Books

Augustine: On the Trinity

Dogmatic_sarcophagusOn the Trinity (Latin: De Trinitate) is a theological work by St Augustine, written in the early 5th century CE. In offering a philosophical defence of the Christian doctrine of the trinity, Augustine makes a number of arguments whose significance goes beyond their apologetic purpose. His arguments against skepticism in this and other works have often been seen as a precursor to those of Descartes.

The most common public domain translation is that of Arthur West Haddan for the Select Library of the Nice and Post-Nicene Fathers.

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English transations

Christian Classics Ethereal Library: On the Holy Trinity; Doctrinal Treatises; Moral Treatises. On the Trinity translated by Arthur West Haddan. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: On The Trinity, translated by Arthur West Haddan. EPUB, MOBI, PDF, TXT formats.

Internet Archive: On the Holy Trinity; Doctrinal Treatises; Moral Treatises. Select Library of the Nice and Post-Nicene Fathers, translated by Arthur West Haddan. EPUB, MOBI, PDF, TXT formats.

Logos Virtual Library: On The Trinity, translated by Arthur West Haddan. HTML and other formats.

New Advent: On the Trinity, translated by Arthur West Haddan, revised by Kevin Knight. HTML format.

Sacred Texts: On the Holy Trinity; Doctrinal Treatises; Moral Treatises, translated by Arthur West Haddan. HTML format.

Tertullian.org: On the Holy Trinity; Doctrinal Treatises; Moral Treatises, translated by Arthur West Haddan. HTML format.

Wikisource: On the Holy Trinity, English translation by Arthur West Haddan. HTML and other formats.

Latin texts

Latin Library: Augustine of Hippo, De Trinitate and other Latin texts. HTML format.

Wikisource: De Trinitate (Aurelius Augustinus), Latin text. HTML and other formats.

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Turold: The Song of Roland

SimonMarmionWikipedia-Grandes_chroniques_RolandThe Song of Roland (French: Chanson de Roland) is an old French epic poem, probably written in the late eleventh or early twelfth century. Traditionally attributed to a poet named Turoldus or Turold, it is the most famous example of the chanson de geste genre and the earliest surviving major work of French literature.

Its subject is very loosely inspired by the death of the Frankish commander Roland at the historical battle of Roncevaux in 778, during Charlemagne's campaign against Islamic Spain. Although the actual battle was fought against the Basques, it was romanticised in the song into a tale of Muslim perfidy and Christian revenge.

The milieu of the Carolingian court and heroes such as Roland and his companion Oliver would form the core of the Matter of France, a distinct corpus of medieval poetic material contrasted with that based on classical myth, understood as the Matter of Rome, and the Arthurian legends of the Matter of Britain.

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English translations

Gutenberg: The Song of Roland, translated by C.K. Scott-Moncrieff. HTML, EPUB, MOBI and TXT formats.
Gutenberg: La Chanson de Roland, translated by Léonce Rabillon. HTML, EPUB, MOBI and TXT formats.
Gutenberg: The Harvard Classics, Volume 49, Epic and Saga - The Song of Roland/The Destruction of Dá Derga's Hostel. HTML, EPUB, MOBI and TXT formats.
Internet Archive: The Song of Roland, translated by C.K. Scott-Moncrieff, with an introduction by G.K. Chesterton. EPUB, MOBI, PDF and TXT formats.
Internet Archive: The Song of Roland, translated by Richard Bacon. EPUB, MOBI, PDF and TXT formats.
University of Adelaide: The Song of Roland, translated by C.K. Scott-Moncrieff. HTML, EPUB, and MOBI formats.
Wikisource: The Song of Roland, translated by C.K. Scott-Moncrieff (incomplete). HTML and other formats.

French texts
Wikisource: La Chanson de Roland. Multiple texts. HTML and other formats.

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The Nibelungenlied

Nibelungenlied_manuscript-kThe Nibelungenlied (German: Das Nibelungenlied) or Song of the Nibelungs is a middle high German epic poem whose anonymous author may have written in the early 13th century. It draws on much older oral traditions which are paralleled in Scandinavian literature, and which dimly reflects events from the 5th and 6th century.

