Cosmology

Strabo: Geography

Map of the World according to Strabo. Via Wikimedia Commons.Strabo's Geographica or Geography (Greek: Γεωγραφικά) is the most important work on its subject to survive from the ancient world, giving a comprehensive account of those parts of Europe, Asia and Africa known to the Romans.

It's author, Strabo, came from a well-to-do Greek family in the city of Amasia, Pontus, and was born in around 64 BC.  His early education at Rome was the prelude to extensive travels in the Near East.  He adopted a Stoic philosophy which influenced a cosmopolitan admiration for the Romans. His lost Historical Sketches covered the periods before and after the work of Polybius, up to the time of Julius Caesar. The Geography may have been completed around around 7BC and revised in 18 AD.

Strabo's Geography  at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

Free online texts

Gutenberg: The Geography of Strabo. Vol I | Vol II | Vol III. English translation by Hailton and Falconer. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: L 049 - Strabo - Geography I. Greek and English text. Loeb edition, multiple formats.

LacusCurtius: Strabo's Geography. English translation by H.L. Jones. HTML format.

Loebulus: L049 - Strabo -- Geography I: Books 1-2L211 - Strabo -- Geography V: Books 10-12L223 - Strabo -- Geography VI: Books 13-14L241 - Strabo -- Geography VII: Books 15-16 | L267 - Strabo -- Geography VIII: Book 17 and General Index. Greek and English text. Loeb edition, PDF format.

Perseus: Greek text and translations by Hamilton & Falconer (Books I-XVII) and by Jones (Books VI-XII).

Wikisource: Greek text available. English text not yet online but open for contributions.

Other Resources

Ancient World Mapping Center: Strabo Map.

BBC In Our Time: Strabo's Geographica. Melvyn Bragg in radio conversation with Paul Cartledge, Maria Pretzler, and Benet Salway.

Cartographic-images.net: Strabo's World Map.

Strabo the Geographer - Site by Sarah Pothecary.

Wikipedia: Strabo - Geographica.

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

Herodotus: The Histories.

Polybius: The Histories.

Pliny the Elder: Natural History - a similarly encyclopaedic writer who seems to have been oddly unaware of Strabo's work.

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


Dante: The Divine Comedy

Domenico di Michelino, La Divina Commedia di Dante (Dante and the Divine Comedy). 1465 fresco, in the dome of the church of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence. Wikipedia.The Divine Comedy (Italian: Divina Commedia) is a poem by Dante Alighieri (1265-1321). In three canticles; Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso, it describes Dante's progress on a mystic journey, through hell and purgatory, escorted by the poet Virgil, and through Heaven guided by Beatrice, an idealised portrait of the historical Florentine woman who was the object of Dante's unrequited love.

The poem is generally considered one of the central works of western literature. It gave profound expression of the medieval worldview, in an educated vernacular which would pave the way for renaissance humanism. Itself densely allusive, the work has inspired poets, painters and artists of all kinds ever since.

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

Free online texts

Danteonline.it: Commedia. Italian text. HTML format.

Dartmouth College: DanteLab - a customisable digital reader.

Gutenberg: The Divine Comedy, translated by H.F. Cary. Multiple formats.

Gutenberg: The Divine Comedy, translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  Multiple formats.

Gutenberg: The Divine Comedy, translated by Charles Eliot Norton. Vol I. Hell | Vol. II Purgatory | Vol III Paradise. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri, translated by Henry F. Cary. Harvard Classics Edition. Multiple formats.

ItalianStudies.org: The Divine Comedy, translated by James Finn Cotter. HTML format.

Online Library of Liberty: The Divine Comedy, Italian text and English translation by Courtney Langdon. Multiple formats.

Poetry in Translation: The Divine Comedy, prose translation by A.S. Kline. Multiple formats.

Sacred Texts: The Divine Comedy -  Italian textEnglish translation by H.F. Cary (1888). TXT format.

University of Adelaide: The Divine Comedy - The Vision of Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise, translated by Henry Francis Cary; illustrated by Gustave Doré. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Divina Commedia - Italian text, multiple formats. Divine Comedy, translated by Longfellow. HTML and other formats.

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Pliny the Elder: Natural History

The Natural History (Latin: Naturalis Historia) by Pliny the Elder, was dedicated to the Emperor Titus in 77 CE, and published posthumously, following Pliny's death while observing the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 CE. It is an encyclopedic work, designed to illustrate a philosophical belief in a benign providence, and to assimilate Greek knowledge for the Roman World. Despite a reputation for credulity, the sheer breadth of Pliny's interests make the Natural History a work of lasting value.

