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A Loeb Classical Library Reader

Loeb Classical Library

ISBN 9780674996168

Publication date: 03/30/2006

This selection of lapidary nuggets drawn from 33 of antiquity’s major authors includes poetry, dialogue, philosophical writing, history, descriptive reporting, satire, and fiction—giving a glimpse at the wide range of arts and sciences, thought and styles, of Greco-Roman culture.
The selections span twelve centuries, from Homer to Saint Jerome. The texts and translations are reproduced as they appear in Loeb volumes.
The Loeb Classical Library® is the only existing series of books which, through original text and facing English translation, gives access to all that is important in Greek and Latin literature. A Loeb Classical Library Reader offers a unique sampling of this treasure trove. In these pages you will find:
Odysseus tricking the Cyclops in order to escape from the giant’s cave; Zeus creating the first woman, Pandora, cause of mortals’ hardships ever after; the Athenian general Nicias dissuading his countrymen from invading Sicily; Socrates, condemned to die, saying farewell; a description of Herod’s fortified palace at Masada; Cicero’s thoughts on what we owe our fellow men; Livy’s description of the rape of the Sabine women; Manilius on the signs of the zodiac; and Pliny’s observation of the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 CE.
Here you can enjoy looking in on people, real and imaginary, who figure prominently in ancient history, and on notable events. Here, too, you can relish classical poetry and comedy, and get a taste of the ideas characteristic of the splendid culture to which we are heir.


  • Here you will find old friends; Odysseus planning to dangle underneath a ram as he escapes the Cyclops or Plato (this translation from 1914) reporting Socrates' last words in an Athenian jail hours before the 'corrupter of the youth' drinks hemlock at the state's behest… Although the Reader—like all anthologies (literally a gathering of flowers, but of course only a scoopful of petals)—is frustrating (the excerpts stop just as you are hooked, so we never hear Socrates delivering his mnemonic line 'it is time to depart, for me to die, for you to live; which of us takes the better course, god only knows') it does carry cogent gobbets.

    —Bettany Hughes, The Times


  • A complete list of the works available in the Loeb Classical Library is available at

Book Details

  • 240 pages
  • 4-1/4 x 6-3/8 inches
  • Harvard University Press