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Erin B.

Recommended Selections for Ancient Literature

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This year for ninth grade Literature, we are reading full texts of various ancient works, but would like to focus on selections for some longer works.  I have no idea where to start in choosing selections of these works.  Anyone have recommendations personally or where I could look?  Thanks!

  • Herodotus, The Histories 
  • Plato, The Republic 
  • Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War (The Landmark Thucydides edited by Robert Strassler)
  • Plutarch, Lives (We have Oxford World Classics Greek Lives & Roman Lives)
  • Josephus, Wars of the Jews


Edited to Add:

I should have said I've scheduled roughly 8 hours of reading time for Herodotus (unless I insert a couple Vandiver lectures), 4 hours for Plato, 8 hours for Thucydides, 8 hours for Plutarch, and 2 hours for Josephus.  These are not including discussion times.   

Edited by Erin B.

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Do you own a copy of The Well Trained Mind?  They have a great book list there that we'll be using this year.  I have a 9th grader too.  Let me know if you don't have a copy and I can give you the book list.

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I have a copy and I have compiled my own book list based on TWTM.  I'm looking for recommended "selections" of the books, instead of reading the whole thing. For example, instead of reading Herodotus' Histories in completion, I want us to read curated selections from Histories.  Instead of just reading as much of the book as we can in the allotted time (which maybe is our best option?!?), I'd rather have sections recommended to focus on.  I just don't know how to go about choosing these selections, as I've never read them and plan to read along with my children.  

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No help with recommendations for the works you listed, alas.

I just have a side thought in case it helps for your planning: I'm guessing that you are doing other works not listed? All 5 of your works are nonfiction -- 1 is essay/philosophy, and 4 are history/biography primary source works.  Those are usually the types of work done in support of History, rather than the Literature portion of English -- which is typically mostly fiction (epics, plays, poetry, short stories, novels), and is discussed/analyzed very differently than nonfiction. : ) Happy to help if you would like suggestions for some ancient epics, plays, and myths to fill out your Ancient Lit., if you don't already have that lined up. : )

BEST of luck with planning and enjoying your 9th grade Ancient Lit! Warmest regards, Lori D.

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Hi Lori, 

Thanks for your input.  Yes, the full course is below, but I felt I couldn't quite fit these works into the history portion, so I placed them here.  


  • The Holy Bible: The Book of Job (Selections)
  • Epic of Gilgamesh
  • Homer, The Iliad
  • Homer, The Odyssey
  • Aeschylus, Persians
  • Aeschylus, Agamemnon
  • Aeschylus, Libation Bearers
  • Euripides, Electra
  • Sophocles, Oedipus the King
  • Aristophanes, The Birds
  • Herodotus, The Histories (Selections)
  • Plato, The Republic (Selections)
  • Morford, Classical Mythology 9th Edition (Selections)
  • Ovid, Metamorphoses (Selections)
  • Apollodorus, Library (Selections)
  • Lewis, C.S., Till We Have Faces
  • Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War (Selections)
  • Virgil, The Aeneid
  • Plutarch, Lives (Selections)
  • Josephus, Wars of the Jews (Selections)
  • 1 & 2 Corinthians
  • Athanasius, On the Incarnation

 We are supplementing with Vandiver's courses: Iliad, Odyssey, Greek Tragedy (1/2), Classical Mythology, & Aeneid.  

Hoping it will be good for all of us (twin 9th graders and I) as a first exposure to most of these works!  My kids are avid readers and I hope to keep up with them.

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