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Reading Rat

Read Me What to read, 301-1100

\/ 300 B.C.-A.D. 300 | 1101-1400 /\

Annotations: One star: to Five stars: (rating)     Etext: (etexts)     Study: (study guides)     Reference: (references)     Criticism: (criticism)     Note: (note)     Comment: (comment)

Comment: If one reads a great deal without knowing the essentials, he is but a bookstore. --Yin T'un (1071-1142)

\/ 11th Century

GEOFFREY of Monmouth (c. 1100-c. 1155) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a cleric and one of the major figures in the development of British historiography and the popularity of tales of King Arthur. --Wikipedia
History of the Kings of England (Historia Regum Britanniae, 1135-1139)
Comment: his accounts of the early myths of England, from its colonization by Brutus through Lear to Arthur, are charming and seminal. --Raphael and McLeish

Romance of 'ANTAR (Sîrat 'Antar ibn Shaddad, 11th-12th C.) Etext: The Online Books Page | Medieval Sourcebook
Note: tales of chivalry centred on the Arab desert poet and warrior 'Antarah ibn Shaddad, one of the poets of the celebrated pre-Islamic collection Al-Mu'allaqat. Though the Romance of 'Antar itself credits the 9th-century philologist al-Asma'i with its authorship, it was composed anonymously between the 11th and the 12th century. --Encyclopaedia Britannica

One star: The Song of ROLAND (La Chanson de Roland, between 1140 and 1170) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a heroic poem based on the Battle of Roncevaux in 778, during the reign of Charlemagne. It is the oldest surviving major work of French literature. --Wikipedia
Comment: The friendship of Oliver and Roland, demonstrating the medieval ideal of sapienta combined with fortitudo, is only one of the stirring elements in the vigorous narrative; others include the exaltation of Christendom over Islam, the enmity of Roland and his stepfather Ganelon, and the magnanimity of Charlemagne as a conqueror and lord. --Philip Ward

BERNARD of Clairvaux (1090-1153) Etext: The Online Books Page | Christian Classics Ethereal Library Reference: Eternal Word Television Network
Note: a French abbot and the primary builder of the reforming Cistercian order. --Wikipedia
Divi Bernardi abbatis ad sororem: Modus bene vivendi in christianam religionem

Anna KOMNENE (1083-1153) [Anna Comnena] Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a Greek princess, scholar, physician, hospital administrator, and the daughter of Emperor Alexios I Komnenos of Byzantium and Irene Doukaina. --Wikipedia
Alexiad (c. 1148) Etext: Medieval Sourcebook

Peter ABELARD (1079-1143) Etext: The Online Books Page Reference: William Turner essay
Note: a medieval French scholastic philosopher, theologian and preeminent logician. He was also a composer. --Wikipedia
One star: Letters (c. 1128, with Heloise d'Argenteuil, 1090?/1100?-1164) Criticism: Priya Jain review
Note: Heloise d'Argenteuil ... was a French nun, writer, scholar, and abbess, best known for her love affair and correspondence with Peter Abelard. --Wikipedia
Comment: Abelard was the greatest French logician and scholastic philosopher of the twelfth century, but his literary immortality is due to his correspondence with his mistress Heloise, a lady of great learning who married Abelard secretly. --Philip Ward
Plaints (after 1130)
One star: Story of His Misfortunes or A history of my Calamities (Historia Calamitatum, after 1132)
Comment: recounts his life from the period in St. Denis (from 1119) to some time after 1132. --Philip Ward

Judah HALEVI (1075 or 1086-1141) [Ha-Levi] Etext: The Online Books Page Reference: Jewish Virtual Library
Note: a Spanish Jewish physician, poet and philosopher. ... is considered one of the greatest Hebrew poets, celebrated both for his religious and secular poems, many of which appear in present-day liturgy. --Wikipedia
Selected Poems (N. Saloman translation, 1928)

al-GHAZALI (1059-1111) Etext: The Online Books Page Reference: Muhammad Hozien fan site
Note: a Muslim theologian, jurist, philosopher, and mystic of Persian descent. --Wikipedia
One star: Confessions or Deliverance from Error (Al-Munqidh min al-Dalal, c. 1100)
Comment: A very personal spiritual autobiography, by one of the greatest Islamic theologians, concerning the relation of mystical experiences to theology and the rational sciences. --A Guide to Oriental Classics

