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A guide to citing sources in classics, general guidelines & frequently asked questions, using quotations.

Quotations are not substitutes for argumentation but should support your argument by providing evidence. The importance of quotations is not self-evident. Explain why you are introducing them and what conclusion a reader should draw from them.

  • FORMAT : For quotations over 2 lines long: omit quotation marks, indent 1 inch; single-space; do not reduce font size.
  • PUNCTUATION : Commas and periods are placed inside quotation marks; colons and semicolons, outside quotation marks; dashes, question marks, and exclamation points appear inside quotation marks if they are part of the quotation. The closing quotation mark comes after all punctuation.
  • OMITTING WORKS : If you omit words in a quotation, use an ellipse, three dots (…), or four at the end of a sentence.
  • ERROR IN THE QUOTATION : If there is a grammatical or factual error in a quotation, you should insert “[sic]” immediately following the error. E.g. “In 1961 [sic], the Civil War began.”
  • POETRY : In poetry, if you are citing a short passages (less than 2 lines), mark the divisions between verses: e.g. “Son of Atreus, the Greeks are out to make you, / My Lord, the most despised man on earth” – the “/” indicates a new line.

Examples Of Effective And Ineffective Uses Of Quotations


In Book 16, Achilles wishes that “all of them, Greeks and Trojans alike,/ Every last man on Troy’s dusty plain,/ Were dead, and only you and I were left/ To rip Ilion down, stone by sacred stone.”

Talking to Priam, Helen describes Agamemnon: “He was also my brother-in-law—shameless bitch/ That I am—if that life was ever real” (3.190–91).

COMMENT: These are just plot summary without argument.  They fail to provide a context for the quotation and does nothing to advance the thesis. Moreover, in the first quotation line numbers are not provided, so the context of the quotation is even further obscured.

In Book 16, Achilles reveals his disillusionment with the heroic ethos as he slips into fantasy, wishing that “all of them, Greeks and Trojans alike,/ Every last man on Troy’s dusty plain,/ Were dead, and only you and I were left/ To rip Ilion down, stone by sacred stone” (16.104—107).

For Helen, like Achilles, the war has created a break with reality, as in her reminiscence about Agamemnon: “He was also my brother-in-law—shameless bitch/ That I am—if that life was ever real.” (3.190–91) Her life before Troy has now faded to a dream.

COMMENT: Here the quotations are adequately contextualized and cited, and clearly used to support a specific contention that advances an argument.


As Ovid says, "In nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas" ( Met . 1.1).

COMMENT: Here, a short quotation is given in quotation marks and is not set apart from the text of the analysis; the title is italicized and abbreviated with a standard abbreviation, and then the book number is given followed by the line number. A period is the standard way to separate book and line numbers.

As Ovid says,

My intention is to tell of bodies changed To different forms; the gods, who made the changes, Will help me — or so I hope... ( Met . 1.1–3).

COMMENT: Here, the quotation is long, and so it is indented. Line breaks are preserved. The citation is essentially the same in format as in the previous example, except that several verses are quoted, and so we have 1–3 instead of just 1 for the line number.

As Ovid says, "bodies changed / To different forms..." ( Met . 1.1–2).

COMMENT: In this example, a short passage is cited that includes a line break.

In his Symposium , Plato depicts a very interesting speech by the historical figure Alcibiades (215a3–218b7).

COMMENT: This citation is not quoting any of Plato directly, it just tells the reader where in the Symposium this speech can be found. When you refer to something without quoting it directly, you should usually still give a citation telling your reader where to find the passage you are referring to.

Citing ancient sources (i.e., primary literature)

Classics uses a specialized, precise method of citiation. The proper format for citing classical texts:

[Author], [ Title ] [Book/Section.(Poem, if applicable)].[Line #s cited]

Omitting Name of Work : If an author wrote only one work, you may omit the name of the work; for example: Herodotus 9.1; rather than Herodotus, Histories 9.1.

Abbreviations : Most classical authors and texts do have standard abbreviations that you may want to employ; these can be on page xxix ff. of the Oxford Classical Dictionary (DE5 .O9 2003) or on-line at UNC's Ancient World Mapping Center .

Capitalization : If you are generically citing a specific book in a work, capitalize both elements (Book Eighteen or Book 18 or Book XVIII); generic references, such as “several books in the Iliad ,” should not be capitalized.

NOTE : If you are including a parenthetical citation at the end of a sentence – e.g. (Homer, Odyssey 1.1–3) – the period always follows the citation.

Citing Secondary Sources

The format differs slightly for citations that appear embedded in body of the paper and those that appear in the footnotes. Always include author, date, and page numbers. Your readers can then consult your Bibliography for the full citation of the work.

For citations in your text proper (rather than in a footnote), surround the information with parentheses and place before the final punctuation of the sentence.

EXAMPLE : (Highet 1999, 121–25).   

In footnotes, omit the parentheses.

EXAMPLE : Highet 1999, 121–25.

Using Ibid.

"Ibid." is an abbreviation of ibidem (note the period at the end of Ibid.), which is Latin for "in the same place." It indicates that you are continuing to refer to the last source you mentioned. If you are referring to both the same source and page number, you need only put "Ibid." in your citation; if, however, you are citing the same source but a different place in that text, use Ibid. and add the new page number—e.g. Ibid., 120.

Formats to use when citing a work in your bibliography

Book with one author.

Last name, First Name. Year Published. Title [Italicized]. City of Publication: Publisher.

EXAMPLE : Highet, Gilbert. 1999. The Classical Tradition: Greek and Roman Influences on Western Literature . Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Book with an Editor

Last name, First Name of editor ed. Year Published. Title [Italicized]. City of Publication: Publisher.

EXAMPLE : Scarre, Chris ed. 1995. The Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Rome . New York: Penguin Books.

Chapter of A Book with an Editor

Last Name, First Name. Year Published. Chapter Title [in quotation marks] in Book Title [Italicized], Last name of editor, First name (ed.). City of Publication: Publisher, page range.

EXAMPLE : Goldhill, Simon. 2006. "The Touch of Sappho" in Classics and the Uses of Reception , Martindale, Charles and R. Thomas (eds.). Oxford: Blackwell, 251–73.


Last name, First Name or Common Name. Year Published. Title [Italicized]. Translated by Name of Translator (First name Last name). City of Publication: Publisher.

EXAMPLE : Homer. 2000 . The Essential Homer . Translated by S. Lombardo. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company.

Book in More Than One Volume

Last name, First Name. Year Published. Title [Italicized]. | Ed. Name of Editor (First name, last). | # of volume cited. City of Publication: Publisher.

EXAMPLE : Gibbon, Edward. 1993. The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire . Vol. 1. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Article From a Journal

Last name, First Name. Year Published. “Title.” Name of Journal [Italicized] Volume #. Issue # (if applicable): page range.

EXAMPLE : Dodds, E.R. 1966. “On Misunderstanding the Oedipus Rex.” Greece and Rome 13: 37–49.

On-line Resource

When citing an online resource, give the URL and the date you accessed the page; because of the dynamic nature of web content, the last piece of information is important. If the page is attributed to an author, include that information as well.

EXAMPLES (Note the URLs appear on the second line to avoid wrapping the link on two lines; it should, however, follow the title on the same line, if it can fit): Porter, John. " The Iliad as Oral Formulaic Poetry ", http://duke.usask.ca/~porterj/CourseNotes/HomOral.html (accessed May 2, 2005). Dixon, Suzanne. "Roman Women: Following the Clues", http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/romans/roman_women_01.shtml/ (accessed May 2, 2005).

***parts of this guide are copied and/or developed from "Citing Sources for Classics Courses: A Basic Guide" ( http://www.swarthmore.edu/Humanities/classics/Pages/CitationGuidelines.html , accessed May 2, 2006) by the Swarthmore College Department of Classics. Used with Permission.

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Citing Greek and Roman Sources

The following guide is adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style. There are two styles; one is called Notes-Bibliography (which uses endnotes or footnotes) and the other Author-Date (which uses in-text citations). Be sure to verify with your instructor which style to use.   Use the Chicago Manual guide to cite your primary sources in Classics.  Primary sources in Classics are the literary works (poems, plays, and histories, for example), and artifacts (pottery, coins and sculptures, for example) and other materials from the ancient world.

Generally, when citing ancient texts, follow this format for the notes or in-text citations: 

Author (abbreviated). Title (abbreviated), Book. Section. Line/sentences, (if applicable) translator’s last name. 

Note there are a couple of exceptions:   If the author only has one work, such as Thucydides, you do not include the title of that work. Some authors, like Plato, use an alternate numbering system called Stephanus numbers. See the examples below. 

Abbreviations for most classical authors and texts can be found in the Oxford Classical Dictionary . 

Under Action Links, click on Read Online

Once the eBook opens Click on the All Contents tab  

Click on the + to open Front Matter  

Click on Abbreviations Used in the Present Work   

Use CTRL-F to search for a specific author. For example, if you search for Sophocles, you will see his name is abbreviated to Soph. A list of his texts and the abbreviations follows. So, Ajax becomes Aj .   

Authors from late antiquity may be found in the Oxford Dictionary of Late Antiquity or the Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium . Use the full title if you cannot find an abbreviation for the text. 

Verse: Common authors you will come across in your Classics courses include the poets Hesiod, Homer, Horace, Ovid and Vergil and the playwrights Aeschylus, Aristophanes, Catullus, Euripides, Pindar, Plautus and Sophocles. 

Aesch. Sept . 830-840, translated by Hecht & Bacon. 

This citation refers to lines 830-840 of Aeschylus’ play Seven Against Thebes translated by Anthony Hecht and Helen H. Bacon. 

Hom. Il . 18.141–143, translated by Green. 

This citation refers to lines 141-143 of Book 18 in Homer’s Iliad translated by Peter Green. 

Hom. Od . 9.102-110, translated by Fagles.  

This citation refers to lines 102 through 110 of Book 9 of Homer’s Odyssey translated by Robert Fagles. 

Hor. Sat . 2.8.5-10, translated by Bovie. 

This citation refers to lines 5 through 10 of the eighth satire in Book 2 of Horace’s Satires translated by Palmer Smith Bovie. 

Soph.  Ant . 904–922, translated by Kitto. 

This citation refers to lines 904-922 in the play Antigone written by Sophocles translated by Humphrey Davey Findley Kitto. 

Prose: Not sure if you are reading prose? If what you are reading seems like common or ordinary speech and doesn’t have a rhythmic structure like a play or poem, then you are reading prose. Common ancient authors writing prose include Appian, Herodotus, Thucydides, Plato, Aristotle, Plutarch, Livy, Suetonius and Tacitus. 

Cic. Ad Fam . 2.14.3, translated Bailey. 

This citation refers to Book Two, Letter 14, paragraph 3 of Letters to Atticus by Cicero translated by D.R. Shackleton Bailey. 

Pl. Symp . 215a3–218b7, translated by Waterfield. 

This citation refers Plato’s Symposium sentence 3 of section 215a to sentence 7 of section 218b translated by Robin Waterfield. 

Pl. Rep. 2.360e–361b, translated by Rowe. 

This citation refers to Plato’s Republic Book 2 sections 360e to section 361b translated by C.J. Rowe. 

Thuc. 2.15.2, translated by Warner. 

This citation refers to Book two, paragraph 15 line two of the History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides translated by Rex Warner.

Verg. Aen . 2.250-252, translated by Ahl & Fantham. 

This citation refers to Book 2 lines 250-252 in Virgil’s Aeneid translated by Frederick Ahl and Elaine Fantham.   


Generally, when citing ancient texts follow this format for the bibliography or references list: 

Translator’s Last Name, First Name (initial). transl. (Year) Ancient Author: Title . Place of Publication. Name of Publisher. 

Warner, R. transl. (1972) Thucydides: History of the Peloponnesian War . London: Penguin. 

Shackleton, B. transl. (2001) Cicero: Letters to Friends . Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. 

Hecht, A. & Bacon, H.H. transl. (1991) Aeschylus. Seven Against Thebes . New York: Oxford University


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Classics: Citing references

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bibliography ancient sources

Classics requires two different citation styles. Harvard referencing is used for modern sources, such as modern books, articles and websites. Oxford referencing is used to cite ancient texts. 

For general information on referencing, including an explanation of different citation systems, and guidance on citing specific types of publication, see our Citing references guide .

For help with citing specific types of publication contact your librarian.

For advice on using references in your work, and how to use them to support your arguments, consult the guidance on the Study Advice website or make an appointment with them.

Citation examples

  • Ancient Texts
  • Journal articles
  • Bibliography

Ancient texts are cited using the Oxford referencing style.

In-Text References

When citing an ancient literary work in your essay you need to be as specific as possible when referring to the exact line, paragraph or reference of the work you are citing.

Verse authors  should be referred to by the title of the work, book or poem number (as necessary) and line number. Titles of any works are italicised.

e.g. Homer, Iliad 6.332-45 [= book 6, lines 332 to 345].

e.g. Euripides,  Helen  420-2 [= lines 420 to 422].

Prose authors   are referred to by title, book number (if applicable) and chapter number and sometimes by sections within a chapter.

e.g. Plutarch,  Pericles  32.2 [= Plutarch, Life of Pericles , chapter 32, section 2].

Sometimes you may see references that use abbreviations e.g. Hom.  Il.  6.332-45. = Homer,  Iliad 6.332-45. A list of abbreviations can be found in Liddell and Scott's  Greek-English lexicon  (see link below) or Lewis and Short's  Latin dictionary (Call Number:  DICTIONARIES--DIC 473.2-LEW) .

If you find a translation that does not include line numbers for verse authors, check your module convenor's instructions to see whether using such a translation is allowed in your module. If it is okay to use that translation, then try to give as much information as possible - specify the translation you are using and the page number.

After you have referred to an author and work the first time you need only refer to the line or book/chapter afterwards.

If there is only one extant work by an author you can just refer to the author and the line or book/chapter when referencing the work in-text, e.g. Herodotus 6.32.1 [= Herodotus, book 6, chapter 32, section 1].

Reference in the bibliography:

Euripides,  Helen , with introduction, translation and commentary by Peter Burian (Oxford 2007)

For further guidence on using the Oxford referencing style,  click here. 

  • List of Liddell-Scott Abbreviations Available through TLG

Ancient texts Ancient texts are cited using the Oxford referencing style.

Citation in the text:    "....." (Euripides,  Helen  420-2)

Modern texts

Modern texts are cited using the Harvard referencing style.

Book with a single author

Citation in the text:            Wray (2001: 143) stated that….. or “…Roman man's subjective experience" (Wray 2001: 143).

Reference in the bibliography:     

Wray, D. (2001) Catulus and the poetics of Roman manhood . Cambridge.

Book chapter

Citation in the text:               “….. (Dillon 2012: 266).”

Reference in the bibliography:    

Dillon, S. (2012) 'Female portraiture in the Hellenistic period'. In S.L.James and S.Dillon (edd.),  A companion to women in the ancient world , 263-277. Malden, MA.

Please note that the journal issue number within a volume (if needed) is within brackets. Even if your article is online, you should follow the citation style given in the example below, unless it exists online only - there is no need to give the URL.

Journal article with a single author (print and online)

Citation in the text:        ... (Stone 2011: 75)

Reference in the bibliography:   

Stone, C.R. (2011) 'Investigating Macedon in medieval England: The St. Albans compliation, the Philippic Histories, and the reception of Alexander the Great',  Viator  42 (1), 75-111.

Journal article with single author (online only)

Reference in the bibliography:  

Clay, J.S. (1994) 'The plot of the Lysistrata and the hostages of line 244', Electronic Antiquity 1 (7) (accessed 3 March 2019). https://scholar.lib.vt.edu/ejournals/ElAnt/V1N7/clay.html

You should avoid citing webpages unless you are clear of their quality and suitability for inclusion in academic work.  See the link at the bottom of the page for more information about evaluating webpages. 

Where citation of a web-based source is necessary, adopt the following format and citation order in the Bibliography:

Author [if identifiable], (year) 'Title of article [if appropriate]', Name of website editor [if provided], Title of website [in italics], [Date visited] [in square brackets], URL: http: // internet address / remote path [keep as one line]. 

The citation in the text should be by author and date, as with other sources, though problems can occur where there is no obvious author (see below).     

Citation in the text:    “….. (Boedeker 2011)

Boedeker, D (2011), 'No way out? Aging in the new (and old) Sappho', Ellen Greene and Marilyn Skinner (eds).,  Classics@  Volume 4.  The Center for Hellenic Studies of Harvard University  [Accessed 22 July 2014],  http://chs.harvard.edu/wa/pageR?tn=ArticleWrapper&bdc=12&mn=3404

Can't identify the author?

If you can identify the organisation responsible for the website, then use their name as the author e.g. Centre for Hellenic Studies. If this is not possible, then use the page title or an abbreviation thereof.

Citation in the text:    “….. (Center for Hellenic Studies, n.d.).”

Center for Hellenic Studies (n.d.), ‘About us’,  Centre for Hellenic Studies  [Accessed 10 July 2015]  http://chs.harvard.edu/CHS/article/display/5388?menuId=1

Can't tell what date it was created or updated?

Look for an updated date at the foot of the page. If you can’t find one, then use the year you accessed the information. If you are citing a web site then you should retain a printed copy of that site on that day as the site can be changed without notice.

