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November 2017

Aquinas: Summa Theologica

St Thomas Aquinas by Carlo Crivelli (1476). Wikimedia CommonsThe Summa Theologica or Summa Theologiae by Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) is one of the best known philosophical works of the Middle Ages. Intended as a comprehensive guide to theology for beginning students, the first part of the work deals with God, nature and man, the second part with law and morality, while the third, unfinished part deals with Christ and the sacraments, seen as the route of humanity's return to God, thus giving the whole a cyclical structure.

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Free online texts

Christian Classics Ethereal Library: Summa Theologica, translated by Fathers of the English Dominican Province (1947). Multiple formats.

Corpus Thomisticum: Summa Theologiae - Latin text. HTML format.

Google Play: STh lt - App containing the text of the Summa from the Corpus Thomisticum Project.

Gutenberg: Summa Theologica - Part I-I | Part I-II | Part II-II | Part III. English translation, multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Summa Theologica, Latin text (1894). Multiple formats.

Intratext: Summa Theologica, English translation. HTML format.

New Advent: The Summa Theologiæ of St. Thomas Aquinas, translated by Fathers of the English Dominican Province (1920). HTML format.

Sacred Texts: Summa Theologica, translated by the Fathers of the English Dominican Province (1947). HTML format. Summa Theologica, English translation with onsite Google search. HTML and PDF formats.

University of Notre Dame: Summa Theologica, ongoing translation by Alfred J. Freddoso. PDF format.

Wikisource: Latin text and English translation, by the Fathers of the English Dominican Province. HTML and other formats.

Other Resources

BBC Radio 4 In Our Time: St Thomas Aquinas. Melvyn Bragg with Martin Palmer, John Haldane and Annabel Brett.

History Of Philosophy Without Any Gaps: 243 The Ox Heard Round the World - Thomas Aquinas | 244 Everybody Needs Some Body: Aquinas on Soul and Knowledge | 248 - Scott MacDonald on Aquinas, podcast by Peter Adamson.

Internet Encyclopedia  of Philosophy: Thomas Aquinas.

Librivox: Summa Theologica, public domain audiobook.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Saint Thomas Aquinas.

Wikipedia: Summa Theologica.

Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes


Aristotle, referred to by Aquinas as 'The Philosopher': Metaphysics, Ethics.


St Paul 'the Apostle'

Dionysius the Areopagite

Augustine 'the Theologian'


Ulpian 'the Jurist'



Averroes 'the Commentator'




Hugo of St Victor

Peter the Lombard: The Sentences.

Dante: The Divine Comedy - has been described as 'the Summa in verse'.

Latin Resources: Online materials for learning Latin.

Sophocles: Oedipus at Colonus

Oedipus at Colonus, Jean-Antoine-Théodore Giroust, 1788, Dallas Museum of ArtOedipus at Colonus (Greek: Οἰδίπους ἐπὶ Κολωνῷ, Oidipous epi Kolōnō, Latin: Oedipus Coloneus) is a tragedy by Sophocles, written shortly before his death in 406/405 BCE. It was produced at Athens by his grandson Sophocles the Younger in 401 BC.

It is thus the latest of the three 'Theban plays', in which Sophocles deals with the legends surrounding Oedipus and his family. Although the plays do not constitute a trilogy, it is tempting to see the portrayal of Oedipus' search for a place to die in peace, as the final reflection of the aging Sophocles on his earlier masterpiece Oedipus Rex.

The events at Colonus, a deme on the outskirts of Athens, are set some years after the earlier play. The protection afforded King Theseus allows Sophocles to portray Athens as a bastion of justice, where the exiled Oedipus is able to find some dignity. We nevertheless see a glimpse of old passions in his curse against his sons, setting up the events which had previously been portrayed by Aeschylus in the Seven Against Thebes, and by Sophocles himself in the Antigone.

Oedipus at Colonus at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

Free online texts Oedipus at Colonus, translated by Gilbert Murray. Multiple formats.

