Best Books of the Ancient World

Add only books that were written in ancient times (before year AD 399) in any genre. From any part of the world.
1

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3.78 avg rating — 911,752 ratings
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2

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3.88 avg rating — 375,937 ratings
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3

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3.71 avg rating — 85,417 ratings
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4

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3.95 avg rating — 181,536 ratings
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5

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3.85 avg rating — 112,102 ratings
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6

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3.95 avg rating — 46,359 ratings
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7

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4.22 avg rating — 150,475 ratings
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8

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4.07 avg rating — 60,942 ratings
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9

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4.26 avg rating — 131,420 ratings
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10

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3.67 avg rating — 114,720 ratings
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11

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really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 37,546 ratings
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12

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3.71 avg rating — 181,555 ratings
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13

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3.89 avg rating — 60,314 ratings
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14

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4.05 avg rating — 119,326 ratings
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15

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4.14 avg rating — 58,739 ratings
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16

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3.97 avg rating — 370,239 ratings
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17

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3.85 avg rating — 31,894 ratings
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18

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4.20 avg rating — 40,474 ratings
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19

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4.41 avg rating — 236,924 ratings
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20

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4.07 avg rating — 47,252 ratings
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21

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3.96 avg rating — 19,382 ratings
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22

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3.92 avg rating — 14,211 ratings
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23

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really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 5,038 ratings
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24

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4.35 avg rating — 24,581 ratings
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25

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3.97 avg rating — 37,592 ratings
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26

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4.31 avg rating — 10,044 ratings
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27

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3.80 avg rating — 7,305 ratings
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28

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3.82 avg rating — 8,848 ratings
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29

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3.90 avg rating — 54,543 ratings
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30

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3.98 avg rating — 10,177 ratings
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31

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3.80 avg rating — 19,521 ratings
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32

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4.03 avg rating — 1,474 ratings
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33

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4.10 avg rating — 35,028 ratings
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34

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3.88 avg rating — 12,851 ratings
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35

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4.10 avg rating — 9,005 ratings
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36

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4.09 avg rating — 6,875 ratings
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37

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4.14 avg rating — 4,996 ratings
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38

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3.97 avg rating — 8,096 ratings
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39

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4.13 avg rating — 1,618 ratings
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40

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4.02 avg rating — 3,178 ratings
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41

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3.79 avg rating — 10,371 ratings
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42

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4.15 avg rating — 5,678 ratings
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43

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4.14 avg rating — 9,250 ratings
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44

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3.97 avg rating — 33,513 ratings
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45

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4.65 avg rating — 57 ratings
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46

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4.78 avg rating — 54 ratings
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47

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3.77 avg rating — 12,065 ratings
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48

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4.16 avg rating — 19,549 ratings
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49

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3.84 avg rating — 19,797 ratings
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50

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3.98 avg rating — 7,121 ratings
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51

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3.90 avg rating — 4,786 ratings
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52

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4.08 avg rating — 2,744 ratings
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53

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4.19 avg rating — 5,915 ratings
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54

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3.90 avg rating — 11,128 ratings
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55

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3.93 avg rating — 8,412 ratings
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56

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4.14 avg rating — 1,580 ratings
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57

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4.11 avg rating — 789 ratings
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58

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4.19 avg rating — 209 ratings
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59

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4.84 avg rating — 19 ratings
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60

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4.10 avg rating — 3,769 ratings
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61

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3.92 avg rating — 1,259 ratings
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62

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4.28 avg rating — 2,235 ratings
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63

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3.84 avg rating — 8,315 ratings
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64

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4.01 avg rating — 1,167 ratings
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65

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4.06 avg rating — 11,048 ratings
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66

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3.72 avg rating — 2,273 ratings
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67

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4.15 avg rating — 4,230 ratings
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68

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3.81 avg rating — 5,239 ratings
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69

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4.24 avg rating — 695 ratings
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70

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3.84 avg rating — 1,467 ratings
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71

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3.48 avg rating — 5,675 ratings
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72

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3.83 avg rating — 1,817 ratings
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73

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3.93 avg rating — 4,268 ratings
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74

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4.08 avg rating — 1,135 ratings
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75

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4.17 avg rating — 1,852 ratings
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75

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4.04 avg rating — 4,345 ratings
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77

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4.03 avg rating — 2,782 ratings
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78

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4.14 avg rating — 3,466 ratings
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79

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really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 1,948 ratings
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80

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3.90 avg rating — 1,733 ratings
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81

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3.62 avg rating — 3,228 ratings
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82

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3.99 avg rating — 708 ratings
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82

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3.91 avg rating — 2,522 ratings
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82

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3.90 avg rating — 3,325 ratings
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85

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3.92 avg rating — 1,197 ratings
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86

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3.85 avg rating — 37,838 ratings
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87

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3.98 avg rating — 11,716 ratings
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88

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3.85 avg rating — 39 ratings
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89

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3.85 avg rating — 559 ratings
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90

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4.18 avg rating — 14,405 ratings
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91

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4.13 avg rating — 116 ratings
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92

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4.02 avg rating — 167 ratings
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93

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4.26 avg rating — 47 ratings
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94

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3.96 avg rating — 1,669 ratings
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95

