Greek Literature

Aristophanes: Lysistrata

Lysistrata (Greek: Λυσιστράτη) is a comedy by Aristophanes, which may have been produced for the Lenaea Festival at Athens in 411 BC. It's theme reflects the city's misfortunes in the Peloponnesian War following the defeat of the Sicilian Expedition in 413 BC. The title character is an Athenian woman who contrives to force an end to the war, first by organising women from across Greece to refuse sexual relations with their menfolk, and secondly by leading Athenian wives in seizing the Acropolis, and fighting off the old men of the city.

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Free online texts

Gutenberg: Greek text and English translation. Multiple formats.

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

Perseus: Greek text and English translation by Jack Lindsay. HTML and XML formats.

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

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

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

Continue reading "Aristophanes: Lysistrata" »


Aristophanes: The Birds

The Birds  (Greek: Ὄρνιθες) is a comedy by Aristophanes first produced at the Athenian City Dionysia in 414 BC. It's fantastic plot may reflect an appetite for escapism during the tense period in which the city awaited the outcome of the Sicilian expedition. The play's protagonists are two Athenians who abandon the city go and live among the birds, who they persuade to build a city in the air, Nephelokokkygia or Cloudcuckooland, from which they force gods and humans to come to terms with them.

Free online texts

Gutenberg: Greek text and English translation. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: L 488 - Aristophanes II - Peace, Birds, Frogs. Bilingual Greek-English Loeb edition. Multiple formats.

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

University of Adelaide: The Birds. English translation, multiple formats.

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

Other Resources

BBC Radio 4 In Our Time: Comedy in Ancient Greek Theatre. Melvyn Bragg with Paul Cartledge, Edith Hall and Nick Lowe.

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

Wikipedia: The Birds (Play)

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

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

Bloom's Western Canon: The Birds is listed.


Aristophanes: Peace

Peace (Greek: Εἰρήνη) is a comedy by Aristophanes, first performed at the Great Dionysia in 421 BC, where it won second prize. It satirises the contemporary political situation following the battle of Amphipolis, when the deaths of the Athenian general Cleon, and the Spartan Brasidas, paved the way for the Peace of Nicias, an outcome which Aristophanes enthusiastically anticipates.

Free online texts

Gutenberg: Peace. English translation, multiple formats.

Internet Archive: L 488 - Aristophanes II - Peace, Birds, Frogs. Bilingual Greek-English Loeb edition. Multiple formats.

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

University of Adelaide: Peace. English translation, HTML format.

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: Peace (play)

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

Thucydides - Our best source for the political events which provided the occasion for Aristophanes' satire, although one which took a similarly jaundiced view of Cleon's career.

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


Aristophanes: The Wasps

The Wasps (Ancient Grek Greek: Σφῆκες) is a play by Aristophanes which won second prize at the Lenaea festival in Athens in 422 BC. It satirises the Athenian jury system and the influence of orators, such as Aristophanes' frequent target Cleon, over ordinary citizens.

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: Aristophanes I - Acharnians, Knights, Clouds, Wasps.  Greek text and English translation. Public domain Loeb edition, multiple formats.

Internet Classics Archive: The Wasps. HTML and TXT formats.

Loebulus: Aristophanes I: Acharnians. Knights. Clouds. Wasps. PDF of public domain Loeb edition.

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

University of Adelaide: The Wasps. English translation, HTML format.

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

Continue reading "Aristophanes: The Wasps" »


Aristophanes: The Knights

The Knights (Ancient Greek: Ἱππεῖς) is a comedy by Aristophanes which won first prize at the Lenaea festival at its first performance in Athens in 424 BC. It is effectively an allegory in which the the old man Demos represents the Athenian people, while his slaves Demosthenes and Nicias represent prominent generals. The latter are tormented by a new slave, 'the Paphlagonian', who flatters their master, in a satirical reference to the popular politican Cleon.

Free online texts

Internet Archive: Aristophanes I - Acharnians, Knights, Clouds, Wasps.  Greek text and English translation. Public domain Loeb edition, multiple formats.

Internet Classics Archive: The Knights. HTML and TXT formats.

