The accompanying lists of Greek and Latin authors and works is intended as a guide for your preparation for the comprehensive exam in Greek and Latin literature. You may make substitutions within each genre to accommodate your own interests, but, in general, the list provides an indication of the minimal range of literature that historians should have worked through before taking the comprehensive exam.
The purpose of the comprehensive exam in Greek and Latin literature is to determine whether you control sufficient detail and breadth to be granted, upon satisfactory completion of a dissertation, a PhD in Ancient History. You will be asked to demonstrate knowledge such as other persons holding such a degree from an American institution typically have, and you will be asked to synthesize and explain important literary and cultural concepts.
Before taking the comprehensive exam in Greek and Latin literature you should submit a comprehensive list of Greek and Latin authors and works you have read over the course of your graduate career to the examiner(s) who will set your exam. In addition to the items in the lists below (with the occasional substitution), you should therefore include all other authors and works you read in courses and as part of your “special” author or genre.
You are expected to complete the bulk of the readings below independently. Although you will have some time for reading during the term in which you take the exams, you should be reading independently from the very beginning of your graduate career. The summers, in particular, provide crucial blocks of time when you are expected to be working through the reading list.
You should acquaint yourself with some secondary literature for each of the authors and works you read, and you should prepare yourself to relate these texts to their historical and cultural contexts and to other works in the same genre.
It is expected that the readings will be done from the standard texts and that you use suitable commentaries where available. Please consult with faculty if you have questions about selecting an edition or commentary.
NB: Additional readings in Greek and Latin documents will be part of the comprehensive exams in Greek and Roman history. You will be provided with a list of those in the introductory graduate courses in Greek and Roman history and in those devoted to Greek historical documents and to Latin epigraphy.
Greek Readings (orient yourself for A-E with the help of the Cambridge History of Classical Literature 1 and for F with the help of the Cambridge Companion to the Bible [second edition, 2008] part 2 and Moreschini-Norelli, Early Christian Greek and Latin Literature 1-2)
Homer: two books of the Iliad; two of the Odyssey (rest in translation)
Hesiod: Works and Days 1-382
B. Tragedy and Comedy
Tragedy: one tragedy each of the three tragedians (two others each in translation)
Comedy: one comedy (two others in translation)
Herodotus: two books (rest in translation)
Thucydides: Book 1.1-23 and two other books (rest in translation)
Xenophon: Oeconomicus; two other books (rest in translation)
Polybius: one book (rest in translation)
Plutarch: one set of Hellenistic-Roman lives; one set of Classical-Roman lives in translation
Cassius Dio: one of Books 71-73 (the other two in translation)
Aeschines: Or. 1
Lysias: Or. 12 and one other speech
Isocrates: Panathenaicus 175-end
Demosthenes: De corona 168-end
Dio Chrys.: Or. 7 or 12
Libanius: one speech (e.g., Or. 45 on prisoner abuse)
Old Oligarch: Ath.Pol.
Plato: one book of the Republic (rest in translation)
Aristotle: Ath.Pol.; Politics in translation
F. Jewish and Christian
LXX: 1 Maccabees
Philo: Embassy or in Flaccum (the other in translation)
Josephus: BJ 6 or 7 (the other in translation)
New Test.: Luke-Acts
Eusebius: HE 6 or 7 (the other in translation)
Latin Readings (orient yourself with the help of Conte’s History of Latin Literature)
Sallust: Catiline or Jugurtha (the other in translation)
Caesar: Bellum Gallicum one book (rest in translation); Bellum civile one book (rest in translation)
Livy: Book 1, 21, and one other (rest in translation)
Suetonius: one Vita (rest in translation)
Tacitus: Annales 1-6 (rest in translation); Agricola or Germania (the other in translation); Historiae in translation
Historia Aug.: Vita Hadriani
Ammianus: one book (rest in translation)
B. Oratory and epistolography
Cicero: In Catilinam one book; De imperio Cn. Pompei; Philippica one book; De oratore 1; Epistulae in Shackleton-Bailey's selection; De legibus 2
Pliny: Epistulae book 10; Panegyricus
Panegyrici: in translation (not Pliny)
Comedy one comedy (one other in translation) Lucretius one book
Horace: Carmina 1 and 3; Carmen Saeculare
Vergil: Bucolics; Aeneid one book (rest in translation)
Ovid: Fasti one book
Lucan: Pharsalia one book
Prudentius: Against Symmachus one book (other in translation)
Augustine: City of God 1-2