History Reading List

Reading List for PhD candidates in Ancient History

Students may petition the graduate committee to make substitutions of items on the reading list in two categories:

  • Substitutions of a work by the same author, provided that the substituted material is roughly of the same length and parallel in genre, and
  • A work of one author on the list for a work of another, or a work of an author not on the list for an author on the list, provided that the substituted material is roughly of the same length and parallel in genre. Petitions should be submitted to the graduate committee in advance of the regular advising meeting at the beginning of the semester, no later than the beginning of the term in which the student will sit the General Examinations (normally the spring term of the second year). Petitions will be discussed with the student at this advising meeting and the approved list will be used as the basis for the written translation examinations.

Greek Literature

  • 1 Gospel or Acts

  • Aeschylus: Persians

  • Appian: 1 book

  • Aristophanes: Acharnians or Knights

  • Aristotle: Constitution of the Athenians

  • Cassius Dio: 53

  • Demosthenes: Philippics 1

  • Herodotus: 1 book

  • Homer: Iliad 1 book; Odyssey 1 book

  • Isocrates: Philip

  • Maccabees 2

  • Plato: Symposium or Apology

  • Plutarch: Pericles or Antony

  • Polybius: 1 book

  • Ps-Xenophon: Constitution of the Athenians

  • Sophocles: Oedipus Tyrannus

  • Thucydides: 1, 2.34–65, 3.35–85, 5.26, 84–116, 6.8–23, 7.84–87, 8.1

  • Fragmentary historians: 1 substantial fragmentary historian (e.g., Hellanicus, Nicolaus of Damascus) 

  • 2 substantial inscriptions (e.g., Anti-Tyranny Law from Athens, Rosetta Stone)

  • 1 documentary papyrus (e.g., from the Zenon archive)

Latin Literature

  • Augustine: 1 book from City of God or Confessions

  • Augustus: Res Gestae (bilingual)

  • Caesar: 1 book of Bellum Gallicum or Bellum Civile

  • Cicero: Pro MiloneDe republica Books 1 and 6; letters, as in D.R. Shackleton Bailey's Selected Letters

  • Ennius: fragments of Annales as in Skutsch's edition

  • Horace: Odes 3.1–6 (Roman Odes)

  • Juvenal: 1 satire

  • Livy: 1 book

  • Lucan: 1

  • Pliny the Younger: letters, as in A. N. Sherwin-White's Fifty Letters of Pliny

  • Sallust: Jugurtha or Catiline

  • Scriptores Historiae Augustae: Hadrian

  • [Seneca]: Octavia

  • Suetonius: Julius Caesar or Augustus

  • Tacitus: Any 2 of Histories 1, Annals 4, and either Agricola or Germania

  • Virgil: Aeneid  1 book

  • Fragmentary historians: Cato in T. J. Cornell et al., The Fragments of the Roman Historians

  • 2 substantial inscriptions (e.g. Piso text, Lex Coloniae Genitivae Iuliae/Ursonensis)

  • 1 documentary papyrus or similar (e.g., from the Vindolanda tablets)