Book I provides a summary of contents and list of Roman and foreign authorities cited. Book II focuses on cosmology and physics, while books III-VI cover the geography of the known world. Book VII deals with the human body, Books VIII-XI with animals, Books XII-XIX with botany. The medicinal properties of plants are covered in Books XX-XXVII and of animals in Books XXVIII-XXXII. Books XXXIII-XXXVII examine minerology, with the aesthetic properties of stones providing the occasion for an excursus on art.

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

Free online texts

Internet Archive:  The Natural History of PlinyVol I - Vol II - Vol III - Vol IV - Vol V - Vol VI. Translated by John Bostock and Henry T. Riley (1855-57). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Pliny's Natural History - Vol I - Vol II. Translated by Philemon Holland (1601, printed 1847-48). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: The Elder Pliny's Chapters on the History of Art, translated by K. Jex-Blake. Multiple formats.

LacusCurtius. Natural History. Latin text, HTML format.

Latin Library: Naturalis Historiae. Latin text, HTML format.

Loebulus. L330 - Pliny -- Natural History I: Books 1-2. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English. Also at the Internet Archive.

Loebulus. L352 - Pliny -- Natural History II: Books 3-7. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English. Also at the Internet Archive.

Loebulus. L353 - Pliny -- Natural History III: Books 8-11. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English. Also at the Internet Archive.

Loebulus. L370 - Pliny -- Natural History IV: Books 12-16. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English. Also at the Internet Archive.

Loebulus. L371 - Pliny -- Natural History V: Books 17-19. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English. Also at the Internet Archive.

Loebulus. L392 - Pliny -- Natural History VI: Books 20-23. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English. Also at the Internet Archive.

LoebulusL393 - Pliny -- Natural History VII: Books 24-27. Index of Plants. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English. Also at the Internet Archive.

Loebulus. L418 - Pliny -- Natural History VIII: Books 28-32. Index of Fishes. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English. Also at the Internet Archive.

Loebulus. L394 - Pliny -- Natural History IX: Books 33-35. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English. Also at the Internet Archive.

Perseus: Latin text, edited by K.F.T. Mayhoff (1906). English text, translated by John Bostock (1855).

University of Chicago: The Historie of the World, translated by Philemon Holland (1601). HTML format.

Other Resources

BBC In Our Time: Pliny's Natural History - Radio programme presented by Melvyn Bragg, with Serafina Cuomo, Aude Doody and Liba Taub.

Librivox: The Natural History -  public domain audiobook.

Livius: Pliny the Elder, Natural History.

Roger Pearse: The manuscripts of Pliny the Elder’s “Natural History.

Wikipedia: Natural History (Pliny).

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

Pliny's sources

Pliny is unusual among ancient writers in explicitly citing a copious range of sources. The extant authors mentioned in the summary of the work in Book I include:

Aeschylus - Anacreon - Aristotle - Callimachus - Cato the Elder - Cicero - Columella - Cornelius Nepos - Herodotus - Hesiod - Hippocrates - Homer - Horace- Livy - Menander - Ovid - Pindar - Plautus - Polybius - Pomponius Mela - Seneca - Sophocles - Theophrastus - Thucydides - Varro - Virgil - Vitruvius.

Pliny's contemporaries

Pliny the Younger: Letters.

Tacitus: The Germania - thought to be strongly influenced by Pliny's lost work on the German Wars.

Pliny's influence

Isidore of Seville: Etymologies - An encyclopedic work from late antiquity that relies heavily on Pliny. 


Aristotle: On The Heavens

On the Heavens (Greek: Περὶ οὐρανοῦ, Latin: De Caelo) is Aristotle's chief work on cosmology and astronomy. It remained a profound influence on later astronomical thinking until the early modern period.

On the Heavens at Amazon.com, .uk, .fr, .de, .ca.

Free online texts

Internet Archive: De Caelo, translated by J.L. Stocks (1922). Multiple formats.

Internet Classics Archive: On The Heavens, translated by J.L. Stocks (1922). HTML and TXT files.

Sacred-texts.com: On The Heavens, translated by J.L. Stocks (1922). HTML text.

University of Adelaide: On the Heavens, translated by J.L. Stocks. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Greek text. English text, translated by J.L. Stocks. Multiple formats.

Other Resources

History of Philosophy without any gaps: Let's Get Physical: Aristotle's Natural Philosophy - podcast by philosopher Peter Adamson.

History of Philosophy without any gaps: Richard Sorabji on Time and Eternity in Aristotle - podcast by philosopher Peter Adamson.

History of Philosophy without any gaps: God Only Knows: Aristotle on Mind and God - podcast by philosopher Peter Adamson.

Librivox: On the Heavens - public domain audiobook.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Aristotle's Natural Philosophy, by Istvan Bodnar.

Wikipedia: On the Heavens

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

Plato: Timaeus - a key dialogue on cosmology.

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