Moses IBN EZRA (c. 1055/60-after 1138)
Note: a Jewish, Spanish philosopher, linguist, and poet. --Wikipedia
Selected Poems Etext: Henry Rasof fan site

al-HARIRI of Basra (1054-1122) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: an Arab poet, scholar of the Arabic language and a high government official of the Seljuk Empire. --Wikipedia
One star: The Assemblies of al-Hariri (Maqamat al-Hariri) Etext: Medieval Sourcebook
Comment: A major work of classical Arabic literature, in fifty episodes, which illustrates some of the tensions between piety and civilization, the desert and the city in Islamic culture, and reflecting the Arab love and linguistic dexterity. --A Guide to Oriental Classics

MILAREPA (1052-1135) Etext: The Online Books Page | Quiet Mountain
Note: generally considered one of Tibet's most famous yogis and poets. --Wikipedia
The Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa

SOMADEVA Bhatta Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: Nothing is known about the author other than that his father's name was Ramadevabatta. The work was compiled for the entertainment of the queen Suryamati, wife of king Anantadeva of Kashmir (r. 1063-81). --Wikipedia
Kathasaritsagara Etext: The Online Books Page
Comment: The book, like its Arabian equivalent [the Arabian Nights] can be considered a useful source for Indian social and religious life in Somadeva's time... --Philip Ward

One star: Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch (Liuzu Tanjing, 8th to 13th Century) Etext: San Francisco State University
Note: a Chan Buddhist scripture that was composed in China ... Its key theme are the direct perception of one's true nature, and the unity in essence of sila (conduct), dhyana (meditation) and prajna (wisdom). --Wikipedia
Comment: assumed the status of both classic and scripture because of its unique claim to religious enlightenment. --A Guide to Oriental Classics

Omar KHAYYAM (1048–1131) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a Persian polymath, philosopher, mathematician, astronomer and poet --Wikipedia
Two stars: Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam Criticism: Marina Warner review
Comment: The Ruba'iyyat represents a persistent trend of skepticism and reflections on the transience of the world in Persian lyric poetry, and forms an important aspect of its poetic sensibilities. --A Guide to Oriental Classics

BILHANA (c. 1040-1095) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: an 11th-century Kashmiri poet. --Wikipedia
One star: Fifty Lyrics of a Thief (Caurapancasika, c. 1070-1100)
Comment: a series of verses of remembered love --A Guide to Oriental Classics

SU SHI (1036-1101) [Su Tung-P'o] Etext: The Online Books Page | Sacred Texts | Poem Hunter
Note: also known as Su Dong Po ... was a Chinese writer, poet, painter, calligrapher, pharmacologist, gastronome, and a statesman of the Song Dynasty --Wikipedia
One star: Poems
Comment: it is as a poet that we love the 'gay genius', whose inspiration while tipsy reminds us of the case of the Persian poet Hafiz--and a number of others in our own time, such as Dylan Thomas. --Philip Ward

ANSELM of Canterbury (1033-1109) Etext: The Online Books Page | Jasper Hopkins fan site Criticism: post
Note: a Benedictine monk, philosopher, and prelate of the Church, who held the office of Archbishop of Canterbury from 1093 to 1109. Called the founder of scholasticism, he has been a major influence in Western theology and is famous as the originator of the ontological argument for the existence of God and the satisfaction theory of atonement. --Wikipedia
Proslogium (1077-1078)

NIZAM al-Mulk (1018-1092) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a Persian scholar and vizier of the Seljuq Empire. --Wikipedia
Siyasatnama (1086-1091) [The Book of Government]

Lady SARASHINA (c. 1008-after 1059)
Note: by a woman known as Sugawara Takasue no Musume (“Daughter of Sugawara Takasue”), also called Lady Sarashina. --Encyclopaedia Britannica
One star: Sarashini Diary or As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams (Sarashini nikki, c. 1059) Etext: The Online Books Page | Hanover Historical Texts Project | A Celebration of Women Writers
Note: Her work stands out for its descriptions of her travels and pilgrimages and is unique in the literature of the period, as well as one of the first in the genre of travel writing --Wikipedia

/\ 11th Century
/\ 2nd Millennium
\/ 1st Millennium
\/ 10th Century

Fujiwara no NAGAKO (c. 1000?)
The Emperor Horikawa Diary (Sanuki no Suke Nikki)

