Western Civilization begins in Greece, and a few centuries later, the Romans pick up where the Greeks leave off. Our survey of the Great Books of Western Civilization therefore begins with the ancient but powerful epics of Homer. We sample some of the favorite works of ancient Athenians--the plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. We even dabble a bit in the philosophy of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. We finish up with a few biographical sketches by Plutarch and the great Roman epic, The Aeneid. To keep things interesting, we insert two works from other eras: C.S. Lewis's retelling of the myth of Cupid and Psyche, Till We Have Faces, and Shakespeare's dramatic Brutus's betrayal and assassination of Julius Caesar. 

There's a lot of mythology of course, and we are careful to look at it from a distinctly Christian worldview. The contrasts between Greek and Christian concepts of God and his dealings with man couldn't be more obvious and the discussion is often lively. Edith Hamilton's guide through the myths helps us here and there throughout the course. 

For 2016-17, this class meets live on Mondays from 12:30-1:30 PM, Eastern Standard Time. All sessions will be recorded and made available to enrolled students. 

Click here for Class Session Calendar

The Lit 1 Syllabus includes:

  • Mythology, Edith Hamilton
  • The Iliad, Homer
  • The Odyssey, Homer
  • Agamemnon, Aeschylus
  • Oedipus Rex, Sophocles
  • Medea, Euripides
  • Antigone, Sophocles
  • Selections from Dialogues, Plato
  • The Republic, Plato
  • Poetics, Aristotle
  • Till We Have Faces, C.S. Lewis
  • Selections from Fables, Aesop
  • Selections from Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans, Plutarch
  • The Aeneid, Virgil 
  • Julius Caesar, Shakespeare

The specific editions below are recommended for the course. Some are specific translations. Getting the wrong translation will almost certainly cause confusion. I recommend purchasing the books from the links below. If you prefer another way of obtaining the books, be sure to take note of the editions and, more importantly, the particular translations. 

Disclosure: I receive a small commission when you purchase via the links below.