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The Battle of Thermopylae  

Herodotus

Herodotus (c. 484-c.425 B.C.E.) is generally recognized as the “Father of History.” Following the tradition of the Homeric epics, Herodotus sets out to chronicle the great and heroic deeds ... More

Canto XIX of the Inferno  

Dante

Dante Alighieri (1265 – 1321) was a Florentine poet who bridged the artistic cultures of the Middle Ages and of the Renaissance. Dante’s approach to his poetry foreshadowed the Renaissance ... More

Constantine the Great  

Eusebius

Constantine the Great (272–337 BCE) became Roman emperor in 306; by 312 he had defeated his most powerful rival for power. Secure in his political power, Constantine quickly turned to ... More

De Administrando Imperio  

Constantine Porphyrogenitus

The Roman Empire in the West dissolved under the twin pressures of external invasion and internal decay, but the richer, more urban eastern half of the empire survived. Transformed by ... More

The Decameron, “Putting the Devil Back in Hell”  

Giovanni Boccaccio

A Latin scholar, poet, and biographer, Boccaccio (1313–1375) is most famous today as the author of the Decameron. This compilation of 100 tales, by turns serious, bawdy, and irreverent, ... More

A Discourse on the Method  

Renee Descartes

René Descartes (1596–1650) has been called the Father of Modern Philosophy because of his work in philosophy, metaphysics, theology, and mathematics. Perhaps best known for the ... More

Discourses on Livy  

Niccolo Machiavelli

The humanist and statesman Niccolò Machiavelli (1469–1527) is best known for his Italian treatise, The Prince, on Renaissance city-state rulers—but his Discourses on Livy better clarify his ... More

Florence under Lorenzo di Medici  

Francesco Guicciardini

Francesco Guicciardini (1483–1540) was a wealthy lawyer with good political connections. Like many such figures in the Renaissance, he also had cultural and intellectual ambitions. In his ... More

Global Gender Gap Report  

World Economic Forum

The Global Gender Gap Report was introduced by the World Economic Forum in 2006 to analyze disparities between genders in a worldwide context. It assesses national gender gaps in political, ... More

The Gold Mines of Nubia  

Agatharcides of Cnidus

The societies and trade networks that flourished along the Red Sea (or “Erythraean Sea” as the Greeks called it) in antiquity were well documented by writers of many different cultures. ... More

Graffiti From The Walls of Pompeii  

Anonymous

This is a small sample of the array of painted, scratched, and scribbled graffiti archaeologists have discovered on the walls of the city of Pompeii, which was sealed in ash after the ... More

Histories  

Herodotus

Having failed to defeat the Athenians in their first attempt in 490 BCE, the Persians launched a massive invasion of the entire Greek peninsula in 480, under the leadership of Darius’s ... More

History of Rome  

Titus Livy

Titus Livy was born in the last century BCE (either 59 or 64 BCE) in northern Italy. Livy was a Roman patriot, and his history reflected his pride in Rome’s accomplishments. Unfortunately, ... More

Humanae Vitae  

Pope Paul VI

Pope Paul VI (1897–1978) took office at a time of reform in the Catholic Church. In the wake of Vatican II (1962–1965), he extended the reforming spirit of John XXIII. Nonetheless, in the ... More

Julius Caesar  

Plutarch

Plutarch (c. 46 – 120 CE) was the most important Greek writer of his age. He is best known for his Lives of Noble Greeks and Romans. In the Lives, he attempted to present moral lessons by ... More

Letter to Don Benedetto Castelli  

Gallileo Galilei

An Italian astronomer, physicist, and mathematician, Galileo Galilei (1564–1642) made many significant contributions to science—such as improvements to the telescope and work with ... More

“Letter to Posterity”  

Petrarca

This letter, which Petrarca (1304–1374) never finished, represents something of an autobiographical obituary. In it he offers a summary of his life and achievements, which, interestingly, ... More

Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina de’ Medici  

Galileo Galilei

This famous letter is often cited as an early sign of Galileo’s inevitable conflict with church authorities over the Copernican system of planetary motion—and the theory’s theological, as ... More

Lives of Artists  

Georgio Vasari

An architect and fresco-painter in his own right—and even an apprentice to Michelangelo in his youth—Giorgio Vasari (1511–1574) is most fondly remembered for his personal accounts of ... More

1 Maccabees  

Anonymous

Just before his death in Babylon in June 323 BCE, Alexander the Great was the unrivalled conqueror of an enormous portion of the known world, counting modern Greece, Egypt, the Middle East, ... More

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