Top Ten Tuesday: Literature You Should Read If You Love Ancient Greece & Rome


Image via The Broke and the Bookish

I know it’s Wednesday, but I couldn’t resist participating in this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, even if it is belatedly! This meme, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is about literature every [blank] should read, inserting the blank for whatever our hearts desire. I was originally going to title this post, “Literature Every Classics Major Should Read,” but let’s face it, we already have!

As many of you might know, I majored in Pre- and Early-Modern Literature at University of California, Santa Cruz, and minored in Classical History. I am absolutely obsessed with ancient Greek and Roman texts and have read these epics, plays, and essays multiple times. But even if you never studied these in college, you can consider them the best starter course into this fascinating period of history.

This blog post is also perfect timing, considering that I only have one month left (!) before I’m traveling to Greece and Italy to walk the lands where these amazing philosophers, dramatists, and oral historians once lived! To say I’m excited is a huge understatement!

Classics Collage

  1. Iliad by Homer
  2. Odyssey by Homer
  3. Aeneid by Virgil
  4. Art of Love by Ovid
  5. Symposium by Plato (Be sure to watch “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” a theater production/film that has a song about this story!)
  6. Medea by Euripides
  7. Bacchae by Euripides
  8. Oresteia (Agamemnon, Libation Bearers, and Eumenides) by Aeschylus
  9. Three Theban Plays (Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus, and Antigone) by Sophocles
  10. Lysistrata by Aristophanes

(Side note: As a former scholar, I’m not a fan of using articles in these titles. If you want to sound sophisticated, refer to Homer’s Iliad rather than The Iliad by Homer. After all, it’s an epic that’s part of an oral tradition, not a novel!)

So are you interested in the tales of ancient Greece and Rome? Which of these have you read, and what did you think? Let me know in the comments!

14 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Literature You Should Read If You Love Ancient Greece & Rome

  1. I read Oresteia and Plato’s Republic for “Ancient Political Thought” in college. With that background, I enjoyed The Just City by Jo Walton (though not the follow up book). It’s a sci-fi fantasy where Athena and her devotees try to create Plato’s Republic for real.

  2. The Aeneid is amazing.
    Fun story: My latin teacher said that when they translated it when he was in school they spent three days getting through Dido’s death (working in groups) and so when it finally ended his friend tore the page from the book, jumped onto the table, and screamed, “She’s finally dead!!”
    Their teacher who was helping another group calmly looked up and said, “You are all heathens and will get no where in life.”
    The entire group, including the one who tore out the page ended up teachers.

  3. This is such an amazing list, so I’m sold. I loved the Aeneid and the Odyssey way too much when I read them in high school/college. Time to revisit some old faves.

  4. I am fascinated by the Romans and Greeks and I’ve been meaning to read The Iliad for a while now but it always seems to get lost in the shuffle of all the other books I need to read haha. Have fun in Greece and Italy. 😀

  5. I studied the ancient civilizations under a Frenchman, of all things. A little short, adorable older man – probably in his late 50s if not older. He made that class so fun, and he knew what he was talking about! He was a lively sprout!

  6. Pingback: Top Ten Tuesday: Book-Related Facts About Me | Book Club Babe

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