Greek Literature

Michael Psellos: Chronographia

Michael_PsellosThe Chronographia (Greek: Χρονογραφία) by Michael Psellos is a history of the Byzantine Empire in the century from 976 CE by Michael Psellos, who was himself an active courtier and political advisor during the latter part of this period. His chief interest is in the character of individual rulers, which he considers in fourteen biographies of individual emperors and empresses, from Basil II 'The Bulgar-Slayer' to Michael VII Doukas.

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English translations

Documenta Catholica Omnia: Chronographia, translated by E.R.A. Sewter (1953). PDF format.

Fordham University Medieval History Sourcebook: Chronographia, translated by E.R.A. Sewter (1953). HTML format.

Greek texts

Internet Archive: The History of Psellus, edited by Constantine Sathas (1899). PDF, EPUB, DJVU, Kindle and other formats.

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Anna Comnena: The Alexiad

Alexios_I_KomnenosThe Alexiad (Greek: Ἀλεξιάς) by Anna Comnena, is a history of the Byzantine Empire during the reign of her father Alexios I Comnenus from 1048-1118. Written in around 1148, it is significant as an important source for the period leading up to the First Crusade, and as one of the earliest historical works by by a woman.

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English Translations

Fordham University Medieval Sourcebook: The Alexiad, translated by Elizabeth A. Dawes (1928). HTML format.

Wikisource: The Alexiad, translated by Elizabeth A. Dawes. HTML and other formats.

York University: The Alexiad, translated by Elizabeth A. Dawes. PDF format.

Greek texts

Greek Wikisource: Αλεξιάς. HTML and other formats.

Internet Archive: Anna Comnena Vol I (edited by Schopen). | Vol II (edited by Reifferscheid). Corpus Scriptorum Historiae Byzantinae.

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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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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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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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Xenophon: Oeconomicus

800px-Woman_spinning_MAR_Palermo_NI2149The Oeconomicus (Greek: Οἰκονομικός) by Xenophon is a work about management of the household or oikos, the original root of our modern term, economics.

The bulk of the dialogue consists of a discussion between Socrates and the wealthy farmer Ischomachus, as recounted by Socrates in a framing introduction to Critobolous, son of Crito. Ischomachus' account of his relationship with his wife has been a frequent topic in modern debates about Greek social attitudes.

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Free online texts

Gutenberg: Oeconomicus, translated by H.G. Dakyns. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Xenophon's Minor Works, translated by John Selby Watson. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: L 168 Xenophon IV Memorabilia Oeconomicus Symposium Apologia. Loeb edition, Greek text with English translations by E.C. Marchant and O.J Todd. Multiple formats.

Perseus: Greek text and English translation. HTML and XML formats.

University of Adelaide: Oeconomicus, translated by H.G. Dakyns. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Greek text. HTML and other formats.

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Aristophanes: Wealth

658px-Dionysos_Ploutos_BM_F68Wealth or Plutus (Greek: Πλοῦτος) is Aristophanes' last extant comedy, produced in 388 BC.

The play centres on Chremylus, an exasperated Athenian who asks the Delphic oracle if he should bring his son up to be good or bad in order to prosper in life. The oracle leads him to a blind man who turns out to be the god of wealth, Plutus. Chremylus arranges for his sight to be restored at the temple of Asclepius. As a result, Plutus is able to reward the good and impoverish the bad. The newly wealthy Chremylus then receives a stream of visitors to his home, whose various situations illustrate the way Athenian society has been turned up side down as a result.

Free online texts

Gutenberg: The Eleven Comedies, Volume 2 - The Wasps - The Birds - The Frogs - The Thesmophoriazusae - The Ecclesiazusae -- Plutus. English translation, multiple formats.

Internet Archive: L 179 - Aristophanes III - Lysistrata, Thesmophoriazusae, Ecclesiazusae, Plutus. Bilingual Greek-English Loeb edition. 

Poetry in Translation: Wealth, translated by George Theodoridis. Multiple formats.

University of Adelaide: Plutus. English translation, multiple formats.

Wikisource: Greek text and English translations. HTML and other formats.

Other Resources

History of Ancient Greece: o54- Old Comedy and Aristophanes. Podcast by Ryan Stitt.

Wikipedia: Plutus (play).

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

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


Aristophanes: Ecclesiazusae

Ecclesiazusae (Greek: Ἐκκλησιάζουσαι} or Assemblywomen is a comedy by Aristophanes, probably first produced at Athens in 392 BC. Like the earlier Lysistrata, the play imagines women taking over the city. On this occasion, inspired by their ringleader Praxagora, they disguise themselves as men to pack the assembly, and vote to hand control over to themselves. they also enact a series of communistic measures, something which has been seen, probably anachronistically, as a satire on Plato's political program. 

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Free online texts

Gutenberg: The Eleven Comedies, Volume 2 - The Wasps - The Birds - The Frogs - The Thesmophoriazusae - The Ecclesiazusae -- Plutus. English translation, multiple formats.

Internet Archive: L 179 - Aristophanes III - Lysistrata, Thesmophoriazusae, Ecclesiazusae, Plutus. Bilingual Greek-English Loeb edition. 

Poetry in Translation: Women in Parliament, translated by George Theodoridis. Multiple formats.

University of Adelaide: Ecclesiazusae. English translation, multiple formats.

Wikisource: Greek text and English translations. HTML and other formats.

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Aristophanes: Thesmophoriazusae

ThesmophoriasuzaeKraterThesmophoriazusae (Greek: Θεσμοφοριάζουσαι) or Women at the Thesmophoria is a comedy by Aristophanes, first produced at Athens in 411 BC, probably at the Dionysia. As with Lysistrata, thought to have been produced at the Lenaea in the same year, gender forms a significant theme of the work, which is set during the Thesmophoria, a festival attended solely by women.

The tragic poet Euripides features as a central character. who learns that the festival-goers intend to kill him because of the negative portrayal of women in his work. After failing to persuade his fellow tragedian Agathon to infiltrate the festival on his behalf, Euripides sends an elderly relative instead. After the infiltrator is discovered, attempts to rescue him devolve into a series of parodies of Euripides' plays.

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Free online texts

Gutenberg: The Eleven Comedies, Volume 2 - The Wasps - The Birds - The Frogs - The Thesmophoriazusae - The Ecclesiazusae -- Plutus. English translation, multiple formats.

Internet Archive: L 179 - Aristophanes III - Lysistrata, Thesmophoriazusae, Ecclesiazusae, Plutus. Bilingual Greek-English Loeb edition. 

Internet Classics Archive: Thesmophoriazusae. English text in HTML and TXT format.

Poetry in Translation: Women at the Festival, translated by George Theodoridis. Multiple formats.

University of Adelaide: Thesmophoriazusae. English translation, multiple formats.

Wikisource: Greek text and English translations. HTML and other formats.

Other Resources

History of Ancient Greece: o54- Old Comedy and Aristophanes. Podcast by Ryan Stitt.

Librivox: Chorus of Women from Thesmophoriazusae. Public domain audiobook.

Stanford News: Gender-swapped play takes on the ‘men’s rights’ movement, by Hannah Leblanc, 11 May 2017.

Wikipedia: Thesmophoriazousai

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

Aristophanes: Lysistrata, Ecclesiazusae - two other plays in which women play a prominent role. The Frogs - another play targeting the tragic poets.

Euripides: Medea - one of the plays which contributed to the author's reputation for an equivocal attitued towards women.

Plato: Symposium - also employs the poet Agathon as a character.

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