. . . Paul himself was well versed in Classical literature and
encouraged us to be mentally well-equipped.
wright; Recommended: Medea
What happens when you let revenge take over your life? Even brilliant people do horrific things to the
people they love most when retaliation
Recommended: History of the
This war brought the Athenian Empire to an end, paving the way for Alexander the Great to take control of
Greece. Be sure to find Pericles’ funeral
oration in defense of Democracy.
• Xenophon, 430–354 B.C.; Recommended: Anabasis
A group of Greeks find themselves
deep in Persian territory and leaderless. They rise to the challenge and,
against all odds, make it back home.
They rouse their kinsmen to believe
that the Persian Empire might yet be
• Plato, 424–348 B.C.; Recommended:
The most reliable source on Socrates,
this piece records the trial of the philosopher against his accusers. One of the
most famous defense pieces in history,
Socrates stands for principle and his
convictions, though the penalty is dire.
• Plutarch, A.D. 46–120 A.D., biographer; Recommended: Parallel Lives
Plutarch writes about famous historical figures from the vantage of
success and failure. As an enthusiastic
student of the human race, he believed
an unguarded comment was better at
revealing true character than a great
philosopher; Recommended: On Duties
A large number of Cicero’s writings
are preserved, so picking the first one
is tricky. On Duties was written to his
son not long before the orator was put
to death. Cicero likely considered this
essay his magnum opus.
general, writer; Recommended: Com-
mentaries About the Gallic War
Rome’s prequel is as important
to understanding how the Romans
viewed themselves as the Iliad and
Odyssey were to the Greeks. This story has
adventure, romance, a trip to the underworld, and a dramatic conclusion.
mended: From the Founding of the City
A history of Rome starting with a few
mythic accounts before Romulus set up
house in 752 B.C. His account is well
preserved down to the reign of Augustus, with only a few parts that have gone
missing through the centuries.
Ovid outdid himself with this epic
poem that accounts for all Classical
mythology from the beginning until
the end of Julius Caesar. Ovid’s tales
would become the best-known versions of most myths.
ommended: a letter to Tacitus, “Erup-
tion of Vesuvius”
This is a personal letter to a friend
but absolutely fascinating. Pliny details
the final moments of his uncle, who
fearlessly sailed off in an effort to save
people trapped by the eruption of Mt.
ommended: The Jewish War
In a strange turn of events, this Jewish historian started by fighting against
the Romans only to find himself a Roman citizen and friend to Emperor Titus. He was witness to the destruction
of the Temple.
Tacitus offers the earliest secular historical records that mention Christ. He
does so as he talks about Nero’s persecution of the Christians and a mass
execution of Christians after the fire in
Rome in A.D. 64.
pher, Christian bishop; Recommended:
Augustine’s autobiography details
his life and conversion to Christianity,
crediting his mother’s constant faithful
prayers on his behalf. This work offers
insight into life as a Christian in the
early Byzantine era.
Amy Barr is a homeschool mother of three
and a full-time instructor of other home-educated students as co-founder of The Lukeion
Project, www.lukeion.org. As an archaeologist, she spent more than a decade excavating sites throughout the Mediterranean and
teaching Classics at the college level. Now she
and her husband, Regan Barr, offer their expertise through live online workshops and college preparatory high school courses about the
Classical world, Latin, and Greek. The two of
them lead annual family tours to the Mediterranean and invite you to join them for a tour.
1. M. Tullius Cicero, de oratore 2. 36.
2. II Timothy 4: 2. Paul quotes ancient philosophers
and writers in Acts 17: 28, I Corinthians 15: 33,
Titus 1: 12.