The first half of the poem is centred on the hero Siegfried,  his wooing of the the princess Kriemhild at the court of the Burgundians, and his eventual murder. The second part takes place at the court of King Etzel, the historical Attila the Hun, where Kriemhild takes her revenge against Siegfried's killers.

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Free online texts

English translations
Gutenberg: The Nibelungenlied, translated by Daniel Bussier Shumway. HTML, EPUB, MOBI and TXT formats.
Gutenberg: The Lay of the Nibelung Men, translated by Arthur S. Way. HTML, EPUB, MOBI and TXT formats.
Gutenberg: The Nibelungenlied, translated by G.H. Needler. HTML, EPUB, MOBI and TXT formats.
Internet Archive: The Lay of the Nibelings, translated by Alice Horton, with an essay by Thomas Carlyle.  PDF, MOBI, EPUB and TCT formats.
University of Adelaide: The Nibelungenlied, translated by Daniel Bussier Shumway. HTML, EPUB, and MOBI  formats.
Wikisource: Nibelungenlied, translated by Daniel Bussier Shumway (incomplete). HTML and other formats.

German texts
Bibliotheca Augustana: Das Nibelungenlied. Multiple texts. HTML format.
Gutenberg: Das Nibelungenlied. HTML, EPUB, MOBI and TXT formats.

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Wolfram von Eschenbach: Parzival

Hermann_Hendrich_ParsifalParzival by Wolfram Von Eschenbach is a Middle High German Romance completed in the early thirteenth century. Reworking material from Chrétien de Troyes earlier Perceval, Von Eschenbach recounts Parzival's adventures at the court of King Arthur, and his pursuit of the Holy Grail, inspired by his love for Queen Condwiramurs.

Parzival was an important influence on Richard Wagner, inspiring not only his opera Parsifal, but also Lohengrin, whose title character first appears in Von Eschenbach.

Parzival at Amazon

Free online texts

English translations
Gutenberg: Parzival - a Knightly Epic - Vol 1 | Vol 2, translated by Jessie L. Weston. HTML, EPUB, MOBI and TXT formats.
University of Adelaide: Parzival - a Knightly Epic, translated by Jessie L. Weston. HTML, EPUB and MOBI formats.

German texts
Bibliotheca Augustana: Parzival. HTML format.
University of Heidelberg: Parzival. Digitised manuscript from the Bibliotheca Palatina.

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Chrétien de Troyes: Yvain, the Knight of the Lion

Yvain-dragonYvain, the Knight of the Lion (French: Yvain ou le Chevalier au Lion) is an Old French romance, composed by Chrétien de Troyes in the late twelfth century. Widely considered the greatest of his Arthurian romances, it is the only one based on a historical figure, Owain mab Urien, son of the ruler of the sixth century Welsh kingdom of Rheged. How much de Troyes drew from earlier Celtic traditions is a matter of some controversy.

De Troyes' tale begins with Owain's struggle to avenge his brother Calogrenant, against the mysterious knight, Esclados the Red. After defeating Esclados, he marries his widow Laudine, but is persuaded to return to adventuring by Gawain. Laudine extracts a promise that he will return in a year. Owain is unable to keep this pledge, and his efforts to win back Laudine, with the help of her maid Lunette, drive the latter part of the narrative.

Yvain has been interpreted as an attempt to reconcile the virtues of love and chivalry. Its early popularity is attested by the existence of several medieval adaptations into other languages.

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Free online texts

English translations
Gutenberg: Four Arthurian Romances - Erec et Enide, Cliges, Yvain, Lancelot, translated by W.W. Comfort.
Poetry in Translation: Yvain, translated by A.S. Klein (2018). HTML, EPUB, MOBI, PDF and WORD formats.
Wikisource: Yvain, the Knight of the Lion, translated by W.W. Comfort. HTML and other formats.

French texts
Internet Archive: Yvain (der Löwenritter), edited by Wendelin Foerster (1902). Romanische Bibliothek edition. Old French text with German commentary. TXT, EPUB, MOBI, PDF and other formats.
Wikisource: Yvain ou le Chevalier au Lion. HTML and other formats.

