The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony, by Roberto Calasso

And all the while vine leaves were sprouting up on the bed and there was a sound of drums beating in the darkness.

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I, Claudius, by Robert Graves

This is a confidential history. But who, it may be asked, are my confidants? My answer is: it is addressed to posterity.

The Persian Expedition, by Xenophon

It was now midday and the enemy had not yet come into sight. But in the early afternoon, dust appeared, like a white cloud, and after some time a sort of blackness extending a long way over the plain

Meno, by Plato

‘And now I think you are bewitching and beguiling me, simply putting me under a spell, so that I am quite perplexed’

Metamorpheses, by Ovid

His look still grim with glaring eyes, and every kind of way
His cruel heart in outward shape doth well itself bewray.

Civilisation, by Kenneth Clark

However complex and solid it seems, civilisation is actually quite fragile. It can be destroyed. What are its enemies?

Phaedo, by Plato

In my own case the flow of tears quite overwhelmed me, so that I covered my head and wept – for myself, not for Socrates, and for my own ill fortune, such was the man whose friendship was now lost to me.

Elegies (II), by Theognis

You’re like a horse, boy, who has had his fill
Of barley elsewhere, then comes back to me,
Wanting a gentle rider, a cool spring,
Soft meadows to run in, and some shady woods.

Elegies (I), by Theognis

This city’s pregnant, Kurnos, and I fear
She’ll bear a man to crush our swelling pride
The people still have sense, but those in charge
Are turning, stumbling into evil ways.

Works and Days, by Hesiod

Defend yourself against the evil days
Lenaion brings, all of them days which pierce
The hides of oxen; guard against the frosts
That kill, when Boreas blows on the earth.

The Estate Manager, by Xenophon

We judged that agriculture is the best work and the best branch of knowledge for a truly good person, because it supplies people with the necessities of life. We decided that it is the easiest work to learn and the most gratifying to do; that it makes people physically as attractive and fit as possible;…

The Dinner Party, by Xenophon

Must not those whose affection is mutual look at each other with pleasure and converse in amity;
must they not trust and be trusted, be considerate to each other, share pleasure in their successes and sorrow if anything goes wrong.

Gilgamesh

Sweet-voice Aruru, mother of men, Screamed out, like a woman in childbirth: “If only that day had never been, when I spoke up for evil in the council of the gods! How could I have agreed to destroy My children by the Great Flood upon them? I have given birth to the human race, only…

Memorabilia, by Xenophon

‘Tell me, Xenophon, have you not always believed Critobulus to be a man of sound sense, not wild and self-willed? Should you not have said that he was remarkable for his prudence rather than thoughtless or foolhardy?’ ‘Certainly that is what I should have said of him.’ said Xenophon ‘Then you are now to regard…

The Symposium by Plato

Apollodorus, I’ve just been looking for you to get the full story of the party at Agathon’s, when Socrates, Alcibiades and the rest were there for dinner: what did they say in their speeches on love?