Classical Greek and Roman Sources

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Texts

 

The following books are translations that I have read. If you were interested in reading these literatures, then I would highly recommend that you read these books. These books are the main sources of information for Timeless Myths.

Most of these books are actually books I have brought over the years. A few books listed here come from books I either borrow or read in the library.



Homer

The Iliad
translated by Robert Fitzgerald
Oxford University Press, 1974
  * Highly Recommended *

(This is more a verse version of the Iliad.)


The Iliad
translated by E. V. Rieu
Penguin Classics, 1946
  * Highly Recommended *

(My first book in the Classics collection. See the Iliad. This is set in the ninth year of the Trojan War. It is a lot more easily to read than Fitzgerald. It's a little battered, though. May have to replace this copy. My only problem with this translation is the use of Roman names in Greek epic, like Jove or Jupiter, Juno, Neptune and Ulysses.)


The Iliad
translated by Robert Fagles, introduction and notes by Bernard Knox
Penguin Classics, 1996
  * Highly Recommended *

(The best translation in verse of the Iliad.)


The Odyssey
translated by E. V. Rieu
Penguin Classics, 1950
  * Highly Recommended *

(The adventure and voyage of Odysseus (Ulysses). See the Odyssey. Like Rieu's translation of The Iliad, Rieu tends to use of Roman names in Greek epic, like Jove or Jupiter, Juno, Neptune and Ulysses.)


The Odyssey
translated by Robert Fagles, introduction and notes by Bernard Knox
Penguin Classics, 1996
  * Highly Recommended *

(The best verse version of the Odyssey, and without doubt, my favourite translation of The Odyssey.)



Hesiod

Theogony / Works and Days / Elegies (by Theognis)
translated by Dorothea Wender
Penguin Classics, 1973
  * Highly Recommended *

(Hesiod wrote Theogony and Works and Days. See Creation for the works of Hesiod. While the Elegies was written by Theognis.)


Hesiod. Homeric Hymns. Epic Cycle. Homerica
translated by Hugh G. Evelyn-White
Loeb Classical Library, 1936
  * Highly Recommended *

(This contains collection of works by Hesiod, such as Theogony, and the Works and Days. There are also other works that were attributed to Hesiod, but were composed lot later than Hesiod's time. These included Shield of Heracles, Catalogues of Women and Eoiae. Also found in this book are Homeric Hymns and the Epic Cycles.
A copy of this book can be found and read from Online Medieval and Classical Library (OMACL), or from Theoi E-Texts Library.)




Homeric Hymns

The Homeric Hymns
transalted by Jules Cashford
Penguin Classics, 2003

(Homeric Hymns is valuable for those who are interested about the gods. They were supposedly hymns to the gods. This book by Jules Cashford is a new translation.

See also Hesiod for older translation on the Homeric Hymns.)




Epic Cycle

The following poems after the Homer are lost, but summaries survived about these poems. The poems were called Epic Cycle. These poems consisted of three main themes.

The first theme was about the war of the gods.

  • The Titanomachy, concerning the war between the Titans and the Olympians.

The next theme had to do with Oedipus and his family, and the wars between Argos and Thebes.

  • Oedipodea, possibly of Oedipus' birth, oracle and kingship and his fall.
  • Thebais, concerning the Seven Against Thebes.
  • Epigoni, the second war between Argos and Thebes.

The last main theme had to do with Trojan War, before and after the Iliad and the Odyssey.

  • Cypria deals with the origin of the war, from wedding of Peleus and Thetis, as well as the Judgement of Paris, to the time before the Iliad.
  • Aethiopis or Amazonia deal with event, immediately after the death of Hector in the Iliad, and was about the death of Achilles and Ajax.
  • Little Iliad recount the event after Achilles' death, including the fall of Troy.
  • The Sack of Ilium, like the Little Iliad, concerned the final days of Troy.
  • Nostoi ("The Return") was about the Greek leaders who were either returning home or migrating to new home. See Aftermath of the War.
  • Telegony deals with the life of Odysseus after the Odyssey and his death at the hand of his son Telegonus.

All these works (Epic Cycle) can be found in one volume; see Hesiod for detail about the book.




Pindar

The Odes
translated by C. M. Bowra
Penguin Classics, 1969

(Lyric poetry devoted to those who took part in the Pan-Hellenic games, both historical and mythological.)



Aeschylus

The Oresteian Trilogy
translated by Philip Vellacott,
Penguin Classics, 1961

(A trilogy of tragedy comprising of Agamemnon, Libation Bearers, and the Eumenides)


Promethus Bound and Other Plays
translated by Philip Vellacott,
Penguin Classics, 1961

(A collection of tragedy comprising of Seven Against Thebes, The Suppliants, Prometheus Bound, and the Persae.)