Ibn HAZM (994-1064) Etext: The Online Books Page Reference: Islamic Philosophy Online
Note: an Andalusian polymath born in Cordoba, present-day Spain. He was a leading proponent and codifier of the Zahiri school of Islamic thought ... he is widely acknowledged as the father of comparative religious studies. --Wikipedia
Comment: Here Khoury quotes a work of the noted French Islamist R. Arnaldez, who points out that Ibn Hazm went so far as to state that God is not bound even by his own word, and that nothing would oblige him to reveal the truth to us. Were it God's will, we would even have to practise idolatry. --Benedict XVI
One star: The Ring of the Dove (Tawq al-Hamamah, c. 1022) Etext: Islamic Philosophy Online
A book on the anatomy of love, by an Andalusian Muslim scholar. Personal experience and direct observation lend depth and psychological truth to this outstanding example of an Arabic literary genre. --A Guide to Oriental Classics

AVICENNA (980-1037) Etext: The Online Books Page Reference: Muslim Philosophy Study: Robert C. Koons lecture
Note: a Persian ...polymath, who wrote almost 450 treatises on a wide range of subjects ... 150 of his surviving treatises concentrate on philosophy and 40 of them concentrate on medicine. --Wikipedia
Canon of Medicine (Al-Qanun fi'l-tibb)

MURASAKI Shikibu (c. 978-c. 1014 or 1025) Etext: The Online Books Page Criticism: post
Note: a Japanese novelist, poet and lady-in-waiting at the Imperial court during the Heian period. ... Murasaki Shikibu is a nickname; her real name is unknown, but she may have been Fujiwara Takako, who was mentioned in a 1007 court diary as an imperial lady-in-waiting. --Wikipedia
Two stars: The Tale of Genji (Genji monogatari, 1000-1012) Study: Robert H. Canary character list and glossary
Comment: [A] lively love story, portraying the elegant sensibility of the courtly circle. --William H. McNeill
Comment: The great saga tells the history of the court of a certain Prince Genji and his amorous adventures in the first forty-four chapters, and the story of his putative son in the final ten chapters, which might be by a different hand, or may simply reflect a change in Lady Murasaki's prose style. --Philip Ward
Comment: A long, psychologically insightful and moving novel ... dealing with Prince Genji and his descendants at the Japanese court ... . It is usually considered the supreme work of Japanese literature ... --A Guide to Oriental Classics
Diary (1008-1010)

Three stars: One Thousand and One Nights Etext: The Online Books Page or Arabian Nights Etext: The Online Books Page (Alf Layla wa Layla, early 8th C.-13th C.)
Note: a collection of West and South Asian stories and folk tales compiled in Arabic during the Islamic Golden Age. --Wikipedia
Comment: The genres include fairy tales, romances, legends, didactic stories, humorous tales, and anecdotes. --A Guide to Oriental Classics
- (Richard Francis Burton translation, 1885)
Comment: remains the finest and most readable version in a western language. --Philip Ward

Sei SHONAGON (Kiyohara Nagiko, c. 966-1017) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a Japanese author and a court lady who served the Empress Teishi (Sadako) around the year 1000 during the middle Heian period. --Wikipedia
Two stars: The Pillow Book (Majura no soski, c. 1000) Etext: Internet Archive
Comment: A collection of perceptive reflections and sharp and witty anecdotes, mainly concerned with court life in the late tenth century, by one of Japan's greatest literary stylists. --A Guide to Oriental Classics

Badi' al-Zaman al-HAMADANI (969-1007) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a Medieval Arab man of letters born in Hamadan, Iran. He is best known for his work the Maqamat, a collection of 52 episodic stories of a rogue, Abu al-Fath al-Iskandari, as recounted by a narrator, 'Isa b. Hisham. --Wikipedia
Maqamat
Comment: A major work of classical Aribic literature, in fifty-two maqamas, or rhetorical anecdotes, portraying the adventures of a sophisticated bohemian and a credulous bourgeois. The satire of medieval manners and morals is accomplished with a much-admired linguistic virtuosity. --A Guide to Oriental Classics

IZUMI Shikibu (976?-1033?) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a mid Heian period Japanese poet. She is a member of the Thirty-six Medieval Poetry Immortals. --Wikipedia
Diary (Izumi Shikibu Nikki, c. 1008)

Tales of YAMATO (Yamato monogatari, c. 951)
Note: collection of 173 short stories which give details about life in the Imperial court in the 9th and 10th centuries. --Wikipedia

FERDOWSI (940–1020) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a highly revered Persian poet. --Wikipedia
One star: Shahnameh (c. 977-1010, "The Book of Kings")
Comment: It took him about thirty years to compose the 60,000 couplets of the Shah-Namah (book of kings), recounting and glorifying the deeds, historic and legendary, of Iranian kings and heroes from Adam to the Arab conquests. --Philip K. Hitti
Comment: It comprises the mythical, legendary, and factual history of Iran from earliest times to the Arab conquest. --A Guide to Oriental Classics
Comment: To imagine an equivalent to this violent and beautiful work, which is expecially impressive in Dick Davis's recent translation, think of an amalgam of Homer's Iliad and the ferocious Old Testament book of Judges. --Michael Dirda

