augustus. Tiberius. Gaius. Caligula. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Latin and English.

Loebulus. L038 - Suetonius -- Suetonius II: Claudius. Nero. Galba, Otho, and Vitellius. Vespasian. Titus, Domitian. Lives of Illustrious Men: Grammarians and Rhetoricians. Poets (Terence. Virgil. Horace. Tibullus. Persius. Lucan). Lives of Pliny the Elder and Passienus Crispus. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Latin and English.

Perseus: The Lives of the Twelve Caesars - Latin text. English translation (Reed, 1889). Online html only.

Poetry in Translation: The Twelve Caesars, translated by A.S. Kline (2010). multiple formats.

Wikisource: The Lives of the Twelve Caesars.

Other Resources

A Don's Life: Taking Suetonius Seriously, a short blogpost by classicist Mary Beard.

Librivox: The Lives of the Twelve Caesars - public domain audiobook.

Livius.org: Suetonius.

Wikipedia: Suetonius - The Twelve Caesars.


Tacitus: Agricola

Txu-pcl-maps-oclc-70574898-britannia-1851The Agricola (Latin: De vita et moribus Iulii Agricolae) by Tacitus is a short biography of his father-in-law, the general Gnaeus Julius Agricola. This provides the occasion for an account of Britain and events there during Agricola's governorship. As in the Germania, a much more detailed ethnographic work, Tacitus' portrait of the barbarians is partly intended to throw into relief the decadence of Rome. The clearest example of this is the speech put into the mouth of the Caledonian chieftain, Calgacus, who says of the Romans that 'they make a desert and they call it peace.'

In the Agricola this contrast is given added point by Tacitus' attempt to show that provincial service could be a way to lead an honourable life in the face of the tyranny of Domitian portrayed in the concluding chapters of the work.

The Agricola at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

Online Texts

Internet Archive: The Agricola and Germania, translated by R.B. Townshend. Multiple formats.

Loebulus. L035 - Tacitus -- Dialogus, Agricola, Germania. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Latin and English.

Poetry in Translation: The Agricola and Germania, translated by A.S. Kline (2015). Multiple formats.

Wikisource: The Life and Death of Julius Agricola, translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb, 1876. Online, downloadable as PDF/MOBI/EPUB.

The Great conversation: further reading at Tom's Learning Notes.

Tacitus: The Annals.

Tacitus: The Histories.

Tacitus: The Germania.

 Latin Resources: Online materials for learning Latin.


Josephus: The Life of Flavius Josephus

The Life of Flavius Josephus (Greek: Ἰωσήπου βίος Iosepou bios) is an autobiography by the historian Josephus, defending his role during the First Jewish-Roman War.

The Life of Flavius Josephus at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

Free Online Texts

Internet Archive: The Complete Works of Flavius Josephus, translated by William Whiston (1901). Multiple formats.

Loebulus. L186 - Josephus -- Josephus I: The Life. Against Apion. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English.

PACE: Life of Josephus. Greek and English translation by William Whiston. HTML format.

Sacred Texts: The Works of Flavius Josephus, translated by William Whiston. HTML format.

Wikisource: The Life of Flavius Josephus: Translated by William Whiston. Online, downloadable as PDF/MOBI/EPUB.

Other Resources

Librivox: Minor Works of Josephus - public domain audiobook.

Wikipedia: The Life of Flavius Josephus.

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

Josephus: The Antiquities of the Jews, The Jewish War, Against Apion.

Tacitus: The Histories - Book V deals with the Jews and the Roman military campaign against them.

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