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Summary of Ancient Rome's Latin Literature

New Summary of Ancient Rome's Most Prominent Works of Early and Classical Latin Literature  

Other Recommended Reading Lists

Suggested Introductory Information
Overview of the History of Ancient Rome
Historical abstracts on the Roman Kingdom, Roman Republic and the Roman Empire
Maps of Ancient Rome
Overview of the gods in Ancient Roman Mythology
and Summary of Ancient Latin Literature

- Prior to 100 BC

(circa 254 BC to circa 184 BC)
Latin Name: Titus Maccius Plautus
Summary: Earliest extant Roman playwright; famous for mythological burlesque and slapstick comedy.

Cato the Elder (circa 234 BC to circa 149 BC)
Latin Name: Marcus Porcius Cato
Summary: The first Latin writer of prose of significance;
On Farming (De Agri Cultura) - Oldest example of Latin prose.

Terence (circa 195 BC to circa 159 BC)
Latin Name: Publius Terentius Afer
Summary: The most successful Roman comic playright of his day; all of his plays were very popular.
The Eunuch (Eunuchus)


(106 BC to 43 BC)
Latin Name: Marcus Tullius Cicero
Summary: Famed orator and the unsurpassed master of Latin prose.
Catiline Orations (In Catilinam I-IV)
14 Philippics (Philippica I–XIV)

Julius Caesar (100 BC to 44 BC)
Latin Name: Gaius Julius Caesar
Summary: General who conquered Britain and Gaul; coined "veni, vidi, vici"; was assassinated while dictator.
Commentaries on the Gallic War (Commentarii de Bello Gallico) - Caesar’s account of the war with Gaul
Commentaries on the Civil War (Commentarii de Bello Civili) - Caesar’s account of his war with Pompey

Lucretius (circa 94 BC to circa 49 BC)
Latin Name:Titus Lucretius Carus
Summary: The great Latin didactic poet.
On the Nature of Things (De Rerum Natura)

Sallust (86 BC to 34 BC)
Latin Name: Gaius Sallustius Crispus
Summary: The historian who chronicled the attempted overthrow of the Roman Republic in 63 BC.
The Conspiracy of Catiline (Bellum Catilinae)

Catullus (circa 84 BC to circa 54 BC)
Latin Name: Gaius Valerius Catullus
Summary: The greatest lyric poet of Rome.
Poem 1-116 (Carmen I-CXVI)

Vergil (70 BC to 19 BC)
Latin Name: Publius Vergilius Maro
Summary: Famed epic poet known for The Aeneid.
The Aeneid (Aeneis)
The Eclogues (Eclogae)
The Georgics (Georgica)

Horace (65 BC to 8 BC)
Latin Name: Quintus Horatius Flaccus
Summary: Renowned lyricist and master of satire.
Satires (Satirae)

Augustus (63 BC to 8 BC)
Latin Name: Gaius Iulius Caesar Octavianus Augustus
Summary: The First Roman Emperor; ruled autocratically for 41 years; Pax Romana
The Deeds of the Divine Augustus (Res Gestae Divi Augusti)

Livy (circa 59 BC to AD 17)
Latin Name: Titus Livius
Summary: Leading historian during the reign of Augustus.
History From the Founding of the City (Ab Urbe Condita) - History of Rome from 753 BC.

Petronius (circa 27 to circa 66)
Latin Name: Gaius Petronius Arbiter and Titus Petronius (pen name)
Summary: Celebrated writer of the age of Nero.

Ovid (43 BC to AD 17)
Latin Name: Publius Ovidius Naso
Summary: Ranked alongside Virgil and Horace as one of the three greatest poets of Latin literature.
Transformations (Metamorphoses)
The Loves (Amores)
Sorrows (Tristia)
The Art of Love (Ars Amatoria)

Seneca (circa 4 BC to 65 AD)
Latin Name: Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Summary: Philosopher, statesman and dramatist famous for his letters to Lucilius on stoicism.
Letters (Epistulae morales ad Lucilium) - Famed bundle of 124 letters from Seneca to Lucilius.

Pliny the Elder (AD 23 to AD 89)
Latin Name: Gaius Plinius Secundus
Summary: "True glory consists of doing what deserves to be written, and writing what deserves to be read."
Natural History (Naturalis Historia)

Plutarch (circa AD 46 to AD 120)
Latin Name: Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus
Summary: Hellenistic historian and biographer.
Parallel Lives

Epictetus (AD 55 to AD 135)
Latin Name: Epictetus
Summary: Freed Greek slave who became celebrated Stoic philosopher after being exiled from Rome.
The Golden Sayings

Tacitus (circa 56 AD to 120 AD)
Latin Name: Publius Cornelius Tacitus
Summary: One of the leading historians of Rome.
The Histories (Historiae)
The Annals (Annales)

Juvenal (60 AD to 140 AD)
Latin Name: Decimus Junius Juvenalis
Summary: Greatest Roman Satyric Poet
Satires (Saturae)

Pliny the Younger (AD 63 to circa AD 113)
Latin Name: Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus
Summary: Famous for writing letters; some specifically for publcation which was a new genre for his time.
Letters (Epistulae)

Suetonius (69 AD to 122 AD)
Latin Name: Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus
Summary: Prominent historian and biographer.
Twelve Caesars (De Vita Caesarum)

Ptolemy (circa AD 87 to AD 150)
Latin Name: Claudius Ptolemaeus
Summary: Egyptian citizen of Rome and the leading geographer and astonomer for over 1000 years.
The Great Book (Algamest)
Geography (Geographia)

Marcus Aurelius (AD 121 to AD 180)
Latin Name: Caesar Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus
Summary:Roman Emperor from AD 161 to AD 180; last of the "Five Good Emperors".

Apuleius (circa AD 123 to circa AD 180)
Latin Name: Apuleius Apuleius
Summary: Writer of bawdy picaresque novels.
The Golden Ass (Asinus Aureus)
- The only Latin novel that has survived in its entirety.

Plotinus (AD 205 to AD 270)
Latin Name: Plotinus
Summary: Founder of Neoplatonism.
The Six Enneads




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