Ethnography

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.


Xenophon: The Spartan Constitution

Lycurgus of Sparta, by Merry-Joseph Blondel. Wikimedia CommonsThe Spartan Constitution or Constitution of the Lacedaemonians (Greek: Λακεδαιμονίων Πολιτεία, Latin: De republica Lacedaemoniorum) by Xenophon is the most comprehensive extant account of Spartan institutions. As an oligarchically-inclined exile from Athens, who had fought alongside Spartan generals in the Persian Expedition, and later against Athens at the battle of Coronea, Xenophon was a well-placed and highly sympathetic observer of Spartan customs.

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

Free online texts

Gutenberg: The Polity of the Athenians and the Lacedaemonians by Xenophon. Multiple formats.

Loebulus: L183 - Xenophon -- Scripta Minora: Hiero. Agesilaus. Constitution of the Lacedaemonians. Ways and Means. Cavalry Commander. Art of Horsemanship. On Hunting. Constitution of the Athenians. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English. Also available from the Internet Archive.

Perseus: Greek text (Oxford, 1920). English text translated by E. C. Marchant, G. W. Bowersock (1925).

Wikisource: Λακεδαιμονίων Πολιτεία - Greek text. Multiple formats.

Other Resources

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

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Xenophon.

Leo Strauss Center: Xenophon, Winter 1963 - audio of lectures on works including The Spartan Constitution.

Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes

Xenophon: Hellenica, Anabasis, Agesilaus.

Aristotle: The Politics, The Athenian Constitution

Plutarch: Parallel Lives - includes lives of a number of Spartan statesmen: Lycurgus, Lysander, Agesilaus, Agis and Cleomenes.

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


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'.

Xenophon's Cyropaedia at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

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" »


Tacitus: Germania

Txu-pcl-maps-oclc-70574898-germania-1851The Germania (Latin: De Origine et situ Germanorum),  is an extended account of the Germanic peoples encountered by the Romans on the northern frontiers of their empire. Completed by Tacitus in around AD 98,the work describes the land of Germany and the customs of the Germans as a whole, before discussing individual tribes in turn, dividing them into three main groups, the Ingaevones, the Herminones and the Istaevones.

Tacitus contrasted the simplicity and liberty of the Germans with the decadence of Rome, in an influential example of the rhetorical trope that would come to be known as the myth of the noble savage.

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

Online Texts

Bibliotheca Augustana: De Origine et Situ Germanorum - Latin text, HTML format.

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.

The Latin Library: De Origine et Situ Germanorum - Latin text, HTML format.

Medieval History Sourcebook: Germania, translated by Thomas Gordon. HTML format.

Perseus: De Origine et Situ Germanorum, edited by Henry Furneaux - Latin text, HTML and XML formats.

Perseus: Germany and its Tribes, translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb. HTML and XML formats.

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

Sacred-texts: Germany - Latin and English side by side. HTML format.

Wikisource: The Situation of the Germans, translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb, 1876. Online, downloadable as PDF/MOBI/EPUB.

Other resources

Classical Wisdom Weekly: Tacitus' Germania - The Mythology Behind German Nationalism, by Benjamin Welton.

Librivox: Tacitus' Germania - public domain audiobook.

Livius: Tacitus.

New York Times: The Idea of Germany - from Tacitus to Hitler, by Cullen Murphy.

Tertullian: Tacitus and his Manuscripts.

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

Caesar: The Gallic War - includes an account of the first Roman incursion into Germany.

Pliny the Elder: Natural History - includes some material on the Germans in Book IV. Pliny's lost writings on the German Wars were probably a major influence on his contemporary, Tacitus.

Tacitus: The Annals - From the Death of Augustus to Nero.

Tacitus: The Histories - the Year of the Four Emperors and the rise of the Flavian Dynasty.

Tacitus: The Agricola.

 Latin Resources: Online materials for learning Latin.


Josephus: Against Apion

Against Apion (Greek: Φλαΐου Ἰωσήπου περὶ ἀρχαιότητος Ἰουδαίων λόγος α and Φλαΐου Ἰωσήπου περὶ ἀρχαιότητος ἀντιρρητικὸς λόγος β; Latin Contra Apionem or In Apionem) is the final work of the Jewish historian Josephus. Originally titled 'Concerning the Antiquity of the Jews', it is a powerful defence of Jewish culture against anti-Semitic critics such as the Alexandrian Greek scholar Apion. It's current title was bestowed by Jerome, who called Josephus 'the Jewish Livy'.

Against Apion at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

Free Online Texts

Gutenberg: Against Apion. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: The Complete Works of Flavius Josephus, translated by William Whiston (1737). Multiple formats.

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

PACE: Against Apion. Greek and English translation by William Whiston. HTML format.

Perseus: Greek text (Weidmann, 1892). English text, translated by William Whiston (1895).

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

Wikisource: Against Apion: Translated by William Whiston. Online, downloadable via Bookcreator.

Other resources

Librivox: Minor Works of Josephus - public domain audiobook.

Wikipedia: Against Apion.

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

Josephus: The Antiquities of the Jews, The Jewish War, The Life of Flavius Josephus.

Tacitus: The Histories - includes hostile account of the Jewish Revolt that provides significant evidence of the attitude of the contemporary Roman ruling class.

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