Classical Literature

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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Seneca: Oedipus

IngresOdipusAndSphinxThe Oedipus of Seneca the Younger is a Latin adaptation of Sophocles' Oedipus Rex. As with many of Seneca's plays, the action is portrayed more directly than in the Greek model. Notably, in this instance, Jocasta's suicide takes place on stage, rather than being discovered after the fact as in Sophocles.

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Free online texts

Internet Archive: Tragedies I: Hercules Furens. Troades. Medea. Hippolytus. Oedipus. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Latin with facing English translation by Frank Justus Miller.

Latin Library: Oedipus. Latin text. HTML format.

Loebulus: L062N - Tragedies I: Hercules Furens. Troades. Medea. Hippolytus. Oedipus. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Latin and English.

Theoi: Oedipus, translated by Frank Justus Miller. HTML format.

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Seneca: Phaedra or Hippolytus

Alexandre_Cabanel_PhèdrePhaedra or Hippolytus by Seneca the Younger is a Latin adaptation of Euripides' Hippolytus. Both plays tell the story of Phaedra, the wife of King Theseus and her passion for her step-son Hippolytus. Seneca's portrays the action more directly than Euripides, relying less on intermediaries and letters at key plot points.

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Free online texts

Internet Archive: Tragedies I: Hercules Furens. Troades. Medea. Hippolytus. Oedipus. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Latin with facing English translation by Frank Justus Miller.

Latin Library: Phaedra. Latin text. HTML format.

Loebulus. L062N - Tragedies I: Hercules Furens. Troades. Medea. Hippolytus. Oedipus. Public domain Loeb edition in Latin with facing English translation by Frank Justus Miller. Multiple formats.

Theoi: Phaedra, translated by Frank Justus Miller. HTML format.

Wikisource: Hippolytus or Phaedra, translated by Frank Justus Miller. HTML and other formats.

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Apuleius: The Golden Ass

Lucius_is_returned_to_human_form_at_the_procession_of_IsisThe Metamorphoses of Apuleius, better known as The Golden Ass (Latin: Asinus aureus) is the only complete surviving Latin novel from antiquity. In eleven books, it tells the story of Lucius, a Greek who is magically transformed into an ass, undergoing in that form a series of picaresque adventures.

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Free online texts

The English Server: The Golden Asse, English translation by William Adlington (1566). HTML format. Archived at the Internet Archive.

Forum Romanum: Metamorphoses. Latin text. HTML format. (Book I missing as of Dec 2018).

Gutenberg: The Golden Asse, English translation by William Adlington (1566). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: The Golden Ass, Greek text and English translation by William Adlington, revised by  S. Gaselee (1924). Loeb edition. Multiple formats.

Loebulus: L044 - Apuleius - The Golden Ass. Greek text and English translation. PDF format.

Perseus: Metamorphoses. Latin text. HTML and XML formats.

Poetry in Translation: The Golden Ass, translated by A.S. Kline (2013). Multiple formats.

Sacred Texts Archive: The Golden Asse, English translation by William Adlington (1566). HTML format. See also The Marriage of Cupid and Psyche.

University of Adelaide: The Golden Asse, English translation by William Adlington (1566). Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Latin text and English translation by William Adlington (1566). HTML and other formats.

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Petronius: Satyricon

Petronius at Home, by Piotr Stachiewicz (1858-1938)The Satyricon is a Latin satire in prose and verse attributed to one Petronius, conventionally identified with Petronius Arbiter, a prominent member of Nero's court who commited suicide in 65 AD.

Much of the work is lost with only parts of books 14, 15 and 16 surviving. It recounts the picaresque adventures of an amoral but cunning trio, comprising the narrator Encolpius, his friend Ascyltus, and the slave boy Giton. The most substantial extant episode is that of Trimalchio's dinner party (Latin: Cena Trimalchionis), a striking portrait of life among a rising class of nouveau-riche freedmen.

