The Portable Greek Reader

Paperback | August 25, 1977

byW. H. Auden

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It is commonplace to say that our civilization is built on the ruins of Greece. W. H. Auden’s splendid anthology locates the truth behind the truism, while filling in the gaps in our knowledge of a people who gave us so much of our cultural legacy.

Every page in The Portable Greek Reader contains some fundamental precursor of the ways in which we think about heroism, destiny, love, politics, tragedy, science, virtue, and thought itself, Included are excerpts from the mythologies of Hesiod; the martial epics of Homer; the dramas of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides; the philosophy of Plato, Aristotle, and Heraclitus; Aesop’s fables; poems by Pindar and Sappho; the scientific writings of Euclid, Galen, and Hippocrates; and the history of Thucydides. Presented in their most elegant and authoritative translations, and accompanied by Auden’s brilliant introduction, these selections recreate the Greek world in all its splendor, strangeness, and sophistication.

“Engaging and full and intelligent a command performance, brought off with considerable aplomb.”
The New York Times

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It is commonplace to say that our civilization is built on the ruins of Greece. W. H. Auden’s splendid anthology locates the truth behind the truism, while filling in the gaps in our knowledge of a people who gave us so much of our cultural legacy.Every page in The Portable Greek Reader contains some fundamental precursor of the ways i...

W.H. Auden was born in 1907 and went to Oxford University, where he became Professor of Poetry from 1956 to 1960. After the publication of his Poems in 1930, he became the acknowledged leader of the 'thirties poets'. His poetic output was prolific, and he also wrote verse plays in collaboration with Christopher Isherwood, with whom h...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:736 pages, 7.69 × 5.04 × 1.57 inPublished:August 25, 1977Publisher:Penguin Publishing Group

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0140150390

ISBN - 13:9780140150391

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Table of Contents

(Translators are listed in parentheses after the author of each work)

Editor's Introduction
Chronological Outline of Classical Greek Civilization

Part One. Cosmogonies and Cosmologies
THE CREATION (From Theogony) - Hesiod (H. G. Evelyn-White)
THE FIVE AGES (From Works and Days) - Hesiod (H. G. Evelyn-White)
PROMETHEUS (From Theogony) - Hesiod (H. G. Evelyn-White)
ZEUS (From Oedipus Tyrannus) - Sophocles (Robert M. Whitelaw)
DIONYSUS (From The Bacchae) - Euripides (Gilbert Murray)
THE EARTH MOTHER - Homeric Hymn (P. B. shelley)
MINOR DEITIES - Archias, Anyte (J. W. Mackail)
THE TRUE GOD (Fragments) - Xenophanes (John Burnet)
THE WORD (Fragments) - Heraclitus (John Burnet)
THE REAL (Fragments) - Parmenides (John Burnet)
LOVE AND STRIFE (Fragments) - Empedocles (John Burnet)
GOD AND THE WORLD (Timaeus) - Plato (Benjamin Jowett)
THE FIRST CAUSE (From Metaphysics) - Aristotle (W. D. Ross)

Part Two. The Hero
THE EPIC HERO:
THE DEATH OF HECTOR (From The Iliad) - Homer (Alexander Pope)
THE BOOK OF THE DEAD (From The Odyssey) - Homer (E. V. Rieu)

THE PATRIOT:
TWO EPITAPHS - Simonides (J. W. Mackail)

THE ATHLETE:
TWO ODES: Pythia 10; Nemea 6 - Pindar (Richmond Lattimore)

THE TRAGIC HERO:
A TRILOGY: THE ORESTEIA: AGAMEMNON; CHOEPHOROE; EUMENIDES - Aeschylus (George Thomson)

THE GREAT MAN (From Nicomachaen Ethics) - Aristotle (W. D. Ross)
THE HAPPY MAN (From Nicomachaen Ethics) - Aristotle (W. D. Ross)
THE PHILOSOPHIC HERO (From Phaedo) - Plato (Benjamin Jowett)
THE ENGINEER:
ARCHIMEDES (From Book of Histories) - Tzestzes (Ivor Thomas)

Part Three. Nature
PHYSICS:
THE FIRST SCIENCE (From Metaphysics) - Aristotle (W. D. Ross)
NATURE (From Physics) - Aristotle (R. P. Hardie, R. K. Gaye)

MATHEMATICS:
NUMBER AND PROPORTION (From Elements) - Euclid (Ivor Thomas)
MEASUREMENT OF THE EARTH (From On the Circular Motion of the Heavenly Bodies) - Cleomedes (Ivor Thomas)

MEDICINE:
ON AIRS, WATERS AND PLACES - Hippocrates (Francis Adams)
GROWTH (From On the Natural Faculties) - Galen (Arthur John Brock)

Part Four. Man
ETHICS:
MAN (From Antigone) - Sophocles (D. Fitts, R. Fitzgerald)
HUMAN IMPERFECTION - Simonides (Gilbert Highet)
SELF-LOVE (From Nichomachean Ethics) - Aristotle (W. D. Ross)
NATURE AND CULTURE - Antiphon (R. Webster)
SELF-CONTROL (From The Manual) - Epictetus (P.E. Matheson)
LOVE (From Antigone) - Sophocles (D. Fitts, R. Fitzgerald)
EROS (From Symposium) - Plato (Benjamin Jowett)

LITERARY FORMS:
LYRIC:
Alcaeus (C. M. Bowra)
Anacreon (T. F. Higham)
Meleager (J. w. Mackail)
Sappho (Walter Headlam, E. M. Cox)

EPITAPH:
Simonides, Callimachus, Palladas, etc. (J. W. Mackail)

PASTORAL:
IDYLL II: THE SORCERESS - Theocritus (R. C. Trevelyan)

FABLE:
THE OWL AND THE BIRDS; THE MAN AND THE SATYR; THE GOODS AND THE ILLS - Aesop

CHARACTER STUDIES:
Tactlessness; Superstitiousness - Theophrastus (J. M. Edmonds)

BIOGRAPHY:
(From Lives of the Sophists): Polemo; Hermogenes - Philostratus (Wilmer Cave Wright)

Part Five. Society
TYPES OF STATES (From Politics) - Aristotle (W. D. Ross)
THE JUST SOCIETY (From Laws) - Plato (Benjamin Jowett)
PUBLIC EDUCATION (From Laws) - Plato (Benjamin Jowett)
UTOPIA (The Birds) - Aristophanes
PLATO IN SICILY (From Epistle VII) - Plato
THE SICILIAN EXPEDITION (FromPeloponnesian War) - Thucydides - Benjamin Jowett
1. An Account of the Loss of the Essex
2. Excerpt from the Journal of the Surry

Extracts: Memories and Apocrypha

Notes