  • Evaluating websites Hints on assessing the reliability of information you find on the Internet.

All references cited in the text should be listed in the bibliography. They should be listed in  alphabetical order by author .

Ancient texts should be listed separately from modern texts.

For ancient works, full details should be given in the following order:

author, title of work [in italics]; editor or translator's name(s), date and place of publication.

For modern works, full details should be given in the following order:

author, (year) [in brackets] 'title of article or book chapter' [in inverted commas, if appropriate],  title of journal or book [in italics]; volume and part number [if a journal], place of publication [if a book] then pages [if appropriate].

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Find out more on our   EndNote webpages:

  • Library guide to EndNote Information on using EndNote and Endnote online, and details of training sessions.

For information on other options for electronic management of your references see our guide to Managing references:

  • Managing references An overview of different systems for managing your references.

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Classical Studies: Citing Ancient Sources

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Citing Ancient Sources

Systems for citing ancient texts vary from one author to another; most systems involve book and chapter number and/or line number (NOT page number). If in doubt, please consult your instructor. See also:

  • A Guide to Citing Sources in Classics From Haverford College

Example Citations

Generally, when citing ancient texts, you will use the following format:

[Author], [ Title ] [Book/Section. (Poem, if applicable).] [Line numbers cited.]

Verse Example

Homer,  Iliad  18.141-143.

Prose Example

Plato,  Symposium  215a3-218b7.

Citing Secondary Sources

For help citing secondary sources, take a look at the library's citation guide . This guide gives examples for how to cite in various formats, as well as tips for distinguishing between source types.

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History : Ancient: Primary Sources

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Shane Bobrycki

Prize fellow in economics, history, and politics.


Ancient, Medieval, and Early Modern Online Resources (AMEMOR)

Premodern history abounds with printed reference books: encyclopedias, dictionaries, atlases, bibliographies, yearbooks, and so on. In the past few decades, a number of online resources have come to supplement essential print reference tools in ancient, medieval, and early modern history (including resources for Byzantium and the Islamic World). The following is a partial list of some of the resources available online, originally designed for an advanced course on early medieval history, with my short descriptions. They are organized into twelve categories:

1. Encyclopedias

2. Musical and Art Historical Sources

3. Bibliographies

4. Databases of Texts

5. Dictionaries

6. Digital Manuscripts

7. Guides or Link Aggregators

8. Journals

9. Maps, Dates, and Events

10. Translated Sources

11. Numismatics (Coins)

12. Palaeography

Links requiring institutional access are accompanied by an asterisk (*). If you can think of additional resources to include, email me (sbobryck[at]fas.harvard.edu). Thanks to Eric Nemarich and Jake Ransohoff for their suggestions.

Cambridge Histories Online *

The Cambridge Histories series uses a multiple-author format to cover many single topics under the umbrella of a theme, region, or time period. In the early stages of research Cambridge History articles are an efficient way of developing bibliography on a topic, and the whole set of histories is searchable online with institutional access. There are many series which touch upon premodern history (Cambridge Ancient History, Cambridge Medieval History, New Cambridge Medieval History, etc.), making this a powerful research aid for ancient, medieval, and early modern specialists. Some relevant volumes include (to give only a small sample):

Economic History of the Greco-Roman World Cambridge Ancient Histories (e.g. vol. 13 ) New Cambridge Medieval Histories (e.g. vol 2 ) Cambridge Histories of Christianity (e.g. vol. 4 ) New Cambridge Histories of the Bible (e.g. vol. 2 ) Urban History of Britain (vol. 1) History of Capitalism (vol. 1) History of the Book in Britain ( vol. 1 , vol. 2 , etc.) Medieval Philosophy Fifteenth-Century Music

Germania Sacra

An encyclopedic gem, Germania Sacra (Latin for "Holy Germany") offers comprehensive overviews of the history, institutions, and prosopography of German religious houses from the early to the late Middle Ages in dozens of published books (it has several equivalents for other countries, though not all are available online: Gallia Christiana , Helvetia Sacra , Monasticon Belge , Monasticon Italiae , etc.). Since the 1920s, German medievalists have covered much of the foundations across Germany in three major series (now called the " Old Series ," the " New Series ," and the ongoing " Third Series "). Much of the New Series is fully digitized (and searchable in both Google Documents and PDFs posted online. A good place to start is their Guide to Using the Digital Functinos of the website .

Germanische Altertumskunde Online (GAO) *

The Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde is one of the very best “realia” encyclopedias with very wide coverage of the ancient and medieval world. The GAO publishes online the complete and searchable Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde and the 70 supplementary volumes that have been published so far. Extremely reliable entries with rich bibliographic and visual detail, and much wider coverage that the title suggests. An important port of call.

Lexikon des Mittelalters (LexMA) *

The Lexikon des Mittelalters is probably still the standard encyclopedia for the Middle Ages in Europe, with tens of thousands of articles written by thousands of international experts. Some ancient and early modern coverage (formally the project covers c. 300 to c. 1500 CE). The quality and reliability of the articles is exceptional. Lexikon des Mittelalters is available via the Brepolis hub, and its topics are searchable in English and German. On Brepolis the Lexikon can be paired with IEMA Online (= International Encyclopaedia for the Middle Ages ), with many useful English-language entries.

New Pauly Online *

How did ancient men and women brush their teeth ? Measure things ? Make roofs ? Like the GAO (see above), New Pauly is a great place for questions about the nitty gritty of the distant past. The "old" Pauly is the Pauly-Wissowa Real-Encyclopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft , available in print and in German, and many pre-copyright volumes are now available on Google Books. In general, the old Pauly is almost always more detailed (normally a page-long article in the New Pauly will extend over dozens of columns in the Old Pauly), but the New Pauly provides a quick overview (in English or German), with a short but updated bibliography.

Oxford Classical Dictionary, 4th edition (OCD) *

The Oxford Classical Dictionary is a terrific encyclopedia for all things Classical, with broad and reliable coverage. It is very useful for quick orientation and bibliography-formation. The formal list of abbreviations used by the OCD is one of the widely-used group of standard abbreviations in English publications (together with Année philologique and the Oxford Latin Dictionary).

Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium (ODB) *

The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium (in three volumes) is the standard reference on all things Byzantine, and a model of reference works of this kind. It is of course excellent for the Byzantine world, but its coverage for Late Antiquity and the West often rivals reference books specifically designed for those subjects. One of the great modern reference books.

Encyclopedia of Islam (EI) *

BrillOnline Reference Works makes available several successive editions of the very important Encyclopedia of Islam, including the First Edition of the Encyclopedia, the landmark Second Edition (with articles in English and French), the new Third Edition, and the Historical Atlas of Islam. The standard reference work for Islamic history.

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (ODNB) *

A humongous and growing national biography for the British Isles. Articles written by experts are rich with detail and bibliographical information. This is a phenomenal source for any individual, whether ancient, medieval, early modern, or modern, who spent any time in the British Isles. The definition of “British” is extremely generous (Constantine, who was elevated to power at York, and Marx, who did his work in the British Museum, both have excellent entries). The ODNB is also a good place to look up scholars who spent time in Britain.

Dizionario biografico degli italiani  (DBI)

The vast Dizionario biografico degli italiani , compiled from 1960 to the present (in alphabetical order), provides some of the best biographical entries on Italian individuals. As with the ODNB, what makes an individual "Italian" is often generously defined, especially for the Middle Ages. Very good entries by experts, with good bibliographies.

Deutsche Biographie (ADB and NDB)

The Neue Deutsche Biographie (NDB), begun in 1953 and continuing to the present day (they are up to the end of the letter "S"), produces short, scholarly signed articles on “German” individuals (broadly conceived). The Deutsche Biographie website publishes all existing articles from the NDB and it has also digitized all 56 volumes (1875-1912) of its predecessor, the Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Many of these entries, by major nineteenth-century scholars, remain highly valuable, like the biography of Radegund by Ernst Dümmler (ADB 27, 1888, p. 114-116). In addition, their search tool will also trawl the online Dizionario biografico degli Italiani and other biographical sources.

Geschichtsquellen des deutschen Mittelalters (Digitales Repertorium)

This BSB-run repertorium provides rich detail on authors and works from the "German Middle Ages" (c. 750-1500). The basis of this project (although the coverage is less complete here) is the "New Potthast," the Repertorium Fontium Historiae Medii Aevi (11 volumes, 1962-2007). This means that coverage is selective, but "German" is relatively broadly defined: for instance, if the author makes it into the MGH, they are probably here. Entries are very detailed with extremely good and up-to-date bibliographies.

Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (ODCC) *

The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (latest version: 3rd edn, revised) offers authoritative information about all aspects of this vast and often complex subject from the origins of the church to the present day, with entries covering theology, churches and denominations, the bible, the church fathers, the liturgy, as well as individual popes, archbishops, saints, mystics, heretics, kings, and emperors. It provides trustworthy bibliographical information for each topic.

Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages (ODMA) *

The Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages is one of the most recent large-scale encyclopedias of the Middle Ages (in 2010). This dictionary is probably strongest for real-world topics (e.g. salt, charcoal, archaeology, etc.), with some very useful entries in high and later medieval history. Articles vary a great deal in detail and reliability, given the huge scope of the dictionary (three large physical volumes).

Oxford Encyclopedia of Medieval Warfare and Military Technology *

A handy recent encyclopedia of military history (500-1500 CE). This reference book is both very useful for the realia of medieval military history and quite helpful in providing bibliographical orientation. For instance, articles like “ Franks, Carolingian: Historiography (751–899) " provide a historiographical overview of the main lines of debate regarding Carolingian military history.

ARTstor compiles digital images and related metadata into a massive database. The ARTstor Digital Library includes hundreds of thousands of images which pertain to art history, archeology, and architecture, and is an excellent source of visual materials for ancient, medieval, and early modern history (and of course many other periods as well).

Carolingian Treasures at the Bibliothèque nationale de France

A personal favorite. This is a convenient public overview of some of the greatest Carolingian treasures in the huge national repository of France, the Bibliothèque nationale de France.

Grove Music Online *

Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians has always been an important resource for music history. This online project combines that dictionary with other databases to provide a handy guide to music history. The entries are helpful in explaining technical aspects of early music for non-specialists. If you want to understand how Modes work or why Isorhythm was so controversial, this is the place to go first.

Manuscrits notés en neumes en Occident (MANNO)

A handy list of digitized manuscripts, from the eleventh century to the twelfth century, in the Bibliothèque nationale de Paris which have neumes (medieval musical notation).

"Refrain" is a database of the vernacular musical culture of the high and later Middle Ages, mainly in a French-speaking context. It allows you to search for refrains through singer, manuscript, words, circumstance, or location.

The CANTUS database assembles assembles indices of manuscript and printed sources for the liturgy (antiphoners, breviaries, etc.). A useful tool for the history of music and also for liturgical studies. There is also a  beta version for exploring the  functions of the database.

Index of Christian Art

Developed as a physical archive at Princeton for iconographic research since 1917, the Index of Christian Art is a growing database with digital images and metadata about Christian art up to the sixteenth century. Entries are organized by iconographic subject. An exceptional resource for iconography, and very helpful as a way to find high-quality, reliable images of early Christian art. The website also includes specific Digital Image Collections , by subject, theme, or material (e.g. embroideries, stained glass, wall paintings, historical collections).

Oxford Companion to Western Art *

The Oxford Companion to Western Art contains a few thousand entries which cover individual artists, movements, techniques, and materials in art history. A useful resource for non-specialists for the terms of art used by art historians.

Visual Information Access (VIA) *

The Visual Information Access (VIA) system is a catalog of visual resources at Harvard and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. For those with access, via Harvard, it is a very useful repository of images with good metadata.

The Rose Window (Medieval Stained Glass)

Tens of thousands of images of medieval and early modern stained glass.

Mapping Gothic France

Mapping Gothic France is an extraordinary database of images, text, timelines, and charts permitting you to explore the Gothic built-environment of high medieval (12C-13C) France. Lets you explore major Gothic cathedrals with plans and excellent photos.


Année Philologique *

L'Année Philologique is a massive yearly index of bibliography on Greco-Roman Antiquity, generously defined. Entries are annotated (with a brief summary of the book or article’s key argument and other useful data), in multiple languages. It is the best bibliography for ancient history, and its standard abbreviations for ancient texts are widely used by ancient historians and classicists.

Carolingian English-Language Bibliography (to 1997)

An archived site (compiled by two prominent early medievalists, T.F.X. Noble and Julia Smith) with a large body of primary and secondary sources organized by theme on Carolingian history. The site is old (so its bibliography is a bit dated) and only accessible through a web archive, but it is still useful as a first orientation.

Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition *

The latest guide to proper citation in History. The Quick Guide is available online for free without institutional access.

International Medieval Bibliography *

The International Medieval Bibliography is a very good bibliography for medieval studies, and often (but not always) contains short summaries of the books and articles. It is not always updated with the same frequency as the Italian Medioevo Latino or the German Regesta Imperii OPAC, but it is a critical tool in assembling any bibliography on a medieval topic. Available via Brepolis.

MLA International Bibliography *

The MLA International Bibliography offers very wide bibliographic coverage. Its strength is in identifying new books, since Année philologique, Medioevo Latino, and the International Medieval Bibliography tend to focus on articles. But it is helpful for conducting a final sweep when compiling your bibliography.

Medieval Liturgy (Bibliography)

A useful guide to the study of the liturgy (the structure of Christian prayer), compiled by John Romano, with a large bibliography, some interesting texts and translations, and links to other online resources.

Hagiography (Bibliography)

A handy bibliographic guide in English to the study of hagiography (texts on saints) compiled by Charles Wright at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. One of several tools on their helpful Medieval Studies website .

Medioevo Latino (MEL) *

Medioevo Latino (MEL, "the Latin Middle Ages") is an annual annotated bibliography produced by the prolific Italian medievalists of SISMEL (see under Link Aggregators MIRABILE , where the online MEL is held). While its coverage is less miraculously complete than the Regesta Imperii (RI) for historical sources, it offers one thing the RI does not: detailed summaries of articles. This makes it the medieval equivalent of Année Philologique. These summaries tend to be in Italian (although occasionally they are in English, French, or German). Because the MEL is produced annually, it tends to be most up-to-date at the beginning of the year, and slowly falls behind the Regesta Imperii and the International Medieval Bibliography.

Nouvelle Clio

Not an online resource per se but a book series. Nevertheless, the website usefully provides a reminder of the subjects covered so far. Nouvelle Clio is a series of bibliographic works published by PUF (Presses universitaires de France). Works provides status quaestionis and bibliography of historical themes as well as basic coverage. Extremely valuable series.

Online Medieval Sources Bibliography (OMSB)

This is a Fordham-based open searchable bibliography of medieval texts of all kinds: letters, wills, and household accounts, works of literature, philosophy, and history, administrated documents, etc. The entries provide brief descriptions of the authors or works, together with editions and available English translations. This is an especially good resource for instructors hoping to find English-language translations of medieval sources for their students.

Oxford Bibliographies Online (OBO) *

Oxford Bibliographies Online is a rich and growing series of discipline-focused, online guides to the essential literature in subjects in the humanities and social sciences. Entries are categorized by subject (e.g. Anthropology, Art History, Atlantic History, Biblical Studies, Classics, Education, Geography, International Relations, Islamic Studies, Jewish Studies, Linguistics, Medieval Studies, Military History, Music, Philosophy, Political Science, Renaissance and Reformation, Sociology, etc.). But it is best to search the whole OBO at once (since you may find relevant entries outside of expected sections). OBO entries are incredibly useful for bibliography formation, and narrative summaries, in the best entries, will quickly make you an expert in the historiography of a topic.

Regesta Imperii Bibliography (RI OPAC)

The Regesta Imperii, the extraordinary ongoing German yearbook series, has an amazingly up-to-date bibliography of medieval history, originally designed to accompany the Regesta Imperii but now much expanded. There is not much detail in RI OPAC entries (sometimes articles and books are organized by keywords), but the coverage is extensive and extremely up-to-date. Access is also free and the website works very quickly and smoothly.

Iter: Gateway to the Middle Ages and Renaissance

Iter is a powerful medieval and Renaissance bibliographical database, which includes the Iter Bibliography of secondary source material as well as I ter italicum , a database of uncatalogued humanistic manuscripts, and a Bibliography of English Women Writers, 1500-1640 .

Tozzer Library Website

The Harvard Tozzer Library website offers useful research information for anthropology and archaeology, and the library itself is one of the finest collections of archaeological reports.

WorldCat is a collective catalog of records developed by tens of thousands of member libraries. It is one of the most complete bibliographies for books. If you are searching for an especially hard-to-find book, this is the place to look.

Acta Sanctorum (AASS) *

The Acta Sanctorum Database is an electronic collection of the centuries-old Bollandist project of editing saints lives, in Latin and Greek, organized by feast days. The Acta Sanctorum Database includes sixty-eight volumes of AASS between 1643 and 1940. You can also search both the AASS and the Patrologia Latina at once from the Patrologia Latina Database.

