Ethnography

Voltaire: Philosophical Letters on the English

D'après_Maurice_Quentin_de_La_Tour _Portrait_de_Voltaire_(c._1737 _musée_Antoine_Lécuyer)The Philosophical Letters or Letters on the English (French: Lettres philosophiques) is a 1733 work by Voltaire, revised  in 1778, composed as a series of letters reflecting on his sojourn in England from 1726 to 1728.

Voltaire's thoughts on English literature include a number of leading writers of the day who he met while in London, such as Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift. His account of English political and religious institutions, Newtonian science, and the empiricism of Bacon and Locke, quickly became a formative influence on continental liberalism.

Letters on England at online book stores
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Free online texts
English translations
Gutenberg: Letters on England. EPUB, HTML, MOBI and TXT formats.
Internet Archive: French and English Philosophers, Descartes, Voltaire, Rousseau, Hobbes (includes Letters on England). Harvard Classics Vol. 34. EPUB, MOBI, PDF and TXT formats.
Internet History Sourcebooks: Letters on the English or Lettres Philosophiques. HTML format.
Liberty Fund: The Works of Voltaire, Vol. XIX (Philosophical Letters). EPUB, HTML, MOBI and PDF formats.
Wikisource: Letters Concerning the English Nation. English translation. HTML and other formats.
French texts
Wikisource: Lettres Philosophiques. HTML and other formats.

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Montesquieu: The Spirit of the Laws

This post has moved to Classics Domain.


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 (Internet Archive): 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 online book stores
Amazon | bookshop.org (US) | bookshop.org (UK)

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).

University of Adelaide (Internet Archive): The Polity of the Athenians and the Lacedaemonians by Xenophon, translated by H.G. Dakyns. EPUB, HTML and MOBI formats.

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.

University of Adelaide (Internet Archive): Cyropaedia, translated by H.G. Dakyns. Revised by F.M. Stawell. EPUB, HTML and MOBI formats.

Wikisource: Κύρου Παιδεία, Greek text. Multiple formats.

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Tacitus: Germania

This page has moved to Tacitus: Germania at Classics Domain.


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.