Loebulus: Aristophanes I: Acharnians. Knights. Clouds. Wasps. PDF of public domain Loeb edition.

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

University of Adelaide: The Knights. English translation, HTML format.

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: The Knights.

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

Thucydides - Our best source for the political events which provided the occasion for Aristophanes' satire, although one which took a similarly jaundiced view of Cleon's career.

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

Bloom's Western Canon: The Knights is listed.


Aristophanes: The Acharnians

The Acharnians (Greek: Ἀχαρνεῖς) is the oldest surviving play by Aristophanes and thus the oldest extant comedy in the world. It satirises the plight of rural Athenians during the early Peloponnesian War, through its central character Dikaiopolis, who concludes his own private peace treaty with the Spartans.

Free online texts

Gutenberg: The Acharnians. English translation, HTML format.

Internet Archive: Aristophanes I - Acharnians, Knights, Clouds, Wasps.  Greek text and English translation. Public domain Loeb edition, multiple formats.

Internet Classics Archive: The Acharnians. HTML and TXT formats.

Loebulus: Aristophanes I: Acharnians. Knights. Clouds. Wasps. Greek text and English translation. PDF of public domain Loeb edition.

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

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

University of Adelaide: The Acharnians. English translation, HTML format.

Wikisource: Greek text and English translations. Multiple formats.

Other Resources

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

Librivox: The Acharnians (Billson translation). Public domain audiobook.

Wikipedia: The Acharnians.

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

Aeschylus - briefly mentioned with respect in the play.

Euripides - satirised here as in many of Aristophanes' plays.

Herodotus - several passages are thought to allude to Herodotus' work.

Thucydides - Our best source for the political events which provided the occasion for Aristophanes' satire.

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


Euripides: Rhesus (disputed)

Rhesus (Greek: Ῥῆσος) is an Athenian tragedy transmitted in the corpus of Euripides, though its authorship has been disputed since ancient times. It is based on the 10th book of the Iliad, in which Odysseus and Diomedes kill the Trojan spy Dolon and raid the Trojan camp.

Free online texts

Gutenberg : Rhesus, translated by Gilbert Murray (1913). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Rhesus, verse translation by Gilbert Murray. Multiple formats.

Internet Classics Archive: Rhesus, HTML and TXT formats.

Loebulus: L009 - Euripides -- Euripides I: Iphigenia at Aulis. Rhesus. Hecuba. The Daughters of Troy. Helen. Greek and English parallel text. Loeb edition, PDF format.

Perseus: Greek text and English translations by E.P. Coleridge (1891) and Gilbert Murray (1913). HTML and XML formats.

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

University of Adelaide: Rhesus, translated by E.P. Coleridge. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Greek text and English translation by E.P. Coleridge. HTML and other formats.

Other Resources

Gutenberg: Euripides and His Age, by Gilbert Murray.

History of Ancient Greece: Early Euripides, podcast by Ryan Stitt.

Wikipedia: Rhesus (play)

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

Homer: The Iliad

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

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


Euripides: Iphigenia at Aulis

The Anger of Achilles, by Jacques-Louis David. Image by Wikimedia Commons user GuyStairSaintyIphigenia in Aulis or at Aulis (Greek: Ἰφιγένεια ἐν Αὐλίδι) is a tragedy by Euripides, probably first produced at Athens after his death in 405 BC. It dramatises the story of the sacrifice of Iphigenia by her father Agamemnon, in order to ensure the success of the Trojan Expedition.

The play is notable for the emphasis on the characters at the expense of the chorus.

Free online texts

Gutenberg: Ιφιγένεια εν Αυλίδι, Greek text. Multiple formats.

Gutenberg: The Tragedies of Euripides, Vol I, translated by Theodore Alois Buckley (1892). Multiple formats. 

Internet Archive: The Iphigenia at Aulis of Euripides. Greek text with English notes by Edwin Bourdieu England (1891). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Iphigenia at Aulis. Edition of earliest English translation by Jane Fitzalan Lumley (1577). Multiple formats.

Internet Classics Archive: Iphigenia at Aulis. HTML and TXT formats.

Loebulus: L009 - Euripides -- Euripides I: Iphigenia at Aulis. Rhesus. Hecuba. The Daughters of Troy. Helen. Greek and English parallel text. Loeb edition, PDF format.

