Hypatia's Bookshelf

Correggio, St. Catherine

Selections from pagan literature:

Apuleius On the God of Socrates
Aristophanes The Clouds
Aristotle Complete Works
Bion Lament for Adonis
Callimachus To Apollo
Cato the Elder On Agriculture
Celsus The True Doctrine
Marcus Tullius Cicero Against Verres
  For Cluentius
   The Nature of the Gods
   On Divination
   On Friendship
  Scipio's Dream
  Tusculan Disputations
Cleanthes Hymn to Zeus
Epictetus Manual
Epicurus Letter to Herodotus
  Letter to Menoeceus
Euripides The Bacchae
Heraclitus Fragments
Hesiod Justice and the City
Homeric Hymn To Dionysus
Julian the Apostate Against the Galilaeans
  Letter to a Priest
Livy History of Rome
Lucian Creeds for Sale
  Death of Peregrinus
  Icaromenippus, an Aerial Expedition
  Prometheus on Caucasus
Lucretius On the Nature of Things
Marcus Aurelius Meditations
Ovid Lawful Days
Parmenides On Nature
Pericles Funeral Oration
Philostratus The Life of Apollonius of Tyana
  Lives of the Sophists
Plato The Complete Dialogues
Plotinus The Three Initial Hypostases
  On Their Origin and Order
  The Knowing Hypostases
  On the One
  Against the Gnostics
   The Enneads
Plutarch On the Cessation of Oracles
   On the Delay in Divine Justice
   On the E at Delphi
   The Eating of Flesh
   On Isis and Osiris
   The Man in the Moon
   On the Pythian Responses
  Against the Stoics
   On Superstition
  The Training of Children
Porphyry Abstinence from Animal Food
  Against the Christians
  On Images
Quintilian The Orator's Education
Sallust On the Gods and the World
Lucius Annaeus Seneca The Stoic Philosophy: Letters, Essays
Solon Prayer to the Muses
Suetonius Lives of the Grammarians
  Lives of the Twelve Caesars
Varro Of Country Life
Virgil Georgics
Xenophanes Fragments
Xenophon Defense of Socrates
   Memorabilia of Socrates

Plato Home
Aristotle Home

"Plutarch to his wife, greeting:

"The messenger you sent me to tell me of the death of our little girl seems to have missed his way on the road to Athens, but I heard the news from our granddaughter when I reached Tanagra. I suppose the funeral has already taken place, and I hope everything was done in a way to give you the least pain both now and in time to come...

"Try, by carrying yourself back in memory, to return often to the time before this child was born, when we had no complaint against Fortune, and compare our situation now with what it was then, as though it had merely become again the same as it was. For, dear wife, we shall seem to be regretting the birth of our little daughter if we think of our situation before her birth as happier than it is now. Not that we should wipe from our memories the two years between, when she was alive, but consider them as a gift of grace and special joy. We must not call a blessing a great affliction because it was short, nor be unthankful for what was given us because Fortune did not grant us all we hoped for. If we always speak well of Deity, and are cheerful and content with Fortune, we shall have a fair and pleasant reward. For one who in a position like ours mostly tries to remember his blessings, and turns and diverts his mind from the dark and distressing things in life to what is bright and splendid, will either cure his grief altogether or else make it seem insignificant and pale in comparison with his comforts." (Plutarch, Letter of Consolation to His Wife on the Death of Timoxena)

Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Thrice HolyColor WildflowersNotecardsLandscapesPhilo Library

The texts here presented soar to the heights and plumb the depths. Hesiod's hunger for justice (selections from the 'Works and Days') calls to mind Amos, while Plato's dismal project for a fascist society ('The Laws') makes a beehive look like an oasis of individual liberty. 'Plutarch's' paeans to the Logos scale the heights of pagan theology, while Euripides' terrifying 'Bacchae' reminds the reader that all is not sweetness and light in a world governed by powerful, yet amoral, beings, who do not have mankind's best interests at heart.

As you enjoy this literature, pardon me, 'literature,' dear reader, please be so kind as to verify to your own satisfaction whether you are reading 'literature' or literature:

"The ancient cultures of the Middle East, Egypt, Greece, and Rome have been called 'oral cultures.' Although all of them had writing systems and developed important pieces of 'literature' (such as the biblical narratives, the Epic of Gilgamesh, and the Iliad and Odyssey), they were not primarily 'writing cultures' in the same way the modern Western world is." (L. Michael White, From Jesus to Christ, p. 111)

Or is it rather that when you read too many offerings from the 'Jesus' Publishing Industry, it becomes hard to differentiate and it all starts to sound like 'bar-bar-bar-bar.'

Several of these works were scanned for this web-site, others are available elsewhere on the internet. Readers who share Hypatia's taste in literature may also enjoy visiting:



Sacred Texts