Ten ancient books still live in our time

Books can survive for centuries to it's creators. But the most important are the ideas and ideals that books can bring to our lives.

Sep 12, 2023 - 14:00
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Ten ancient books still live in our time
Image by Ri Butov / Pixabay

The ancient world produced numerous important books that have had a profound and lasting impact on human thought, culture, and knowledge. Selecting the most important ones can be subjective, but here are ten of the most influential and significant books from antiquity:

  1. The Iliad and The Odyssey by Homer: These epic poems, attributed to the ancient Greek poet Homer, are among the earliest and most important works of Western literature. They narrate the legendary events of the Trojan War and the adventures of Odysseus, respectively.

  2. The Bible: A collection of religious texts sacred to Judaism and Christianity. It comprises various books, including the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and the New Testament, which have profoundly influenced religious, cultural, and moral beliefs worldwide.

  3. The Analects by Confucius: A compilation of teachings and sayings of Confucius, the ancient Chinese philosopher, which shaped the ethical and social philosophy of Confucianism.

  4. The Bhagavad Gita: A sacred Hindu scripture forming part of the Indian epic Mahabharata. It presents a dialogue between Prince Arjuna and the god Krishna, exploring concepts of duty, righteousness, and the nature of life and death.

  5. Plato's Dialogues: The dialogues of Plato, a prominent ancient Greek philosopher, contain Socratic dialogues that explore a wide range of philosophical topics and have significantly influenced Western philosophy.

  6. The Histories by Herodotus: Often considered the first work of history in Western literature, this book by the Greek historian Herodotus provides an account of the Greco-Persian Wars and various cultural, geographical, and historical details of the ancient world.

  7. The Art of War by Sun Tzu: An ancient Chinese military treatise, attributed to Sun Tzu, offering strategic and tactical insights that have been applied not only in warfare but also in business and leadership.

  8. Metamorphoses by Ovid: An epic narrative poem that presents a collection of Greek and Roman myths, it is a seminal work of Roman literature, inspiring countless writers and artists throughout history.

  9. The Aeneid by Virgil: An epic poem that tells the legendary story of Aeneas, a Trojan hero, and his journey to Italy, becoming the foundation myth of Rome and a cornerstone of Latin literature.

  10. The Tao Te Ching by Laozi: An ancient Chinese text attributed to Laozi, which forms the basis of Taoism, emphasizing the importance of living in harmony with the Tao (the Way).

These books represent only a fraction of the significant works from the ancient world. They have transcended their historical contexts and continue to shape human understanding, values, and perspectives to this day.

Viktor Schwarz Member of EA Global Coordination Team