Roman Literature


The Roman Empire and its predecessor the Roman Republic produced an abundance of celebrated literature; poetry, comedies, dramas, histories, and philosophical tracts; the Romans avoided tragedies. Much of it survives to this day. However, Roman literature cannot stand alone. They owe a debt to their neighbor, the Greeks (more specifically Athens). Most educated Romans were well aware of their own literary inferiority, and because of this Roman writers could easily copy Greek classical themes, even going so far as to translate many of the notable Greek works into Latin. However, to many Romans, this exercise would have been needless, for a number of highly educated citizens could speak and read both Greek and Latin. Many young, upper-class Romans even continued their education in Athens. Although the link to Greek Hellenism would remain for years to come, the Romans would soon develop a rich literature of their own.

More about: Roman Literature


  • c. 205 BCE - 184 BCE
    Plautus writes his Roman comedy plays.
  • 65 BCE - 8 BCE
    Life of Roman poet, Quintus Horatius Flaccus, better known as Horace.
  • 59 BCE - 17 CE
    Life of Livy.
  • 43 BCE - 17 CE
    Life of the Roman writer Ovid, author of Metamorphoses.
  • c. 39 BCE - c. 38 BCE
    Roman poet Virgil writes his first collection of ten poems, the Eclogues.
  • c. 30 BCE - c. 19 BCE
    Roman poet Virgil writes his Aeneid.
  • c. 30 BCE
    Roman poet Virgil completes his second collection of poems, the Georgics.
  • 23 CE - Aug 79 CE
    Life of Pliny the Elder.
  • c. 50 CE - c. 120 CE
    The life of Greek historian and philosopher Plutarch.
  • c. 69 CE - c. 130 CE
    Life of Roman biographer Suetonius who wrote 'The Twelve Caesars'.