GENSHIN (Eshin Sozu 942-1017) Etext: The Online Books Page Criticism: post
Note: the most influential of a number of Tendai scholars active during the tenth and eleventh centuries in Japan. .. an elite cleric who espoused a doctrine of devotion to Amida Buddha --Wikipedia
Ojoyoshu (985)

MICHITSUNA no Haha (pseudonym, c.935-995) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a Heian period writer in Japan. Her true name is unknown to history. The term Michitsuna no Haha literally translates to Michitsuna's mother. --Wikipedia
The Gossamer Years (Edward Seidensticker translation, 1964; Kagero nikki, c. 974) Etext: Questia

Greek Anthology (Anthologia Graeca, c. 900 ) Etext: The Online Books Page | Internet Archive Reference: The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics | The Classical Tradition
Note: a collection of poems, mostly epigrams, that span the classical and Byzantine periods of Greek literature. Most of the material of the Greek Anthology comes from two manuscripts, the Palatine Anthology of the 10th century and the Anthology of Planudes (or Planudean Anthology) of the 14th century. --Wikipedia

al-MUTANABBI (915/923-965) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: an Arab Iraqi poet. ... Much of his poetry revolves around praising the kings he visited during his lifetime --Wikipedia
Poems

Kokin Wakashu (905) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: ... ("Collection of Japanese Poems of Ancient and Modern Times"), commonly abbreviated as Kokinshu, is an early anthology of the waka form of Japanese poetry, dating from the Heian period. --Wikipedia
Comment: The organization, poetic form, vocabulary, tone, and themes in the Kokinshu, compiled in 905 by Ki no Tsurayuki (c. 868-945) and others, set the standards of poetic expression for centuries. --A Guide to Oriental Classics

/\ 10th Century
\/ 9th Century

Ki no TSURAYUKI (872-945) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a Japanese author, poet and courtier of the Heian period. --Wikipedia
One star: Tosa Diary (Tosa nikki, 935)

Note: 868 ... first printed book that is actually dated ... the Chinese translation of an Indian Sanskrit treatise, the so-called Diamond Sutra ... --Amartya Sen

LI Shangyin (813-858) [Li Shang-yin] Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a Chinese poet of the late Tang Dynasty ... Along with Li He, he was much admired and "rediscovered" in the 20th century by the young Chinese writers for the imagist quality of his poems --Wikipedia
The Poetry of Li Shang-yin, Ninth-century Baroque Chinese Poet (James J. Y. Liu translation, 1969)
Twelve poems Etext: Wendy Zhengrong Yang fan site | Chang-Er Etext: China the Beautiful

/\ 9th Century
\/ 8th Century

Hadith (8th and 9th Centuries) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: in religious use is often translated as 'tradition', meaning a report of the deeds and sayings of Muhammad. ... Hadiths claims [sic] to originate from important characters of the earliest years of Islam such as the companions of Muhammad or Shia Imams/Religious leaders. ... Hadiths are regarded by traditional Islamic schools of jurisprudence as important tools for understanding the Quran and in matters of jurisprudence. --Wikipedia
Comment: In the third century Hijriah, corresponding to the night century A.D., a need was felt to systematize the thousands of traditions which had grown up around the life, work and sayings of the Prophet Muhammed, the criterion of authenticity being the isnad, or chain of transmission, some sources being more reliable than others. --Philip Ward

LINJI Yixuan (d. 866) [Lin-chi I-hsuan] Reference: Illustrated Encyclopedia of Zen Buddhism entry
Note: the founder of the Linji school of Chán Buddhism during Tang Dynasty China. --Wikipedia
Sayings of Lin-chi (Linji yu lu, c. 1120)
Comment: The recorded sayings of the late T'ang Buddhist master Lin-chi Huichao, founder of the Lin-chi (Rinzai) school of Ch'an, which spread throughtout East Asia. It contains many stories used later as subjects of meditation. --A Guide to Oriental Classics

The Tales of ISE (Ise monogatari, 905?)
Note: Thirty of the poems from The Tales of Ise appear in the Kokin Wakashu (905), with similar headnotes, all attributed to Narihira. [Ariwara no Narihira (825-880)] --Wikipedia