Other Resources
Librivox: Yvain, or the Knight with the Lion. Public domain audiobook.
Myths and Legends PodcastYvainglory - You're so Yvain - The Lion Knight Rises. Three episodes on the romance with transcripts and audio narrated by Jason Weiser.
University of Rochester: The Legend of Yvain, by Dongdong Han (2010).
Wikipedia: Chrétien de Troyes - Yvain, the Knight of the Lion

Further reading

The Book of Taliesin - A possible early source for poetry about Owain.
Geoffrey of Monmouth: History of the Kings of Britain.
Wace: Roman De Brut.
The Mabinogion - Owain features in the relatively late Dream of Rhonabwy.
Jocelyn of Furness: Life of St Mungo -a work contemporary with de Troyes containing similar traditions about Owain.
Owain, the Knight of the Fountain - a medieval Welsh romance whose relationship to de Troyes' version is much debated.
De Troyes: Lancelot, The Knight of the Cart - an Arthurian romance written at the same time as Yvain.
De Troyes: Percival - his final unfinished Arthurian romance.
Hartmann von Aue: Iwein - A medieval German adaptation.
Yvain and Gawain - A Middle English version of the poem.
Ívens Saga - An Old Norwegian version
Herr Ivan - Old Swedish version.
Bloom's Western Canon: Yvain is listed.


Lucan: Pharsalia

La_mort_de_Pompée (anonymous via Wikisource)The Pharsalia or On the Civil War (Latin: De Bello Civili) is an epic by the Roman poet Lucan (39-65 CE) recounting the conflict between Julius Caesar and Pompey. It consists of ten books, of which the last appears to be incomplete, breaking off during Caesar's campaign in Egypt.

Lucan strongly favours the republican side and the poem has been seen as a riposte to the Augustan propaganda of Virgil's Aeneid. Lucan's stoicism is reflected in his portrayal of Cato, and in his avoidance of divine intervention as a plot device.

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Free online texts

Bilingual editions

Loebulus. L220 - Lucan -- The Civil War (Pharsalia). PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Latin and English.

Perseus: Latin text and English translation by Edward Ridley (1896). HTML and XML formats.

English translations

Gutenberg: Pharsalia, Dramatic Episodes of the Civil Wars, edited by Douglas B. Killings (1996). HTML, EPUB, MOBI and TXT formats.

Internet Archive: The Pharsalia, translated by Henry T. Riley (1853). PDF, EPUB, TXT, and MOBI formats.

Medieval and Classical Literature Library: Pharsalia, translated by Edward Ridley (1896). HTML format.

Poetry in Translation: Pharsalia, translated by A.S. Kline (2014). Multiple formats.

University of Adelaide: The Pharsalia of Lucan, translated by Edward Ridley (1896). Multiple formats.

University of Virginia: Lucan's Pharsalia, translated by Arthur Gorges (1614). HTML format.

Latin texts

Intratext: Bellum Civile. HTML format.

Latin Library: De Bello Civili sive Pharsalia. HTML format.

Wikisource: Pharsalia (Book 1). HTML and other formats.

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Cervantes: Don Quixote

Don_Quichotte_Honoré_Daumier cc Wikipedia user YelkrokoyadeDon Quixote is a Spanish novel by Miguel de Cervantes, published in two volumes in 1605 and 16015. It is one of the most highly regarded novels ever written, and its satire of earlier prose romances influenced the realism of the developing form.

The title character is an elderly gentlemen of La Mancha who is driven out of his wits by his reading of popular chivalric romances, and embarks on a series of picarasque adventures, accompanied by the more worldly Sancho Panza. The work has been subjected to many interpretations. Some suggest that like the earlier picaresque genre, it reflects the breakdown of feudalism and the emergence of commercial society.

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Free online texts

English translations

Gutenberg: The History of Don Quixote, Part One | Part Two, translated by John Ormsby (1885). HTML, EPUB, MOBI and TXT formats.

Gutenberg: The History of Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated by Peter Motteux. HTML, EPUB, MOBI and TXT formats.

Internet Archive: The Ingenious Gentleman, Don Quixote of La Mancha, translated by John Ormsby (1885). EPUB, TXT, MOBI (Kindle) and PDF formats.

