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.