Thu

29

Dec

2011

Greco-Roman Canonical Texts

After digesting the Leob Classic Library catalogue, and the other works I referred to in prior blog entries, my initial list (for non-Christian authors) is as follows:

 

Greek

History: Herodotus, Thucydides, Diogenes Laertius

Philosophy: Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus

Literature: Homer, Sophocles

 

Latin

History: Livy

Literature: Cicero, Virgil, Ovid

 

Notes:

- Diogenes Laertius is chosen for the lives of many influential philosophers and schools (e.g. Stoic, Epicurean), which the list cannot possibly include

- Didn't include Josephus and Philo (Jewish authors) - because ultimately these play a role more because of Christian interest rather than them being influential in the Greco-Roman or subsequent Jewish intellectual world

- Latin history: Livy chosen over Tacitus is a new thinking on my part. Originally I have some bias against Livy as his works only survive in fragments. Now that I've learnt that even just the extant fragments come up to >2,500 pages of English translation ...

- Latin literature: Horace was omitted. My feeling is that lyric poetry or satires / comedies never attain as high a literary prestige as tragedy or epics in the western tradition. Thus also the reasoning of not including say Sappho or Aristophanes in Greek Literature.

- Cicero selected as a prose writer, but the work I would actually include is likely De Officiis which could also be considered a philosophy text.

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