LI He (791-817) [Li Ho] Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a short-lived Chinese poet of the late Tang Dynasty, known for his dense and allusive use of symbolism, for his use of synecdoche, for his vividly imaginative (and often fantastic) imagery, and for his otherwise sometimes unconventional style of poetry. --Wikipedia
One star: The Poems of Li Ho

Adi SHANKARA (788-820)
Note: a Hindu philosopher from Kaladi in present day Ernakulam district, Kerala, India who consolidated the doctrine of advaita vedanta. --Wikipedia
The Vedanta Sutra with the Commentary of Shankaracharya
Comment: Shankaracharya, or Shankara, is the most influential of Indian philosophers, representing nondualistic philosophy based on the Upanishads (Vedantas), the form of Indian thought best known in the West. --A Guide to Oriental Classics

al-JAHIZ (c. 780-c. 868) Etext: The Online Books Page Criticism: post
Note: an Arabic prose writer and author of works of literature, Mu'tazili theology, and politico-religious polemics. --Wikipedia
The Life and Works of Jahiz (D. M. Hawks translation 1969, from Charles Pellat translation) Etext: Medieval Sourcebook

YUAN Zhen (779-831) [Yuan Chen]
Note: a politician of the middle Tang Dynasty, but is more known as an important Chinese writer and poet. --Wikipedia
Poetry
three poems Etext: Sam Hamill translation

KUKAI (774-835) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a Japanese monk, civil servant, scholar, poet, and artist, founder of the Shingon or "True Word" school of Buddhism. --Wikipedia
One star: Major Works
Comment: Kukai, greatest of the Heian period Buddhist teachers, studied esoteric Buddhism and Sanskrit in the T'ang capital Ch'ang-un and brought back to Japan a type of Buddhism that was to have an enormous impact on Heian culture. --A Guide to Oriental Classics

BAI JUYI (772-846) [Po Chu'-I] Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a Chinese poet of the Tang Dynasty. Many of his poems concern his career or observations made as a government official --Wikipedia
One star: Poems

One star: Man'yoshu (c. 770) Etext: The Online Books Page | Japanese text
Note: the oldest existing collection of Japanese poetry ... The compiler, or the last in a series of compilers, is today widely believed to be Otomo no Yakamochi, although numerous other theories have been proposed. --Wikipedia
Comment: containing over four thousand poems in twenty books --A Guide to Oriental Classics

MENG Jiao (751-814) [Meng Chiao] Etext: Poem Hunter
Note: a poet of the Tang Dynasty, in China. Meng was the oldest of the Mid-Tang poets and is noted for the unusual forcefulness and harshness of his poems. --Wikipedia
Poetry

Daredevils of Sassoun (Sasuntsi Davit, 8th Century) Study: Cleveland State University
Note: an Old Armenian heroic epic poem in four cycles (parts) about four generations of Sassoun's warriors --Wikipedia | As an oral history, it dates from the 8th century --Wikipedia

Two stars: Beowulf (after 680, before 793) Etext: The Online Books Page Reference: Martin Irvine resources | James Grout on translations Criticism: post
Note: an Old English heroic epic poem consisting of 3182 alliterative long lines, set in Scandinavia, commonly cited as one of the most important works of Anglo-Saxon literature. --Wikipedia
Comment: (The recent version by poet Seamus Heaney is quite thrilling, while that by Michael Alexander, in prose, achieves greater exactness and fidelity.) --Michael Dirda

SHANTIDEVA
Note: 8th-century --Wikipedia
Bodhicaryavatara Etext: The Online Books Page | Buddhist Information
Comment: This primarily devotional work occupies a position in Mahayana Buddhism analogous to that of the Bhagavadgita in Hinduism, the Dhammapada in Theravada Buddhism, and the Imitatio Christi of Thomas a Kempis in Christianity. --A Guide to Oriental Classics

HANSHAN [Han Shan] Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: (c.730? - c.850?) --Wikiquote
Note: a legendary figure associated with a collection of poems from the Chinese Tang Dynasty in the Taoist and Chan tradition. --Wikipedia
Cold Mountain: 100 Poems by the T'ang Poet Han-shan (Burton Watson transation, 1962)

DU FU (712-770) [Tu Kung-Pu] Etext: The Online Books Page | Poem Hunter | Chinese Poems Criticism: Kenneth Rexroth review
Note: a prominent Chinese poet of the Tang Dynasty. Along with Li Bai (Li Bo), he is frequently called the greatest of the Chinese poets. --Wikipedia
One star: Poems

