Top 10 Favourite Classical Books | Ancient Greek & Roman Literature

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Where to read ancient myths:
The Ancient Greek Novel:
Intro to ancient poetry:

Full ancient history & classics playlist:

The Books:

Jason & the Golden Fleece:–The-Argonautica-/9780199538720?a_aid=bookishthoughts

The Odyssey:
Alternative translations in verse:
Emily Wilson:
Richmond Lattimore:

The Library of Greek Mythology:

The Satyricon:

Daphnis and Chloe:

Leucippe and Clitophon:

The Art of Love:

The Nature of Things:

Sappho’s Collected Poems:

Theocritus’ Idylls:

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invisible_forever says:

Please will you help find a book that i forgot it’s name.The book talks about a girl who was lost in a city I believe with other teenagers. The cover of the book is a half-face of a girl with green eyes.

Dallyce Potess says:

Nooooo! This video made my TBR grow again!

darlingcouture91 says:

This was awesome! Thanks for the great suggestions. Kind of following the same vein, I think a similar video that focuses on nonfiction (maybe modern scholarship, or maybe just historical nonfiction) related to antiquity or even your own research interests would be cool to watch!

nickywal says:

I read some of these while I was doing Latin and Greek in school, I’ve been meaning to pick them up again. My TBR doesn’t need this video

J S says:

Wonderful video. I love the way you give context to the books you’re talking about. Thank you!

Samantha S says:

Love this!! I’ve read a fair amount of ancient literature and adore it, but it’s a limited genre (just in terms of how much as survived) so I’m afraid of running out, but given how many in this video I haven’t read I should be ok! Would you ever do a video on the relevance of ancient literature today?

Maria Martellaro says:

I did Greek & Roman Civilizations as one of my major in college, so I read a lot of ancient literature. We were much more focused on the plays though. Of the ones I remember, we did Homer’s Iliad & Odyssey, Vergil’s Aeneid & bits of the Eclogues, Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Theogony/Works & Days, a whole course of mythology, Daphnis & Chloe, plenty of Plato/Socrates/Aristotle, Thucycides and Herodotus, and then tons of plays. A couple of my favorite plays were Iphigenia at Aulis and Terence’s Brothers (not sure, but I think it’s the basis for A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum). I also enjoyed translating Lysias’ On the Murder of Eratosthenes.

Words Words Everywhere says:

I love how you had some lesser known picks here! But I’m surprised about the lack of the Metamorphoses 🙁

Renée Timmermans says:

What an awesome video this was! I am a sucker for Greek and Roman literature and love to see someone discuss it. I love that you mentioned Ovid, because eventhough he is not my favourite I had so much fun translating his texts in Highschool. Some of his imaginary is só bizarre that me and my classmates were convinced we mistranslated it, but it was actually correct. We had so much fun with it and I just treasure those memories so much. I was not able take Latin or Greek after Highschool again and sometimes actually miss it. Especially Latin in my opinion is a beautiful language and there are so many treasures of literature out there from that period.
I would love to see more of these types of videos from you if you enjoy making them!

Tim Pieraccini says:

This is the edition I have of Sappho, which is very beautiful (without and within):

lachlanmoir79 says:

Great choices. I need to check out the later Greek novels, but I’m concentrating on the comedies and plays concurrent with my studies atm. I absolutely adore Aristophanes and Sophocles. Aeschylus and Homer both write (or compose) excellent drama. Historiography is represented via Herodotus and Thucydides. Herodotus especially seems like somebody you would actually like to travel with. Just getting into Roman authors now and looming forward to Ovid. I enjoyed the Aeneid, but can’t help being biased more towards Homer. But, most importantly I am loving the classics and so glad to be studying these remarkable people.

Pooya Shirazi says:

you seem to like Classics and also poetry a lot and also seem well versed in Greek and Roman literature, so i thought to recommend you something outside of this, if you don’t mind.

i highly recommend you to check out Book of Kings or Shahnameh which is written by the Persian author Ferdowsi. it is the longest epic poem ever with over 50,000 couplets. Persians are masterful poets but Ferdowsi is the one that even the best Persian poets like Rumi and Hafiz called him the master. if it wasnt for him and his collection of tales and poems called Shahnameh, there wouldn’t be a Persian language today.

his work is lesser known in europe and other parts of the world that don’t have that much Persian speaking people, mainly because of lack of good translation, which have been remedied in these past decade or so, both by the new English translation which is also in couplets and does a very good job of translating the heart of the stories. also there is a new Illustrated English version of the book which is very good, you could find it on Amazon.

Christopher Murphy says:

Smart women are awesome. Im going to have to brush up on my classics.

Mike Stone says:

I liked Antigone by Sophocles. Short but to the point and a sad ending, almost tragic. How would we amuse ourselves without the Ancient Greeks. I adore your videos especially the Classics.

