Essays

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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Seneca: Moral Letters to Lucilius

The Death of Seneca, by Manuel Domínguez Sánchez. Via Wikisource.

The Moral Letters to Lucilius (Latin: Ad Lucilium epistulae morales) were composed by the Roman philosopher Lucius Annaeus Seneca ('The Younger'), during his retirement from the Imperial court in 62-65 AD, a period which ended with his suicide on the orders of the emperor Nero.

The 120 letters, collected in 20 books , were addressed to Seneca's friend Lucilius Junior, then the procurator of Sicily. They amount to informal moral essays, covering subjects such as the nature of the good, happiness and the right attitude to death. It is among the most popular of Seneca's works and as such an important source on Roman stoicism. It's adoption by early Christians contributed to its influence in the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

Moral Letters to Lucilius at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

Free online texts

Internet Archive: Ad Lucilium Epistulae Morales. Vol. I | Vol. IIVol. III. Public domain Loeb edition in Latin and English. PDF and other formats.

Latin Library: Epistulae Morales Ad Lucilium -  HTML format. 

Loebulus. L075 - Seneca -- Ad Lucilium Epistulae Morales I: Letters 1-65. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Latin and English.

Loebulus. L076 - Seneca -- Ad Lucilium Epistulae Morales II: Letters 66-92. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Latin and English.

Perseus: Ad Lucilium Epistulae Morales. HTML and XML formats.

Wikisource: Latin - Epistulae Morales ad Lucilium. English - Moral Letters to Lucilius. HTML and other formats.

Other Resources

BBC In Our Time: Seneca the Younger - Radio discussion with Melvyn Bragg, Mary Beard, Catherine Edwards and Alessandro Schiesaro.

History of Philosophy without any gaps: Anger Management - Seneca, podcast by Peter Adamson.

How to be a Stoic: Seneca to Lucilius - Philosophy as a Guide to Life.

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Lucius Annaeus Seneca.

Librivox: Moral Letters - public domain audiobook.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Seneca.

Stoics.com: Why Seneca's Moral Essays and Moral Epistles?

Wikipedia: Epistulae Morales ad Lucilium.

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

Cicero: On Duties.

Marcus Aurelius: The Meditations.

Montaigne: Essays.

Latin Resources: Online materials for learning Latin.


Plutarch: Moralia

The Moralia (Greek: Ἠθικά Ethika) by Plutarch of Chaeronea is a collection of writings by Plutarch, loosely bound by the subject of morals in the sense of mores or customs, and encompassing all of Plutarch's extant works apart from the Parallel Lives. It was a major influence on the development of the essay as a literary form, particularly through its influence on renaissance writers such as Montaigne.

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

Free online texts

Gutenberg: Complete Works of Plutarch — Volume 3: Essays and Miscellanies. English text, multiple formats.

Gutenberg: Plutarch's Morals, translated by E.R. Shilleto. English texts, multiple formats.

Lacus Curtius: Plutarch - includes English translations of about half of the Moralia in HTML format.

Online Library of Liberty: Plutarch’s Morals, 5 vols, translated by William W. Goodwin, with an introduction by Ralph Waldo Emerson (1878). Multiple formats.

University of Adelaide: Complete Works of Plutarch — Volume 3: Essays and Miscellanies. English text, multiple formats.

Wikisource: Plutarch's Moralia: Twenty Essays, selections translated by Philemon Holland (1603), 1911 edition. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Ηθικά, Greek text, multiple formats.

Loeb Editions

Internet Archive. Moralia, in fifteen volumes, with an English translation by Frank Cole Babbitt. Vol I, Vol II, Vol IIIVol IV, Vol V, Vol VI, Vol VII, Vol VIII, Vol IX, Vol X, Vol XI, Vol XII, Vol XIII(a), Vol XIII(b), Vol XIV, Vol XVIndex. Multiple formats.

Loebulus. L222 - Plutarch -- Moralia II: How to Profit by One's Enemies. On Having Many Friends. Chance. Virtue and Vice. Letter of Condolence to Apollonius. Advice About Keeping Well. Advice to Bride and Groom. The Dinner of the Seven Wise Men. Superstition. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English. Also at the Internet Archive.
Loebulus. L245 - Plutarch -- Moralia III: Sayings of Kings and Commanders. Sayings of Romans. Sayings of Spartans. The Ancient Customs of the Spartans. Sayings of Spartan Women. Bravery of Women. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English. Also at the Internet Archive.
Loebulus. L305 - Plutarch -- Moralia IV: Roman Questions. Greek Questions. Greek and Roman Parallel Stories. On the Fortune of the Romans. On the Fortune or the Virtue of Alexander. Were the Athenians More Famous in War or in Wisdom? PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English. Also at the Internet Archive.
Loebulus. L306 - Plutarch -- Moralia V: Isis and Osiris. The E at Delphi. The Oracles at Delphi No Longer Given in Verse. The Obsolescence of Oracles. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English. Also at the Internet Archive.
Loebulus. L337 - Plutarch -- Moralia VI: Can Virtue Be Taught? On Moral Virtue. On the Control of Anger. On Tranquility of Mind. On Brotherly Love. On Affection for Offspring. Whether Vice Be Sufficient to Cause Unhappiness…. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English. Also at the Internet Archive.
Loebulus. L321 - Plutarch -- Moralia X: Love Stories. That a Philosopher Ought to Converse Especially With Men in Power. To an Uneducated Ruler. Whether an Old Man Should Engage in Public Affairs. Precepts of Statecraft. On Monarchy, Democracy, and Oligarchy. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English. Also at the Internet Archive.
Loebulus. L406 - Plutarch -- Moralia XII: Concerning the Face Which Appears in the Orb of the Moon. On the Principle of Cold. Whether Fire or Water Is More Useful. Whether Land or Sea Animals Are Cleverer. Beasts Are Rational. On the Eating of Flesh. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English. Also at the Internet Archive.

 

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