Late Antiquity

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.

The History of the Franks at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

Free online texts

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.


Porphyry: The Isagoge

The Isagoge or Introduction by Porphyry is a commentary on Aristotle's Categories, which itself became a key logical text of the Middle Ages, being translated into Arabic via Syriac, and into Latin by Boethius. Along with the Categories and On Interpretation, it formed part of the Ars Vetus or Old Logic, the works available in the Medieval Latin West prior to the translation of Aristotle's other logical works.

The medieval concept of the Porphyrian Tree was inspired by Porphyry's presentation of Aristotle's system of  classification. Porphyry bracketed the issue of whether Aristotelian genera and species were merely concepts used to describe particular things or had independent reality, but his formulation of the question was, via Boethius, influential for the medieval debate about universals. 

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Free online texts

Forum Romanum: Isagoge, translatio Boethii. Latin text, HTML format.

Internet Archive: Porphyrii Isagoge et in Aristotelis Categorias commentarium, edited by Adolfus Busse (1887). Greek text, multiple formats.

The Logic Museum: Isagoge. Greek/Latin/English parallel text, HTML format.

Prometheus Trust: The Introduction of Porphyry to Aristotle's Categories, translated by Thomas Taylor. HTML format.

Tertullian.org: Introduction (or Isagoge) to the logical Categories of Aristotle, translated by Octavius Freire Owen (1853). HTML format. (see also the preface).

Universitatea Babeş-Bolya: Isagoge. Greek text, PDF format. Archived at the Internet Archive.

Universitatea Babeş-Bolya: Isagoge, translatio Boethii. Latin text, HTML format. Archived at the Internet Archive.

Other Resources

History of Philosophy without any gaps: King of Animals: Porphyry - podcast by philosopher Peter Adamson.

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Neoplatonism.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Porphyry.

The Logic Museum: Isagoge.

Wikipedia: Porphyry (Philosopher) - Isagoge -Porphyryean Tree.

Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes

The Enneads, Porphyry's account of the teachings of Plotinus.

Aristotle's Categories and other works of the Organon.


Jordanes: Getica

The Getica otherwise known as the The Origin and Deeds of the Goths (Latin: De Origine Actibusque Getarum) is a mid-sixth century Latin work by Jordanes, apparently intended as a summary of a lost work on the Goths by Cassiodorus.

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

Free online texts

Gutenberg: The Origin and Deeds of the Goths, trans. Charles C. Mierow. multiple formats.

Internet Archive: The Gothic History of Jordanes, translated by Charles Mierow (1915). Multiple formats.

The Latin Library: Iordanis De Origine Actibusque Getarum. Latin text, HTML format.

Northvegr: The Origin and Deeds of the Goths, trans. Charles C. Mierow. HTML format.

University of Calgary: The Origin and Deeds of the Goths, trans. Charles C. Mierow. HTML format.

Wikisource: The Origin and Deeds of the Goths, trans. Charles C. Mierow. HTML format.

Other Resources

Georgetown University: The Aims of Jordanes, by James J. O'Donnell, Historia, 31(1982) 223-240.

Wikipedia: Getica.

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

Tacitus: Germania - The first major account of the Germanic peoples.

Orosius: Seven Books of History Against the Pagans - used as a source by Jordanes.

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


Isidore of Seville: Etymologies

The Etymologies (Latin: Etymologiae) or Origines is an encyclopedia compiled by St Isidore of Seville in the early seventh century. It was a major source for the transmission of classical learning to the Middle Ages, partly because of its relatively simple Latin. Modern students of Latin may find it worth dipping into for the same reason.

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

Free online texts

Internet Archive: Isidori Hispalensis episcopi Etymologiarum sive Originvm libri XX, Volume 1. Latin text, multiple formats.

Intratext: Etymologiarum sive originum libri XX, edited by W. M. Lindsay (Oxford, 1911). Latin text, HTML format.

LacusCurtius: The Etymologies (or Origins) - Latin text, html format.

The Latin Library: Etymologiarum sive Originum Libri XX - Latin text, html format.

Wikisource: Etymologiarum libri XX - Latin text.

Other Resources

Bestiary.ca: An Encyclopedist of the Dark Ages - Isidore of Seville, by Ernest Brehaut, Studies in History, Economics and Public Law, Columbia University, 1912. PDF format.

British Library: Medieval Manuscripts Blog - Isidore of Seville's Etymologies: Who's Your Daddy?

Wikipedia: Etymologiae.

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

Sources

Pliny: Natural History.

Orosius: Seven Books of History Against the Pagans.

Latin Resources: Online materials for learning Latin.


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.

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

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.


Augustine: The City of God

The City of God Against the Pagans (Latin: De Civitate Dei contra Paganos) is a major philosophical work written by the Latin Christian St Augustine of Hippo in the early 5th Century AD.

Written as a refutation of those who blamed Christianity for the sack of Rome in 410 AD, the work cast history as a cosmic struggle between the Earthly City and the City of God, with the latter destined to be victorious. It had profound effect on the worldview of the Latin West in the Middle Ages.