University of Adelaide: Don Quixote, translated by John Ormsby (1885), with illustrations by Gustav Doré. HTML, EPUB and MOBI (Kindle) formats.

Wikisource: English translation by John Ormsby. HTML and other formats.

Spanish texts

Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes: Don Qvixote [sic] de la Mancha. First Part. Second part. Edition of Rodolfo Schevill and Adolfo Bonilla. HTML format.

Centro Virtual Cervantes: Don Quijote de la Mancha. HTML format.

Wikisource: Spanish text. HTML and other formats.

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Boccaccio: The Decameron

John_William_Waterhouse_-_The_DecameronThe Decameron is a collection of stories by Giovanni Boccaccio, probably completed around 1353. It is set during the Black Death in Florence some years before, following a group of seven women and three men who flee the city for a deserted villa, passing the time by telling each other a series of tales over ten days.

This provides the occasion for a hundred stories, drawn from a variety of sources, in what would be one of the most influential uses of the frame-story device in Western literature.

The Decameron at Amazon

Free online texts

Gutenberg: The Decameron, translated by John Payne. Multiple formats.

Gutenberg: The Decameron, translated by J.M. Rigg. Vol. I | Vol II. Multiple formats.

Gutenberg: The Decameron, translated by John Florior. Vol. I. | Vol II. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: The Decameron (Chatto & Windus edition, 1922). Multiple formats.

University of Adelaide: The Decameron, translation attributed to John Florio (1620). Multiple formats.

Wikisource: The Decameron. Payne (1886) and Rigg (1903) translations. HTML and other formats.

Italian texts

Letterature Italiana: Decameron. PDF format.

Libero: Decameron - HTML format.

Wikisource: Decameron - HTML and other formats.

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Ariosto: Orlando Furioso

Jean_Auguste_Dominique_Ingres_-_Roger_Delivering_AngelicaOrlando Furioso (English: The Rage of Roland) is an Italian epic poem by Ludovico Ariosto, published between 1516 and 1532. It is a contuation of Boiardo's Orlando Innamorato, and continues its adaptation of legendary matter from the Matter of France, recounting the sturggle between Charlemagne's paladins and the saracens.  It's popularity, and wide influence in European literature, largely eclipsed that of the earlier work.

Orlando Furioso at Amazon

Free online texts

English translations

Gutenberg: Orlando Furioso, translated by William Stewart Rose. Multiple formats.

Online Medieval and Classical Library (Internet Archive): Orlando Furioso. HTML format.

University of Adelaide: Orlando Furioso, translated by William Stewart Rose. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Orlando Furioso, translated by William Stewart Rose (currently incomplete). HTML and other formats.

Italian texts

Gutenberg: Orlando Furioso. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Orlando Furioso. Vol I | Vol II. | Vol. III. Multiple formats.

Libero: Orlando Furioso. HTML format.

Wikisource: Orlando Furioso. HTML and other formats.

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Torquato Tasso: Jerusalem Delivered

Charles_Errard _Renaud_abandonnant_ArmideJerusalem Delivered (Italian: Gerusalemme Liberata) by Torquato Tasso is an epic poem published in 1581, recounting a almost completely fictionalised version of the first crusade. One of the few quasi-historical characters is the knight Tancredi, who corresponds to the Italo-Norman crusader Tancred, Prince of Galilee.

The work enjoyed immediate and lasting success, in part because of its contemporary resonances at a time of conflict between Western European powers and the Ottoman Empire. It has frequently provided a subject for the visual arts and literary adaptations.

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Free online texts

English translations

Gutenberg: Jerusalem Delivered, translated by Edward Fairfax (c.1635). Multiple formats. 

Internet Archive: Jerusalem Delivered, translated by Edward Fairfax. National Alumni edition. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Jerusalem Delivered, translated by J. H. Wiffen. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Jerusalem Delivered, translated by John Hoole. Multiple formats.

University of Adelaide: Jerusalem Delivered, translated by Edward Fairfax. Multiple formats.

Italian texts

Internet Archive: Gerusalemme Liberata. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Gerusalemme Liberata. HTML and other formats.

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