The term antiquity (or classical antiquity; the usual adjective is not "antique" but "ancient") is applied to the period in which ancient Greece and Rome achieved what are considered their greatest literary works, beginning with Homer (around the eighth century B.C.E.). The end of antiquity is more problematic. The period between the fall of Rome (in the fourth or fifth century C.E.) and the later Middle Ages — say, 450 to 700-ish -- is sometimes called "late antiquity." Sometimes the adjective classical is used synonymously with "ancient"; sometimes it's more specific.

The traditional canon of the Greek authors of antiquity includes the epic poet Homer, the tragedians Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and the philosophers Plato and Aristotle — all but Homer lived during what is considered the greatest age of Greek culture, the fifth and fourth centuries B.C.E. Latin poets of the Augustan period include Virgil, the most important epic poet; Horace, most famous for his odes; and Ovid.

From the Guide to Literary Terms by Jack Lynch.
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