Analecta hymnica Medii Aevi *

The "Analecta hymnica Medii Aevi" series was originally published from 1886 to 1922 in 55 volumes by Guido Maria Dreves, Clemens Blume, and Henry M. Bannister. The electronic edition contains both the searchable text and page facsimiles, along with bibliographic information. The database is a little clunky, and the results (as well as the interface) are entirely in Latin, but AH online remains the best place to search for hymns, a rich and underused source for medieval Latin.

Dumbarton Oaks Hagiography Database

The Dumbarton Oaks Hagiography Database is designed to provide Byzantinists with a large corpus of Greek saints’ lives. The work is ongoing, so at present the database is most useful for its metadata on saints’ lives (in English).


An important French-language online resource for Hagiography posted by Guy Philippart at Namur. Allows you to quickly search the probable date of saints' lives by BHL number. Not much detail, but very broad coverage.

Library of Latin Texts (Cetedoc) *

Cetedoc ( Ce ntre de t raitement é lectronique des doc ument s) was developed at the University of Louvain-la-Neuve by P. Tombeur and his team as a massive electronic database of Latin documents. The Library of Latin Texts on Brepolis (often called the CLCLT = " C etedoc L ibrary of C hristian L atin T exts ") is an enormous database of Latin texts from the beginning of Latin literature to the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). Coverage includes the classical period, patristic works, Medieval Latin, and some texts from the Reformation. The “Cross Database Tool” brings together several collections with medieval texts, including the Corpus Christianorum Series Latina (CCSL); Corpus Christianorum Continuatio Medievalis (CCCM); Corpus Scriptorum ecclesiasticorum Latinorum (CSEL); Patrologia Latina and supplement (PL); Sources chrétiennes (SC); Bernardi opera omnia (BOO); and the Weber Vulgate. This is a truly powerful tool for philological research as well as for reading Latin texts, and should be in frequent use by anyone hoping to identify allusions or patterns of use in Latin authors.

Loeb Classical Library Online *

The Loeb Classical Library of classical Greek and Latin texts with facing-page translations is now online. Treat yourself to some of the greatest works of literature of all time. Similar coverage to Perseus, but reproducing the Loeb page layout and with the latest publications in that series.

Monumenta Germaniae Historica (MGH)

The greatest collection of editions of medieval Latin sources. In Latin with Latin or German introductions. To the highest scholarly standards and now searchable, the MGH is entirely online.

Patrologia Latina Database (PLD) *

The Patrologia Latina Database is an electronic version of the first edition of Jacques-Paul Migne's Patrologiae Cursus Completus, Series Latina (PL). The PLD includes all editions of the PL and the indices, and covers Latin from the patristics to the death of Pope Innocent III in 1216. The texts are in Latin. It is sometimes worth consulting the scans of the books themselves: they are available via links to Google Books here ( http://patristica.net/latina/ ).

Patrologia Graeca (PG) *

There is no exact equivalent to the PLD for the Patrologia Graeca (PG), but this site provides some texts from Migne's second great collection. In addition, since the PG is pre-copyright, its volumes are available on Google Books (often in poor-quality scans), and there are links to multiple scans here ( http://patristica.net/graeca/ ).

Projekt Pseudoisidor

The false papal decretals of "Isidore Mercator" are the largest body of forgeries in medieval canon law. Known as "Pseudo-Isidore" or the "Pseudo-Isidorean Decretals," they were probably compiled in Francia in the first half of the ninth century. Immediately they were used by bishops, archbishops, popes, and secular authorities as real canon law, and it took centuries before their legitimacy was ever questioned. Despite their importance, they have long remained poorly edited. Only recently, however, they have enjoyed a resurgence of study and editing by Karl-Georg Schon and Klaus Zechiel-Eckes (who sadly passed away in 2010), who set up this online edition (ongoing) of the texts. The introduction and background are superlative, and the online edition provides much more detail than Hinschius’ edition.

The Electronic Manipulus Florum

Thomas of Ireland's Manipulus Florum (bouquet of flowers) is an early fourteenth-century florilegium, or collection of quotations and sentences, bringing together the wise words of numerous auctores respected by the later Middle Ages. This text gives you a good sense of how medieval readers approached the classics, and this website makes using it convenient and straightforward.

Recueil des historiens des Gaules et de la France

A great national project begun in 1738, intending to offer the Latin texts of the history of France, edited by M. Bouquet, this collection has largely been superseded, but there are still some texts that can only be consulted in the Recueil des historiens des Gaules et de la France .

Searchable Monumenta Germaniae Historica (Brepols) (MGH Brepolis) *

The online MGH itself has its own search function, but it is not as easy to use as this more intuitive searchable MGH (see entry above). This Brepolis tool allows you to search (with wildcards) for phrases and words (in Latin) throughout this massive database. The Cross Database Search automatically includes the MGH.


A philological/palaeographical online tool developed by Max Bänziger to display digitized online manuscripts alongside their Latin texts. Currently a limited number of manuscripts and texts are available.

New Jacoby  *

A still ongoing project, Brill's "New Jacoby" revises Felix Jacoby’s Fragmente der Griechischen Historiker , providing English translations along the Greek fragments, as well as metadata and bibliographical information about each entry.

Corpus Medicorum Graecorum/Latinorum  (CMG/CML)

This website, titled "Galen of Pergamum: The Transmission, Interpretation and Completion of Ancient Medicine," provides editions and concordances of the main ancient/medieval Greek and Latin medical corpora, as well as useful biographical information about major figures in premodern medicine.

Corpus Corporum

The Corpus Corporum is a Zürich-based medieval Latin “meta-collection” which displays Latin texts (and some test Greek texts) mainly from the Patrologia Latina. The benefit of Corpus Corporum is that it clearly differentiates between the text (in TEI xml) and the database into which the texts are loaded. A handy article in ALMA/Bulletin Du Cange 72 (2014): 289-304, describes how to use it.

Collatinus is an online lemmatizer and morphological analyzer for Latin text. It allows you to lemmatize, analyze, or metrically scan a chunk of text in Latin. Although the tool is not always perfect, it is very useful in analyzing meter or prose rhythm. The “scan” too, for instance, will add long and short accents to any length of text, saving a trip to the dictionary if you are scanning and have forgotten lengths. Of course, medieval authors do not always use the same lengths as classical ones (see Dag Norberg below).

Princeton Geniza Project  (and other Geniza/Genizah tools)

The Princeton Geniza Project is a searchable database of texts from the famous Cairo Geniza, a large group of medieval manuscripts (in a variety of languages) kept in the storage room (Geniza chamber) of the Ben Ezra synagogue in Fustat (now Cairo). Because it was forbidden to destroy sacred documents, the Jews of the synagogue kept a range of documents with Hebrew on them, and this includes documents in Judaeo-Arabic, Hebrew, Aramaic and Arabic. For scholars with access to these languages, the Princeton Geniza Project is a powerful collaborative tool for research. This is because the documents not only shed light on Jewish religious life, but on all aspects of commercial, social, and administrative life in medieval Egypt. In addition to the Princeton collection (focused on texts), there are several online resources for Geniza research focused on manuscripts:

The Cambridge University Genizah Collections (Taylor-Schechter, Mosseri) The Oxford Genizah Collection (Bodleian Library) The Friedberg Genizah Project The Schoenberg Genizah Fragment Project (Penn)

CAMENA: Corpus Automatum Multiplex Electorum Neolatinitatis Auctorum (Latin Texts of Early Modern Europe)

A very impressive meta-collection of early modern Latin texts hosted by the University of Mannheim. Brings together several collections of neolatin, mostly from German authors: 1. POEMATA : poetry, 2. HISTORICA & POLITICA : historical and political writings, 3. THESAURUS ERUDITIONIS : sixteenth- through eighteenth-century dictionaries and guidebooks, 4. CERA (Corpus Epistolicum Recentioris Aevi): Latin letters mainly by German authors, 5. ITALI-Renascentium Litterarum Libri Rariores : early printed editions of Italian Renaissance scholarship.

Early English Books Online  (EEBO) *

Searchable digital facsimiles of books printed in the British Isles and British North America from 1473-1700.

17th-18th-Century Newspapers  *

Historical issues of newspapers from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Eighteenth Century Collections Online  (ECCO) *

Massive searchable digitized collection of printed materials from the eighteenth century. Very useful for early modern history, but also excellent for early scholarship on Antiquity, Byzantium, and the Middle Ages.

The Making of the Modern World  (MOMW) *

Another large digitized searchable collection with tens of thousands of books from c. 1450 to c. 1850, mainly focused on economic and business history.

The Making of Modern Law  *

Database of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century works on British Commonwealth and American law, with tens of thousands of books.

Dag Norberg, A Practical Handbook of Medieval Latin (Paris 1980)

Dag Norberg’s Manuel pratique de latin médiévale is a classic overview of the history of the Latin language after the fall of the Roman Empire. Here it is translated from the French by R.H. Johnson and published online informally. Norberg provides both an essential introduction to the major morphological, semantic, and syntactic changes to Latin and a corrective to the misleading notion of "bad" medieval Latin.

Database of Latin Dictionaries (DLD) *

The Database of Latin Dictionaries (DLD) provides access to a growing number of Latin dictionaries. This includes Lewis and Short and the massive collection of the revised Du Cange (also available elsewhere). Only recently, the excellent Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources has been added to this group of dictionaries. If you click “Help” in DLD you will be able to download a 100-page document which not only gives guidance to using the DLD, but provides very helpful information about the dictionaries included. Note that some of the DLD’s names for dictionaries are not in fact the printed dictionary’s name (e.g. “Blaise Médiéval” and “Blaise Patristique” are DLD shorthands for two dictionaries compiled by Alfred Blaise, the Lexicon Latinitatis Medii Aevi and the Dictionnaire latin-français des auteurs chrétiens respectively).

Du Cange  (Sorbonne)

The great Latin dictionary of Charles du Fresne, sieur du Cange, the Glossarium mediæ et infimæ latinitatis , which first appeared in 1678 in three volumes, was successively edited over the generations. The Benedictines of Saint-Maur produced a revised edition in 1733-1736; Pierre Carpentier added a supplement in 1766; Louis Henschel made revisions between 1840 and 1850, and finally Léopold Favre completed the final edition between 1883 and 1887 (which has been reprinted in the twentieth century, e.g. 1938). The successive additions and changes are noted in the text using a variety of symbols. This vast dictionary is available on Brepolis's DLD portal (with a digitization of the edition), but it is also available on this convenient and fast-working site at the Sorbonne. If you know you only want to search within Du Cange (often still the best place for realia terms), this is a faster way to do it.

Novum Glossarium Mediae Latinitatis (NGML)

The Novum Glossarium Mediae Latinitatis is a slow-moving (so far they have gotten from "L" to "Plaka") but very high quality collective Latin dictionary established in 1957 by Franz Blatt and Francesco Arnaldi. The compilers took the unusual step of beginning mid-alphabet. Entries are very good and the coverage is impressive. Here are both HTML and PDF versions of the dictionary as it has appeared so far, hosted by the IRHT. In addition, a powerful secret weapon on the same site is the searchable Index scriptorum , an online version of the 2005 Supplement to the Index scriptorum novus , the NGML's house works index, edited by Bruno Bon et al. For many, many medieval Latin works (including the most obscure saints' lives), this will give you best edition and date estimate for many texts which are little discussed elsewhere.

Mediae Latinitatis Lexicon Minus (Niermeyer) Online  *

"Niermeyer" as this 2002 revised version of the J. F. Niermeyer's 1972 Mediae Latinitatis Lexicon Minus is often called, is a dictionary of medieval Latin. The coverage is selective, and the dictionary tends to be better for administrative or technical terms. The whole dictionary is available online on BrillOnline .

Dictionnaire du Moyen Français  (DMF)

The Dictionnaire du Moyen Français (1330-1500) is an online searchable dictionary of Middle French forms. Based at Nancy (University of Lorraine) and run by the CNRS Laboratoire ATILF ("Analyse et Traitement Informatique de la Langue Française"), it's entries offer hyper-links to digitized print dictionaries and texts. A very sophisticated and recently (2015) updated resource for medieval French.

French of England  (FoE),  French of Italy (FoI), and  French of Outremer (FoO)

French of England is a Fordham-based website dedicated to the vast store of French material from the English and Norman worlds. It includes audio recordings , bibliography, publications, and useful links. It has now been joined by two other resources: French of Italy and French of Outremer (dedicated to French spoken in Crusading regions).

Frédéric Eugène Godefroy (1826-1897)'s massive Dictionnaire de l'ancienne langue française et de tous ses dialectes du IXe au XVe siècle is one of the landmarks of Old French lexicography. It is digitized and searchable here, as well as available in  PDF via the Internet Archive.

Grand Robert de la Langue Française (Grande Robert) *

The "Grand Robert" is one of the essential reference sources for the French language, covering etymology, history, pronunciation, and usage of French words. The "Grand Robert" is considered one of the main dictionary of reference for the French language, together with the "Trésor de la langue française." It provides useful etymological information for Francophone researchers.

Oxford Duden German Dictionary (Duden) *

A useful German dictionary online. Includes etymological information.

Oxford English Dictionary (OED) *

English words can be a powerful tool for the examination of the past, even the past before English. The OED is an extraordinary historical dictionary with rich etymological information.

Thesaurus linguae Latinae *

The Thesaurus Linguae Latinae (TLL) is the first comprehensive scholarly dictionary of ancient Latin from the earliest times down to AD 600. Far and away, the best dictionary of Latin, especially for the development of Latin in time. Three caveats. First, the entire dictionary is in Latin. Second, the dictionary, which is over a century old, is not yet complete. Entries are finished for A–M, O, P–pomifer, porta–pulso. N and the letters after P remain unfinished, but every year the contents of newly printed fascicles are added to the database. Third, the printed format is a bit more intuitive to use and the hierarchical sections are less clear online. It is helpful to familiarize yourself with the conventions of the physical version, and then the online TLL will be easier to use.

Thesaurus Linguae Graecae (TLG) *

The Thesaurus Linguae Graecae (TLG) is the most powerful tool for the study of ancient and medieval Greek. It is designed as a modern, electronic version of the sixteenth-century Thesaurus Graecae Linguae of Henri Estienne (Stephanus). The online TLG allows you to analyze Greek text, search through nearly the entire corpus of known premodern Greek, and access several lexica of ancient and medieval Greek. Access to the TLG varies by institution. At Harvard it is available at only certain computers; elsewhere access is broader.

The Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon Project  (CAL)

If your research takes you into Aramaic, this resource (a work in progress) is a powerful tool. The CAL is a textual database of multiple dialects of Aramaic from between the ninth century BCE and the thirteenth century CE. Thanks to Stephen Shoemaker for this suggestion.

Crum's Coptic Dictionary  (Crum)

W. E. Crum's classic Coptic Dictionary digitized online. Thanks again to Stephen Shoemaker for this one. This is hosted by  TABS (the Tyndale Archive of Biblical Studies), with classic dictionaries for Hebrew, Aramaic, Coptic, Syriac, and Arabic.

Oxyrhynchus Online  (POxy)

An Oxford-based imaging project for the papyri (mostly Greek) discovered at Oxyrhynchus in Egypt. See also the  papyrology links provided by the Imaging Papyri Project.

Bibliotheca Legum Regni Francorum manuscripta (Leges)

Impressive new database of manuscripts from early medieval Francia which contain the barbarian leges , with short descriptions and some contextualizing metadata and bibliography. Useful for early medievalists.

Bibliothèque municipale de Laon (Digitized Manuscripts)

Digitized manuscripts from the collection of Laon, France. The quality of the scans is very high, and the Library plans to digitize more manuscripts.

Bibliothèque nationale de France - Archives and Manuscripts (BnF)

The catalogue of the manuscript holdings at the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF) in Paris, one of the single most enormous collections of medieval manuscripts in existence. The search tool has recently (Sept 19, 2016) been changed.

Capitularia (Edition of the Frankish Capitularies)

Database of capitularies and capitulary manuscripts. Excellent for Carolingian history.

[ Catalogue of Digitized Medieval Manuscripts (UCLA)

A powerful cross-reference tool designed to catalogue digitized manuscripts online. Update : In 2015, this useful website was "retired," so the link above will take you to a memorial page: a sobering reminder of the challenges of coordinating ever-multiplying online resources, and of their ephemeral nature!]

Codices Electronici Ecclesiae Coloniensis (CEEC)

The Cathedral Library at Cologne (Köln) has digitized its substantial medieval holdings, calling the collection "electronic manuscripts of the church of Cologne" (Latin: Codices electronici ecclesiae Coloniensis). The interface is in German, but if you select the "manuscripts" (Handschriften) tab, you can search by kind of manuscript (Handschriftenart), author (Autor), title (Werktitel), time (Alter), point of origin (Entstehungsort), or language (Sprache).

Codices Electronici Sangallenses (CESG)

An online collection of facsimiles of manuscripts from one of the greatest surviving monastic libraries. Examine whole medieval manuscripts, including some of the most important Carolingian books, like a copy of the Rule of Benedict Charlemagne commissioned , an important copy of the canon law collection Dionysio-Hadriana , and a manuscript of laws with St-Gall's earliest library catalog .

Heidelberger historische Bestände

Digitized historical documents from the University of Heidelberg collection: includes manuscripts, charters, incunables (printed books from before 1500), and much else.

