Are there any ancient works, or parts of ancient works, which we possess in both Greek and Latin -- i.e. both the original and a translation, made in antiquity, into the other language?

I know there are many cases of e.g. Roman historians basing their work on Greek sources, which in some cases have also survived, but these (AFAIK) tend not to be straight translations, but adaptations. And there are Latin translations of Greek works which we know about (e.g. Livius Andronicus's Odyssey), but these survive only fragmentarily. What I would like to be able to do is to read the same passage in Greek and Latin, side by side -- preferably both versions being from classical antiquity (rather than a later translation of a classical work). Has anything like this survived?

  • 1
    Are you looking for a classical Latin translation of a Greek work? As worded, this question can be answered by any of those fine green tomes of Migne's Patrologia Graeca
    – brianpck
    Commented Apr 23, 2016 at 17:35
  • 1
    I assume you're excluding the Greek New Testament and the Vulgate? Commented Apr 23, 2016 at 17:41
  • @brianpck Yes, sorry to be unclear -- I'm mostly interested in translations made in antiquity.
    – TKR
    Commented Apr 23, 2016 at 21:46
  • @JoelDerfner I actually had not thought of the Scriptures, good point. But I was thinking more of the standard genres of classical literature (historiography, philosophy etc.).
    – TKR
    Commented Apr 23, 2016 at 21:47

4 Answers 4


Catullus 51 (Ille mi par esse deo videtur…) is a fairly literal translation of a very famous poem by Sappho (φαίνεταί μοι κῆνος ἴσος θέοισιν).

  • Good find, now you're on top.
    – Cerberus
    Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 2:46
  • Parts of Plato's Timaeus were translated into Latin by Cicero which can be found in his Timaeus. It worth noting that Luis Vives mentioned this work of Cicero as a model for translation to be studied.

  • Apuleius (124-170 AD) translated On the Universe (probably not by Aristotle).

This book presents the original Greek with Apuleiu's translation (together with other commentaries)

  • Several sources claim that Phenomena of Aratus was translated (sic.) into Latin by Cicero (mostly extant), Caesar Germanicus and Avienus. I am afraid though, they are not translations in the strict sense of the word, or what the post aiming for. (though it hard for me to judge as I don't know Greek)

Here are the versions:


I suspect that you may be looking for a translation made in Antiquity, but I couldn't resist posting a few scans from this book I have here:

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  • 3
    I did mean a translation made in antiquity (edited the question now to clarify that), but nevertheless, thanks for posting these beautiful scans!
    – TKR
    Commented Apr 23, 2016 at 21:55

While you can read parts of Andronicus' translation side by side with the Odyssey, two other monumental (pun intended) works stand out here. The first is the Res Gestae Divi Augusti, Augustus' propagandistic autobiography of his reign, and you can read the Latin and Greek side-by-side at Lacus Curtius.

The Old Latin and Vulgate Christian texts are also translations of Greek originals, and are far more extensive than the Res Gestae. It's not the best Latin (or Greek), but it's the most authentic translation you can get. The downside is that you often get a slavish devotion to literalism.

It might be more fragmentary than you're willing to endure, but Catullus 66 is also a translation of a Callimachus original.

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