Writing is believed to have been invented in and around Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt during the Bronze Age at about the 30th century BC, with the earliest surviving texts dating between the 27th-26th centuries BC.
Continuing through the Iron Age (around the 8th century BC) and into the early Christian era (about the 6th or 7th centuries AD), “ancient” writers of note emerged on practically every continent around the globe and included regional rulers and monarchs, soldiers, statesmen, politicians, poets, historians, philosophers, teachers and theologians of almost every religious tradition. It is from these early writings that much has been learned about the peoples, societies and governments of far-distant times in history.
The following authors in our database represent the Ancient Period of World Literature:
(Where appropriate, some authors or works of this period may be found in the Mythology, Fables and Folktales category of this collection)
|Aeschylus (525 BC-455 BC)||Laertius, Diogenes (200s AD)|
|Al-Farabi, Abu Nasr (d. 950)||Livy (Titus Livius) (59 BC-17 AD)|
|Anonymous: Bhagavad-Gita (1000 BC-700 BC)||Longus (100s AD)|
|Anonymous: Mahabharata (400s BC)||Lucian (125 AD-180 AD)|
|Anonymous: The Epic of Gilgamesh (c. 2000 BC)||Lucretius (99 BC-54 BC)|
|Anonymous: The Upanishads (500s BC)||Nepos, Cornelius (100 BC-24 BC)|
|Aristophanes (446 BC-386 BC)||Ovid (63 BC-14 AD)|
|Aristotle (384 BC-322 BC)||Paterculus, Marcus Velleius (19 BC-31 AD)|
|Boethius, Ancius (480 AD-525 AD)||Philodemus (110 BC-35 BC)|
|Caesar, Julius (100 BC-44 BC)||Plato (428 BC-348 BC)|
|Catullus, Gaius Valerius (84 BC-54 BC)||Plautus, Titus Maccius (254 BC-184 BC)|
|Cicero, Marcus Tullius (106 BC-43 BC)||Pliny the Elder (23 AD-79 AD)|
|Confucius (551 BC-479 BC)||Pliny the Younger (61 AD-112 AD)|
|Dio, Cassius (155 AD-229 AD)||Plutarch (46 AD-120 AD)|
|Epictetus (55 AD-135 AD)||Polybius (200 BC-118 BC)|
|Epicurus (341 BC-270 BC)||Sappho (630 BC-571 BC)|
|Euclid (300s BC)||Seneca, Lucius Annaeus (3 BC-65 AD)|
|Euripides (d. 406 BC)||Sophocles (496 BC-406 BC)|
|Hammurabi (1810 BC-1750 BC)||Suetonius (70 AD-130 AD)|
|Herodotus (484 BC-425 BC)||Tacitus (56 AD-117 AD)|
|Homer (1100-1200 BC)||Thucydides (460 BC-395 BC)|
|Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus) (65-68 BC)||Tzu, Sun (544 BC-496 BC)|
|Josephus, Flavius (37 AD-100 AD)||Virgil (70 BC-19 BC)|
|Juvenal (Decimus Juvenalis) (100s AD)||Xenophon (444 BC-354 BC)|
|Lactantius (240 AD-320 AD)|
Click on any of the above names to open the corresponding biographical essay.
Click on the red book icon to the left of any name in the list to access that author’s bibliography and our collection of direct links available for the associated titles as hosted by a wide variety of professional and academic Web sites.
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