The Oresteia: Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers, The Eumenides
translated by Robert Fagles, introduction and notes by W.B. Stanford
Penguin Classics, 1966
  * Highly Recommended *

(Translations by Robert Fagles.)



Sophocles

The Theban Plays
translated by E. F. Watling,
Penguin Classics, 1947
  * Highly Recommended *

(A trilogy of tragedy, comprising of Oedipus Rex, Oedipus at Colonus, and Antigone.)


Electra and Other Plays
translated by E. F. Watling,
Penguin Classics, 1953

(A collection of tragedy, comprising of Electra, Ajax, Philoctetes, and the Women of Trachis.)


The Three Theban Plays: Antigone, Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus
translated by Robert Fagles, introduction and notes by Bernard Knox
Penguin Classics, 1982
  * Highly Recommended *

(Translations by Robert Fagles.)



Euripides

Medea and Other Plays
translated by Philip Vellacott,
Penguin Classics, 1963
  * Highly Recommended *

(A collection of tragedy, comprising of Medea, Heracles (or Madness of Heracles), Hecuba, and Electra)


The Bacchae and Other Plays
translated by Philip Vellacott,
Penguin Classics, 1954
  * Highly Recommended *

(A collection of tragedy, comprising of The Bacchae, Ion, Women of Troy, and Helen)


Orestes and Other Plays
translated by Philip Vellacott,
Penguin Classics, 1972

(A collection of tragedy, comprising of Orestes, Andromache, The Phoenician Women, Iphigenia in Aulis, The Suppliant Women, and the Children of Heracles)


Alcestis, Hippolytus, Iphigenia in Tauris
translated by Philip Vellacott,
Penguin Classics, 1953

(A collection of tragedy, comprising of Alcestis, Hippolytus, and Iphigenia in Tauris)



Apollodorus

The Library of Greek Mythology
translated by Robin Hard,
World's Classics, 1997
  * Highly Recommended *

(Also called The Library. Another book, I relied heavily for Greek myths. This contained extensive tales of Greek myths. About a third of the Library was lost, and a summary called the Epitome replaced it. Actually, modern scholars believed that Apollodorus didn't write the Library. However, people continued to associate the Library with Apollodorus, since it was under his name. Apollodorus did write the Chronicle (Greek history) and On the Gods.

There is also electronic version available at Online Medieval and Classical Library (OMCL). Though, I don't know who translated the electronic edition, nor have I read this, yet.)



Apollonius of Rhodes

The Voyage of Argo
translated by E. V. Rieu,
Penguin Classics, 1959
  * Highly Recommended *

(Also called Argonautica, containing the fullest account of Jason and the Quest of the Golden Fleece.)



Callimachus

Callimachus - Hymns and Epigrams; Lycophron; Aratus
translated by A. W. Mair and G. R. Mair
Loeb Classical Library, 1921

(This is actually a book of three writers: Callimachus, Lycophron and Aratus.

Callimachus was the chief librarian of Alexandria, in Hellenistic Egypt, during the time Apollonius wrote his Argonautica. I am far more interested in Callimachus' hymns to the gods, which is sometimes compared with the older Homeric Hymns. The most interesting is the poem to Pallas Athena as she bathed, and how the goddess blinded Teiresias.

The poet Lycophron also wrote Alexandra, who is otherwise known as Cassandra, the Trojan seeress; this a poem I have yet to read. I don't know anything about Aratus.)



see below

Six Greek Comedies
Aristophanes, Menander, Euripides
translated by Michael Walton and Kenneth MacLeish
Methuen Drama, 2002

(Six plays from 3 different writers - Aristophanes, Menander and Euripides.
  Aristophanes – Birds, Frogs and Women in Power.
  Menander - The Women from Samos.
  Euripides - Cyclops and Alkestis.
All three playwrights were Athenians, and performed in Athens. The book showed the difference between Old Comedy (Aristophanes) and New Comedy (Menander) in Athens, as well as satyr-play by Euripides.)



 
Plutarch

The Rise and Fall of Athens: Nine Greek Lives
translated by Ian Scott-Kilvert,
Penguin Classics, 1960

(The main reason why I got this book is because of the biography of Theseus.)


Lives
     Theseus
     Romulus
     Numa Pompilius
translated by John Dryden
The Internet Classics Archive

(Plutarch was a Greek biographer, who give accounts on both Greek and Roman lives. Most of them were historical figures, while others were either mythical like Theseus or legendary, like Romulus and Numa.

Though translations and books are available in the Penguin Classics, World's Classics (Oxford) and in Loeb Classical Library, but I'm not really interested in buying these, since they are available in several volumes. So I downloaded what I needed from The Internet Classics Archive. These electronic texts or web pages were translated by John Dryden. It save me a lot of money.)