LI Bai (701-762) [Li Po] Etext: The Online Books Page | Project Gutenberg
Note: a Chinese poet ... He and his friend Du Fu (712-770) are the two most prominent figures in the flourishing of Chinese poetry in the mid-Tang Dynasty that is often called the "Golden Age of China." --Wikipedia
One star: Poems

BHAVABHUTI (8th Century) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: an 8th-century scholar of India noted for his plays and poetry, written in Sanskrit. His plays are considered equivalent to the works of Kalidasa. --Wikipedia
The Later Story of Rama (Uttararamacharita)

/\ 8th Century
\/ 7th Century

Ulster Cycle or The Red Branch Cycle (7th-8th Centuries) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: one of the four great cycles of Irish mythology, is a body of medieval Irish heroic legends and sagas of the traditional heroes of the Ulaid in what is now eastern Ulster and northern Leinster --Wikipedia

WANG Wei (c. 699-c. 761) Etext: The Online Books Page
Comment: great T'ang dynasty poet, composer and painter... --Philip Ward
Note: Many of his poems are preserved, and twenty-nine were included in the highly influential 18th century anthology Three Hundred Tang Poems. --Wikipedia
One star: Poems of Wang Wei (G. W. Robinson translation, 1973; Wang Yu-ch'eng Chi Chien-chu, 1736)
Selected poems Etext: China the Beautiful | Deer Park Hermitage Etext: China the Beautiful | Four poems Etext: Poems Found in Translation

MENG Haoran (689-740) [Meng Hao-jan] Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a major Tang Dynasty poet --Wikipedia
Poetry
Two poems Etext: Yefei He fan site

BEDE (672/673-735) Etext: The Online Books Page Criticism: Benedict XVI general audience
Note: an English monk ... He is well known as an author and scholar, and his most famous work, Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History of the English People) gained him the title "The Father of English History". --Wikipedia
Comment: It is inspirational to note the speed, ambition and confidence with which an illiterate society took up a foreign belief, language and technology, and made themselves masters of all three within two long lifetimes, so that the Venerable Bede ended his long life in 735 AD, in his far north-eastern monastery of St. Peter's, Monkwearmouth, the most learned man in Europe. --Tom Shippey
Ecclesiastical History of the English People (731?)
Comment: The history of Britain from the landing of St. Augustine in 597 to the year 731, discussed in elegant, clear prose. --Raphael and McLeish
- (John Gregory translation, revised edition 1996) Criticism: Steve Donoghue review

Four stars: Quran (c. 653) Etext: The Online Books Page | Quran.com Reference: al-Islam | Aisha Bewley fan site | see Hadith Criticism: Khaleel Mohammed on translations | post
Note: the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims believe to be a revelation from God ... Quranic chapters are called suras and verses are called ayahs. --Wikipedia
Comment: The revelations to the Prophet Mohammed, compiled soon after his death, are accepted by Muslims' as God's final word; the Qur'an is indispensible to all reading in the later tradition. --A Guide to Oriental Classics
Comment: Yes, it's true: the Koran speaks of mercy and compassion and calls for ethical living. But such passages are no match for the ferocity of instruction found there for waging war for God's sake. --Bill Moyers

/\ 7th Century
\/ 6th Century

HARSHA (c. 590–647) Criticism: post
Note: an Indian emperor who ruled northern India from 606 to 647 ... was a noted author on his own merit. He wrote three Sanskrit plays – Nagananda, Ratnavali and Priyadarsika. --Wikipedia
Ratnavali Etext: The Online Books Page

One star: The Seven Odes (Mu'allaqat) Etext: The Online Books Page | Muslim Philosophy
Note: from the time before Islam. --Wikipedia
Comment: This collection, the most celebrated among several, has exerted a lasting influence on Islamic poetry. --A Guide to Oriental Classics

VISHAKHADATTA
Note: an Indian Sanskrit poet and playwright. ... only two of his plays, the Mudraraksasa and the Devichandraguptam are known to us. --Wikipedia
The Signet Ring of Rakshasa (Mudrarakshasa) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: dated variously from the late 4th century to the 8th century. --Wikipedia

Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana (Mahayana Sraddhotpada Shastra; Dasheng Qixin Lun [Ta-ch'eng ch'i-hsim lun]; c. 553?) Etext: The Online Books Page | Order of Hsu Yun
Note: a text of the Mahayana branch of Buddhism. ... While the text is attributed by the faithful to Asvaghosa, no Sanskrit version of the text is extant. --Wikipedia
Comment: A brief but seminal treatise of uncertain provenance that came to have profound influence on many of the traditions of East Asian Buddhist thought. --A Guide to Oriental Classics

