Statius’ Thebaid, Books 1-6. This epic is hardly ever read or taught these days, but in 100 CE, it was as famous as anything in the Roman world.
Petronius’ Satyricon is a contender for history’s first novel, a picaresque filled with sex, misadventures, and details about daily life.
Seneca’s Phaedra (c. 50s CE) is the story of an illicit passion, a stoic cautionary tale and simultaneously vivid character study.
Seneca’s Thyestes, probably written around the 50s CE, is one of the most horrifying and influential plays ever written.
Stoicism, starting with Zeno in 300 BCE, was a popular philosophy by the lifetime of Seneca, perhaps even making its way into the New Testament.
Seneca the Younger (c 1 BCE-65 CE) practiced the philosophy of stoicism over the course of several volatile, and very different imperial reigns.
For mysterious reasons, in 8 CE, Ovid was exiled from Rome. Ovid’s last works were composed an ocean away from Italy, on the western shore of the Black Sea.
Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Books 11-15. The vast Metamorphoses draws to a resonant conclusion as Ovid brings his great poem to Rome itself.
Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Books 6-10. In the middle portion of Ovid’s great poem, psychological transformations become as gripping as physical ones.
Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Books 1-5. This book influenced thousands of years of later literature, and remains one of our best source texts on classical mythology.
Ovid’s Art of Love is ancient Rome’s manual of seduction – a record of the steamier side of the Augustan Age.
The love poetry of Ovid (43 BCE-17 CE) was standard Latin curriculum for hundreds of years, but it was also the product of a very specific historical moment.
Propertius (c. 50-1 BCE) took the Latin elegiac form to new heights of complexity and passion, even weaving subtle satire throughout his work.
Virgil’s Aeneid, Books 10-12. The end of Rome’s great epic is about something Romans of Virgil’s generation knew very well indeed. War.
Virgil’s Aeneid, Books 7-9. Aeneas’ arrival in Italy begins auspiciously enough, but soon things take a turn for the worse.
Virgil’s Aeneid, Books 4-6. The story of Dido and Aeneas, and his subsequent journey to the underworld, is the heart of Rome’s most famous poem.
Virgil’s Aeneid, Books 1-3. The Aeneid is Rome’s great epic. Learn the story of its first three books, and when and why Virgil began writing it.
Virgil’s Georgics (c. 29 BCE), or agriculture poems, show the poet reaching his full strength as a writer, and using an old form to analyze the history around him.
Virgil’s Eclogues (c. 38 BCE) are poems about country life. Far from being innocent celebrations, though they are often cryptic filled with a haunting darkness.
Horace (65-8 BCE) was a central figure in shaping Augustan Age tastes in satire and literary criticism. His bumbling, self conscious persona has been charming readers for millennia.
The Roman poet Horace (65-8 BCE), a contemporary of Augustus, endured wars, regime changes, and became a literary spokesman for the new principate.
Catullus (c. 85-54 BCE) is Rome’s most famous early poet. Departing from epic tradition, Catullus wrote a canon of short works that have been famous since antiquity.
Following his consulship, Cicero did his best to salvage the battered Republic, eventually going head to head with the powerful young general Mark Antony.
The story of Cicero’s career is an epic tale, filled with courtroom dramas, corruption, conspiracy, greed, and Cicero’s own enduring hope for a better future.
Cicero (106-43 BCE) was the undisputed master of the Latin language. During his first thirty years, he witnessed events that heralded the Republic’s end.