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Free online texts

Gutenberg: The Satyricon, translated by W.C. Firebaugh. Multiple formats. Shorter extracts also available at U Penn Online Books Page.

Gutenberg: The Satyricon of Petronius, translated by William Burnaby. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Petronius, Satyricon, translated by W.C. Firebaugh, Modified by Philip A. Harland, removing forged sections and modernizing some of the translations. Multiple formats.

Latin Library: Satiricon Liber. Latin text, HTML format.

Loebulus: L015 - Petronius - Satyricon. Apocolocyntosis. Greek-English bilingual Loeb edition. PDF format.

Perseus: Latin text and English translation, edited by Michael Heseltine (1913). HTML and XML formats.

Poetry in Translation: Satyricon, translated by A.S. Kline (2018). Multiple formats.

Pomona College: Satryricon, translated by A.R. Allinson (1930), modified and annotated by Christopher Chinn (2006). HTML format.

Sacred Texts Archive: The Satyricon, translated by Alfred R. Allinson. HTML format. Includes unmarked interpolations by Nodot.

Wikisource: Latin text and English translation, by W.C. Firebaugh. HTML and other formats.

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Curtius: Histories of Alexander the Great

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Image by Wikimedia user Sailko (CC3.0)

The Histories of Alexander the Great (Latin: Historia Alexandri Magni Libri) is an account of Alexander's conquests in ten books, of which only eight survive. The surviving part begins with book three, which describes the Macedonian army's passage through Phrygia and the famous episode of the cutting of the Gordian knot.

Little is known for certain about the author, Quintus Curtius Rufus, who is generally thought to have lived in the first century CE. The work's dramatic but uncritical tone has suggested to some that is was conceived to serve a Roman imperial propaganda purpose.

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Free online texts

Hathi Trust: History of Alexander, Latin text and English translation by John C. Rolfe. Two Volumes. PDF format. See also the contents page for this edition at Attalus.

Internet Archive: History of Alexander, Latin text and English translation by John C. Rolfe. Volume 1 | Volume 2. Multiple formats. Loeb edition, although facing pages do not correspond to one another in this scan.

Internet Archive: Historia Alexandri Magni Libri Qui Supersunt. Latin text, Teubner edition (1908). Multiple formats.

Latin Library: Historia Alexandri Magni Libri Qui Supersunt. Latin text. HTML format.

PHI Latin texts: Historiae Alexandri Magni. Latin text. HTML format.

Wikisource: Historia Alexandri Magni regis Macedonum. Latin text. HTML and other formats.

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Apollonius of Rhodes: Argonautica

Douris_cup_Jason_Vatican_16545The Argonautica (Greek: Αργοναυτικά) is an epic poem by Apollonius of Rhodes, a Hellenistic Greek writer of the third century BCE, centring on Jason's voyage in search of the Golden Fleece. It was the most substantial epic composed between the work of Homer and Virgil, and the first to employ love as a central theme, in the form of Medea's elopement with Jason.

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Free online texts

Gutenberg: The Argonautica, translated by R. C. Seaton. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: The Argonautica. Bilingual Loeb edition, Greek and facing English translation by R. C. Seaton. Multiple formats.

Loebulus: L001 - Apollonius Rhodius - Argonautica. Bilingual Loeb edition. PDF format.

University of Adelaide: The Argonautica, translated by R.C. Seaton. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Αργοναυτικά - Greek text. HTML and other formats.

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Menander: The Girl from Samos

Samia_(Girl_from_Samos)_Mytilene_3cADThe Girl from Samos (Ancient Greek: Σαμία) is a comedy by Menander, thought to have been produced between 317 and 307 BCE. As a result of modern papyrus finds, it is the second best preserved of his plays after Dyskolos.

