December 1993 (minor revisions October 1998)

This list includes ancient texts with related non-verbal and modern scholarly materials, to give our department some community of reading, guidance toward coverage and basis for assessment of progress. Only a prodigious undergraduate could master all of it in the original languages, and many of the texts would be uninteresting to any particular person at any particular time. But any classics, classics-history-politics, or classics-English major should have a working idea of any of the exhibits, and be able to translate and interpret, with dictionary and grammar, a bit of text from each author whose language s/he has studied. This will be the substance of the reading examinations we offer to graduating majors.

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Primary Materials, Verbal and Non-verbal
Modern Scholarly Classics
1. Preliminary exercises on body, soul, space, time, gods, beasts, plants, rocks and humans

Greek and Latin grammar, pedagogical and reference (Smyth, Greek Grammar and Allen and Greenough, Latin Grammar): verb tense-aspect system, noun case and gender system; root-stem-ending system; parataxis and syntax.

Hesiod Theogony ll. 1-35, Works and Days 109-201;(2) Vergil Eclogue I.(3)

Greek line or round-dances: Kalamatianos for epic rhythm, tsamiko for iambo-trochaic

R. B. Onians, Origins of European Thought

J. E. Harrison(9), Themis

E. Benveniste, Indo-European Language and Society

W. Burkert, Greek Religion


2. Early Greek Poetry

Homer Iliad, esp. books 1, 9, 16, 23; Odyssey, esp. books 1, 8-9, 11;(4) Hesiod, Theogony,(5) Homeric Hymns, esp. Demeter;(6) Sappho, longer fragments;(7) Pindar, starting with Olympia 1-2.(8)

Knossos and Mycenae, in the Perseus data-base or in picture books; then Athens's Dipylon cemetery and geometric pottery

M. West, Greek Metre, a handbook

T. Cole, Epiploke really interesting

A. B. Lord, The Singer of Tales

G. Nagy, Best of the Achaeans

3. The Pre-Socratic Philosophers

At least look at Kirk-Raven-Schofield's not-fully serious collection; there is a Bryn Mawr Commentary. Heraclitus is the most easily memorized; look also at Parmenides, at least the beginning of his "epic".

Diehls(13) and Kranz, Fragmente der Vorsokratiker

4. Athenian Tragedy

Aeschylus Oresteia,(10) esp. the long chorus early in Agamemnon

Sophocles Oedipus(11)

Euripides Helen, Medea, Bacchae.(12)

J. P. Vernant, Myth and Tragedy

G. Thomson, Aeschylus and Athens

5. Athenian Comedy

Aristophanes Lysistrata, Birds(15)

Menander Samia(16)

G. E. M. de Ste. Croix, The Class Struggle in the Ancient Greek World

J. Henderson, Maculate Muse

6. Ionic-Athenian Historiography

Herodotus,(17) esp. book 1

Thucydides,(18) esp. book 2 (Pericles' Funeral Speech)

A. Momigliano(19), Classical Foundations of Modern Historiography

W. R. Connor, Thucydides

7. Classical Philosophy

Plato, at least Republic books 1, 6-7, 10(20)

Aristotle, at least Physics book 2 and Nicomachean Ethics books 1-2(21)

E. A. Havelock, Preface to Plato

J. Annas, Introduction to Plato's Republic

M. Grene, Portrait of Aristotle

M. Nussbaum, Fragility of Goodness

8. More 5th-4th century thought and action

Xenophon, esp. Memorabilia of Socrates(22)

Demosthenes On the Crown

Hippocrates esp. Airs Waters Places(23)

9. Hellenistic literary genres: Pastoral and Romance

Theocritus, esp. Idylls 1, 2 and 7;(24) compare Vergil's Eclogues 1 and 4(25)

Longus Daphnis and Chloe,(26) Petronius Satyrica,(27) Apuleius Golden Ass (esp. books 1 and 11)(28)

D. Halperin, Before Pastoral

B. P. Reardon, The Form of Greek Romance

A. Heisserer, The Novel Before the Novel

M. M. Bakhtin, The Dialogical Imagination

10. Hellenistic and Roman Historiography

Polybius, esp. books 1, 6, 31(29)

Sallust, Jugurtha and Catiline(30)

Livy, esp. books 1-5(31)

Tacitus, esp. Annals book 1(32)

Momigliano, op. cit.