Gutenberg: Plays of Sophocles: Oedipus the King; Oedipus at Colonus; Antigone; translated by Francis Storr.

Internet Archive: Oedipus at Colonus, Greek text edited by August Meineke (1863). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Sophocles - Oedipus Tyrannus, Oedipus at Colonus, Antigone, translated by John Swinnerton Phillimore (1902). Multiple formats.

Internet Classics Archive: Oedipus at Colonus, translated by F. Storr. HTML and TXT formats.

Loebulus. L020 - Sophocles -- Sophocles I: Oedipus the King. Oedipus at Colonus. Antigone. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English.

Perseus: Greek text edited by Francis Storr (1912). English translation and notes by Richard Jebb (1889). HTML and XML formats.

Poetry in Translation: Oedipus at Colonus, translated by George Theodoridis. Multiple formats.

University of Adelaide (Internet Archive): The Oedipus Trilogy (Oedipus the King - Oedipus at Colonus - Antigone), translated by F. Storr. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Greek text and multiple English translations, including Plumptre (1878), Storr (1913) and Jebb (1917).

Performances and Reviews

British Theatre Guide: Oedipus at Colonus, Theatro Technis, reviewed by Howard Loxton.

The New Hampshire, Oedipus at Colonus, reviewed by Alex La Roza, 2 March 2017.

Nuvo: NoExit's Oedipus at Colonus at IMA, reviewed by Scott Shoger, May 2012.

 Other Resources Oedipus at Colonus - synopsis and analysis.

Classical Wisdom: Oedipus at Colonus - the tale of two ancient deaths.

Grand Valley State University: Notes and questions for Oedipus at Colonus.

History of Ancient Greece: Sophocles, podcast by Ryan Stitt.

Librivox: Oedipus at Colonus, public domain audiobooks based on translations by Jebb and Storr.

Literature and History: The Requiem at Athens - Sophocles' Three Theban Plays, Part 2 - Oedipus at Colonus. Podcast and transcript by Doug Metzger.

QUATR.US Study Guides: Oedipus at Colonus, by Karen Carr.

Stockerblog: Oedipus at Colonus, by Barry Stocker.

Text Etc: Translating Sophocles 2 & 3, by C. John Holcombe.

Theatre Database: Oedipus at Colonus, essay excerpted from The Tragic Drama of the Greeks, by A.E. Haigh.

Wikipedia: Sophocles - Oedipus at Colonus.

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

Sophocles: The other Theban plays - Oedipus the King and Antigone.

Aeschylus: Seven Against Thebes - tells the story of Oedipus' sons.

Aeschylus: Eumenides - shares a similar emphasis on Athens as the seat of justice.

Aristotle: The Poetics.

A.E. Haigh: The Tragic Drama of the Greeks (1896).

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

Bloom's Western Canon: Oedipus at Colonus is listed.

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 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. 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 (Internet Archive): 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.

Continue reading "Dante: The Divine Comedy" »


Beowulf fighting the Dragon. Marshall, Henrietta Elizabeth (1908) Stories of Beowulf, T.C. & E.C. Jack. Via Wikimedia Commons.Beowulf is an Old English epic poem. While the only surviving manuscript is thought to date to around 1000 CE, the narrative reflects conditions in the continental homeland of the Anglo-Saxons during the Sixth Century.

The hero, Beowulf, is a prince of the Geats, a people based in Modern Sweden. He travels to Heorot, court of King Hrothgar of the Danes to fight the monster Grendel, and Grendel's mother. Later, as King of the Geats, he is killed in a final mortal struggle with a dragon.

The relationship between the pagan and Christian elements in Beowulf has been the subject of much debate, often bound up with questions about the role of oral and literary composition in its creation. The poem continues to spark much scholarly and popular interest, sustained by feature films and high-profile translations such as those by J.R.R. Tolkien and Seamus Heaney.

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

Free online texts

British Library: Beowulf - digitised Old English manuscript.

British Library/University of Kentucky: Electronic Beowulf. Browse the original Old English manuscript and multiple transcriptions online.

