Saturday, October 22, 2005

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Texts but Were Afraid to Ask

I've started trying to come up with a list of secondary works on the ancient world that I've never read, or never read in toto, and would like to and that seem in some sense to be seminal ('scuse the alliteration). Here's the list so far, in no particular order except perhaps that of the alphabet:

Buck, Carl Darling. The Greek Dialects.
Dodds, E.R. The Greeks and the Irrational.
Finley, M.I. The Ancient Economy.
Frazer, James. The Golden Bough.
Gibbon, Edward. The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
Guthrie, W.K.C. A History of Greek Philosophy.
Harrison, Jane Ellison. Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion.
Heinze, Richard. Virgil's Epic Technique.
Jaeger, Werner. Paideia.
Sandys, John Edwin. A History of Classical Scholarship.
Syme, Ronald. The Roman Revolution.
Williams, Bernard. Shame and Necessity.

Comments are open, so please contribute any ideas if you have them, and I'll try to repost the updated list later. I'm especially interested in recommendations for standard works on Greek history and historiography and ancient religion, but don't let that limit you. Also, if anyone has favorites for handbooks/histories of Greek and Latin literature, I'd love to hear them.

8 comments:

dennis said...

I've been thinking along the same lines. On Greek religion I would recommend, naturally enough, Walter Burkert's Greek Religion. I would also probably read Hugh Lloyd Jones's translation of Wilamowitz's History of Classical Scholarship before tackling Sandys.

I'll have more later. Right now I'm long overdue for breakfast.

eric said...

Yes, I think Burkert would be really good as well. I was also wondering whether anyone would still recommend M.P. Nilsson's A History of Greek Religion--whether people still find it useful or whether it has been superseded. I should probably also have mentioned that there is a one-volume condensed version of Sandys--I know the Bryn Mawr library has it.

I forgot one other book I would like to add to the list: Emily Vermeule, Greece in the Bronze Age.

By the way, dig the beard!

Bret said...

Bruno Snell's Discovery of the Mind?

eric said...

Yes, I think that would be a good one--the only thing I've read from it is 'Arcadia: The Discovery of a Spiritual Landscape', but I'd like to read the rest of it as well.

Are there any particular favorites you have from it?

bret said...

Wouldn't call it a favorite per se, but "The Rise of the Individual in the Early Greek Lyric" cropped up repeatedly in graduate school.

AJM said...

Samuel Dill's Roman Society from Nero to Marcus Aurelius is a classic.

dennis said...

Here are some more that you may want to consider:

A.W. Pickard-Cambridge, Dithyramb, Tragedy And Comedy (the original of 1927, not T.B.L. Webster's 1962 update, according to Hamilton)

L.P. Wilkinson, Golden Latin Artistry

A.B. Lord, The Singer of Tales

G. Nagy, The Best of the Achaeans

Peter Bing, The Well-Read Muse

R. Meiggs and D. Lewis, A selection of Greek historical inscriptions to the end of the fifth century B.C.

eric said...

Good good. Thanks everybody. Especially glad for the reminder for Wilkonson. I should probably add Pickard-Cambridge's essential Dramatic Festivals of Athens as well. Update list coming soon, at which I will again ask for some more recommendations and perhaps will begin to separate the selections by category.