Consulting Medieval Manuscripts Online

A number of "links leading to collections containing fully digitized medieval manuscripts, one for digitized individual manuscripts, and one devoted to projects choosing to digitize selected pages."

Digital Papyri at Houghton Library

A digital exhibit of the eighty or so papyri dating from the third century BCE to the sixth century CE, mainly from Oxyrhynchus and other sites in Egypt. All are Greek except for one,  MS Coptic 10 = P. Oxy. 6.987 (Coptic).

Digital Medieval Manuscripts at Houghton Library

Harvard's Houghton Library has digitized many of its medieval manuscripts, including its Carolingian examples (mainly fragments), like this collection of patristic texts (Houghton Typ 495). Houghton also maintains a very impressive digitized collection of Books of Hours . These digitizations are open access.

Glossaries (British Library)

Handy glossary of terms in manuscript studies. Short but good for an introduction to the basic terms of art.


An inventory of manuscripts primarily in German collections with descriptions of over 20,000 medieval MSS. An extremely impressive resource.

Herzog August Bibliothek at Wolfenbüttel

The Wolfenbüttel Library is a major book collection in Germany. Its Digital Library offers a number of books and manuscripts in digital facsimile.

Karlsruhe, Badische Landesbibliothek

The Baden regional library at Karlsruhe contains several manuscripts from the early Middle Ages, particularly in the collection from Reichenau ( Provenienz Reichenau ), the so called “Aug. Perg.” collection.

Manuscripta Mediaevalia

Manuscripta Mediaevalia is a hub coordinating several digitization projects in German libraries, including that of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in Munich.

Manuscripta Medica

This database builds on the research of Jacques Payen and Michael McVaugh, examining the Latin-language medieval medical manuscripts within the Bibliothèque nationale de France. Over 500 MSS are included: each entry includes codicological details about the manuscripts and a list of contents. Note that it is necessary to sign in.

Parker Library on the Web

"Parker Library on the Web" aims to provide a high-resolution digital copy of every page of the manuscripts described by James’s Catalogue of the Manuscripts in the Library of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge (Cambridge University Press, 1912). The "Parker Library" is one of the premier collections of medieval manuscripts, and in addition to its famous medieval Anglo-Saxon and medieval English manuscripts, it contains many examples of interest to early medieval historians, including the beautiful Count Achadeus Psalter (CCCC 272) .

An important tool for Greek-language manuscript research. Pinakes aims to catalogue all Greek manuscripts (not including papyri), from the beginnings of the language to the end of the sixteenth century, which are contained within printed library catalogues. The project began at PIMS in Toronto and since 1993 has been a project of the IRHT (Institut de Recherche et d'Histoire des Textes) in Paris. Pinakes allows you to search for information about some 13,000 works in 40,000 manuscripts around the world.

Mittelalterliche Handschriftenbestände  (Switzerland)

A list of Swiss repositories containing manuscripts, with links to e-codices and inventories of manuscripts (when there are available). Part of the Codices.ch website dedicated to ancient and medieval manuscripts in Switzerland.

Digitized Greek Manuscripts  (DGM)

One of the excellent resources for Byzantine studies published online by the Princeton University Library, Digitized Greek Manuscripts makes available over six thousand partially or fully digitized manuscripts containing Byzantine texts.


A large virtual archive of medieval manuscripts, organized by repository, with hundreds of thousands of entries.


An  IRHT project, Calendoscope is a helping hand for analyzing liturgical manuscripts. For any individual day of the year, it will provide you a list of saints with feasts on that day in different calendars. It is currently in its beta version.

The St. Gall Plan

The St. Gall Plan is the earliest preserved and most extraordinary visualization of a building complex produced in the Middle Ages. Ever since the Plan was created (probably at the monastery of Reichenau sometime in the period 819-826), it has been preserved in the monastery of St-Gallen in Switzerland. This web site, created with the financial assistance of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation by scholars at the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Virginia, presents the plan, its origins, components, and notations. The website also includes impressive virtual libraries of early medieval monasteries.

Exon Domesday

The Exon Domesday Book is one of the richest manuscript witnesses to the great survey of William the Conqueror. The "Conqueror's Commissioners" is a digital resource for this important source, with a digital facsimile, text and translation, and palaeographical description of the manuscript. The work is still in progress, but promises to be a major resource for Anglo-Norman history.

Models of Authority (Scottish Charters)

"Models of Authority: Scottish Charters and the Emergence of Government" provides an introduction to surviving Scottish charters from 1100-1200. Offers diplomatic and palaeographical analysis to charters in an age of govermental evolution.

Roman de la Rose Digital Library

"Many people say that dreams / are nothing but fables and lies" ("Maintes gens disent que les songes / Ne sont que fables et mensonges"). The Roman de la Rose , one of the most beloved literary texts of the later Middle Ages (composed in two stages in the early and late thirteenth century), begs to differ. This collaboration between the Sheridan Libraries of Johns Hopkins and the BnF in Paris aims to bring together all digitized manuscripts of the Roman de la Rose . It also serves as a useful introduction to this most influential of medieval French romances.

TELMA or "Traitement électronique des manuscrits et des archives" hosts several projects to publish digitizations of ancient and medieval manuscripts and the tools necessary to consult them. Their projects include  Callythea (Greco-Roman iconography), Chartae Galliae (database of acts from France up to the end of the thirteenth century),  Chartes originales (digitizations of original French charters from between 1120 and 1220), and  RELMIN ("Le statut légal des minorités religieuses dans l'espace euro-méditerranéen" = documents relating to the legal status of religious minorities in Europe and the Mediterranean), and many others related to royal acts , cartularies , liturgical manuscripts , and Capetian inquests .

Annotated Books Online (ABO)

Annotated Books Online is a Dutch project focused on early modern historical reading practices, providing a digital archive of early modern books which have extensive annotations. Examples include famous texts (Homer, Aristotle, Lucretius) and famous readers (Erasmus, Montaigne, Casaubon), as well as lesser known but fascinating books and their readers.

BHL (Bibliotheca Hagiographica Latina)

The standard catalogue for saints' lives, the BHL was originally a published book with supplements. This website, maintained by the Bollandists, allows you to quickly find the BHL number of any given saint's Life , which you should always do in parentheses after citing a life. You must sign in, but access is free.

Bayerische Staatsbibliothek - Catalogs

The Bavarian State Library (Bayerische Staatsbibliothek) coordinates a wealth of digitization projects, including manuscripts, reference works, encyclopedias, editions (especially of charters), periodicals, and collections (this includes the MGH ). They have been at it since 1997, integrating their own holdings (in Munich) with regional library holdings and projects across Southern Germany. An example of the excellent resources available from this site is the website for the medieval administrative documents of Freising in Bavaria, an important Carolingian see. This is an amazing resource which allows you to look at the original capitulary and the standard scholarly edition side by side. The distance between the translated or edited documents and the manuscript originals is suddenly eliminated. Also worthy of note are the book illuminations from the monastery of Reichenau , the collection of Latin manuscripts at the BSB , the manuscripts from women's monasteries , the ongoing collection "Europaena regia" (including the digitisation of 425 masterworks from the main abbeys and bishop schools of the Carolingian Empire, a planned digitization of half the Carolingian manuscripts in Europe), the journal Francia , and the collection of books published by Francia .

Chancery Rolls on the Internet

A very handy meta-list of digitized chancery rolls (medieval English legal documents).

Brepolis is the home of many online projects of Brepols Publishers. It contains several powerful tools for ancient and medieval history, including Vetus Latina Database, the Revue d'histoire ecclésiastique - bibliographie,  Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, International Medieval Bibliography, Europa Sacra (aka Gams), Lexikon des Mittelalters, International Encyclopaedia for the Middle Ages, searchable Monumenta Germaniae Historica, the Library of Latin Texts (CLCLT), which can be cross-searched using the Cross Database Searchtool, the Database of Latin Dictionaries, and the Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources.

Brepols Miscellanea Online *

Brepols Miscellanea Online is compromised of collections of scholarly essays on the subject of Medieval Europe. The database includes numerous volumes from 2011 onward, as well as an archive with thousands of articles from between 2000 and 2010. The majority of the articles are in English. There are several important collections of essays on the Carolingian entirely available in searchable PDFs from this website.

A bit clunky but very powerful, this aggregator is a major research tool for archaeology. It offers access to the subject catalogs of publications on the history of art and classical archaeology. It includes subject catalogs of the German Archaeological Institute in Rome (1956-2004), the Bibliography of Iberian Archaeology from the German Archaeological Institute in Madrid (1991-2002), and the Archaeology of Roman Provinces from RGK Frankfurt (1992-2004). Dyabola also includes art historical databases of value: the “Database of Attic Grave Reliefs,” the “Census of Antique Art and Architecture Known to the Renaissance,” and the “Corpus of Antique Monuments Known to Winckelmann.”

Begun in 1997 as the major digitization project at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Gallica includes full-text and page-images of hundreds of thousands of volumes from the Middle Ages to the beginning of the twentieth century. A huge digitization project which covers manuscripts, printed books, and journals.

Google Book Search

Google Book Search allows users to search the full text of all books available in Google Book Search. Use as a glorified index for books and for wildcard searching, as well as an excellent place to look up older scholarship.

Harvard e-Research *

Harvard has an enormous body of e-resources, beyond what I have listed here. If you have Harvard access, here you can identify, locate, and connect to Harvard's collection of e-resources and e-journals. You can also use new tools that allow you to search multiple resources at one time and to save sets of e-resources, e-journals, and citations.

Byzantine Titles Online (Dumbarton Oaks)

Run by Dumbarton Oaks, this website provides links to PDFs of many titles in Byzantine studies, including primary sources (such as Byzantine female saints' lives and military manuals ), collected essays (on Crusades , garden culture , and more), and individual studies (e.g. numismatics ). One of the most important links is to the seminal Economic History of Byzantium .

Inter Libros *

Inter Libros is a very useful Research Guide for Classics, Byzantine, & Medieval Studies, compiled for the use of Harvard students, professors, and researchers. It is a gateway to many of the University's most powerful online and paper resources for medieval history.

Europeans love their acronyms. Theleme, or "Techniques pour l'Historien en Ligne : Études, Manuels, Exercices, Bibliographies," is a guide from the French École nationale des chartes providing a wonderful overview of historical techniques, guides, and bibliographies.

MIRABILE - Archivio Digitale della Cultura Latina Medievale *

MIRABILE brings together several online databases created by the prolific Società Internazionale per lo Studio del Medioevo Latino (SISMEL). This acronym-loving society has created very useful tools for medievalists: Medioevo latino (MEL), a bibliographical bulletin covering publications on European culture from Boethius to Erasmus (6C-15C); the Bibliotheca Scriptorum Latinorum Medii recentiorisque Aevi (BISLAM), an authoritative list for names of Latin medieval authors, with more than 15,000 entries and 80,000 variants, and lists of works for each author; the Compendium Auctorum Medii Aevi (CALMA), an even more authoritative index of medieval authors and works, but still ongoing; as well as recent issues of the following journals in full text: Documenti e Studi sulla tradizione filosofica medievale; Filologia mediolatina; Hagiographica; Iconographica; Itineraria; Micrologus’ library; Stilistica e metrica italiana. New tools are always appearing on MIRABILE, and the website has been improved over the years to work more smoothly (though it sometimes requires a bit of patience to master its functions).

Oxford Reference Online Premium Collection (Oxford Reference) *

In various sections of this guide, I have listed references available through Oxford References Online. There are now a great number of resources available online through this aggregator. Oxford Reference Online is a searchable database of reference works published by Oxford University Press. It contains a very broad range of OUP titles, including those from the “Companions” series, and all of the Oxford Dictionaries mentioned about (OLD, ODB, ODMA, etc.).

Oxford Handbooks Online  *

Oxford's Handbooks series is conveniently cross-searchable and can be helpful with interdisciplinary research.

Past Masters *

The Past Masters series comprises full-text electronic editions of works by major philosophical figures, in both original language and in English translation. This includes a few texts of potential interest, such as the complete works (Latin and English) of Augustine. New content is often added.

Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England

The Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England (PASE) is a database which aims to provide information on individuals in Anglo-Saxon England from the sixth through the eleventh century. It uses “factoids” from narrative sources, hagiography, charters, manuscripts, inscriptions, Domesday Book, and numismatic evidence.

TITUS (Thesaurus Indogermanischer Text- und Sprachmaterialien)

TITUS brings together linguistic materials, dictionaries, and texts for many vernacular languages used during the Middle Ages, including Germanic, Slavonic, and Celtic ones. An extremely important linguistic tool for anyone working in Indogermanic languages.

This cleverly-named website developed by Jack Tannous (Princeton), Scott Johnson (University of Oklahoma), and Morgan Reed (CUA) provides an annotated bibliography of Syriac resources online. The bibliographies give you the run-down of the main resources for Syriac, but the site provides much more than Syriac resources, and is a useful port of call in beginning any investigation of the ancient and late antique Near East.

De Re Militari

The Society for the Study of Medieval Military History publishes translated primary sources, articles, syllabuses, and even some dissertations pertaining to medieval military history. Coverage is broad, from the late Roman period to the early modern period. A very useful source for anyone teaching military history.

Catalogus Translationum et Commentariorum

A labor of Kristeller and Brown, the Catalogus provides accounts of the reception histories -- in the form of translations and commentaries -- of classical authors. This online version offers PDFs of individual entries. An indispensable resource.

Academic Search Premier (EBSCOhost) *

Academic Search Premier (ASP) is a large database with citation data from thousands of publications. It can be used as another JSTOR with somewhat different coverage. Although it lacks the coverage that JSTOR, it nevertheless can search some journals ( Early Medieval Europe , Journal of Agrarian Change ) that still are not currently in JSTOR or MUSE.

Early Medieval Europe *

EME is an excellent journal with many useful articles on early medieval history. It is not on JSTOR, but it is searchable and available through Harvard eResources.

Google Scholar

Google Scholar enables you to search for scholarly literature, including peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, preprints, abstracts and technical reports from all areas of research. Can be useful in finding articles and reviews, getting a rough sense of the impact of individual books and articles, as well as in building up a bibliography.

Good old JSTOR. An ever-expanding archive of journals and now books in several languages. Includes some of the many journals that publish articles on ancient, medieval, and early modern history.

Journal of Medieval Latin  *

Another journal outside of JSTOR but worth having online for medievalists. Particularly for those with interest in medieval Latinity, the Journal of Medieval Latin is full of excellent articles about the fate of Latin in the Middle Ages.

Magazine Stacks

Stuart Jenks developed this Table of Contents tool for historical journals, quite a useful tool for getting a sense of the historical contents of major historical journals. You can read journal tables of contents in JSTOR, MUSE, etc., but it is often quicker to use this handy early piece of digital humanities. (Cf. TOCS-IN below, a similar tool for Classics,)

Persée is a national digitization project of French academic journals in the Humanities and Social Sciences. The project makes PDFs available for complete runs of journals, though the dates of coverage vary and there is a moving wall of 3-5 years for recent issues.

Project Muse *

Project Muse intends to provide networked access to the full text of multiple  scholarly journals published by several university presses. It also includes several entire books. Includes several journals and books not in the JSTOR collection.

Speculum (Citation Guidelines)

The Journal Speculum is the premier journal for medieval studies in the United States. Its style guidelines are a variant of Chicago Style, geared toward the easy citation of medieval sources. A good option for instructors of medieval history who want their students to adhere to Chicago Style but who are looking for a more medieval-focused bibliographical style.

A Toronto website which assembles tables of contents for journals in Classics, Near Eastern Studies, and Religion. Very good to get the lay of the land in these subjects. (Cf. Magazine Stacks above)

Viator is an excellent English-language journal for medieval studies. It is available online, although it is not currently available through JSTOR.

Medieval people did not calculate dates the same way we do today. Hermann Grotefend's Zeitrechnung des deutschen Mittelalters und der Neuzeit is the standard guide to calculating medieval and early modern dates. This website presents Grotefend in HTML form.

Medieval Calendar Calculator

Like Grotefend, C.R. Cheney's Handbook of Dates for Students of English History , RHS Guides and Handbooks 4 (London, 1945; rpt. with corr. 1981) provides a useful English-language introduction to the way early medieval dating worked, and this website uses Cheney to calculate dates with an intuitive GUI (graphic user interface).

Digital Atlas of Roman and Medieval Civilization (DARMC)

The Digital Atlas of Roman and Medieval Civilization ( DARMC ), designed at Harvard by Prof. Michael McCormick and other Harvard faculty and students, is a tool that allows for a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) approach to mapping and spatial analysis of the Roman and medieval worlds. Includes several downloadable excel spreadsheets and shapefiles.

The Pleiades project is an open gazetteer/graph of ancient places. It allows users to add and share geographical and historical information about Greco-Roman Antiquity digitally. Currently there are tens of thousands of names, places, and locations to explore.

Orbis  (Stanford)

Orbis is a Stanford-based Geospatial Network Model of the Roman World, a GIS project mainly aimed at estimating travel times and expenses in the Roman Empire. This very impressive tool allows you to re-create journeys by land and sea and estimate times and costs depending on season, route, and travel methods. You have to know the classical names of places involved (for this, see Graesse's Orbis Latinus below), but this is easily enough done. A very user-friendly GUI.