Gutenberg: Beowulf, modern English translation by  Francis B. Gummere (1910).  Multiple formats.

Gutenberg: Beowulf, modern English translation by J. Lesslie Hall. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Beowulf with the Finnsburgh Fragment, Old English text, edited by A.J Wyatt, revised by R.W. Chambers (1914). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Beowulf, Old English text, edited by Walter John Sedgefield (1913). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Beowulf, translated by Chauncey Brewster Tinker (1912). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Beowulf, translated by Clarence Griffin Child (2000). Multiple formats.

McMaster University: Beowulf in Hypertext - Old English text and modern English translation by  Francis B. Gummere (1910).

Poetry Foundation: Beowulf - modern English translation by  Francis B. Gummere (1910). HTML format.

Sacred texts: Beowulf - Old English | Modern English translation by Francis B. Gummere (1910) | The Story of Beowulf, retelling by Strafford Riggs (1933).

University of Adelaide (Internet Archive): Beowulf, modern English translation by  Francis B. Gummere (1910). Multiple formats.

University of Cambridge Digital Library: Beowulf, verse translation by William Morris (1898).  Digital manuscript image.

Wikisource: Beowulf - Old English editions and modern English translations. HTML format.

Continue reading "Beowulf" »

Aristotle (spurious): on Colors

On Colors or On Colours (Greek Περὶ χρωμάτων, Latin De Coloribus) is a treatise traditionally attributed to Aristotle, but now sometimes thought to be by Theophrastus or Strato, who succeeded him in turn as heads of his philosophical school, the Lyceum. The book's argument, that all colors are derived from the mixture of black and white, was an important influence on subsequent color theories until the time of Newton.

On Colors at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

Free online and downloadable texts

LacusCurtius: On Colors - Greek text and English translation. HTML format.

Loebulus. L307 - Aristotle - Minor Works. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English. Also available at the Internet Archive.

Wikisource: Περί χρωμάτων - Greek text. HTML format.

Other Resources

New Republic: Does Color Even Exist? by Malcolm Harris 22 May 2015.

Open Book - Rare Books Department of Special Collections at the J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah -Book of the Week — De coloribus libellus, 5 December 2016.

Princeton University Press: Why the Sky is Blue: Discovering the Color of Life, by Götz Hoeppe. Chapter Two - Of Philosophers and the Color Blue.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Controversies Surrounding Aristotle's Theory of Perception, by Christopher Shields.

Wikipedia: On Colors

University of Massachussets - Amherst: Greek Color Theory and the Four Elements (2000). Chapter Two - Greek Color Theory by J.L. Benson.

Youtube: On Colours, by Aristotle. audiobook read by Geoffrey Edwards

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

Plato: Meno - mentions Empedocles' theory of color.

Plato: Timaeus

Aristotle: Meteorology - discusses the rainbow.

Aristotle: Sense and Sensibilia

Aristotle: De Anima


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

Harold Bloom's Western Canon

51bVSG8KaFL._SX329_BO1 204 203 200_The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages, by Harold Bloom is a 1994 book defending the concept of a central canon of Western writers against various modern critical approaches that Bloom characterised as a 'school of resentment'.

The book is perhaps best remembered for an appendix listing central canonical writers, an exercise which Bloom later repudiated. Non-Western works are included only in so far as Bloom recognised their influence on the Western tradition. This leads to the inclusion of a handful of major Indian and Middle Eastern works from the ancient and medieval periods, while Chinese literature is totally excluded.

Modern African and Asian literature is slightly better represented, but Bloom's list is best used with the understanding that it intended to be representative of western culture only and therefore excludes much of what is most valuable in world literature.

An adapted version of Bloom's list is presented below with links to relevant free resources. His recommended translations, mostly still in copyright, are omitted.