R. Syme, Roman Revolution

11. Hellenistic philosophy and science

Diogenes Laertius Lives esp. of the Cynics and Zeno(33)

Archimedes' Method in Loeb Classics Greek Mathematical Works

A. A. Long and D. Sedley, The Hellenistic Philosophers

G. E. L. Lloyd, Greek Science after Aristotle

12. Roman Comedy

Plautus(34) Casina, Miles Gloriosus (at least in cut version in D. P. Lockwood, Survey of Classical Roman Literature vol. 1)

Terence Adelphi(35)

E. Segal, Roman Laughter

13. Literature of the late Republic

Catullus poems 1, 11, 51, 64(36)

Lucretius at least book 1, 1st half(37)

Cicero esp. Duties book 1, Verrines #1(38)

Caesar esp. B. G. 1 and the ethnography in book 6(39)

F. R. Cowell, Cicero and the Roman Republic

K. Quinn, The Catullan Revolution

14. Augustan literature

Vergil, Eclogues 1 and 4; Aeneid esp. 1, 5, 6, 12(40)

Horace, esp. Satires I.5, Odes I.1 and 37, III.1-6(41)

Ovid, esp. Metamorphoses 1(42)

Propertius, book 1(43)

15. Neronian literature

Seneca, esp. Thyestes(44)

Lucan, Pharsalia book 1(45)

Petronius, Satyrica(46)

16. Literature of the Empire

Juvenal Satires 3 and 6(47)

Plutarch Lives of Caesar and Alexander(48)

Pliny the Younger Letters to Trajan and description of his uncle's death(49)

(Martial epigrams if you can stand them, perhaps convinced by J. P. Sullivan, Martial: the Unexpected Classic)

Quintilian Institution: sel.(50)

Suetonius Life of Nero(51)


Lucian True History(53)

J. Carcopino, Daily Life in Ancient Rome

17. Christian Literature

Paul, esp. Romans

Gospels, esp. Mark(54)

Augustine, Confessions(55) esp. books 1-3 and 8

C. N. Cochrane, Christianity and Classical Culture

Classical Art:

Black-figure pottery down to Aeschylus's birth (look for it in the Perseus data base(14), and look there also at Olympia and Delphi, site plans and encyclopedia entries as well as video views)

Red-figure pottery from 500 BCE on: see Perseus, explore the index

Pergamene Sculpture--Great Altar (now in Berlin), Dying Gauls

Ara Pacis Augustae

Martin Robertson, History of Greek Art, also Shorter HGA

V. J. Scully, The Earth, the Temple and the Gods, reading both pictures and text

This amounts to 28 Greek and 23 or 24 Latin authors plus art and archaeology and secondary materials. We can cover them in several ways:

AP: A courses conceivably; CL/HY/PH 116 Greek History and Philosophy certainly includes groups 1-7; CO 100--Intro. to Comp. Lit. includes texts from groups 2, 4, 5, 14, 16, 17.

The Classical Foundations courses, CL 215/HY 214 (Hellenistic) and CL/HY 216 (Roman) cover, respectively, elements of groups 5, 9-11 and groups 10, 12-17.

Prof. Sam Williams covers much of group 17 in RE 112. Classics has courses on Epic and Novel (CL 222, topics), groups 6 and 10 (CL 221); Drama and Classics alternate a course (DR 201/CL 219) on groups 4-5.

The extended format Greek and Latin courses should get through as much as possible of the list in a two-year sequence (CL 201, 202, 301, 302; 211, 212, 311, 312.