Orbis Latinus (Graesse)

The abbreviated, online version of an important reference work, Johann Georg Theodor Graesse's Orbis Latinus: Lexikon lateinischer geographischer Namen des Mittelalters und der Neuzeit , expanded and edited by Helmut Plechl and Sophie-Charlotte Plech, 3 volumes (Braunschweig, 1972; but originally 1909). Graesse compiled a list of Latin placenames and their modern equivalents. Very important if you are working with Latin sources and you need to know where you are when sources talk about Suessonae (Soissons), Lutetia (Paris), Moguntiacum (Mainz), or Eboracum (York). Note that the online version is convenient, but vastly less complete than the hard copy (held in the Loker Reading Room of Widener at RR 4025.5.5).

Regesta Imperii (RI)

The Regesta Imperii is an incredibly powerful tool for those with even a smattering of German. It is a year-by-year accounting of events (with sources) organized by royal, imperial, and papl dynasties. Search by keywords (Stichwörter), phrase (Phrase), place of issue (Ausstellungsort), register number (Regestennummer), or date (Datum). There are now multiple series and subseries. While the information is only as accurate as the sources, the RI remains an extremely useful, and very powerful, source for medieval political history. The RI website also contains an amazing bibliography (RI OPAC, see above).

Regnum Francorum

Interactive maps, linked to sources, for an astonishing variety of places and events in the Carolingian period. A labor of love, Regnum Francorum is much more than a map - it is a guide to several key sources of the Carolingian period.

Mapping the Republic of Letters  (MRL)

Mapping the Republic of Letters is a Stanford based network visualization tool designed to represent the relationships between major early modern intellectual figures.

Carolingian Polyptyques

Polyptyques are inventories that list the resources of great estates, especially monasteries, during the early Middle Ages. These documents provide insights into rural life and demography during the Carolingian period. This website, run from the University of Leicester by medievalists Joanna Story and James Palmer, translates into English large sections (though note: not complete) from 10 polyptyques, chosen to provide a geographical and chronological cross-section.

Early Church Fathers

Older translations of early church fathers (the patristic authors). Useful for students, even though in many cases these translations have been superceded.

Internet Medieval Sourcebook

A major collection of translated medieval texts, undergoing a large re-haul to remove dead links. A very useful source of translations for otherwise untranslated Latin Carolingian texts. See especially the section on the Carolingians .

MARS Translated Sources and Studies  (Bill North)

William ("Bill") North of Carleton College has produced and posted online a series of elegant teaching translations, both  primary sources and secondary sources , which are hosted on the Carleton Medieval and Renaissance Studies (MARS) website. Careful bibliographies and notes make these extremely useful teaching tools. Particularly rich for Carolingian and Byzantine sources. (See also Courtney Booker's [UBC] translations of Carolingian sources at the bottom of the page of his publications site .)

New Advent Fathers of the Church

Another large database of translated patristic sources (mostly partial) - late antique Christian texts read heavily by medieval intellectuals. Useful as a quick resource for students, but generally better translations are now available for most of these texts.

Perseus Project (Tufts University)

The Perseus Project is an electronic book-text collection, one of the great early projects in digital humanities. It offers an enormous corpus of Latin and Greek texts (with older translations, which can be read side-by-side) for Antiquity, and very useful linguistic tools for Greek and Latin.

Perseus (University of Chicago)

Based on the Tufts Perseus, but using the PhiloLogic tool to search and browse texts, the Chicago version of Perseus sometimes offers an easier way to search for individual words or phrases than its Tufts equivalent.

Modern Language Translations of Byzantine Sources  (MLTBS)

Another powerful tool for Byzantine studies made available by the Princeton University Library, MLTBS is a database of over two thousand translated Byzantine sources. Translations are not all in English, but it is possible to sort by English (or whichever languages).

Fitzwilliam Museum Coin Collection

The Fitz in Cambridge has one of the world's greatest collections of early medieval coins. Their website contains a very good early medieval corpus , which you can search by date, kingdom, ruler, mint (location of minting), and findspot. Their site also has a cool checklist of coin finds in Great Britain. A very useful tool for budding numismatists.

Münzkabinett (coin collection), Berlin

The online catalog of the numismatic (coins) resources of the national museums of Berlin is searchable in English, and provides nice images and good information on its Carolingian coins.

DigiSig (Medieval Seals)

DigiSig is an impressive new digital database of medieval seals.

Jean Mabillon, De re diplomatica

Jean Mabillon (1632-1707) is usually regarded as the founder of palaeography (although in fact Bernard de Monfaucon gave birth to the name in his 1708 Palaeographia graeca ). Mabillon's 1681 masterpiece De re diplomatica is a classic of palaeography and diplomatic(s) (i.e. the study of charters and diplomas), and it remains a useful overview to the present day. This is a very usable digitization of the first edition hosted by the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

Medieval Writing

This website has been available for years. It is designed to introduce visitors to the basics of palaeography (the study of ancient handwriting). It is one of many such sites, but for beginners it is one of the very best. Learn the basics with the Index of Scripts .

Vindolanda Tablets Online

The famous Vindolanda wood tablets were excavated from the Roman fort by Hadrian’s Wall in northern England. They preserve both fascinating text and palaeography from the first and second centuries CE.

Interpreting Ancient Manuscripts  (IAM)

A venerable internet resource, started at Brown, to provide a basic introduction to ancient books. The focus is on the Greek Bible, but there is much here to help get your bearings with ancient codicology and palaeography.

This resource mainly deals with diplomatic (i.e. charter) palaeography in England (c. 1000-1100). DigiPal makes up for its narrow focus through a very impressive analytical tools. An explanation for how to use it is posted here .

Editions and Editing  (Harvard)

While not strictly a palaeography tool, this guide to editing texts gives a great general overview of manuscripts and to palaeography, while also teaching guidelines for creating editions from handwritten texts.

Paléographie médiévale

A helpful introduction to the basics of palaeography, which provides a history of scripts in Europe with numerous examples.

Album interactif de paléographie médiévale

A very useful French-language introduction to palaeography from the ninth century to the sixteenth century.

Spanish Palaeography Tool

This tool presents digitized early modern Spanish manuscripts (from the fifteenth through the eighteenth centuries), with transcriptions and sample alphabets. Another useful project is the BYU-hosted Spanish Script Tutorial .

Terminologie: Gotische Schriftarten  (German Palaeography)

On the very useful  Codices.ch website (dedicated to ancient and medieval manuscripts in Switzerland), this helpful guide to the terminology of Gothic script (with examples in images) will help you if you have dealings with German manuscripts from the high to the late Middle Ages.

Lublin w Dokumencie (Lublin in Documents)

Fourteenth- to sixteenth-century administrative documents from Lublin, Poland. The nice feature here is that by scrolling over the digitization you see transcriptions of the text.

Enigma is an experimental project aiming to assist scholars in deciphering manuscript readings. Type in the letters you can decipher, with letters you can't decipher represented by periods, and the tool will provide possible words.

Scottish Handwriting

An early modern guide to "secretarial" palaeography from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Very handy to anyone examining Scottish documents from this period, but also a useful introduction to a widely used writing style.

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Citing and referencing

Archaeology and ancient history: citing and referencing.

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  • Primary sources for Archaeology & Ancient History

Correct citation and referencing can be one of the most time-consuming, but important parts of advanced research in any field. Accurate citation is key to making your arguments effective, and the penalties for plagiarism at any level are serious. 

For units in the Archaeology major you should use the Chicago (Author-Date) style . Note that there are two Chicago styles so make sure that you use the 'Author-Date' tab rather than 'Notes and Bibliography'.

For more examples specific to archaeology and ancient history you can also refer to the Monash Centre for Ancient Cultures Referencing Guide (pdf).  

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Chicago 17th edition notes and bibliography

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For students undertaking Classics or Ancient History courses in the School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry please refer to the School's own Style Guide available through Learn.UQ (Blackboard) in order to cite ancient sources.

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Classicswrites, a guide to research and writing in the field of classics.


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General Information

Citation has two primary purposes. First, it helps the reader follow your argument and explore outwards from your work, while at the same time confirming that your arguments and attributions are accurate and valid. Second, you have an ethical obligation to cite the work and ideas of others that you rely on in developing your own. There is no standard format for citations across all types of writing in Classics. Each professor or journal you submit your work to may have their own preferred style, but nearly all will include the elements laid out below. You will probably use a combination of in-text/footnote citations and a bibliography. In-text citation and footnotes are a convenient way to give a precise reference without all of the detail, but must be supported by a full bibliography. The bibliography is where everything lives, and through it a reader should be able to find the exact work to which you refer. The following examples deal primarily with in-text and footnote citations. For full bibliographic formats consult your professor, a librarian, or any number of style guides (MLA, Chicago, etc.). Consistency and thoroughness are key to a good bibliography.

How to cite based on source material

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Primary sources in Classics are most often ancient texts, documents, or artifacts.

The general standard for citing ancient sources is as follows: author, title  book or section.line number(s).

Example 1.1: Homer, Iliad 3.1-50.

Note that you can also use abbreviations for ancient works and authors often follow the standards of the Oxford Classical Dictionary (OCD). The example from above work, with abbreviations would be cited as:

Example 1.2: Hom. Il . 3.1-50.

For authors with only a single primary work, you can omit the title.

Example 2: Thucydides 2.14., or Thuc. 2.14

N.B.: Thucydides only has one main work, The History of the Peloponnesian War , so there is no need to include this title, as anyone reading a paper in this field knows that you must be referring to this work.

Secondary sources are any works that discuss or refer to the primary sources. The particulars of your bibliography for secondary sources may change based on submission requirements, but in general you should include everything that a reader needs to know to find the specific text you cite. This will include: author, title, date, and journal/publisher.

You may have other elements as well, like page numbers for journal articles or edition number if a work has been republished. In-text and footnote citations of secondary sources should provide quick reference to the work you are using, information for which is given in full in your bibliography.

A recommended format is as follows: Author Date: page(s).

Example: Barrett 2002: 19-23.

In your bibliography the reader would find the full bibliographic details:

Example: Barrett, Anthony A. 2002. Livia: First Lady of Imperial Rome. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Tips and Tricks

As a matter of economy many Classics writers choose to use parenthetical citations for ancient works and footnotes for secondary sources. This makes for cleaner writing and easy reference without amassing footnotes or losing your reader.

Example of a parethetical citation

Tacitus (Ann. 3.76) marks the enduring memory of Caesar’s assassination at the death of Junia Tertia in 22 AD, when images of Brutus and Cassius were conspicuous by their absence.

Example of both a parenthetical citation and a footnote

Tiberius refused a number of divine honors at Rome, but allowed them occasionally in the provinces (Tac. Ann. 4.37-8, 4.55-6). But it was not a blanket policy of acceptance, as he rejected one petition the following year from Spain. 1  

 1. Gradel 2002: 59.

There are a number of bibliographic tools you may choose to use (e.g. Zotero, Endnote, etc.). The library may offer short courses and seminars on how to use these tools. Note that these tools are not perfect and it is your responsibility to make sure your work conforms to the standards set by your instructor or the publisher. Be especially careful with citation managers for Classics-specific items like translations. 

Helpful Links and Guides

Haverford College maintains an excellent guide to citation in the Classics, and addresses both in-text citations and bibliography.

Harvard Library provides help with citation guides and bibliography management tools .

Academic Integrity

Accurate and thorough citation is one way of ensuring your work maintains the academic integrity expected of all students. Any time you borrow content, concepts, interpretations, or ideas from another source it is crucial to credit the author appropriately. Harvard’s Honor Code emphasizes the importance of academic integrity:

Members of the Harvard College community commit themselves to producing academic work of integrity—that is, work that adheres to the scholarly and intellectual standards of accurate attribution of sources, appropriate collection and use of data, and transparent acknowledgement of the contribution of others to their ideas, discoveries, interpretations, and conclusions. Cheating on exams or problem sets, plagiarizing or misrepresenting the ideas or language of someone else as one’s own, falsifying data, or any other instance of academic dishonesty violates the standards of our community, as well as the standards of the wider world of learning and affairs.

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Citing Primary Sources

Citing primary sources can be difficult, especially when you are using a source that has been digitized or reproduced on a website.  Obviously, a letter from 1652 that you see online is not the real thing!  So how do you cite it in your paper? 

In the bibliography or works cited page:

  • Remember that Primary Sources should be separated from Secondary Sources in your bibliography. See the Handbook for Historians to get correct bibliography formats.

In your footnotes or endnotes:

The Handbook for Historians section citing sources suggests citing a primary source within your footnotes as follows:

Primary source document found online. (Use this format when using approved websites containing primary source material.)  Include as many of the following elements as are available.

Author of original document, first name first, “Title of document,” Date of document, Title of Web Site where document is found, Author, Editor, or Producer of site, accessed date, URL.

46 Sydney Smith, “Fallacies of Anti-Reformers,” 1824. Internet Modern History Sourcebook , Paul Halsall, ed., accessed 22 June 2011, http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/smithantireform.html.

47 Smith, “Fallacies of Anti-Reformers.”

48 Thorstein Veblen, “The Theory of the Leisure Class,” 1899, Internet Modern History Sourcebook, Paul Halsall, ed., Accessed 22 June 2011, http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1899veblen.html.

49 Veblen, “Theory of the Leisure Class.”

Example (no author given) :

50 “Codex Justinianus: Protection of Freewomen Married to Servile Husbands,” 530 A.D., Internet Medieval Source Book , ed. Paul Halsall, 25 February 2002, http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/codexVIl-24-i.html, 17 March 2005.

51 “Codex Jusinianus.”

A Primary Source Quoted by a Second Source.

Note: It is preferable that the original source is consulted and cited on its own, but if the original source cannot be obtained, use this format.

Author of original source, first name first, Title (City of Publication: Publisher, year), page number, quoted in Author of secondary source, first name first, Title (City of Publication: Publisher, year), page number.

29 Hastings Ismay, The Memoirs of General Lord Ismay (New York: Viking, 1960), 199, quoted in James Holland, The Battle of Britain (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2010), 476.

30 Ismay, The Memoirs , 210, quoted in Holland, The Battle , 480.

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In text citation:

To be made up of:

  • Ancient author.
  • Title (in italics) - not required if only one work by the author survives.
  • Prose authors: Book number, chapter number, section number.
  • Verse authors: Book/poem number, line number.

(Herodotus, 1.32.7)

(Sophocles,  Oedipus Tyrannus  447-462)

(Virgil, Aeneid 2.49)

You can also use the standard abbreviations of author's names and titles of works as listed at the front of the  Oxford Classical Dictionary :

(Hdt. 1.32.7)

(Soph. OT 447-462)

(Verg. Aen. 2.49)

This allows readers to find the relevant passage in any modern edition. If a translation does not provide precise book/chapter numbers, you can find this information by using the online editions of texts and translations in the Perseus Digital Library . Avoid using the page numbers of translations unless you want to comment on the way a particular translator has handled the text.

Reference list:

  • Ancient Author.
  • Title (in italics).
  • Translator/commentator
  • Date of translation/commentary (in round brackets).
  • Location: publisher.

Herodotus.  Book I.  Edited with an introduction and notes by J.H. Sleeman (2002). London: Bristol Classical Press.

Sophocles.  Oedipus the King.  Translated by Stephen Berg and Diskin Clay (1978). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Virgil.  Aeneidos: liber secundus.  With a commentary by R.G. Austin (1964). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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  • Referencing
  • Bibliographies

How to create a bibliography or reference list

Monks historical bookends

A list of all cited source materials, known as a bibliography or reference list , must be included at the end of your essay.

They are divided into two sections: primary sources and secondary sources . Each of these sections need to be in alphabetical order .

Each bibliographical reference needs:

  • the author's last name followed by their first initial(s)
  • the year of publication
  • the name of the work (in italics)
  • the publication details

What is the difference between a bibliography and a reference list?

Depending on the assessment task, you will either be asked to create a bibliography or a reference list. Here are the differences between the two:

  • A bibliography lists all of the materials that have been consulted during your research, regardless of whether or not you've quoted from them
  • A reference list  states only the sources that you've quoted in your assignment

Regardless of which you're required to create, you must follow the formatting shown below.

Correct Format for Different Source Types

These examples use the popular APA (American Psychological Association) referencing style. 

Required Elements:

Author's Surname, First Initials. (Year of Publication).  Name of book . City of Publication: Name of Publishing Company.

Academic Journal Articles

Author's Surname, First Initials. (Year, Month day OR Season - if known - of publication). Article title.  Name of Journal the Article Appeared In ,  Journal Volume Number (Issue or Part Number), page number(s) of the article.

Newspaper or Magazine Articles

Author's Surname, First Initials. (Year, Month day of publication). Article title.  Name of Newspaper/Magazine , page number(s) of the article.

Speaker's Surname, First Initials. (Year, Month Day Speech was Given). Title of Speech.  Institution, City the Speech was Given at/in.

Author's Surname, First Initials. (Year of Publication). Name of webpage.  Retrieved from URL.

Ancient Sources

Ancient Author's Name.  Name of Ancient Work.  (Name of Modern Translator that You're Using, trans.). Location of Modern Translation's Publisher: Name of Modern Translation's Publishing Company, Year of Modern Translation's Publication.

