Professor Dihle sees the Greek and Latin literature between the 1st century B.C. and the 6th century A.D. as an organic progression. He builds on Schlegel's observation that art, customs and political life in classical antiquity are inextricably entwined and therefore should not be examined separately. Dihle does not simply consider narrowly defined `literature', but all works of cultural socio-historical significance, including Jewish and Christian literature, philosophy and science. Despite this, major authors like Seneca, Tacitus and Plotinus are considered individually. This work is an authoritative yet personal presentation of seven hundred years of literature.
`This is a monumental work of massive erudition to which a short review can do but scant justice and merely hint at some of the treaures to be found within. - JACT Review
`With this volume, Routledge continue their highly laudable series of English translations of important works of recent classical scholarship. … The task is certainly monumental, but D succeeds well in presenting clear, helpful synopses of bewildering range of literature, which often more traditionl classicsts tend to forget.' - Classic Reveiw
`Dihle expresses the hope that his book will "not … serve as a work of reference", but as he covers both pagan and Christian texts, offers a clear, introductory account of the transition from pre-imperial to imperial literature and gives ample space to popular, technical and philosophical works - many unfamiliar even to students of these periods - it is unlikely that this wish will be fulfilled … If Dihle is not careful, he will give literary history a good name again … This is a remarkable achievement; we will not see its like again.' - Times Literary Supplement