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4.24 avg rating — 25,208 ratings
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96

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4.03 avg rating — 5,059 ratings
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97

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4.18 avg rating — 2,036 ratings
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98

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3.85 avg rating — 2,361 ratings
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99

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4.07 avg rating — 6,075 ratings
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100

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3.97 avg rating — 3,412 ratings
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204 books · 289 voters · list created July 20th, 2010 by deleted user.
442 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads 3263 books
860 friends
Aleksandr 763 books
15 friends
Al 1048 books
41 friends
Lady Reads 647 books
2 friends
Sue 7573 books
163 friends
Tate 25 books
0 friends
Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) 546 books
371 friends
Thom 6023 books
304 friends

More voters…


Comments Showing 1-22 of 22 (22 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) (last edited Jan 06, 2012 06:14AM) (new)

Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) If this is truly meant to be a list only for books written BC (or before year 1), Seneca and Epictetus would -- unfortunately -- have to go ...

Enrique, it's your list, though -- where do you want to draw the line?

ETA (Jan. 6): I see you amended the list description ... cool, so not only Seneca and Epictetus get to stay now but a few other great authors get to be included as well! :)

[Still too early for Augustine of Hippo, though ... :( (4th century AD)]


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads I guess St. Augustine is borderline; born in 354.


Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) Susanna wrote: "I guess St. Augustine is borderline; born in 354."

With the once more amended list description (4th instead of 2nd century AD), I'd agree -- though ultimately I do view Augustine as early medieval as well.


message 5: by Melkor (new)

Melkor  von Moltke Why is the King James Bible on this list? If you want to put the torah or another translation that's fine but I think the inclusion of a 17th century book is a bit of a stretch. If we are setting a date to end this list I would go with 476 CE.


message 6: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (last edited May 14, 2015 10:04AM) (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Removed:

The Riddle of the Labyrinth: The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code - it's about the ancient world, but is not an ancient text
The Guardians of Karma - blurb describes it as "science fiction fantasy about prehistoric times," first published in 2013
The Song of Achilles - historical fiction


message 7: by Melkor (new)

Melkor  von Moltke Also Aspects of Ancient Institutions and Geography: Studies in Honor of Richard J.A. Talbert doesn't seem to belong on this list unless we want to include later histories such as Gibbon's works.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Didn't see that one; will remove.


message 10: by April (new)

April Scatena kile Hasso wrote: "Why is the King James Bible on this list? If you want to put the torah or another translation that's fine but I think the inclusion of a 17th century book is a bit of a stretch. If we are setting a..."

Or you could go with the actual bible of the actual church that Christ established - the Roman Catholic Bible.


message 11: by Monty (last edited Sep 29, 2018 07:40AM) (new)

Monty Circus Deleted Aeschylus' "Agamemnon", "The Libation Bearers" and "The Eumenides" as they are already listed in the far more popular collected "The Oresteia".


message 12: by Monty (last edited Sep 29, 2018 08:15AM) (new)

Monty Circus Deleted "The Oedipus Cycle" (aka "The Theban Plays"), as they are more popular individually than collected (more ratings and also are higher on this list than collected). Also deleted "Oedipus Rex and Antigone", collecting 2 of the 3.


message 13: by Oxalis (new)


message 14: by Monty (new)

Monty Circus Oxalis wrote: "No Callimachus?"

You, or anyone, can add books to the list.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads At the top of the list, at the tab next to "all votes."


message 16: by Oxalis (new)

Oxalis Susanna - Censored by GoodReads wrote: "At the top of the list, at the tab next to "all votes.""

Thanks! :-)


message 17: by Enrique (new)

Enrique Somebody please delete "Feather of Hawk" by Dave Michael, this book was publish in 2018.


message 19: by Enrique (new)

Enrique Susanna - Censored by GoodReads wrote: "Deleted."

Thank you!


message 20: by Enrique (new)

Enrique "The City of God" was published 426, therefore outside the time period cover by this list.


message 21: by Georgi (new)

Georgi There is both "Lysistrata and Other Plays" and "Lysistrata" and "Four Plays: The Clouds/The Birds/Lysistrata/The Frogs" by Aristophanes.


For Aeschylus, there is "Prometheus Bound and Other Plays" and "Prometheus Bound".

For Plato, there is both "Apology", "Phaedo", "The Trial and Death of Socrates (Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Phaedo", etc. and " The Collected Dialogues" (containing all of the above.

Can someone please delete the duplicates?


message 22: by Emrys (new)

Emrys Georgi wrote: "There is both "Lysistrata and Other Plays" and "Lysistrata" and "Four Plays: The Clouds/ThFour Plays: The Clouds/The Birds/Lysistrata/The Frogse Birds/Lysistrata/The Frogs" by Aristophanes.


For Aeschylus, there is "Prometheus Bound and Other Plays"..."


I deleted Lysistrata and Other Plays (which has The Acharnians/The Clouds/Lysistrata) and Four Plays: The Clouds/The Birds/Lysistrata/The Frogs

I added the single works that are subsequently missing: Lysistrata, The Clouds, The Birds, The Frogs, The Acharnians. I've not looked into your other suggestions yet.


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