Referencing a Source Found in Another Source

On some occasions you find a source in the pages of different source. Your first task should be to try and quote the source you have found separately from the book that it is in. Do this, look in the bibliography of the book in order to gain the necessary details.

However, if you cannot find the information necessary to create a separate bibliographical entry, you will need to create a bibliographical entry that acknowledges the book that the source was found in.

To do this you will need:

  • as many of the details that you can find of the source you are using. (Anything you don't know is left out).
  • the full bibliographical details of the book it was found in, along with the page number in the book where the source was found. This is preceded by the phrase "As found in" and the entire bibliographical reference is placed in brackets.

For example:

Nixon, R. (1969). (As found in US Government Printing Office 1969, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Richard Nixon , Washington D.C.: US Government Printing Office, pp. 903).

Example Reference List

Reference List

Primary Sources

Appian.  The Civil Wars .  (John Carter, trans). New York: Penguin, 1996.

Department of Defence. (1959). Strategic basis of Australian defence policy . Canberra: Department of Defence.

Department of Defence. (1976). Defence White Paper . Canberra: Department of Defence.

Millar, T. (1979). The political-military relationship in Australia . Strategic and Defence Studies Centre Working Paper , 6, p. 12.

Nixon, R. (1969). (As found in US Government Printing Office 1969, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Richard Nixon , Washington D.C.: US Government Printing Office, p. 903).

Secondary Sources

Dibb, P. (2007). The self-reliant defence of Australia: The History of an Idea . (As found in   Huisken, R., & Thatcher., M. (eds). History as policy: Framing the debate on the future of Australia’s defence policy . Canberra: ANU Press and Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, p. 11-26).

Horner, D. (1997). Security objectives . (As found in Mediansky, F. (ed). Australian foreign policy: Into the new millennium . South Melbourne: Macmillan, p. 73-92).

Lawson, E. (2009). The Australian defence environment . Australian Defence Force Journal , 179, p. 70-81.

White, H. (2007). Four decades of the defence of Australia: Reflections on Australian defence policy over the past 40 years . (As found in Huisken, R & Thatcher, M. (eds). History as policy: Framing the debate on the future of Australia’s defence policy . Canberra: ANU Press and Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, p. 163-187).

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Ancient Near East and Egypt

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Research assistance in the social sciences and humanities is available at the Charles E. Young Research Library . See Reference and Research Help for complete reference service options.

Connect from off campus

These dictionaries are in CD-ROM, PDF, or web-based format. Some are freely available, others are subscription services, so remote access may be necessary when accessing from off-campus.

  • A. Erman and H. Grapow, eds. Wörterbuch der ägyptischen Sprache
  • Chicago Assyrian Dictionary
  • Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon
  • The Hebrew & Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (CD-ROM)
  • IDD Iconography of Deities and Demons in the Ancient Near East
  • J. Payne Smith, A Compendious Syriac Dictionary
  • The Online Liddell-Scott-Jones Greek-English Lexicon (LSJ)
  • The Oxford Classical Dictionary (CD-ROM)
  • PSD Pennsylvania Sumerian Dictionary
  • Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae
  • W. Gesenius, A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament with an Appendix Containing the Biblical Aramaic
  • W. Wilson, The Bible Student's Guide to the more Correct Understanding of the English Translation of the Old Testament, by Reference to the Original Hebrew
  • W.E. Crum, A Coptic Dictionary
  • Encyclopaedia of the Hellenic World
  • Encyclopaedia Iranica
  • International Encyclopedia of Human Geography
  • The Oxford Companion to Classical Civilization
  • UCLA Encyclopedia of Egyptology
  • WiBiLex Das wissenschaftliche Bibellexikon im Internet

Some bibliographies are freely available, others are subscription services, so remote access may be necessary when accessing from off-campus.

For additional open access bibliographies relating to the ancient world (broadly defined), please see the Ancient World Open Bibliographies blog.

  • Amarna Project Publications
  • AnaBiDeut (Analytical Bibliography of Deuteronomy)
  • Ancient Egyptian Demonology Project: Useful Bibliography
  • Ancient Egyptian Medicine: A Bibliography
  • Ancient Sexuality and Gender
  • Archäologische Bibliographie
  • Annotated Old Testament Bibliography - 2009
  • Alexandria Bibliography
  • Archaeological Ethics David WJ Gill
  • BiBIL Bibliographie Biblique Informatisée de Lausanne
  • Bibliography of the Cuneiform Texts and Inscriptions kept in Syrian Museums
  • Bibliography of Mesopotamian Astronomy and Astrology
  • Bibliography of Theban West Bank Archaeological Sites
  • Chroniques assyriologiques
  • Early Roman Alexandria Bibliography
  • Egyptology (University of Heidelberg Library)
  • Emar Online Database
  • Ethnic Identity in Graeco-Roman Egypt
  • History of Egyptology David WJ Gill
  • International Bibliography of Art
  • The Melammu Project: The Intellectual Heritage of Assyria and Babylonia in East and West
  • Jewish Magic Scott B. Noegel
  • Online Bibliographies at the Bibliothèque des Sciences de l'Antiquité, l'université Lille 3
  • Papyrology Bibliography
  • Selected Bibliography for Ancient Egypt
  • Time and Space in Egyptian Literature
  • Women and Gender in Ancient Near Eastern Cultures: Bibliography 1885 to 2001 AD Julia M. Asher-Greve, Women and Gender in Ancient Near Eastern Cultures: Bibliography 1885 to 2001 AD. NIN: Gender Studies in Antiquity 2 (2003) 32-114.
  • Women in the Ancient Near East: A Select Bibliography of Recent Sources in The Oriental Institute Research Archives Terry G. Wilfong
  • Abréviations des périodiques et collections en usage à l’Institut français d’archéologie orientale le caire 5th edition, revised and augmented, 2010
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Library Research Guide for History

Outline of primary sources for history.

  • Newsletter February2023
  • Exploring Your Topic
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  • Finding Online Sources: Detailed Instructions
  • Document Collections/Microfilm
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  • Policy Literature, Working Papers, Think Tank Reports (Grey Literature)
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  • Exploring Special Collections at Harvard

This page serves as an index to the Library Research Guide for History and other research guides.  It lists major general tool types and kinds of  primary sources, giving links to major resources, links to further information in the guide and to sample HOLLIS searches.

Four tactics for finding primary sources .  They are best used together.

  • Find them cited in reference works and  secondary sources . Valuable especially in that it gives you context.  But you are limited to what your author has found, and a slight difference in perspective from your own may lead to very different sources.  An essential starting point. See:  Library Research Guide for History: Exploring Your Topic .
  • Direct search in catalogs and databases, for example in HOLLIS, HathiTrust, Early English Books Online.
  • Find them in bibliographies (and their equivalents for archives and manuscripts ) which are lists of printed (or manuscript sources) sometimes annotated.  A less used but often very fruitful method.  They are often produced contemporary with the era of interest.  Example.  Using them is a two-step process: find your source in a bibliography, then look it up in HOLLIS ; or ASK US .
  • Research guides. Guides prepared by Harvard librarians and by librarians from other institutions

General  --  Kinds of Primary Sources

General Catalogs

For finding primary sources at Harvard and for finding copies of primary sources in other repositories. A database of catalog records. Not (generally) full text searchable). HOLLIS  Library Catalog searches not only books but also archives/manuscripts (including a full text search of digitized finding aids (not all are digitized), films, images, and other material ( Example ).  Any pertinent item produced during your era may be a primary source, but certain kinds of primary sources, including originally unpublished sources such as letters and diaries published later, have particular terms attached to their Subject terms in a HOLLIS record.   Change  Any field  to  Subject  for cleanest results.    

  • --Caricatures and cartoons (just search Caricatures)
  • --Correspondence
  • --Description and travel
  • --Interviews
  • --Manuscripts
  • --Notebooks, sketchbooks, etc.
  • --Oral history
  • --Personal narratives (refers to accounts of wars and diseases only)
  • --Pictorial works (Books consisting mostly of pictures)
  • --Sources (usually refers to collections of published primary sources)

Example : Algeria AND Archives OR Correspondence OR Diaries OR Manuscripts OR Sources OR Narratives OR Interviews OR "Oral history" (as Subject)

More on HOLLIS in the HOLLIS page of this guide and in the HOLLIS User Guide .

For finding original and digitized primary sources outside of Harvard.  A database of catalog records with links to finding aids or full text where available. WorldCat  (the OCLC Union Catalog) includes catalog records from over 70,000 libraries worldwide but largely U.S.  Includes books, periodicals, archives and manuscripts, maps, images, videotapes, computer readable files, etc. More on searching WorldCat .  Techniques for using WorldCat to find various types of sources are included under Kinds of Primary Sources, below .

Digital Libraries/Collections. Often full text searchable

General full text searchable databases:

HathiTrust Digital Library  is a huge collection of digitized books and periodicals. Each full text item is linked to a standard library catalog record, thus providing good metadata and subject terms. Most items pre-1925 will be full text viewable.  After 1925, a much smaller number will be full text viewable.  You can search within non-full text viewable works and obtain the pages numbers where your search terms occur.   Most US, and some state, government documents will be full text viewable.

HathiTrust   Library Research Guide for History: Finding Primary Sources Online: HathiTrust 

Internet Archive  offers full text for a variety of digitized print materials and archived web pages (Wayback Machine), as well as manuscripts (a few), digitized microfilm, films, audio files, TV News, and more.  Many recent books are full text viewable if you set up a free account. You can use a Google password.

Internet Archive   Library Research Guide for History: Finding Primary Sources Online: Internet Archive

“Civil Rights” → Collections  → Peace and Freedom 1941-2015

Google Books , which contain all sorts of books and periodicals

There are many other less general digital libraries specialized by language and/or era ( Early English Books Online ) or geographically ( Gallica , Digital Commonwealth ).

More specialized digital collections:

There are numerous subject-specialized digital collections (example: Travelers in the Middle East ). There is no one method for finding them. Try WorldCat, Research Guides, and Advanced Google Searches.

Harvard's HOLLIS Databases

Europeana: Cultural collections of Europe   ( More information ) and  The Digital Public Library of America    ( More information )

WorldCat  includes records for many digital collections, but due to the lack of standardized tagging, they can be hard to isolate from the very numerous ebooks.

Methods for searching WorldCat for digital collections

Advanced Google Searches

Library Research Guide for History: Finding Primary Sources Online: Finding Primary Sources on the Open Web

Research guides: Next

Digital libraries and lists of digital collections are listed in  Library Research Guide for History: Finding Primary Sources Online: Digital Libraries/Collections by Region or Language

  • Harvard general research guide page
  • Online Primary Source Collections for History  lists digital collections at Harvard and beyond by topic
  • Online Primary Source Collections for the History of Science  lists digital collections at Harvard and beyond by topic

Selected Harvard guides

Format:  Library Research Guide for History: Outline of Primary Sources for History Geographical:  Library Research Guide for History: Other Subject Guides Subject:  Library Research Guide for History: Other Subject Guides 

Finding research guides at other institutions: Google Advanced Search

Document collections (Print and Microfilm)

Primary source documents are often gathered up and published as printed books or in microfilm (reels of 35 mm film viewed through a machine).  They may consist of books, archival material, oral histories, in fact most of the kinds listed below.  Vast resources exist in microfilm. 

  • Find them in HOLLIS and WorldCat by using special Subject terms . Example .
  • Tools for finding them listed in this guide .
  • More on microfilm
  • When yu find a microfilm collection, ask us to be sure it isn't digitized. More information .


Find lists of publications (primary and/or secondary) on your topic in HOLLIS .  Bibliography must be searched as a Subject. Bibliographies may be contemporary or retrospective.

If you find an older article or book in a bibliography, you can use the  Cited Reference Search  in  Web of Science  find more recent articles by seeing who has cited it.  If you have a bibliography of primary sources, then the Web of Science can be used both to find secondary sources that cite a specified primary source and the response in the 20th century periodical literature. See  Searching the Citation Indexes (Web of Science) .

Kinds of Primary Sources

  • Contemporary Language
  • Country, State, and Local information
  • Government Documents
  • Gray Literature

Literary Works

  • Periodicals
  • Personal Accounts

Sound Recordings

Archives and Manuscripts   comprise originally unpublished writings or records produced by an individual (personal papers) or an organization in their activities.  Organizations producing archives may be governments (national, state, local), NGOs, corporations, universities.  They may reside with their producing bodies or may have been added to an archival repository.  You typically have to go to the repository to use them.

  • We give instructions for finding them at Harvard, the Boston area, nation and world-wide in the  Library Research Guide for Finding Manuscripts and Archival Collections .
  • Sometimes full or partial copies are published as  printed books ,  microfilm , or  online  (see Digital Libraries and Document Collections, above)
  • Many US Government archival collections, including much State Department material, has been digitized or microfilmed.  Tools for finding them listed in this guide

Books .  Find books (and other resources) in HOLLIS and WorldCat

  • Remember to use the proper Subject terms (Library of Congress and Medical) as well as your keywords
  • You can limit by date range.  The Subject term Early Works to 1800 retrieves old books republished post-1800 (new editions): Sample HOLLIS Library Catalog search .
  • You can limit to anything published in a country or a US state in HOLLIS and WorldCat
  • Instructions for using HOLLIS and WorldCat

Broadcast s . Much news is distributed via radio and TV.  Tools for finding  broadcast news ,  radio  and  TV  listed in this guide and in the  Kennedy School's News & Media guide .

Contemporary language

  • Dictionaries indicate contemporary understanding of a word. Sample HOLLIS search .
  • Subject dictionaries and encyclopedias can show how terms were understood at a certain time.  Sample HOLLIS search .
  • Major American English dictionaries listed in the Library Research Guide for American Studies .

Country, State, and Local Information .   Information about a particular country, state or city/town at a particular time is available via a variety of sources including:

  • Annual country reference publication series
  • State and Local Government documents , 
  • Travelers’ writings, and guidebooks .
  • City directories  which, besides the alphabetical listing of residents, usually have a terminal section with a government directory and listing of local businesses and agencies by activity.

Data   The  Digital Scholarship Support Group  offers faculty, students, and staff interested in incorporating digital methods into their teaching and research a single point of entry to the many resources available at Harvard. Beginner's Guide to Locating and Using Numeric Data .

Film/Video .  As well as entertainment films, there are documentary films and newsreels.  Tools for finding films listed in this guide .  For newsreels . The Library has a  guide for streaming video .

Internet Archive   Put your search term in Any field. Adjust Mediatype is : to Audio

Digital Public Library of America (DPLA)    Search for your topic. Select Type: Sound on the left.

WorldCat Open Access  Advanced Search. Adjust Databases from WorldCat to OpenAccessContent . Open Options (upper right). Change Record list size from 10 to 100.

Search: Keyword: [your search term(s) AND Genre/Form: video OR audiovisual

WorldCat OAIster (Union catalog of digital resources)  Advanced Search. Adjust Databases : from WorldCat to OAIster .  Open Options (upper right). Change Record list size from 10 to 100.

Search: Keyword: [your search term(s) AND Keyword: ge=video

Government Documents   (National, State, Local) are publications produced for public distribution (unlike archival sources).  We give instructions on finding them in this guide  United States ,  US foreign relations ,  US state and local , and  foreign government documents . 

  • Many US government publications are available full text in  HathiTrust . In Advanced Catalog search put Author: "United States" and a department/agency name if desired.
  • Bibliographies of government documents for your time period are often useful guides.   HOLLIS Library Catalog  (Note Subject term:  Government publications .

Gray Literature   refers to reports produced and published by governmental or non-governmental agencies (think tanks, research institutes) but not published via the usual commercial or academic channels.  Think tank publications often offer the views of particular ideological groups. They may be  studies of policy  (often called working papers) or  technical studies  (called technical reports)

Images .  Harvard has numerous collections of images which are best searched via  HOLLIS Images .  Countless images have been digitized.   Tools for finding them listed in this guide .

Law:   Legal sources include:

  • Laws: Foreign, US national and state, city ordinances  --   HOLLIS Library Catalog search  (Note OR)
  • Case law: Appeals court opinions  --   HOLLIS Library Catalog search
  • Trial transcripts or accounts  --   HOLLIS Library Catalog search

The Law School librarians are the experts ( Law School Library guides ), be we have a  legal history guide to get started .  It covers the legal periodical literature (Law reviews), court cases, and legislation for the United States and, to a lesser extent Britain.

In HOLLIS the following terms are found on literary works and works of literary scholarship.

  • American literature -- Korean American autho rs.
  • Authors, Korean
  • Korean American literature -- United States .
  • Korean Americans – Fiction  (or Drama, or Poetry) refers to literary works
  • Korean Americans -- In literature  refers to literary scholarship
  • Korean Americans -- Literary Collections

Sources for literary scholarship are listed in the research guide:  Literary Research in Harvard Libraries .

Maps .  The Harvard Map Collection  contains one of the world’s finest collections of maps. Although their atlases are in HOLLIS, many of their individual maps are not, so a visit is useful. As well as political and topographic maps, they have numerous thematic maps of demographic, social, and economic other features.  More information in this guide .

