Ancient texts are artefacts found that have sort form writing on them. This includes scrolls, tablets, manuscripts, books, and more. Ancient texts specifically come from ancient history. It’s amazing to see what sort of information people in ancient times felt was important enough to write down. Religious stories, poems, strategy books, and scientific texts are all things that can be found on this list.
Sun Tzu’s The Art Of War
The Art of War is one of the most famous ancient texts in the world. It was written by Sun Tzu in the 5th century BC. The book is split into 13 chapters and aims to give the reader a complete overview on military strategy. It’s seen the most important of the Seven Military Classics of Chinese history by many.
“If your enemy is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is temperamental, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. If sovereign and subject are in accord, put division between them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected .”
The Takenouchi Manuscripts
The Takenouchi Manuscrips were written by Takenouchi No Matori 1,500 years ago. It’s believed to be a set of ancient texts which are actually a translation of even older texts. The older texts were written by the gods themselves and translated by Takenouchi. The ancient texts describe how the world was formed 300 billion years ago. The world started off as a sea of mud, which spawned the first god and goddesses. The gods then spawned the Creator of Nations. His children started the High Ancient Dynasty. Their children then traveled the world and started their own nations.
Dante’s Inferno tells the story of Dante as he travels through the nine concentric gates of hell. Hell is located in earth. The story is an allegory for the journey of the soul towards god.
Midway upon the journey of our life
I found myself within a forest dark,
For the straightforward pathway had been lost.
Ah me! how hard a thing it is to say
What was this forest savage, rough, and stern,
Which in the very thought renews the fear.
So bitter is it, death is little more;
But of the good to treat, which there I found,
Speak will I of the other things I saw there.
I cannot well repeat how there I entered,
So full was I of slumber at the moment
In which I had abandoned the true way.
But after I had reached a mountain’s foot,
At that point where the valley terminated,
Which had with consternation pierced my heart,
Upward I looked, and I beheld its shoulders…
The Epic Of Gilgamesh
The epic of Gilgamesh is one of the oldest surviving ancient texts. It’s an epic poem from Mesopotamia. The text begins with five poems about Gilgamesh, who was king of Uruk.
“Gilgamesh went abroad in the world, but he met with none who could withstand his arms till be came to Uruk. But the men of Uruk muttered in their houses, ‘Gilgamesh sounds the tocsin for his amusement, his arrogance has no bounds by day or night. No son is left with his father, for Gilgamesh takes them all, even the children; yet the king should be a shepherd to his people. His lust leaves no virgin to her lover, neither the warrior’s daughter nor the wife of the noble; yet this is the shepherd of the city, wise, comely, and resolute.”
The Copper Scroll
The Copper Scroll is the most unique and mystifying of the dead Sea Scrolls, (a collection of ancient texts found in a cave). It’s the only one of the scrolls written on copper, whereas the others are written on parchment or papyrus. Most of the scrolls are also works of literature but this one is simply a list of the locations of precious metals like gold, and silver, like a treasure map. The scroll was found in cave 3 at Qumran, hidden away right at the back of the cave. It was the last of 15 scrolls. Estimates of when the scroll was placed there range from the 1st to 2nd centuries AD.
The Iliad is an epic poem from ancient Greece, written by Homer. The story follows the events of a rivalry between Achilles and King Agamemnon, during the Trojan War.
“Achilles glared at him and answered, “Fool, prate not to me about covenants. There can be no covenants between men and lions, wolves and lambs can never be of one mind, but hate each other out and out an through. Therefore there can be no understanding between you and me, nor may there be any covenants between us, till one or other shall fall”
The Odyssey is the sequel to the Iliad written by Homer.
“[I]t is the wine that leads me on,
the wild wine
that sets the wisest man to sing
at the top of his lungs,
laugh like a fool – it drives the
man to dancing… it even
tempts him to blurt out stories
better never told.”
Bian Que’s Medical Books
The medical books of an ancient Chinese doctor were discovered in 2013. They were found in a Han Dynasty tomb. Bian Que was a legendary doctor in Chinese history, who became famous for his amazing medical skills. According to the Records of the Grand Historian he had the power to see through the human. This power was granted to him by an old man. While serving the old man at a hostel. The old man was thankful for his polite service and so gave him some medicine. After taking the medicine Bian Que now had the ability to see through people’s bodies. This skill helped him become a brilliant doctor. Han dynasty doctors are said to have studied the medical books.
The Thirty Six Stratagems Of War
The Thirty Six Stratagems of War is an ancient Chinese text, supposedly written by Zhuge Liang of the Three Kingdoms Period. Although many historians believe that it originated in both written and oral history. The Thirty-Six-Stratagems are divided into six chapters each with six strategies in them. Zhuge Liang was a powerful general during the Three Kingdoms Period. He is now one of the most famous people in Chinese history, known for having an amazing intellect, and mind for strategy. The first three chapters offer strategies that are useful when you have the advantage over your enemy. The last three offer strategies that are useful when you are in a disadvantageous position.
The Emerald Tablet
The Emerald Tablet is a fabled tablet said to contain the secrets of the universe. Nobody knows exactly were it came from but it’s been one of the most influential texts on alchemy. It’s believed to contain the secret of the prima materia, which is one of the key ingredients needed for the creation of the philosophers stone. It’s believed that Hermes Trismegistus is the author of the book. The book can be traced back to a book written in Arabic in the 6th to 8th centuries. The book is said to have originally been found on Heremes Trismegistus’ dead body, but this is unsubstantiated and probably not true. Other legends say it was found at the lost city of Atlantis.