/\ 6th Century
\/ 5th Century

PROCOPIUS (c. 500-c. 565) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a prominent late antique scholar from Palaestina Prima. --Wikipedia
Wars of Justinian (De Bellis, 545)
Comment: The reign of Justinian and the achievements of Belisarius... . --Raphael and McLeish
Buildings of Justinian (Peri Krismaton or De Aedificiis, before 557?)
Comment: describes in eulogistic manner how Justinian and his Empress Theodora enriched their capital, Constantinople, with beautiful new buildings: the language of Procopius is tarnished with sycophancy. --Philip Ward
Secret History (1623; Historia Arcana c. 550 or 558, called Anekdota, i.e., 'Unpublished')
Comment: a secret chronicle showing the other side of the picture, in which Justinian and the ex-prostitute Theodora are shown up in their 'true' colours, often exaggerated for effect. --Philip Ward

JUSTINIAN I (c. 482-565) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: ...Byzantine Emperor from 527 to 565. During his reign, Justinian sought to revive the Empire's greatness and reconquer the lost western half of the historical Roman Empire. --Wikipedia
Corpus Juris Civilis (529-534)
Note: the modern name for a collection of fundamental works in jurisprudence, issued from 529 to 534 by order of Justinian I, Eastern Roman Emperor. --Wikipedia

BOETHIUS (Anicius Manlius Severinus 474-525) Etext: The Online Books Page Criticism: post
One star: Consolation of Philosophy (510-524)

Lankavatara Sutra (443) Etext: Daisetz Teitaro Suzuk translation
Note: a sutra of Mahayana Buddhism. The sutra recounts a teaching primarily between the Buddha and a bodhisattva named Mahamati ("Great Wisdom"). --Wikipedia
Comment: Its emphasis on interior experience testifies to the continuing importance of meditation in Mahayana Buddhism, while its 'mind-only' teachings anticipate the 'idealism' of the Yogacara tradition of Mahayana. --A Guide to Oriental Classics

PROCLUS (c. 412-485) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a Greek Neoplatonist philosopher, one of the last major Classical philosophers --Wikipedia
A Commentary on the First Book of Euclid's Elements

Vimalakirti Sutra (406) Etext: Kenyon College
Note: a Mahayana Buddhist sutra. Sometimes used in the title, the word nirdesa means "instruction/advice". The sutra teaches, among other subjects, the meaning of nonduality. --Wikipedia
Comment: An originally Indian scripture that struck a responsive chord in the minds of Chinese Buddhists and that has always been one of the most cherished texts in the Chinese Buddhist tradition. Coming from the mouth of the sagely, humane layman Vimalakirti, alien notions such as 'emptiness', 'nonduality', and 'inconceivable liberation' seemed more accessible to the Chinese. --A Guide to Oriental Classics

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XIE Lingyun (385-433) [Hsieh Ling-yun]
Note: one of the foremost Chinese poets of the Southern and Northern Dynasties and a famous practitioner of the Six Dynasties poetry. --Wikipedia
Works Three poems Etext: The Literary Review

KALIDASA Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a.d. 375?-415? --The Free Dictionary | a Classical Sanskrit writer, widely regarded as the greatest poet and dramatist in the Sanskrit language. --Wikipedia
Comment: brought the Sanskrit drama to its greatest excellence. His style was simple, yet elegant, with telling metaphors, skilful characaterizations, and well-contrived, if trifling plots. --William H. McNeill
One star: Abhijnanasakuntala or Shakuntala Study: Paul Brians study guide
Comment: The play, with its rich mythological layers and vast cosmic landscape, is the model of Indian 'heroic romance'. --A Guide to Oriental Classics
One star: Meghaduta or Meghasandes (c. 400, "The Cloud Messenger")
Comment: a long love lyric --A Guide to Oriental Classics

TAO Yuanming (365-427) [T'ao Ch'ien] Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a Chinese poet of the Six Dynasties period (c. 220 - 589 CE). ... Tao Yuanming is generally regarded as the greatest poet during the centuries between the Han and Tang dynasties. --Wikipedia
One star: Poetry Etext: selections
Comment: He avoided the conventional poem, or set-piece, concentrating on aspects of his own life which were treated in a manner compounded of Taoist and Confucian elements. He saw man as a part of nature, understanding the value of Taoist quietism, but balanced this with a respect for Confucian practicality, filial piety, and social stability... --Philip Ward