Material .  Much historical evidence resides in material objects.  Find what Harvard has with a form/genre search in HOLLIS ( HOLLIS Library Catalog Example  - note that we exclude Visual in the search).  We have a draft (unfinished) guide to American material culture which includes landscaps, gardens, cities, consumer goods, etc. Links to Harvard museums .

News Sources .   Important for giving a sense of events and opinion at a particular time and place. Abundantly digitized pre-1923 and post 1980s. 

  • Tools for finding newspapers and newspaper articles listed in the Guide for Newspapers and Newspaper Indexes . 
  • Tools for finding broadcast news and newsreels in this guide

Pamphlets are useful primary sources in that they are often responses to a particular event or situation.

Collections and series of pamphlets often have the word Pamphlets in the title. Narrow with additional keywords, e.g., “ Middle East ”

Individual pamphlets often, by no means always, have the term Pamphlets in the Form/genre or Subject fields in Hollis and WorldCat - both searched together in the Advanced Search Subject search .

Sometimes series-level groups in archival collections are composed of pamphlets.  In  Hollis for Archival Discovery searching Pamphlets  isolates these series. This search can be focused with topic keywords or by repository.

Find bibliographies of pamphlets in HOLLIS Library Catalog Advanced Search: Subject contains: pamphlets bibliography

A catalogue of pamphlets on economic subjects published between 1750 and 1900 and now housed in Irish libraries , by R. D. Collison Black. Belfast, Queen's University Belfast, 1969, 632 p. HOLLIS Record

An incomplete list of major pamphlet collections is available here .

Periodicals come in the following types:

  • Magazines: Aimed at a popular audience ( Tools for finding them listed in this guide )
  • Academic -Disciplinary: Aimed at a academic/scientific audience ( Tools for finding them listed in this guide )
  • Professional/Trade: Aimed at particular trades or professions ( Tools for finding them listed in this guide ; Try Internet Archive )  ( HOLLIS Library Catalog Example, note Resource type: Journals )
  • Newspapers: See News Sources .

Tools are available for finding the circulation figures, audiences and political orientations of many newspapers and other periodicals , and the histories and characteristics of magazines .

Personal accounts . These are first person narratives recalling or describing a person’s life and opinions. These include diaries, memoirs, autobiographies, and when delivered orally and recorded: Oral histories and Interviews.

  • Tools for finding them listed in this guide: Personal Accounts -- Oral History .
  • The  lists of digital libraries by US state  have many collections with oral histories.
  • HOLLIS Library Catalog search example

Public Opinion. Surveys are available that gauge public opinion on numerous topics.  Instructions for finding them in this guide . Sample HOLLIS Library Catalog search . For the opinion of a particular group of people use the Subject term: Attitudes -  Sample HOLLIS Library Catalog search .

Search: Keyword: [your search term(s) AND Genre/Form: recording OR sound OR audio

Search: Keyword: [your search term(s) AND Subject: recording OR sound OR audio

Categories of sound recordings.

  • Music.   Music Research Guide
  • Broadcast News
  • Interviews  Tools listed in this guide .
  • Literary readings
  • Oral histories  Tools listed in this guide .
  • Speeches.  Tools listed in this guide .
  • Radio  Tools listed in this guide .
  • Television  Tools listed in this guide .
  • Sound effects, animal sounds.

Sample search in HOLLIS

Sound recordings are often available, physically or online, only via local repositories. To find these, search in WorldCat Advanced Search. For Limit type to : choose Sound Recordings. If there are too many musical recordings, enter mt:nsr (code for non musical recordings) in a Keyword field, add NOT audiobooks. Thus,

Keyword: Poliomyelitis AND Keyword: mt:nsr NOT Keyword: Audiobooks

Document type Sound Recordings can be further refined by placing, for example, Speeches in a Subject field.   For a list of these genre/form terms .

Statistics .  Most countries publish series of demographic, economic and other statistics.  Statistics are also gathered by non-governmental agencies, including international organizations.   Tools for finding them .    Sample HOLLIS Library Catalog search

Textbooks    Tools for finding them .

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Classics & Ancient Studies

  • Getting Started
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  • Mapping & Atlases

Citing Sources in Classics

Abbreviations and ancient authors, guides to citation.

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Citation Help

  • Citation Management Software This is a Barnard Library guide to tools that help manage citations and build bibliographies, including Zotero, EndNote, and Mendeley.
  • Excelsior Online Writing Lab (OWL) OWL has lots of general and subject-specific writing tips and techniques, along with research advice and detailed citation and formatting standards for the APA, MLA, and Chicago styles.

Classics & Ancient Studies Librarian

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Classicists tend to use the Chicago Manual of Style rules for citation, though that depends on what venue the work is intended for--publishers often have their own rules or variations on the standard. Turabian, a derivative of Chicago designed for undergraduate research, is also popular for less formal work.

For more humanities-focused work, the Modern Language Association (MLA) style may be used.

For the most part, citations of ancient works begin with the author's name (sometimes abbreviated), followed by a short or abbreviated title, usually in italics. (In cases where only one work by an author is known, the title may be omitted.) This is followed by a sequence of numbers and/or letters that indicate the specific subdivisions of the work. Arabic numerals tend to favored in recent publications, but older citations often use Latin numerals as well. Exactly how works are subdivided varies. Book, chapter, section and/or line numbers are often provided. Some works are cited by page numbers of standard, or once-standard, editions. Scholarly editions of these texts will be subdivided by these schemes, as will many translations. 

Abbreviations should be taken from an authoritative source such as the  Oxford Classical Dictionary  (see below). You should also provide bibliographic details of the edition and/or translation of the work you are using: generally when the work first appears in your notes and in your bibliography.

For more information see the  Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition (Chicago, 2017)  §§14.242–250 , also available online . See also  The SBL Handbook of Style For Ancient Near Eastern, Biblical, and Early Christian Studies  (Peabody, MA, 1999),  §8.3.14.

Classical works are typically referred to by chapter and verse, like Scripture, rather than in conventional footnote/reference style. Example:

Plato  Protagoras  309c Virgil  Aeneid  2.250-252

Some additional points:

  • Square brackets [ ] around an author name indicate that the authorship of the work is doubtful.
  • A modern name or initials at the end of the reference usually indicates the editor of the specific edition being referred to.
  • A numerical superscript after the title of a work usually indicates its edition. 
  • An equals signs connecting references equates multiple systems of reference and/or indicates the text in question can be found in both souces.

Thanks to the Yale University Library Classics guide for much of this information!

Sources for Abbreviations

Classical authors and their works.

bibliography ancient sources

  • Online Abbreviations from Liddell 1253 Greek Authors, from an older edition of the LSJ. More abbreviations are available from the DGE (Diccionario Griego-Español).
  • MLA Style (Excelsior OWL) MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook (8th ed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page.
  • Chicago Style (Excelsior OWL) This section contains information on The Chicago Manual of Style method of document formatting and citation. These resources follow the seventeenth edition of The Chicago Manual of Style, which was issued in 2017.
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The Oxford History of Classical Reception in English Literature: Volume 1: 800–1558

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In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Cleopatra

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Cleopatra by Duane W. Roller LAST REVIEWED: 16 March 2023 LAST MODIFIED: 28 April 2014 DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195389661-0130

Cleopatra (Kleopatra) VII is arguably the most famous woman from classical antiquity, and one of the most familiar personalities in human history. She is best known through the extensive art and literature that was generated after her death. The information from Greek and Roman sources about Cleopatra herself is surprisingly sparse and generally misinterpreted. She is familiar today largely through her representation by Shakespeare and in modern film, as a seductress who ruined the men in her life and destroyed her kingdom, an erroneous depiction that is in large part the result of extremely eloquent opponents and male-dominated historiography. More accurately, she was a capable administrator and military commander, a linguist who knew a dozen languages, and a published scholarly author. Yet she was also the last ruler of her kingdom, and her defeat by the Romans led to the destruction of her reputation. She ruled for twenty-one years, from 51 to 30  BCE , and skillfully attempted to salvage her dying kingdom in the face of growing Roman power and involvement in the affairs of the eastern Mediterranean. Best remembered for her liaisons with Julius Caesar, and Marcus Antonius (Mark Antony), she in fact carefully chose her partners in order to produce heirs who could carry on the kingdom. But her own plans became caught up in the ongoing civil war at Rome, beginning with the assassination of Caesar in 44  BCE . Her original relations with Antonius were a matter of stabilizing her kingdom and creating a mutually beneficial relationship between Egypt and Rome, but the personal involvement between the two eventually hampered these plans, and allowed Octavian (the future emperor Augustus), in power in Rome, to marginalize Antonius (who was his brother-in-law) and to claim that he was being destroyed by an eastern seductress. Matters quickly moved out of control in the 30s  BCE , and eventually a Roman invasion of Greece was mounted. Cleopatra attempted to disassociate herself from Antonius in order to salvage her kingdom, but would not give it over to Octavian, and was driven to suicide in August of 30  BCE at the age of thirty-nine. Her son Kaisarion ruled for a few weeks, but soon the Romans took over the kingdom. Although the Roman literary machine turned her into a dangerous monster who almost destroyed Rome, within Egypt she was honored for centuries.

Ancient literary sources about Cleopatra are remarkably sparse. Women never fare well in ancient history, and there is no work specifically devoted to the queen, nor is there a major contemporary source. Plutarch’s biography of Marcus Antonius (see Plutarch 1988 ) is the closest to an actual narrative about the queen, but was written one hundred years after her death and is limited in its focus. Second in importance is the Roman History of Cassius Dio (see Dio 1914–1927 ), the only continuous extant history of Cleopatra’s era. Also of significance are the works of the Jewish historian Josephus ( Josephus 1928 and Josephus 1930–1965 ), whose interest was limited to the southern Levant, but this was an area of importance to Cleopatra. Other historical sources have exceedingly limited references to the queen, although Cicero 1999 (#374, 377) is the only source for a possible miscarried pregnancy by Cleopatra in early 44  BCE . The poetry of the Augustan period, although eloquent, helped to destroy her reputation. For example, in Book 8 of the Aeneid ( Vergil 2000 ) the Battle of Actium is described, but Cleopatra is not named, called only the “Egyptian mate” of Antony. Propertius 1990 (3.11), also not deigning to mention her by name, ranked her with the sorceress Medea. Horace 1999 ( Ode 1.37), while also highly critical, showed some admiration for a woman who would not be humbled in a triumph.

Cicero. 1999. Letters to Atticus . Edited and Translated by D. R. Shackelton Bailey. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

These letters contain some contemporary notices of Cleopatra, especially from the 40s  BCE .

Dio, Cassius. 1914–1927. Roman history . Translated by Ernest Cary. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

The original Greek with the only complete English translation, which is flawed because of its age. The era of Cleopatra is in books 42–51, with scattered references to the queen. Dio wrote over two hundred years after her death, and was not always sensitive to nuances of her career or era, but his is the only existing continuous narrative of the period.

Horace. 1999. Odes and epodes . Translated by C. E. Bennett. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

Although firmly within the Augustan negative tradition, Horace was able to admire Cleopatra’s courage.

Josephus, Flavius. 1928. The Jewish War . Translated by H. St. J. Thackeray. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

This and the following Jewish Antiquities focus on events in the southern Levant, an area of importance to Cleopatra because of her relationship with Herod the Great. The two were cautious allies and often rivals.

Josephus, Flavius. 1930–1965. Jewish antiquities . Translated by H. St. J. Thackeray and Louis Feldman. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

These parallel works were written a century after the death of Cleopatra. Although their focus is on events in the southern Levant, this was an area of intense interest on the part of Cleopatra, since she and Herod the Great were cautious allies and often rivals.

Plutarch. 1988. Life of Antony . Edited by C. B. R. Pelling. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

The best edition of the most important ancient literary source on Cleopatra. Written a century after her death, the biography of Antonius provides the most detail about Cleopatra’s life and that of her children. Plutarch was not immune to the anti-Cleopatra propaganda that was well established by his time, but nonetheless also had access to sources within her circle (such as the memoirs of her personal physician) that were outside the Roman negative tradition.

Propertius. 1990. Elegies . Edited and translated by G. P. Goold. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

Propertius compared Cleopatra to Medea.

Vergil. 2000. Aeneid 7–12, Appendix Vergiliana . Edited by H. R. Fairclough and G. P. Goold. Cambridge, MA: Loeb Classical Library.

A text and good translation of the second half of the Aeneid in the Loeb Classical Library series.

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Origen (c. 185–c. 253) was a Christian exegete and theologian, who made copious use of the allegorical method in his commentaries, and (though later considered a heretic) laid the foundations of philosophical theology for the church. He was taught by a certain Ammonius, whom the majority of scholars identify as Ammonius Saccas, the teacher of Plotinus; many believe, however, that the external evidence will not allow us to identify him with the Origen whom Plotinus knew as a colleague. He was certainly well-instructed in philosophy and made use of it as an ancillary to the exposition and harmonization of scripture. This was the task that he undertook in most of his extant writings, and the more systematic theology is founded on the ecclesiastical doctrines of the Trinity, the incarnation, salvation after death and the inerrancy of scripture.

Origen was the first Christian to speak of three “hypostases” in the Trinity and to use the term homoousios (though only by analogy) of the relation between the second of these hypostases and the first. The Father, or first person, is nevertheless the only one who is autotheos , God in the fullest sense, whereas the Son is his dunamis or power and the Spirit a dependent being, operative only in the elect. All three are eternal and incorporeal, the Son being known as Wisdom in relation to the Father and Logos (reason, word) in relation to the world. In this capacity he is the shepherd of rational beings the logikoi , who, according to his later critics, were said in his lost writings to have been in origin incorporeal beings coeval with the world if not eternal, and currently imprisoned in material bodies only because of a cooling in their love. It is not so easy to demonstrate from his extant works that he held the material world in such contempt, though he certainly holds it to be created out of nothing and suspects that the concept of matter is philosophically redundant. Souls, in his view, are sent down into bodies (perhaps never more than once, though again some critics impute to him a doctrine of transmigration or chronic falling away from bliss). The soul remains indefeasibly free in its choices, and the misuse of this freedom is the cause of its captivity to the devil.

The deliverance of the soul is effected by the incarnation of the Logos, or second person of the Trinity, who assumes real body but remains fully God. His death on the Cross is a ransom to the devil, and his resurrection prefigures that of the saints, though he seems to imagine the body after death, in Platonic terms, as a tenuous vehicle of the soul. Scholars differ as to whether he envisages a final absorption of the body into incorporeal spirit. It is clear that he expects the vast majority of souls to endure a fiery purification after death, and that no soul will be excluded by God’s will from this purgatory. While he thinks it possible that some may be too debauched by their sins to repent, he also opines that the devil himself will at last make peace with God, though he cannot attain beatitude. In the present life, an anticipation of bliss in the presence of Christ can be enjoyed by the exegete who has fully mastered the spiritual meaning of the scriptures. These are the word of God to us because Christ the word is ubiquitously present in them, investing them with a threefold sense as he himself assumed body, soul and spirit for our sake in his sojourn on earth.

1. Origen’s life and work

2. the intellectual milieu, 3. doctrine of god, 4. the created order, 5. theodicy and sin, 6. the work of christ, 7. conclusion, ancient sources.

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The Greek name Origenes signifies “born of Horus,” an Egyptian falcon-headed deity. The Christian scholar of this name was a native of Alexandria (Eusebius, Church History 6.1), though it is only his detractor Epiphanius who says that he was also by race a Copt ( Panarion 1.1). Eusebius records the jibe of the Neoplatonist Porphyry that Origen, though a Greek by education, became a Christian, whereas his philosophy teacher Ammonius, having once been a Christian, converted to a more lawful way of life ( Church History 6.19.7). Although most scholars assume that this is Ammonius Saccas, the teacher of Plotinus, there was another philosopher of the same name, who is credited with “unequalled polymathy” by the philosopher Longinus at Porphyry, Life of Plotinus 20.49–50. (For further information see Edwards 1993: 179.) Eusebius, moreover, asserts that both Origen and his teacher were Christians throughout their lives (6.19.10); as evidence of the latter’s Christianity in his youth, he records that his father Leontius died as a martyr in 202, and that Origen himself, then 17, not only exhorted Leontius to persevere but thirsted for the same death (6.2.7). His mother could curb his enthusiasm only by hiding his clothes so that he was ashamed to leave the house (6.2.6). Eusebius also tells us that his sexual diffidence or his ascetic temper induced Origen to make himself literally a eunuch for the kingdom of heaven (6.8.2); the act is not unparalleled (Markschies 2007: 15–34), but Epiphanius was unable to verify the story ( Panarion 64.2).

After his father’s death, Origen devoted himself to scholarship and became a notable teacher, perhaps succeeding Clement as head of the catechetical school in Alexandria (Eusebius, Church History 6.3.1 and 6.7–8.1; but cf. Osborn 2008: 19–21). He appears to have studied Hebrew with a converted Jew ( First Principles 1.3.4 etc.), and one of his letters alludes to his studies in philosophy with an unnamed teacher (Eusebius, Church History 6.19.13). Among the works Eusebius says that he composed at this time, dictating to “more than seven stenographers” (6.23.2), were the first five books of his Commentary on John , eight books of a Commentary on Genesis , two books On the Resurrection and his major surviving work, a synthesis of scriptural teaching under the name First Principles (6.24). Of these the last survives entire, but only in the Latin of Rufinus. A few books of the Commentary on John survive in Greek, while portions of the work on the resurrection were preserved in a rejoinder by Methodius of Olympia, which itself survives only in the excerpts and epitomes of later authors (see Dechow 1977). It was also in Alexandria, in imitation of the Homeric scholars of the Hellenistic era, that Origen addressed himself to the preparation of his great Hexapla, in which a corrected edition of the Septuagint, the original, allegedly inspired translation of the Hebrew scriptures (3 rd c. BC?), stood in parallel to the Hebrew and the renderings of other Greek translators (Eusebius, Church History 6.16. See further Neuschäfer 1987; Dorival 2013).

