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The Classical Roman Reader

New Encounters with Ancient Rome

Edited by Kenneth J. Atchity

Publication Date - 19 November 1998

ISBN: 9780195127409

480 pages
7-3/8 x 9-1/8 inches

In Stock

A collection of the finest and most important writing of the Roman period


Western civilization is in many ways an outgrowth of the Roman Empire. The Classical Roman Reader, which contains a collection of some of the finest and most important writing of the Roman period, brings the modern reader into direct contact with the literature, political thought, science, art and architecture, and psychology of classical Rome.

Here are the wonders of the Roman world presented in a modern, accessible manner. Each selection is preceded by an introduction that identifies the author and provides information that allows modern readers to consider these texts in a new light. What we discover might be surprising. For instance, in Cicero's orations and Marcus Aurelius' meditations, we hear echoes of today's political forums and popular-psychology talk-show hosts. Virgil's ironic dramatization of the founding myth in the Aeneid prepared the way for America's deeply embedded ambivalence toward the presidency. The Roman preference for practicality over philosophy, leading to a network of superhighways that joined Europe, Asia, Asia Minor, and Africa, literally paved the way for the "global village" of the contemporary world.

From Plautus' wildly comic plays to Cato's instructions on farming, and from Catullus' erotic poems to Petronius' descriptions of the decadent splendor of the declining empire, The Classical Roman Reader provides access to the literary, artistic, social, religious, political, scientific, and philosophical texts that shaped Roman thinking and helped form the backbone of Western culture.


  • A collection of the finest and most important writing of the Roman period
  • Provides the reader with firsthand access to literary, artistic, social, political, religious, scientific, and philosophical texts that shaped Roman thinking

About the Author(s)

Kenneth J. Atchity, a former professor at Occidental College and Fulbright Professor at the University of Bologna, is the author and editor of many books, including The Renaissance Reader, Homer's Iliad, Homer: Critical Essays, and The Classical Greek Reader.

Table of Contents


    PART I
    Early Rome (509 -- 65 B.C.)
    Plautus / The Rope
    Ennius / Annals
    Cato the Elder / On Farm Management
    Terence / The Brothers
    Lucilius / Epigrams
    Varro / On Agriculture

    The Late Republic (64-27 B.C)
    Cicero / The First Oration Against Catiline and Letters to His Wife and Family in Rome and to Caesar in Gaul
    Caesar / The Gallic War
    Publilius / Maxims
    Laberius / An Old Actor Addresses Julius Caesar
    Propertius / Elegies
    Sulpicia / Lyrics
    Lucretius / On the Nature of Things
    Catullus / Lyrics
    Sallust / History of Rome
    Virgil / Aeneid
    Horace / Ars Poetica

    The Empire (27 B.C. -- A.D. 476)
    Livy / Early History of Rome
    Tibullus / Elegies
    Seneca the Elder / Suasoriae
    Augustus / Acts
    Vitruvius / On Architecture
    Ovid / Metamorphoses and The Art of Love
    Seneca the Younger / Pumpkinification of Claudius
    Celsus / On Medicine
    Valerius Maximus / Noteworthy Words and Deeds
    Pliny the Elder / Natural History
    Silius Italicus / Punica
    Quintilian / Education of an Orator
    Josephus / The Jewish War
    Lucan / Pharsalia
    Martial / Epigrams
    Frontinus / On the Conveyance of Water
    Statius / Thebaid
    Pliny the Younger / Letters
    Juvenal / Satires
    Petronius / Satyricon
    Tacitus / Annals: The Mutiny of the Pannonian Legions
    Suetonius / from The Lives of the Twelve Caesars: Julius Caesar
    Hadrian / To His Soul
    Soranus / Gynecology
    Fronto / Correspondence with Marcus Aurelius
    Gellius / Attic Nights
    Gaius / Institutes
    Marcus Aurelius / Meditations
    Apuleius / The Golden Ass
    Paulus / Opinions
    Julian the Apostate / Hymn to the Mother of the Gods
    Ausonius / Lyrics
    Claudian / The Rape of Proserpine
    Avianus / Fables
    Macrobius / Commentary on the Dream of Scipio
    Vegetius / Military Institutions of the Romans
    Anonymous / The Vigil of Venus
    Justinian / Institutes

    Roman Gods/Heroes and Their Greek Counterparts
    Landmarks of Roman History
    Sources & Recommendations
    Illustration Credits