Pausania

Guide to Greece
volume 1: Central Greece
translated by Peter Levi
Penguin, Classics, 1971.
  * Highly Recommended *

Guide to Greece
volume 2: Southern Greece
translated by Peter Levi
Penguin, Classics, 1971.
  * Highly Recommended *

(Also called Periegesis Hellados ("Description of Greece"). This work is sort of a travel guide, containing myths and local legends associated with sites. This work comes in two volumes, Central Greece and Southern Greece.
There is also a couple of chapters found in Ancient History Sourcebook webpage:
  http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/ancient/pausanias-bk1.html
  http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/ancient/pausanias-bk2.html).



Strabo

The Geography
translated by Horace Leonard Jones
LacusCurtius: Strabo's Geography

(This electonic text format was extracted from the original printed Loeb Classical Library book (1917-1932), which there are 8 volumes. It would be too expensive to buy, so it is lucky that they have these one available on the net. Strabo was a Greek geographer (63 BC-AD 23). It does not only contain the geography and history of the Greeks and Romans, there some extensive description of the Celts living in Gaul, Spain and northern Italy. It is even a guide to India.)



Quintus Smyrnaeus

Fall of Troy
translated by A.S. Way, 1913
Online Medieval and Classical Library (OMCL)
  * Highly Recommended *

(Quintus Smyrnaeus or Quintus of Smyrna (4th century AD) wrote the Fall of Troy in Greek, instead of Latin. Quintus filled in the details of the Epic Cycle, from the arrival of the Amazons, after Hector's death to the Sack of Troy and the destruction of the Greek fleet.

I could not find this work in the bookshop, so I had downloaded this electronic edition from Online Medieval and Classical Library (OMCL). I suggest you to read this after reading the Epic Cycle)



Virgil

The Aeneid
translated by W. F. Jackson Knight,
Penguin Classics, 1956
  * Highly Recommended *

(The adventure of the Trojan prince named Aeneas after the Trojan War. See the Aeneid.)



Ovid

Metamorphoses
translated by Mary Innes,
Penguin Classics, 1955
  * Highly Recommended *

Metamorphoses: A New Verse Translation
translated by David Raeburn
notes by Denis Feeney
Penguin Classics, 2004
  * Highly Recommended *

(Extensive work on myths composed by the Roman writer Ovid. The main theme was the transformations of deities, heroes and heroines to animal, vegetable or mineral. There is a new translation written in verse style. I have two different translation of the Metamorphoses.)


Fasti
translated by A. J. Boye and R. D. Woodard
Penguin Classics, 2000

(Sort like a handbook of the Roman calendar and festivals dedicated to the Roman deities. It also contained some myths on some of the deities. Only six Fasti survived, from January to June 30.)



Gaius Valerius Flaccus
The Voyage of the Argo: The Argonautica of Gaius Valerius Flaccus
translated by David R. Slavitt
The John Hopkins University Press, 1999
(Just got this book. Yet to read it. An alternative version to Apollonius Rhodius' classic.)


anonymous
The Orphic Argonautica: An English Translation
translated by Jason Colavito
Jason Colavito, 2011
(Just got this book. Yet to read it. An alternative version to Apollonius Rhodius' classic.)


Hyginus

The Myths of Hyginus
translated and edited by Mary Grant
University of Kansas Publication, 1960
  * Highly Recommended *

(I read some of the tales at the State Library. This contained the Fabulae and the Poetica Astronomica. The problems with Hyginus is that he sometimes give confusing accounts in some well-known myths. A copy of Grant's translation can be found at Theoi E-Texts Library.)



Apuleius

The Golden Ass
translated by P. G. Walsh
World's Classics, 1994
  * Highly Recommended *

(This contain the tale of Cupid and Psyche. You will find the story in the Book 5, chapter 22.

There is also an electronic version, found at http://eserver.org/books/apuleius/. It is titled The Golden Asse, and it come from the Adlington's translation, 1566. You may find this difficult to read, because it was translated into Elizabethan (Tudor) Engish. This translation is frequently used, and the current electronic edition was compiled by Martin Guy.)



Nonnus

Dionysiaca
translated by W. H. Rouse
Loeb Classical Library, 1940
3 volumes

(Nonnus of Panopolis wrote Dionysiaca work about the life of wine god Dionysus, in the 5th century AD in Egypt. There are 48 books, which come in 3 volumes. I had found this work in the State Library.)




Plato

Timaeus and Critias
translated by Desmond Lee
introduction by Thomas Kjeller Johansen Penguin Classics

(I had relied on these two dialogues of Plato, to obtain information the earliest accounts of Atlantis. I would only recommend getting these two dialogues if you are interested in the earliest accounts of Atlanthis; otherwise you can ignore them. See the island of Thera in the Geographia.)