The Western Canon at Amazon

Continue reading "Harold Bloom's Western Canon" »

Lucian: True History

 Dreams, for "Lucian's True History", by Aubrey Vincent Beardsley.The True History (Greek: Ἀληθῆ διηγήματα, Alēthē diēgēmata; Latin: Vera Historia) by Lucian (c.115-c80 CE) is a parody of traveller's tales which features journeys to the moon, and to the Isles of the Blest. It influenced a later genre of fantasic voyages to which works by authors such as Rabelais and Swift could be ascribed, and has been called the first work of science fiction.

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

Free online texts

The Classics pages: Lucian - Greek science fiction. HTML format.

Gutenberg: Lucian's True History, translated by Francis Hickes. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Lucian's True History, translated by Francis Hickes (1902). Multiple formats. See also 1894 edition.

Loebulus: L014 - Lucian -- Lucian I: Phalaris. Hippias or The Bath. Dionysus. Heracles. Amber or The Swans. The Fly. Nigrinus. Demonax. The Hall. My Native Land. Octogenarians. A True Story. Slander. The Consonants at Law. The Carousal (Symposium) or The Lapiths. Public domain Loeb edition, Greek-English parallel text. PDF format.

The Lucian of Samosata Project: The True History, translated H.W. Fowler and F.G. Fowler. HTML format.

Perseus: Greek text. HTML and XML formats.

Sacred Texts: A True Story, translated by A.M. Harmon (1913). Parallel Greek/English HTML text.

University of Adelaide (Internet Archive): The True History, translated by H.W. Fowler and F.G. Fowler. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Greek text and English translation (currently via

Continue reading "Lucian: True History" »

Vyasa: Mahabharata

Vyasa grants Sanjaya divine vision. Wikimedia CommonsThe Mahābhārata (Sanskrit: महाभारतम्, Mahābhāratam) is a Sanskrit epic, one of  the longest in world literature, and along with the Ramayana, one of two considered sacred texts of Hinduism.

Traditionally ascribed to the sage Vyāsa, the poem deals with the Kurukshetra war between two sets of cousins, the Kauravas and the Pandavas. The historical kernel of these events is thought to date back to Vedic India around 1000 BCE, although the Mahabharata itself is thought to have been written down in the period from 400 BCE.

Embedded within the Mahabharata is the Bhagavad Gita, a philosophical dialogue between the Pandava hero Arjuna and his charioteer, the god Krishna, taking place before the onset of the climactic battle with the Kauravas.

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

Free online texts

Gutenberg: Mahabharata. K.M. Ganguli translation. Multiple formats.

Holy The Mahabharata - K.M Ganguli translation, PDF format.

Internet Archive: The Mahabharata, translated by K.M. Ganguli (1884-96). Multiple formats.

Online Library of Liberty: The Ramayana and the Mahabharata, verse translation by Romesh C. Dutt. Multiple formats.

Sacred Texts: The Mahabharata, Sanskrit text and English translation by K.M. Ganguli. HTML format.

Sacred Texts: The Ramayana and Mahabharata, abridged verse translation by Romesh C. Dutt (1899). HTML format.

Wikisource: Sanskrit text and partial text of the English translation, by K.M Ganguli. HTML and other formats.

Performances and Reviews

New York Times: Peter Brook transforms an Indian epic for the stage, by Margaret Croyden, 25 August 1985.

YouTube: Peter Brook's The Mahabharata. See also the IMDB page.

Other Resources

Ancient History Encyclopedia: Mahabharata.

Brown University: The Mahabharata, pages by Sanskrit scholar James L. Fitzgerald.

History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps: Grand Illusion - Dharma and Deception in the Mahabharata, podcast episode by Peter Adamson and Jonardon Ganeri.

The Independent: The Book of a Lifetime - The Mahabharata, by Alice Albinia, 9 June 2011.

Librivox: The Mahabharata by Vyasa: The epic of ancient India condensed into English verse, public domain audiobook.

London Review of Books, How to Escape the Curse, John's Smith's translation reviewed by Wendy Doniger.

UC Davis: Mahabharata, synopsis by V. Vemuri.

Wikipedia: Mahabharata.

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

Bhagavad Gita

Valmiki: Ramayana

Bloom's Western Canon - The Mahabharata is listed.