Banner: Loeb Classical Library

The New Translations

The Loeb Classical Library features English translation facing the original Greek or Latin text, page by page. In order to present translations that are as up-to-date and accurate as possible, new Loeb editions have departed from an earlier tradition of euphemizing or bowdlerizing material that might be considered offensive.

Earlier Loeb editions took pains to remove or edit any passages that “might give offense,” usually references to sex and homosexuality. Such material was relegated to the footnotes, where the true meaning might be hinted at or translated into an unrelated language (such as Italian). While these convoluted attempts to disguise the risqué nature of the texts were often amusing in and of themselves, the newer translations better preserve the spirit and meaning of the original texts.

Excerpt from a facing-page translation of a work by Aristophanes, newly retranslated to include the original 'adult' themes

Excerpt from a facing-page translation of a work by Aristophanes, newly retranslated to include the original ‘adult’ themes

As an example, in the updated Loeb translation of Aristophanes, two characters are discussing the poet Agathon, notorious in Athens for his promiscuous homosexuality (see image).

In an earlier Loeb edition, the final line of this excerpt was translated: “I fear there’s much you don’t remember, sir.” A footnote then gave in Latin the real meaning of the Greek line.

The new Loeb translations were covered by the New York Times in September, 2000: O Profligate Youth of Rome, Ye #*!, Ye @#! (See Footnote)

The Loeb Classical Library® is published and distributed by Harvard University Press. It is a registered trademark of the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved.

See books in this collection and sort by title, author, format, publication date, or price »

Back to top

Capitalism, Alone: The Future of the System That Rules the World, by Branko Milanovic, from Harvard University Press

Recent News

From Our Blog

Jacket: Forgotten Healers: Women and the Pursuit of Health in Late Renaissance Italy, by Sharon T. Strocchia, from Harvard University Press

Q&A with Sharon Strocchia, author of Forgotten Healers: Women and the Pursuit of Health in Late Renaissance Italy

As part of Women’s History Month, we spoke with Sharon T. Strocchia about her new book, Forgotten Healers: Women and the Pursuit of Health in Late Renaissance Italy, which uncovers the crucial role women played in the great transformations of medical science and health care that accompanied the Italian Renaissance. Your research demonstrates that women in Renaissance Italy played a major role in providing health care.

‘manifold glories of classical Greek and Latin’

The digital Loeb Classical Library (loebclassics.com) extends the founding mission of James Loeb with an interconnected, fully searchable, perpetually growing virtual library of all that is important in Greek and Latin literature.