The plot concerns events in the households of two neighbouring Athenian business partners, Demeas and Nikeratos. Demeas' mistress Chrysis and Nikeratos' daughter, Plangon, both fall pregnant. After suffering a miscarriage, Chrysis, the Samian girl of the title, nurses Plangon's child by Demeas' son Moschion. After gaining a hint of the child's true identity, Demeas assumes that his mistress has seduced his son. This prompts an escalating series of confrontations, which are ultimately resolved, paving the way for Moschion's marriage to Plangon.

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Free online texts

Internet Archive: Menander - The Principal Fragments. Bilingual Loeb edition. Multiple formats.

Loebulus: L132 - Menander -- Principal Fragments: Arbitrants. Girl from Samos. Girl Who Gets Her Hair Cut Short. Hero. Fragments. Unidentified Comedy. Bilingual Loeb edition. PDF format.

University of Adelaide: The Girl from Samos, translated by Francis Greenleaf Allinson. PDF format.

Other Resources

Wikipedia: Menander - Samia

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

Menander: Dyskolos

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

Bloom's Western Canon: The Girl from Samos is listed.


Menander: Dyskolos

Via Wikipedia, by Rennett Stowe. CC BY 2.0Dyskolos (Greek: Δύσκολος) or The Grouch is the most substantial surviving play by Menander, the key dramatist of the Greek New Comedy, which succeeded Aristophanes' Old Comedy and heavily influenced Roman comedy. It was originally performed at the Lenaia festival of 317 BC.

The play centres on Sostratus, a wealthy young man and his attempts to marry the daughter of Cnemon, the title character, in the face of the obstacles provided by the latter's boorish personality.

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Free online texts

Fairfield University: Menander's Dyskolos (Grouch), translated by Vincent J. Rosivach. HTML format.

Poetry in Translation: Dyskolos, translated by George Theodoridis (2013). Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Δύσκολος - Greek text.

Other Resources

Ancient-Literature.com: Dyskolos - synopsis and analysis.

Cornell College Classical Studies: The Comedies of Menander.

Literature and History: The New Comedy - Menander's Old Cantankerous. Podcast and transcript by Doug Metzger.

University College London: Menander's Dyskolos Study Guide - archived at the Internet Archive.

Wikipedia: Menander - Dyskolos

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

Theophrastus: On Characters

Menander: The Girl from Samos

Aelian: Epistulae Rusticae - includes letters based on the plot of the Dyskolos.

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


The Homeric Hymns

Attic_white_calyx_crater _440-430_BC _side_B _AM_Agrigento _120965xThe Homeric Hymns (Greek: Ομηρικοί Ύμνοι) are a selection of hymns to the Greek Gods which, though attributed to Homer in antiquity, probably date to somewhat later in the archaic period. A few may even have been added in the Hellenistic period.

Their identification with Homer reflects the fact they were composed in dactylic hexameter, the same metre as the Iliad and Odyssey.

The hymns vary in length and state of preservation. Some of the longer narratives such as the Hymn to Demeter, are important for the understanding of the subject god or goddess.

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Free online texts

Aoidoi: Homeric Hymns

Bartleby: Hesiod, Homeric Hymns, Epic Cycle, Homerica, translated by Hugh G. Evelyn-White. HTML format.

Gutenberg: Hesiod, the Homeric Hymns and Homerica, translated by Hugh G. Evelyn-White. Multiple formats.

Gutenberg: The Homeric Hymns - A New Prose Translation; and Essays, Literary and Mythological, by Andrew Lang. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Hesiod, the Homeric Hymns and Homerica. Greek text and English translation by Hugh G. Evelyn-White. Multiple formats.

Loebulus. L496 - Hesiod, the Homeric Hymns, and Homerica. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English.

Perseus: Homeric Hymns - Greek texts, edited by Hugh G. Evelyn-White. HTML and XML formats.

Theoi: Homeric Hymns, translated by Hugh G. Evelyn-White. HTML format.

University of Adelaide: Hesiod, Homeric Hymns, and Homerica, by Hugh G. Evelyn-White. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Ομηρικοί Ύμνοι. Greek text. HTML and other formats.

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