Two dialogues of Plato:
   Timaeus
   Critias
translated by Benjamin Jowett
The Complete Works of Plato for free



Proclus

The Theology of Plato
Translated by Thomas Taylor
http://myweb.cableone.net/subru/platonictheology.html



Herodotus

The Histories
translated by Aubrey de Selincourt,
Penguin Classics, 1954
  * Highly Recommended *

(Though Herodotus was a historian, his extensive travel in Greece, Asia Minor and the Aegean islands, include many local legends not found anywhere else.)



Diodorus Siculus

Library of History
translated by C. H. Oldfather.
Loeb Classical Library, 1933-1967

(Known as Bibliotheca historica. This is actually a book on history, but it has fairly large number of myths. Though the work is fragmented, it is still pretty large works. This is available by Loeb Classical Library, in 12 volumes, and each volume is not cheap. I have only bought volumes 2 and 3, because most of the myths can be found in Book IV and Book V. His sources for the history of Hellenistic kingdoms and the Republican Rome maybe reliable, but not his sources for the myths. His tendency to tried to give more logical account or explaination to the myths, tend to spoil well known myths.)



Livy

The Early History of Rome
translated by Aubrey de Selincourt and Robert Ogilvie.
Penguin, 1960.
  * Highly Recommended *

(Livy was a Roman historian (59 BC - AD 17), who wrote the History of Rome. Though there were 142 books, only 36 books survived. For the Modern English there are several other volumes, but this volume contained legends of the seven kings of Rome and how Rome became a Republic. See Tales of Rome.)



Ptolemy

Tetrabiblos
translated by F. E. Robbins
Loeb Classical Library, 1940.

(Claudius Ptolemy (c. AD 100-178) was one of the great astronomers and geographers of his time.)



unknown

Ancient Fragments
translated by I. P. Cory, 1832
Sacred Texts
http://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/af/index.htm

(Here are a number of translations of fragmented texts from the works of Berossus, Pythagorean Fragments, Orphic Fragments and the Theogonies.)



unknown

Orphic Hymns
translated by Thomas Taylor, 1792
compiled at Sibylline Order
http://www.sibyllinewicca.org/lib_writing/lib_oh_index.htm

(These texts were translated by Thomas Taylor in 1792, in his work the Hymns of Orpheus.)








Other Texts

 

The following works are translations that I have not yet read, but I do suggest that you give them a try.... Well, if you can find them.

There are maybe several reasons why I haven't read these works yet.

  • There is no English translation available yet.
  • The original is either fragmented or damaged, and probably not yet published.
  • It's out of publication (OUT OF PRINT).
  • I couldn't afford it (please, donate?).
  • It was available but I did not want to buy it.

However, if you do happened to find English translation of any of these works (preferably in paperback) that are affordable, please e-mail me the details (title, author, name of the translator, ISBN, and the publisher, etc).



Ovid

The Erotic Poems
translated by Peter Green
Penguin Classics, 1982

(Some more myths from Ovid can be found here. This contained mainly love poems or stories.)



Aesop

Fables

(I'm not sure what's in this book. Anyway, I'm not really interested in buying this.)



Statius

Thebaid

Achilleid

(Two Roman epics written by Publius Papinius Statius (AD 45-96). The Thebaid is about the quarrel of Polyneices and Eteocles over the throne of Thebes and the war known as the Seven Against Thebes. While the Achilleid (incomplete) is the account about the early life of Achilles. Available but I'm not really interested in buying this. Available at Loeb Classical Library, but expensive. A second book from World's Classics contained only the epic Thebaid, published by A. D. Melville, was less expensive than the Loeb.)



 
unknown

The Knossos Tablets: A revised transliteration of all the texts in Mycenaean Greek
Emmett L. Bennett, John Chadwick, Michael Ventris
Institute of Classical Studies, University of London, 1959



unknown

The Pylos Tablets
Emmett L. Bennett
Princeton University Press, 1955








References

 

The following books I have read and used for my researches and general references. These works are probably dictionary, encyclopedia, critical essays or analysis on myths, etc.

Some of these books probably provide history and background to the myths and legend.



The Oxford Classical Dictionary
Simon Hornblower & Antony Spawforth
Oxford University Press, 3rd ed. 1996



The Oxford Companion To Classical Literature
M. C. Howaston
Oxford University Press, 1989



 

Homer, the Iliad
Silk, Michael
Cambridge University Press, 1987



Dictionary of Archeology
edited by Paul Bahn
Collins, 1992

(Useful information on archaeology.)









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