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Reading List

Ancient History and Classical Archaeology / Classical Civilisation / English and Classical Civilisation

Some of you will have taken A levels or GCSEs in classical subjects, whereas others will be coming fresh to the subject. Whatever your background, you might like to spend some time over the summer vacation reading some of the following. You don't need to read all of these - just dip into the areas you find most interesting!

Many translations are freely available online or can be purchased cheaply as second-hand copies. They will also be available via the library here at Warwick once you begin your studies.

Ancient Texts

  • Homer, Iliad and Odyssey: The Penguin Classics translations by Robert Fagles are good, see also Emily Wilson's new translation of the Odyssey. Lattimore's translations (University of Chicago Press) helpfully have the line number alongside the translation, which is useful later when you come to write essays.
  • Virgil, Aeneid: Penguin Classics edition (Fagles) or Oxford World's Classics (Fantham)
  • Greek Drama: esp. the Penguin Classics editions of Sophocles, Theban Plays (Fagles); Euripides' plays; Aristophanes (Sommerstein).
  • Herodotus, Histories (trans. Waterfield, Oxford World’s Classics);
  • Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War (trans. Hammond, Oxford World’s Classics).
  • Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars (trans, Graves Penguin Classics )/ The lives of the Caesars (trans. Edwards, Oxford World’s Classics)
Many of these can be found cheaply second hand. You'll also find older translations freely available on the internet on the Perseus Collection or on kindle.

Modern Introductions

  • Barchiesi, A. and Scheidel, W., The Oxford Handbook of Roman Studies (Oxford University Press, 2010)
  • Blanshard, A. Classical World: All that matters (John Murray Learning 2015)
  • Cartledge, P. The Greeks. A Portrait of Self and Others (Oxford University Press 2002)
  • Lane Fox, R. The Classical World: An Epic History from Homer to Hadrian (Penguin 2006)

These are not books that you need to buy - they won't be textbooks for the course; but are lively introductions to different aspects of the classical world.

If you haven't studied an ancient language before, you may decide to start Greek or Latin. We will offer taster sessions in welcome week but if you are interested in starting an ancient language we suggest that you try to do some preparation before you arrive. Many students choose to take Latin, for which there is a good short introduction on how to go about learning Latin and a few basics at the Open University's Getting Started on Latin. For further information see our Latin Language Module

If you want to begin Greek instead, then please learn the alphabet before you arrive, which you can do hereLink opens in a new window. For further information see Greek Language 1. If you have a GCSE in Latin or Greek and think you should be on an intermediate language course, we suggest that you revise your grammar and vocabulary over the summer and we will assess you on arrival; you can find further details on the modules here (Latin) and here (Greek).