The Persians

The Persians

Aeschylus

The Persians is the second and only surviving part of a now otherwise lost trilogy that won the first prize at the dramatic competitions in Athens’ City Dionysia festival in 472 BCE. It takes place in Susa, which at the time was one of the capitals of the Persian Empire, and opens with a chorus of old men, who are soon joined by the Queen Mother, Atossa, as they await news of her son King Xerxes’ expedition against the Greeks.

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Bulfinch’s Mythology, The Age of Fable

Bulfinch's Mythology, The Age of Fable

Thomas Bulfinch

The Age of Fable, or Stories of Gods and Heroes is the first part of Bulfinch’s Mythology, the other two being The Age of Chivalry, or Legends of King Arthur, and, Legends of Charlemagne, or Romance of the Middle Ages. Chapters include: Prometheus and Pandora; Apollo and Daphne — Pyramus and Thisbe — Cephalus and Procris; Juno and Her Rivals, Io and Callisto — Diana and Actaeon — Latona and the Rustics…

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On Youth And Old Age, On Life And Death, On Breathing

On Youth And Old Age, On Life And Death, On Breathing

Aristotle

One of the short treatises that make up Aristotle’s Parva Naturalia. In comparison to the first five treatises of the Parva Naturalia, this one (and On Length and Shortness of Life), while still dealing with natural phenomena involving the body and the soul, are “definitely biological rather than psychological.” The title On Youth And Old Age, On Life And Death, On Breathing, given in the Medieval manuscripts…

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The Iliad

The Iliad of Homer

Homer

This is Samuel Butler’s translation of the core story of the Trojan War. The tale of the fateful war between the Achaeans and the city of Troy is one of the masterpieces of world literature.

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The Amazons

The Amazons

Guy Cadogan Rothery

Fully illustrated. The legend of the Amazons is amazingly consistent across three continents, even though actual documentary proof seems elusive. In particular, the Athenians were most insistent about the historical reality of a nation of all-women warriors; their legends described a prehistoric conflict with the Amazons as one of their finest hours. Although later the Amazons became just another map-filling…

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Metaphysics

Metaphysics

Aristotle

Metaphysics is one of the principal works of Aristotle and the first major work of the branch of philosophy with the same name. It is considered to be one of the greatest philosophical works and its influence on the Greeks, the Muslim philosophers, the scholastic philosophers and even writers such as Dante, was immense. It is essentially a reconciliation of Plato’s theory of Forms that…

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Heracles

Heracles

Euripides

Heracles is an Athenian tragedy by Euripides that was first performed c. 416 BCE. While Heracles is in the underworld obtaining Cerberus for one of his labours, his father Amphitryon, wife Megara, and children are sentenced to death in Thebes by Lycus. Heracles arrives in time to save them, though the goddesses Iris and Madness (personified) cause him to kill his wife and children in a frenzy.

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The Cyclops

The Cyclops

Euripides

The Cyclops is an Ancient Greek satyr play by Euripides, the only complete satyr play that has survived. It is a comical burlesque-like play on a story that occurs in book nine of Homer’s Odyssey. Odysseus has lost his way on the voyage home from the Trojan War. He and his hungry crew make a stop in Sicily at Mount Aetna, which is inhabited by Cyclopes. They come upon the Satyrs and their father Silenus…

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The History of Animals

The History of Animals

Aristotle

The History of Animals is one of the major texts on biology by the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle, written in the fourth century BC. Seen as a pioneering work of zoology, Aristotle frames his text by explaining that he is investigating the what (the existing facts about animals) prior to establishing the why (the causes of these characteristics). The book is thus an attempt to apply philosophy…

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Greek Popular Religion

Greek Popular Religion

Martin P. Nilsson

With 40 illustrations. This is a short survey of Greek religious practice and beliefs. It gives a fascinating look at the very earthy popular side of Greek religion, with its festivals, initiations, secret societies, oracles, and a practical but very superstitious belief system. The author also discusses how some of these beliefs and…

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Myths of Crete and Pre-Hellenic Europe

Myths of Crete and Pre-Hellenic Europe

Donald A. Mackenzie

This is an informative, well researched and very readable book. From the Preface: ‘This volume deals with the myths and legends connected with the ancient civilization of Crete, and also with the rise and growth of the civilization itself, while consideration is given to various fascinating and important problems that arise in the course of investigating pre-Hellenic habits of thought and habits of…

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The Categories

The Categories

Aristotle

The Categories is a text from Aristotle’s Organon that enumerates all the possible kinds of things that can be the subject or the predicate of a proposition. The work is brief enough to be divided, not into books as is usual with Aristotle’s works, but into fifteen chapters. The Categories places every object of human apprehension under one of ten categories (known to medieval writers as the Latin term…

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Five Stages of Greek Religion

Gilbert Murray

Beginning with Greece’s earliest rites, this volume traces the development of the classic religion of the Olympian gods and discusses the religion of the philosophic schools of the fourth century BC. It portrays the emergence of Christianity and concludes with an account of the efforts of Julian the Apostate to restore a new…

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