The City of God at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

Free online texts

Bibliotheca Augustana: de Civitate Dei. Latin text, HTML format.

Christian Classics Ethereal Library: St. Augustine's City of God and Christian Doctrine, translated by Philip Schaff. Multiple formats.

Gutenberg: The City of God, Volume I, Volume II. Multiple formats. 

Internet Archive: City of God Complete Vols 1 and 2. Translated by Dods (1871). Multiple formats.

Latin Library: Augustine of Hippo, Latin texts.

Wikisource: Latin text. English translation by Marcus Dods. Multiple formats.

Continue reading "Augustine: The City of God" »


Boethius: The Consolation of Philosophy

The Consolation of Philosophy (Latin: Consolatio Philosophiae) is the last work of the Latin philosopher Boethius, written while he was awaiting execution on the orders of his former patron, the Ostrogothic king Theodoric the Great. It is often considered one of the last major works of classical literature and attained huge influence in the Middle Ages.

The work takes the form of a dialogue between Boethius and Lady Philosophy, touching on a range of philosophical issues, such as free will and predestination and the nature of justice. Boethius' Christianity is not made explicit, but the work has often been seen as a synthesis of Christianity and Platonism.

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Free online texts

Bibliothèque nationale de France: De la consolation de la philosophie, translated by Jean de Meun. Middle French. PDF & JPG formats.

Gutenberg: The Consolation of Philosophy. Multiple formats. 

Loebulus. L074 - Boethius -- Theological Tractates and The Consolation of Philosophy. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Latin and English.

Internet Archive: Chaucer's Translation of Boethius's "De Consolatione Philosophiæ" (Early English Texts Society, 1868). Middle English text. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: King Alfred's Anglo-Saxon Version of Boethius De Consolatione Philosophiae, with a modern English translation by Samuel Fox (London, 1864). Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Latin text. English translations by Henry Rosher James (1897) and Walter John Sedgefield (1900). Multiple formats.

Other Resources

BBC Radio 4 In Our Time: The Consolations of Philosophy. Melvyn Bragg with AC Grayling, Melissa Lane, and Roger Scruton.

Georgetown University: Boethius - page by James J. O'Donnell.

History of Philosophy without any gaps: Fate, Hope and Clarity: Boethius - podcast by philosopher Peter Adamson.

History of Philosophy without any gaps: John Marenbon on Boethius - podcast by philosopher Peter Adamson.

Librivox: The Consolation of Philosophy.

Medieval Logic and Philosophy: The Guilt of Boethius, by Nathan Basik.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius, by Jon Marenbon.

University of Cambridge: First performance in 1,000 years: ‘lost’ songs from the Middle Ages are brought back to life. Boethius set to music.

Wikipedia: The Consolation of Philosophy.

Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius.

The Consolation of Philosophy at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

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

Plato: Phaedo.


Orosius: Seven Books of History Against the Pagans

Seven Books of History Against the Pagans (Latin: Historiarum Adversum Paganos Libri VII) is a work of universal history written in the early fifth century by Paulus Orosius, a Galician Catholic priest and student of St Augustine. The History Against the Pagans shares a common aim with Augustine's City of God, in seeking to vindicate Christianity as a positive development in human history, at a time when pagans were blaming the new religion for the sack of Rome by Alaric.

The work enjoyed immense popularity in the Middle Ages, being translated into Old English, reputedly by King Alfred, and into Arabic in Andalusia.

Orosius at Amazon.com, .uk, .fr, .de, .ca.
Free online texts

Attalus.org: Historiarum Adversum Paganos Libri VII. Latin HTML text.

Documenta Catholica Omnia: Historiarum Libri Septem. Latin PDF text.

Google Sites/Demontortoise2000: A History Against the Pagans. English HTML text.

Internet Archive: King Alfred's Orosius (Early English Texts Society, 1883). Latin and Old English, multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Historiarum Adversum Paganos Libri VII (1574). Latin text, multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Historiarum Adversum Paganos Libri VII (Syvert Haverkamp, 1857). Latin text, multiple formats.

Internet Archive:  Historiarum Adversum Paganos Libri VII (Teubner edition, 1889). Latin text, multiple formats.

Latin Library: Historiarum Adversum Paganos Libri VII. Latin HTML text.

Unversity of Oxford Text Archive: Alfred's Orosius. Old English, ZIP text file.

Other Resources

Academia.edu: The Orosius in King Alfred’s Court: A Ninth-Century Historical Renaissance, by David Carlton.

Ancient History Encyclopedia: Orosius, by Joshua J. Mark.

The Baheyeldin Dynasty: Biography - Paul Orosius/Orosius as a Source for Ibn Khaldun.

Catholic Encyclopedia: Paulus Orosius.

Wikipedia: Orosius.

Orosius at Amazon.com, .uk, .fr, .de, .ca.

Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes

Augustine's City of God - The two texts are closely related as defences of Christianity in the wake of the sack of Rome.

Orosius used a range of sources including: Livy, Caesar's Gallic War, Tacitus, Suetonius, Florus, Eutropius, Justin, Jerome's translation of Eusebius' Chronicle and Rufinus' translation of Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History.