TimeAndChance says:

Classics I’ve read. The Odyssey. an abridged Iliad & Jason ‘n Golden Fleece. Oedipus Rex. Aesop’s Fables. Half of Metamorphoses/Ovid, Theogony, Works & Days, myth of Cupid & Psyche, Plato: complete dialogues except The Laws, Lysistrata, Elektra, Antigone. Some non-fic history excerpts from Tacitus, Herodotus, Thucydides, Josephus. Does Augustine & Dionysius the Pseudo-Areopagus & all those so-called Early Church Fathers like Athanasius, Origen, Eusebius, Irenaeus et al count as classical lit.? Boethius?

mür says:

hullo! I was wondering whether I should read The Illiad in order to read The Odyssey.
Great book recommendations for a Classical lover ✨

Eric Karl Anderson says:

This is great. I really haven’t read many ancient books except for The Odyssey so it’s fascinating hearing your take and summaries on these. Also I’m planning to curate a group of classical books for a reading group in a few months time so this is really helpful! Thank you!

Have you seen the memoir An Odyssey: A Father, A Son and an Epic by Daniel Mendelsohn? I’ve only read 50 pages so far, but it’s a really emotional journey the author takes with his father touring the Mediterranean spots referenced in the Odyssey.

RachelKitten says:

As someone taking an ancient history degree I’m ashamed to say that I haven’t read many ancient books except those set on the course and small bits and bobs. I think it’s time to get stuck into some of these during the summer!

spannycat waffles says:

Myth Compendiums from Creation to Trojan War that I love: Apollodorus Library, Hyginus Fabulae, Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Star Myths of The Greeks and Romans, Hesiod’s Catalogue of Women, Diodorus Siculus Library of History Books 4-6, John Malalas’ Chronicles Books 4-6, The Vatican Mythographers, Pherecydes of Athens Fragments. And those are just myth compendiums from Creation to Trojan War. I’m not even going to try to list the other stuff, it’s too much. Oh my god, one myth compendium of this genre that I hate is Fulgentius Mythologies, it’s so boring. I’ve tried to read it several times but I just can’t take it seriously.

The Reader's Athenaeum says:

One of my reading goals for 2018 was to read some ancient Greek and Roman books and so far I’ve managed zero, so this is really helpful! 🙂

The Book Belle says:

I love this video Jean! I really want to read more Ancient Greek and Roman texts so this video was perfect timing! x

Luis Mariscal says:

Are you able to read some of these books, say The Odyssey in Ancient Greek?

IndigoImmy says:

I’m going to have to read Sappho’s poems now this is the second time I’ve heard of them in a week.

Evan Font says:

How is your Ancient Greek coming along? Have you tried to do any extensive reading in Ancient Greek yet?

Tim Pieraccini says:

The Penguin edition I have of the Argonautica (Rieu, 1959, reprinted ’67) is called The Voyage of Argo.

Anna Babbling Book says:

The Satyricon is one of my favorites! I also love The Golden Ass, the poems of Catullus, satires of Juvenal, and Plautus’s plays.

spannycat waffles says:

Have you read Valerius Flaccus’ Argonautica or Orphic Argonautica?

Dane Reads says:

Cool! I have The Odyssey as my bedside book at the moment, I’m reading roughly ten pages a night haha. It’s very good though. Mine is an Oxford University Press translation in verse, they actually sent it to me for review about two years ago and it’s taken me forever to get to it. Beautiful book though and I’m enjoying it. I aim for ten pages a night but quite often I get ten pages in and don’t want to put it down 😀

Kiri Kincell says:

I didn’t keep up with YouTube during the semester, but I knew this was a video I wanted to go back and read. Thanks for all your suggestions! Having read and enjoyed The Iliad and The Aeneid, I definitely want to delve more into classical literature. This was a great video for my TBR.

Jairo Londoño says:

I don’t know what’s up with the Classics. There must be something really profound and immortal in those writings or maybe some kind of magic that surrounds them. I am obssessed I just finished the Illiad and the Odyssey and I want to read as much as I can Latin and Greek pieces and philosophy. The fact that there is a PHD in classics proves it is still important and relevant today

I Never Promised You A Prose Garden says:

Other than The Odyssey, I haven’t read any of these. I’ve read a couple of the dramas and really liked them. I definitely want to read more classical lit so I’m happy to see these kinds of videos.

George Shirtcliffe says:

Dope video – but where was the Aeneid?? Such a brilliant text even though it was kind of riding off the back of Homer. Wild imagery and an all round solid epic.

Xenu says:

Unsurprisingly, this is one of my favorite videos of yours and it is now *favorited.* Every once in a while I’ve toyed with the idea of starting a BookTube/commentary channel and this has tempted me once again! I haven’t read Apollodorus since I was a teenager. Do you find it a very different experience from reading Robert Graves’ “The Greek Myths” or Edith Hamilton’s “Mythology”? When I think of Apollodorus I think of him as the original predecessor but I can’t rely on remembrances of a reading from long ago. Wonderful video. Consider me a fellow admirer of Lucretius and “The Odyssey.” 🙂

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