Bibliographical resources and notes


Anc.Wr.: Ancient Writers: Greece and Rome, 2 vols. ed. T. J.Luce

BECS: Biographical Encyclopedia of Classical Studies, ed. W. M. Calder III and W. Briggs

CAH: Cambridge Ancient History

CGLC: Cambridge Greek and Latin Classics

LLA: Library of Liberal Arts

Loeb: Loeb Classical Library (Harvard UP)

OCT: Oxford Classical Texts (Oxford UP)

RE: Realenzyklopaedie der klassischen Altertumswissenschaft (Pauly-Wissowa)

Roscher: Roschers Ausführliches Lexikon der griechischen römischen Mythologie

Teubner: Bibliotheca Teubneriana (Teubner, Stuttgart)

TLang: Transparent Language texts and software, DOS version, Keck Lab

TLG: Thesaurus Linguae Graecae (CD-ROM, in the Keck Lab)

Notes on Editions, Texts and Translations:

In general, information about editions to use could come from J. Defradas, Guide de l'étudiant helleniste (1968) and P. Grimal, Guide de l'étudiant latiniste (1971), which are a generation old; or from B. Gullath, Wie finde ich altertumswissenschaftliche Literatur (1992). Be suspicious of texts without apparatus criticus if you are making some kind of important point in a paper: you may be analyzing a modern creation. Be suspicious of Greek texts read from the TLG, which represent judgments of Ted Brunner et al. re: good editions.

The official Classics Department 1-volume history of Greece and Rome is Boardman et al., Oxford History of the Greek and Roman World, which comes also as two different 2-volume paperback sets. The official longer history is the Cambridge Ancient History.

1.Hesiod text: OCT (West and Solmsen) or Loeb (Evelyn-White). West's translation, Oxford UP paperback; but N. O. Brown's more inspired version of Theogony (LLA) should be consulted and, for poetic presentation, the old Lattimore (Univ. of Michigan) and newer Athanassakis (Johns Hopkins).

3. Vergil text: OCT (Mynors)

4. Homer text: OCT (2 vols. Iliad, 2 vols. Odyssey, 1 vol. hymns etc., T. W. Allen); commentary to Iliad in 6 vols. ed. G. S. Kirk et al., Cambridge UP; commentary to Odyssey in 3 vols. ed. A. Heubeck et al.; specialized Homeric Lexicon by M. Cunliffe, U. Oklahoma Press; Chantraine, Grammaire homérique, 2 vols.

5. Note 1; West's is also the commentary to start with.

6. Commentary by N. J. Richardson, Oxford UP.

7. Text in D. A. Campbell, Greek Lyric Poetry, Bristol Classical Press reprint, or Loeb Greek Lyric vol. 1; OCT Lyrica graeca selecta (D. L. Page, who also did an editio maior) is ok.

8. Avoid OCT; Pindar text is Snell and Maehler Teubner. Classic American commentary by B. L. Gildersleeve, 1883, on whom see brief life in BECS.

9. Bio. in BECS.

10. Aeschylus text: OCT (Page); commentary of E. Fraenkel (Ag. only) is classic, see also Page's "school" text.

11. Sophocles text: OCT (Lloyd-Jones); Jebb's rather Christian commentary is classic; R. D. Dawe's commentary (CGLC) on OT is good.

12. Euripides text: OCT (Diggle) for Medea (vol. 1) and Helen and Bacchae when vol. 3 is out--Murray's older text now superseded, don't buy old vol. 3 unless cheap; Page's commentary on Medea and Dodds's on Bacchae. See also Wilamowitz's (bio. in BECS) comm. on the Herakles.

13. Bio. in BECS

14. On CD in the Keck Lab or at

15. Aristophanes text: avoid old OCT; Henderson's Lysistrata text and commentary (Oxford paperback) is good, also Dover's Clouds; Birds commentary more problematic.

16. Menander OCT (Sandbach); commentary by Gomme and Sandbach (Oxford).

17. Herodotus text: OCT (Hude); old historical commentary by How and Wells; translation by David Grene (Chicago).

18. Thucydides text: old Jones OCT: commentaries by S. Hornblower (vol. 1 bks. 1-3) and A. W. Gomme et al. (both Oxford).