AUGUSTINE of Hippo (354-430) Etext: The Online Books Page | Christian Classics Ethereal Library Reference: James J. O'Donnell fan site Criticism: post
Note: an early Christian theologian whose writings were very influential in the development of Western Christianity and Western philosophy. ... Writing during the Patristic Era, he is viewed as one of the most important Church Fathers --Wikipedia
Comment: To judge by the large number of manuscripts which have survived, and the dog-eared condition of many of them, Augustine's work was by far the most widely circulated and read of the entire Middle Ages. --Paul Johnson
Comment: St. Augustine thought he had found / The sin by which mankind is bound: / 'It was not,' so said he, / 'The fruit on the tree, / But the lust of the pair on the ground.' --Bob L. Staples
On Lying (De mendacio, 374)
On the Teacher (De magistro, c. 389)
Four stars: Confessions (Confessiones, 397-398)
Comment: although it takes a long time to reach the actual conversion, Augustine is throughout in some relation to God, either fearing him, doubting him, misunderstanding him, seeing him, rejecting him, or, finally, accepting him. --Peter Wolff
Comment: Comparing the tone and intention of Augustine's writing about himself with the cheerfulness, the blandness even, of Socrates' 'Apology', say, prompts the thought that there must be something distinctively Christian in Augustine's obsessiveness in self-interrogation, amounting at times almost to desperation. --Anthony O'Hear
On Christian Doctrine (De doctrina christiana, 397, 426)
Reply to Faustus the Manichaean (Contra Faustum [Manichaeum], c. 400)
One star: The City of God (De civitate Dei, 413-426)
Treatises on the Gospel of John (In Iohannis evangelium tractatus, 416)
To Consentius, Against Lying (Contra mendacium [ad Consentium], 420)
On Patience (De patientia, 421)
Enchiridion (421)
also
Your Own Mystery (c. 430) Etext: Assembly (March 1997)

Two stars: Mahabharata (4th Century A.D.) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India, the other being the Ramayana. Besides its epic narrative of the Kurukshetra War and the fates of the Kaurava and the Pandava princes, the Mahabharata contains much philosophical and devotional material ... Traditionally, the authorship of the Mahabharata is attributed to Vyasa. --Wikipedia
Comment: Through a process perhaps analogous to that by which Greek heroic poetry coalesced around the Trojan War, the plot of this poem ostensibly crystallized around the tale of a struggle between rival claimants to the throne of a minor Indian kingdom. But the Mahabarata includes an extraordinary diversity of matter, most of which is only loosely attached to the central theme. --William H. McNeill
Comment: The longer of the two major Indian epics, it is primarily a folk epic that includes many religious poems, didactic passages, myths, and legends, and as such is the modern encyclopedic source for the significant themes of Indian civilization. --A Guide to Oriental Classics
includes
Three stars: Bhagavad Gita ("The Song of the Bhagavan") Etext: The Online Books Page | Bhagavad-Gita Trust Criticism: post
Note: a 700-verse scripture that is part of the Hindu epic Mahabharata. The Gita is set in a narrative framework of a dialogue between Pandava prince Arjuna and his guide Lord Krishna. --Wikipedia
Comment: this is not a treatise on war, but a treatise on the nature of responsible action. Krishna teaches the yoga, or discipline, of action: to act and be involved in the world, without personal or egotistical attachment to the fruits of those actions. --Diana Eck

One star: Talmud (Mishna, c. 200; Gemara, c. 500) Etext: The Online Books Page | Sacred Texts Study: E-Daf
Note: a central text of Rabbinic Judaism. --Wikipedia
Comment: The Talmud is a huge encyclopaedia of laws both Levitical and ceremonial (the Hallakhah) and of parables, tales and anecdotes (the Haggadah). --Philip Ward
includes
Sayings of the Fathers (Pirkei Aboth) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a compilation of the ethical teachings and maxims of the Rabbis of the Mishnaic period. ... The teachings of Pirkei Avot appear in the Mishnaic tractate of Avot, the second-to-last tractate in the order of Nezikin in the Talmud. --Wikipedia

AMBROSE (339-397) Etext: The Online Books Page | Christian Classics Ethereal Library | New Advent
Note: an archbishop of Milan who became one of the most influential ecclesiastical figures of the 4th century. He was one of the four original doctors of the Church. ... He is notable for his influence on St. Augustine. --Wikipedia
Note: 'si fueris Romae, Romano vivito more; si fueris alibi, vivito sicut ibi' (374; 'if you were in Rome, live in the Roman way; if you are elsewhere, live as they do there') --ed.
Letter to Simplicianus (c. 387)

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Revised February 4, 2014.

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