-Classical Literature

Birds

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This new verse translation of Aristophanes' comedies offers one of the world's great comic dramatists in a form that is both historically faithful and theatrically vigorous. Aristophanes' plays were produced for the festival theater of classical Athens in the fifth century BC and encompass the whole gamut of humor, from brilliantly inventive fantasy to obscene vulgarity. This edition includes a substantial general introduction and introductory essays for each of the plays, as well as full explanatory notes and an index of names.

ISBN/SKU: 
0192824082

Four Tragedies and Octavia

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Based on the legends used in Greek drama, Seneca's plays are notable for the exuberant ruthlessness with which disastrous events are foretold and then pursued to their tragic and often bloodthirsty ends. Thyestes depicts the menace of an ancestral curse hanging over two feuding brothers, while Phaedra portrays a woman tormented by fatal passion for her stepson. In The Trojan Women, the widowed Hecuba and Andromache await their fates at the hands of the conquering Greeks, and Oedipus follows the downfall of the royal House of Thebes. Octavia is a grim commentary on Nero's tyrannical rule and the execution of his wife, with Seneca himself appearing as an ineffective counsellor attempting to curb the atrocities of the emperor.

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0140441743

History of Peloponnesian War

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Written four hundred years before the birth of Christ, this detailed contemporary account of the struggle between Athens and Sparta stands an excellent chance of fulfilling the author's ambitious claim that the work "was done to last forever." The conflicts between the two empires over shipping, trade, and colonial expansion came to a head in 431 b.c. in Northern Greece, and the entire Greek world was plunged into 27 years of war. Thucydides applied a passion for accuracy and a contempt for myth and romance in compiling this exhaustively factual record of the disastrous conflict that eventually ended the Athenian empire.

ISBN/SKU: 
0140440399

Lysistrata and Other Plays

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Writing at the time of political and social crisis in Athens Aristophanes was an eloquent yet bawdy challenger to the demagogue and the sophist. The Achanians is a plea for peace set against the background of the long war with Sparta. In Lysistrata a band of women tap into the awesome power of sex in order to end a war. The darker comedy of The Clouds satirizes Athenian philosophers, Socrates in particular, and reflects the uncertainties of a generation in which all traditional religious and ethical beliefs were being challenged.

ISBN/SKU: 
0140448144

Medea

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Medea, in which a spurned woman takes revenge upon her lover by killing her children, is one of the most shocking and horrific of all the Greek tragedies. Dominating the play is Medea herself, a towering and powerful figure who demonstrates Euripides' unusual willingness to give voice to a woman's case. Alcestis, a tragicomedy, is based on a magical myth in which Death is overcome, and The Children of Heracles examines the conflict between might and right, while Hippolytus deals with self-destructive integrity and moral dilemmas. These plays show Euripides transforming the awesome figures of Greek mythology into recognizable, fallible human beings.

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0140441298

Satires and Epistles/ Satires

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Inspiring poets from Ben Jonson and Alexander Pope to W. H. Auden and Robert Frost, the writings of Horace and Persius have had a powerful influence on later Western literature. The Satires of Persius are highly idiosyncratic, containing a courageous attack on the poetry and morals of his wealthy contemporaries—even the ruling emperor, Nero. The Satires of Horace, written in the troubled decade ending with the establishment of Augustus’s regime, provide an amusing treatment of men’s perennial enslavement to money, power, glory, and sex. Epistles I, addressed to the poet’s friends, deals with the problem of achieving contentment amid the complexities of urban life, while Epistles II and the Ars Poetica discuss Latin poetry—its history and social functions, and the craft required for its success.

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0140455086

The Aeneid

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In Aeneas, Virgil created the most powerful figure in Latin literature, the dutiful yet fallible Trojan prince who overcomes war, suffering and countless setbacks to lay the foundations of the Roman race. Like many of his generation, John Dryden (1631-1700) believed the great classical epics could provide moral models to 'form the Mind to Heroick Virtue by Example'. For his version of the Aeneid, he formed a style vigorous yet refined and drew on the deep understanding of political unrest he had acquired during the Civil Wars of 1642-51 and the Glorious Revolution of 1688. This Penguin English Poets edition includes maps, a substantial glossary and enough background to help readers overcome any unfamiliarity with style or substance, thus making freshly accessible a work of enduring worth.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780140449327
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The Comedies

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The Roman dramatist Terence (c. 186-159 BC) adapted many of his comedies from Greek sources, rendering them suitable for audiences of his own time by introducing subtler characterization and more complex plots. In his romantic play, "The Girl from Andros" Terence portrays a love affair saved by a startling discovery. "The Self-Tormentor" focuses on a man's remorse after sending his son to war, and "The Eunuch" depicts a case of mistaken identity. "Phormio" is as rich in intrigue as a French farce, while "The Mother-in-Law" shows two families striving to save a marriage and "The Brothers" contrasts strict and lenient upbringings. With their tight plots and spare dialogue, Terence gave his plays a sense of humanity that became a model in the Renaissance and greatly influenced Moliere.

ISBN/SKU: 
014044324X

The Complete Odes and Epodes

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Horace (65-8 bc) was one of the greatest poets of the Golden or Augustan age of Latin literature, a master of precision and irony who brilliantly transformed early Greek iambic and lyric poetry into sophisticated Latin verse of outstanding beauty. Offering allusive and exquisitely crafted insights into the brief joys of the present and the uncertain nature of the future, his Odes and Epodes explore such diverse themes as the virtues of pastoral life, the joys of wine, friendship and love, and the poet's personal anguish following Brutus' defeat at the battle of Phillipi. Ranging from subtle and tender hymns to the gods to bawdy celebrations of human passions, they remain among the most influential of all poems, inspiring poets from the Roman era to the European Renaissance, the Enlightenment and beyond.