19. Bio. in BECS.

20. Plato text: Burnet's OCT adequate for now; old Republic commentary by Adam. Translations by Alan Bloom (Basic) or Paul Shorey in the good Cairns-Hamilton Complete Dialogues (Princeton).

21. Aristotle texts: OCTs, translation in Ackrill's New Aristotle Reader (Princeton) or the 2-vol. complete translation rev. by J. Barnes.

22. Xenophon text: old OCT.

23. Hippocrates text: Loeb.

24. Theocritus: old OCT or N. Hopkinson Hellenistic Anthology in CGLC.

25. Vergil text: OCT (Mynors), commentary on Eclogues, R. Coleman (CGLC).

26. Longus text: ed. Schoenberger (2nd. ed. Berlin 1973) standard; Loeb text, ed./tr. J. M. Edmonds is ok; Gill transl. in B. P. Reardon ed., Collected Ancient Greek Novels (UCal).

27. Petronius text: Mueller (Munich 1961) or Ernout (Bude); Loeb is possible. Translations of J. P. Sullivan (Penguin) or W. Arrowsmith (New American Library).

28. Apuleius text: Loeb is ok; Teubner is standard.

29. Polybius text: Teubner standard, Loeb ok. Commentary by F. Walbank (Oxford).

30. Sallust text: OCT (Reynolds); CC's C. C. Mierow did a commentary; Penguin translation possible.

31. Livy text: OCT second ed. (Ogilvie); translation in Penguin or Loeb; commentary on books 1-5 by Ogilvie too (Oxford).

32. Tacitus text: old OCT possible.

33. Diogenes Laertius text: Loeb is adequate.

34. Plautus text: old OCT possible.

35. Terence text: old OCT; Adelphi commentary of R. H. Martin (CGLC) adequate.

36. Catullus text: OCT (Mynors); commentaries by K. Quinn (St. Martins) or P. Y. Forsythe (University Press of America) are good for class. TLang available.

37. Lucretius text: old OCT ok.

38. Cicero text: Loeb is possible.

39. Caesar text: old OCT.

40. Vergil text: OCT (Mynors); commentaries on Eclogues by Coleman (CGLC) and Aeneid 1, 2, 4, 6 by R. G. Austin (Oxford). TLang available.

41. Teubner Horace; avoid OCT. Commentary on Odes books 1-3 by Nisbet and Hubbard and by G. Williams (Oxford). Commentary on works by Kiessling and Heinze (11th ed., Zurich and Berlin).

42. Ovid text: Metamorphoses in Teubner (ed. Anderson) or Brill (Amsterdam 1968, ed. Proosdij) texts--there isn't an OCT; Loeb is possible. TLang available.

43. Propertius OCT adequate.

44. Seneca text: OCT of tragedies (Zwierlein); Epistulae Morales also OCT (Reynolds). 16th cent. important translation of the tragedies with intro by T. S. Eliot is: Thomas Newton, Seneca His Tenne Tragedies.

45. Lucan text: Loeb is barely possible, Teubner (Shackleton-Bailey) would be standard. Important translation by Christopher Marlowe.

46. Note 27.

47. Juvenal text: OCT (Clausen: A. Persi Flacci et D. Iunii Iuvenalis Saturae, 2nd. ed.); translation by P. Green, Penguin.

48. Plutarch text: Loeb is possible.

49. Plinius Secundus text: OCT (Mynors); Commentary by A. N. Sherwin-White (Oxford); Loeb is possible.

50. Quintilian text: old OCT.

51. Suetonius text: old Teubner, Loeb possible.

52. Note 23.

53. Lucian text: OCT; a translation was done by CC's W. D. Sheldon.

54. NT text: Westcott and Hort used to be standard. See Bruce Metzger, The Text of the New Testament.

55. Augustine text: Loeb is possible, magisterial 3-vol. ed. and comm. by J. J. O'Donnell, Oxford 1992.