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An heroic epic poem where Beowulf, a hero of a Germanic tribe from southern Sweden, travels to Denmark to help defeat a monster named Grendel. It is sometimes called "England's national epic". J. R. R. Tolkien of Lord of the Rings fame was a Beowulf scholar and many parallels can also be drawn between Beowulf and The Hobbit. The work has served as the inspiration for many books and films including Michael Crichton's Eaters of the Dead.
The Golden Ass relates the ludicrous adventures of Lucius, a virile young man obsessed with magic. In his enthusiasm to see the use of magic he is accidentally transformed into an ass and thus forced to witness and experience the lives of slaves and the destitute. This is the only surviving work of Greco-Roman literature to give a first person perspective of the abhorrent condition of the lower classes. T. E. Lawrence carried a small copy of the book in his saddlebags throughout the Arab Revolt.
The Histories is considered the first work of history in Western literature. Written about 440 BCE it tells the story of the war between the Persian Empire and the Greek city-states in the 5th century BCE. The histories includes the Battle of Thermopylae where 1400 Greeks under King Leonidas of Sparta sacrificed themselves to delay a Persian army of at least hundreds of thousands, an act that sealed the eventual fate of the Persians.
An influential classic and one of the earliest scholarly works of history. Enthusiastically embraced by the author's contemporaries and immediate successors. History gives an account of the war fought between the Peloponnesian League (led by Sparta) and the Delian League (led by Athens) in Ancient Greece. Unlike the many appearances the Gods make in the writings of Herodotus and the poems of Homer, Thucydides sees history as being caused by the choices and actions of human beings.
Picks up where the film Troy (loosely based on Homer's Iliad) leaves off and follows Aeneis a fleeing Trojan as he travels to Italy, makes war on the Latins, and becomes an ancestor of the Romans. Virgil was the "Latin world's Shakespeare".
The Iliad is one of the two major ancient Greek epic poems of Homer and the first and greatest achievement of Classical Greek civilization. It tells of the last years of the siege of the city of Ilion (Troy) by the Greeks under King Agamemnon. It explores the conflict between love and honour, rage and control, a long life and a glorious life; all under the watchful and meddling Gods.
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