ISBN/SKU: 
014044422X

The Erotic Poems

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This collection of Ovid's poems deals with the whole spectrum of sexual desire, ranging from deeply emotional declarations of eternal devotion to flippant arguments for promiscuity. In the "Amores", Ovid addresses himself in a series of elegies to Corinna, his beautiful, elusive mistress. The intimate and vulnerable nature of the poet revealed in these early poems vanishes in the notorious Art of Love, in which he provides a knowing and witty guide to sexual conquest - a work whose alleged obscenity led to Ovid's banishment from Rome in AD 8. This volume also includes the "Cures for Love", with instructions on how to terminate a love affair, and "On Facial Treatment for Ladies", an incomplete poem on the art of cosmetics.

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0140443606

The Iliad

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One of the foremost achievements in Western literature, Homer's Iliad tells the story of the darkest episode of the Trojan War. At its center is Achilles, the greatest warrior-champion of the Greeks, and his conflict with his leader Agamemnon. Interwoven in the tragic sequence of events are powerfully moving descriptions of the ebb and flow of battle, the besieged city of Ilium, the feud between the gods, and the fate of mortals.

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0140447946

The Odyssey

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The epic tale of Odysseus and his ten-year journey home after the Trojan War forms one of the earliest and greatest works of Western literature. Confronted by natural and supernatural threats - shipwrecks, battles, monsters and the implacable enmity of the sea-god Poseidon - Odysseus must test his bravery and native cunning to the full if he is to reach his homeland safely and overcome the obstacles that, even there, await him.

ISBN/SKU: 
0140449116

The Oresteian Trilogy

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Aeschylus (525-c.456 bc) set his great trilogy in the immediate aftermath of the Fall of Troy, when King Agamemnon returns to Argos, a victor in war. Agamemnon depicts the hero's discovery that his family has been destroyed by his wife's infidelity and ends with his death at her callous hand. Clytemnestra's crime is repaid in The Choephori when her outraged son Orestes kills both her and her lover. The Eumenides then follows Orestes as he is hounded to Athens by the Furies' law of vengeance and depicts Athene replacing the bloody cycle of revenge with a system of civil justice. Written in the years after the Battle of Marathon, "The Oresteian Trilogy" affirmed the deliverance of democratic Athens not only from Persian conquest, but also from its own barbaric past.

ISBN/SKU: 
0140440674

The Persian Expedition

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In "The Persian Expedition", Xenophon, a young Athenian noble who sought his destiny abroad, provides an enthralling eyewitness account of the attempt by a Greek mercenary army - the Ten Thousand - to help Prince Cyrus overthrow his brother and take the Persian throne. When the Greeks were then betrayed by their Persian employers, they were forced to march home through hundreds of miles of difficult terrain - adrift in a hostile country and under constant attack from the unforgiving Persians and warlike tribes. In this outstanding description of endurance and individual bravery, Xenophon, one of those chosen to lead the retreating army, provides a vivid narrative of the campaign and its aftermath, and his account remains one of the best pictures we have of Greeks confronting a 'barbarian' world.

ISBN/SKU: 
0140440070

The Satyricon/ The Apocolocyntosis

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Perhaps the strangest and most strikingly modern work to survive from the ancient world, The Satyricon relates the hilarious mock epic adventures of the impotent Encolpius, and his struggle to regain virility. Here Petronius brilliantly brings to life the courtesans, legacy-hunters, pompous professors and dissolute priestesses of the age and, above all, Trimalchio, the archetypal self-made millionaire whose pretentious vulgarity on an insanely grand scale makes him one of the great comic characters in literature. Seneca's The Apocolocyntosis, a malicious skit on the deification of Claudius the Clod', was designed by the author to ingratiate himself with Nero, who was Claudius' successor. Together, the two provide a powerful insight into a darkly fascinating period of Roman history.

ISBN/SKU: 
0140444890

The Sixteen Satires

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Perhaps more than any other writer, Juvenal (c. AD 55-138) captures the splendour, the squalor and the sheer energy of everyday Roman life. In "The Sixteen Satires", he evokes a fascinating world of whores, fortune-tellers, boozy politicians, slick lawyers, shameless sycophants, ageing flirts and downtrodden teachers. A member of the traditional land-owning class that was rapidly seeing power slip into the hands of outsiders, Juvenal also creates savage portraits of decadent aristocrats - male and female - seeking excitement among the lower orders of actors and gladiators, and of the jumped-up sons of newly-rich former slaves. Constantly comparing the corruption of his own generation with its stern and upright forebears, Juvenal's powers of irony and invective make his work a stunningly satirical and bitter denunciation of the degeneracy of Roman society.

ISBN/SKU: 
0140447040

The War with Hannibal

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In The War with Hannibal, Livy (59 BC AD 17) chronicles the events of the Second Punic War between Rome and Carthage, until the Battle of Zama in 202 BC. He vividly recreates the immense armies of Hannibal, complete with elephants, crossing the Alps; the panic as they approached the gates of Rome; and the decimation of the Roman army at the Battle of Lake Trasimene. Yet it is also the clash of personalities that fascinates Livy, from great debates in the Senate to the historic meeting between Scipio and Hannibal before the decisive battle. Livy never hesitates to introduce both intense drama and moral lessons into his work, and here he brings a turbulent episode in history powerfully to life.

ISBN/SKU: 
014044145X
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