Perseus: Greek text and English translation by E.P. Coleridge. HTML and XML formats.

Poetry in Translation: Iphigenia at Aulis, translated by George Theodoridis. Multiple formats.

University of Adelaide: Iphigenia at Aulis, translated by E.P. Coleridge. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Iphigenia at Aulis, English translation by T.A. Buckley. HTML and other formats.

Other Resources

Gutenberg: Euripides and His Age, by Gilbert Murray.

History of Ancient Greece: Euripides at War, podcast by Ryan Stitt.

Librivox: Iphigenia in Aulis. Public domain audiobooks.

Wikipedia: Iphigenia in Aulis.

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

Euripides: Iphigenia in Tauris.

Euripides: The Bacchae.

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: Iphigenia at Aulis is listed.


Euripides: The Bacchae

Pentheus being torn by maenads. Casa dei Vettii. Via Wikimedia Commons.The Bacchae (Greek: Βάκχαι) is a tragedy by Euripides, found at his death in 406 BC, and produced in 406 BC. The play dramatises the introduction into Greece of the worship of the god Dionysus. Visiting Thebes, he is rejected by king Pentheus, and takes his revenge by driving the women of the city into a frenzy of madness. Among them, is Pentheus' mother Agave, who tears her son to pieces before recovering her senses and realizing what she has done. The play ends with their family being banished from the city.

Free online texts

Gutenberg: The Bacchae, translated by Gilbert Murray (1906). Multiple formats.

Gutenberg: The Tragedies of Euripides, Vol I, translated by Theodore Alois Buckley (1892). Multiple formats. 

Internet Archive: The Bacchae. Verse translation by Gilbert Murray. Multiple formats.

Internet Classics Archive: The Bacchantes. HTML and TXT formats.

Loebulus: L011N - Euripides -- Euripides III: Bacchanals. Madness of Hercules. Children of Hercules. Phoenician Maidens. Suppliants. Greek and English parallel text. Loeb edition, PDF format.

Perseus: Greek text and English translation by T.A. Buckley. HTML and XML formats.

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

University of Adelaide: The Bacchantes, translated by E.P. Coleridge. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Greek text and English translation by Arthur Way. HTML and other formats.

Continue reading "Euripides: The Bacchae" »


Euripides: Orestes

Orestes (Greek: Ὀρέστης) is a tragedy by Euripides, first produced in Athens in 408 BC. Based on similar legendary material to Aeschylus' Oresteia, it recounts the flight of Orestes and Electra from the vengeance of the Furies after killing their mother Clytemnestra, the intervention of their uncle Menelaus, and the resolution of matters by the god Apollo.

Free online texts

Gutenberg: Ορέστης, Greek text. Multiple formats.

Gutenberg: The Tragedies of Euripides, Vol I, translated by Theodore Alois Buckley (1892). Multiple formats. 

Internet Archive:  The Plays of Euripides, v.II: Andromache, Electra, The Bacchantes, Hecuba, Heracles mad, The Phoenician Maidens, Orestes, Iphigenia among the Tauri, Iphigenia at Aulis, The Cyclops. English translation by E.P. Coleridge. Multiple formats.

Internet Classics Archive: Orestes, translated by E.P. Coleridge. HTML and TXT formats.

Loebulus: L010N - Euripides -- Euripides II: Electra. Orestes. Iphigeneia in Taurica. Andromache. Cyclops. Greek and English parallel text. Loeb edition, PDF format.

Perseus: Greek text with English translation by E.P. Coleridge. HTML and XML formats.

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

University of Adelaide: Orestes, translated by E.P. Coleridge.

Wikisource: Greek text and English translation by Arthur Way. HTML and other formats.

Other Resources

Gutenberg: Euripides and His Age, by Gilbert Murray.

History of Ancient Greece: Euripides at War, podcast by Ryan Stitt.

Librivox: Orestes, public domain audiobook.

Wikipedia: Orestes (play)

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

Aeschylus: The Libation Bearers.

Aeschylus: The Eumenides.

Euripides: Electra.

Euripides: Andromache.

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: Orestes is listed.