According to Eusebius, his talents excited the jealousy of Demetrius, the Bishop of Alexandria, who cited his self-castration as a reason for refusing to ordain him as a presbyter (Eusebius, Church History 6.8.4–5). Nevertheless, when Origen left Alexandria in 216 to escape the ferocity of the Emperor Caracalla, Demetrius recalled him from Caesarea, where he had already begun to increase his reputation (6.19.16–19). On a subsequent visit to Caesarea he was ordained a presbyter, and took up residence in the city (6.8.5; 6.23.4). Having commenced a commentary on the Song of Songs in the course of a sojourn in Athens (6.32.2), he completed this in Caesarea, together with his Commentary on Matthew and his refutation of the True Logos , a pagan satire on Christianity written around 170 by an otherwise unknown Celsus (6.36.2). Never rising above the rank of presbyter, he was often employed, according to the custom of the times, as a mouthpiece of orthodoxy in trials of heretics before an episcopal synod. Eusebius commends his refutation of Beryllus of Bostra (6.33), adding that he was summoned to play a similar role in Arabia (6.37), and that in his books he tore the mask from heresies old and new. To this period of his life we should also date the Dialogue with Heraclides , discovered at Tura in 1951 (Chadwick 1959). Yet even at the height of his career, his orthodoxy was impugned. Jerome knows of a letter in which he rebuts the accusation that he had prophesied the salvation of the devil (Crouzel 1973); the same letter indicates, according to Jerome, that his teachings had given offence to Heraclas, his former student who had now succeeded Demetrius as bishop of Alexandria. It is clear at least that no censure was extended to Dionysius, the successor of Heraclas and another of Origen’s pupils. In Caesarea the ageing theologian suffered tortures under Decius in 251 (Eusebius, Church History 6.39.5) and, according to Eusebius, died as Gallus came to the throne in 253 (7.1.1). His assertion that Origen was then in his seventieth year is inconsistent with the date implied for his birth (185). Most scholars have elected to postpone the death of Origen to 254 or 255, without explaining why they think the biographer more likely to have erred with regard to the year of his subject’s birth than that of his death.

His library in Caesarea was inherited by his admirer Pamphilus, then by Eusebius as a disciple of Pamphilus and bishop of that city. It also fell to Eusebius to finish the Apology which Pamphilus had begun to write against Origen’s first detractors. From this work and the philippics of such enemies of Origen as Jerome, Theophilus of Alexandria, Epiphanius of Salamis, and the Emperor Justinian, we can cull fragments of writings that have otherwise perished (see further Clark 1992). We also possess an anthology of choice excerpts from his writings the Philokalia (McLynn 2004), and two short texts On Prayer and To the Martyrs . Much had already been lost by attrition in the time of Eusebius (died c. 339); more may have perished after Origen was anathematized in or around the year 553. Many of Origen’s Commentaries and Homilies, like the First Principles , survive only in the Latin of Rufinus, who translated him in the fourth century with reverence but not always with fidelity (see further Pace 1990). The following synopsis of Origen’s thought is based primarily on the extant corpus in Greek and Latin, making use of polemical matter only with the caution that is now enjoined by the most learned scholars.

Scholars are apt to speak casually of Origen’s Platonism, more technically of his “middle” Platonism, most commonly, and not often with conscious paradox, of his Christian Platonism. The Lutheran theologian Anders Nygren (1953), who protested that a Christian Platonist is not a Christian, differed only in his judgment of the facts, not in his reading of them, from his critics J.M. Rist (1964) and Catherine Osborne (1994), who maintained that Platonism in Origen’s hands was not so much an adulteration as a salutary refinement of the gospel. Nevertheless, whatever the merits of Nygren’s theology, Origen would have agreed with him in the matter of nomenclature. The majority of his explicit references to Plato are to be found in the work Against Celsus , a reply to a dead polemicist who is nowadays characterized as a middle Platonist, though Origen hints that he may have been an Epicurean ( Against Celsus 1.8; see further Bergjan 2001). Origen undertakes to show that the simplest disciple of God’s word knows him better than the philosophers who seek him by their own methods ( Against Celsus 7.42), that Plato misrepresents the fall and diminishes the Creator, that if his myths are deep, the biblical allegories are deeper and less perverse, and that Numenius, the foremost Platonist of recent times, has spoken of both Moses and Jesus with esteem ( Against Celsus 4.51 etc.).

The Bible (consisting for Origen only of the New Testament and the Septuagint) is the matrix of every argument in this as in all his writings; while it would be naive, and a contradiction of his own practice, to deny that his exegesis was conditioned by philosophical assumptions, the propaedeutic to biblical study in his school at Caesarea was not Platonism but a professedly unprejudiced survey of all the Greek schools. We learn this from his pupil Gregory Thaumaturgus ( Panegyric 13.151–152), to whom he also wrote a letter assigning to Greek thought an ancillary role in the elucidation of the scriptures; while he was less inclined than his predecessors to accuse the Greeks of plagiarizing their philosophical views from the books of Moses, he held that, since every exercise of reason is inspired by Christ the Logos, a Christian has as much right to the tools of pagan philosophy as the Israelites had to reimburse their labour from the “spoils of the Egyptians” ( Philokalia 13; see further Martens 2012: 29–33). Theologians have at last begun to take Origen at his word as an interpreter of the scriptures; this is not to say that all other influences are ignored, but that he is thought to deserve the same courtesy that Classicists show to Plotinus when they acknowledge that even doctrines which he consciously shares with the Stoics or Aristotle can be derived without subterfuge from the text of Plato.

The epithet “Platonist” will of course be warranted if Origen the Christian is identified with the Origen whom Porphyry represents as one of the privileged disciples of Ammonius Saccas, the Alexandrian teacher of Plotinus. According to Porphyry ( Life of Plotinus 3.20–38) this Origen swore an oath with Plotinus and a third disciple, Herennius, not to reveal the esoteric doctrines of Ammonius after the latter’s death in 243 A.D. This story implies both personal intimacy and geographical proximity, yet Origen the Christian was at this time almost sixty (twenty years senior to Plotinus), had left Alexandria for Caesarea some years before, and already had a multitude of books to his name as a Christian teacher. Porphyry does not allude to these lucubrations in his Life of Plotinus , but says that the Origen he refers to breached the pact by issuing first a treatise On Daemons , then another, with the title That the King is the Only Maker , in the reign of Gallienus (253–268). He includes in the Life a letter, written in 262 or 263 by his former tutor Longinus, which ascribes to Origen only the work On Daemons (Porphyry, Life of Plotinus 20.36–45). All scholars agree that Origen the Christian could not have written anything in the last years of Gallienus; if we can trust Eusebius, he did not live to see this reign at all, but died in that of Gallienus’ predecessor Gallus (251–253). So, if this Origen is our author, Porphyry must at least have misstated the period at which he violated the agreement. Those who contend that there was only one Origen reply that it is the chronology of Eusebius that must be flawed because, although his account of Origen’s youth implies that he was born in 185, he asserts that his death occurred in his seventieth year, and hence not earlier than 254, the first year of Gallienus. The same apologists argue that Porphyry fails to mention his Christian writings either because he despised them or (more cogently) because the publication of them did not violate the oath (cf. Ramelli 2009). If this argument is to prevail, a reason must also be furnished for the silence of Longinus on this part of Origen’s work, the Christian works of Origen must be regarded as aids (in some degree) to the reconstruction of the teaching of Ammonius, and something must be said to explain the failure of Origen’s Christian detractors in late antiquity to cite the two works—still extant, according to Proclus—which he added to the Neoplatonic canon. For these reasons, while theologians have often maintained, or simply assumed, the identity of the two Origens, the author of the article on Origen in the Oxford Classical Dictionary asserts that the contrary position is nowadays the more widely held (Smith 2012; see further Edwards 1993).

The opening chapter of Origen’s First Principles is a paradigmatic instance of his application of philosophic reasoning to biblical exegesis. He assumes here what he asserts elsewhere, that the nature of God is known to us only by his own revelation in the sacred text. The scriptures tell us both that God is fire and that God is spirit, but Origen warns us not to deduce, from a literal construction of these terms, that he is a body ( Princ . 1.1.1). It is possible but not certain, that he has in mind the Stoicizing theology of Tertullian: the Bible speaks more plainly on this matter than any Stoic, and few of Origen’s contemporaries would have doubted the corporeality of fire or spirit. In urging the contrary position, that God is incorporeal. Origen speaks not only for the Platonists but for all the Greek apologists of the church: the prevalent thought of his time (and perhaps of ours) required that if God is to be invisible, immutable, eternal, omnipresent, and irresistible in power he must not be confined to one place or composed of labile matter. The philosophical sympathies of Origen become evident when he goes on to equate this bodiless god with nous or intellect. In Plato, nous had been an occasional synonym for the Demiurge, while Numenius of Apamea, half a century before Origen, had subordinated the Demiurge, as a second nous , to the “first nous ”, which is Plato’s form of the Good. Although the Good in Plato is superior to ousia or being, Numenius like the majority of Platonists before Origen, appears to have posited nothing higher than intellect; Origen too—in this respect a good Platonist—is less inclined to apophatic theology than Philo the Alexandrian Jew or his Christian predecessors in Egypt, Clement and Basilides. To explain the selective use of the definite article in John 1.1, he characterizes the Father ( ho theos ) as autotheos , very God, in contrast to the Son who is merely theos ( CommJohn 2.7.16–18); when he suggests, however, that the Father is higher than nous ( Against Celsus 7.45), he does not develop a metaphysical theory, any more than he develops his hint in the same work that God may be the Aristotelian “thought of thoughts” (see further Whittaker 1969). Tobias Böhm’s ingenious suggestion (2002) that for Origen the being of God is his nous , and his unity that which is higher than nous , assumes that he was acquainted with the first and second hypotheses of the Parmenides , a dialogue of which he evinces little knowledge in his extant works.

Whether he is noetic or supranoetic, Origen’s God cannot be known to us in his essence, nor is it by his ousia , or essence, but by his dunamis , or power, that he acts upon other beings ( On Prayer 25.3). His dunamis , which is infinite and mediated by the second person of the Trinity, is the source of every dunamis that is exercised by his creatures, even by those who have fallen into apostasy and rebellion ( CommJohn 1.39.291). On the other hand nothing, not even the second person, proceeds directly from the immutable ousia of God ( CommJohn 13.25.153 and 20.18.157: see below). Yet, while he asserts that God is by nature impassible—in the sense that he is the agent, not the patient, in every transaction and cannot be moved by any external force—Origen is one of the first theologians to assert that he can suffer, in a sense, as God, and not only by virtue of the incarnation ( Homilies on Ezekiel 6.1; see Osborn 1994: 164–184). This suffering takes the form of commiseration for the plight of his sinful creatures, never of sorrow on his own account. Compassion supposes knowledge, and Origen appears to have been untroubled by the difficulties that arise from the ascription of contingent knowledge to an eternal being. That God transcends the temporal order is evident from his answer to those who ask what God was doing before he created the world: the question, he argues, presupposes a time before the beginning of the world, but reflection teaches us that time and the revolutions of the cosmos are coeval ( Princ . 3.5.3). This is a Platonic doctrine, but it had now become common for Platonists to argue, in submission to Aristotle, that the temporal world has neither end nor beginning and is “generated” only in the sense that it is a theatre of vicissitude, in which all that exists has come into being and will pass away.

The agent whom we call the Second Person of the Trinity is “another god” at Dialogue with Heraclides 2 and a “second god” on two occasions in his work Against Celsus (5.39, 5.61). This appellation is not attested in earlier Christian prose, though it is anticipated in Philo and Numenius. It does not occur in works addressed by Origen to Christians of sound faith, not even in those which show no fear of subordinating the Son to the Father—an indication perhaps that it was avoided because it savoured of polytheism and not because it belied the equality of the divine persons (Edwards 2006). It seems that in Numenius it is the contemplation of the first intellect by the second that gives rise to the forms, or Platonic ideas; Origen, as a Christian, holds that the contemplation is mutual, since “no-one knows the Son but the Father and no-one knows the Father but the Son” (Matthew 11.27). Thus he maintains, on the one hand, that the Son, as truth (John 14.6), knows all that is in the mind of the Father; the infamous proviso that the Son does not see the Father signifies only that within the Godhead vision is not mediated by our physical organs ( Princ . 1.1.8). On the other hand, when we read that the Son is the wisdom and power of the Father (1 Corinthians 1.24) and that the world was created through him (Hebrews 1.2), we are to understand that he is that divine helpmate who declares at Proverbs 8.22 that the Lord created her in the beginning of his ways, and at Wisdom 7.26 that she is the mirror of his unspotted majesty. The verb “created” in this text (which Origen prefers to the alternative reading “possessed”) does not imply that the Son has a temporal beginning, but that, having no other substrate than the Father’s will, he expresses that will more perfectly than the things that are “made” from matter. It is inconceivable that the Father could ever have lacked wisdom, and equally inconceivable to Origen that this wisdom could ever have taken a different form from the one that it now possesses as the second person or hypostasis of the Trinity ( Princ . 1.2.2). He is the first theologian to state unequivocally that the “three hypostases” which constitute the Trinity are eternal not only in nature, but in their hypostatic character; there was never a time when wisdom was the latent thought of the Father and had not yet come forth as speech.

Though Origen rejects it, this was in fact the prevailing thesis of most Christian writing in the second century when it undertook to explain the Fourth Evangelist’s assertion that the one who became incarnate was the Logos who had been with the Father as theos (god) if not ho theos (God) from the beginning (John 1.1). Since it was this speech or word that created the world, it was argued, there would have been no reason for it to exist before the creation as a distinct hypostasis. If he existed at all, it was as the logos endiathetos , the word within, which had not yet emerged from the mind as logos prophorikos , or verbal utterance. In this latent phase he could be identified (as Philo had already argued) with the paradigm, or world of forms, which supplies the Platonic demiurge with his pattern for the creation. Clement of Alexandria accepts this equation, albeit perhaps without denying the hypostatic eternity of the Logos (Edwards 2000). Origen, however, resists the interpretation of Logos as “speech” because there are some who take this to imply that the second person is merely a function or epiphenomenon of the first ( CommJohn 1.24.151; Orbe 1991). Logos, in his view, is one of the numerous designations ( epinoiai ) which are conferred on the second person to define his relation, not to the Father (as “Son” and “Wisdom” do) but to his creatures ( CommJohn 2.9.66 etc.): he is Logos as the paradigm and parent of all the logikai , or rational beings, who exercise reason only by participation in him. He cannot be identified with the world of forms, or Platonic ideas, because to Origen these ideas are imaginary entities which the Greeks absurdly suppose to be independent of the Creator ( Princ . 2.3.6). It appears then that he endorsed the older and more literal reading of the Timaeus , according to which the Demiurge, the forms and matter are three autonomous principles of being. Before him Philo, Alcinous, and Clement of Alexandria had construed the forms as thoughts in the mind of the Demiurge, while Alexander of Aphrodisias held that they gave content to God’s eternal contemplation of himself (Armstrong 1960). Origen himself opines that all genera, all species and even the archetypes of all particular things are eternally present in the mind of God ( Princ . 1.4.5), but he holds this as a Christian antidote to difficulties which arise from the temporality of the world.

These difficulties, as Origen perceived, had not been fully resolved by the argument that since the world is coeval with time we need not ask what God was doing before he created it (see further Tzamalikos 2006: 179–271). From Genesis 1.1 we learn that God created the world in the beginning, and from John 1.1 that the Logos was with him in the beginning; but as we are also told that God created all things in wisdom, Origen takes this beginning to be not a temporal origin but the eternal desideratum of existence who is also the second person of the Trinity ( CommJohn 1.39.289). It follows, however, that if this temporal world is the only one, an infinite cause has exhausted itself in a finite effect. Perhaps it was in the hope of evading this paradox that Origen interpreted Solomon’s dictum, “there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1.10) to mean that worlds have existed before the present one ( Princ . 3.1.6). This manoeuvre, however, will bring no escape unless one posits an infinite succession of worlds before and after the present one, and even Origen’s enemies do not say that he went so far. An endless series, after all, would be sempiternal rather than eternal, and the Stoics might have replied that their belief in the perpetual reduplication of the same cosmos—a belief disowned by Origen ( Cels. 4. 68)—comes closer to matching timeless activity with a timeless product. A better solution than either of these, in Origen’s view, was to posit a noetic realm, created but eternal, populated by logika , or rational entities, under the hegemony of the logos, and preceding ours in the ontological hierarchy rather than in the temporal continuum ( Princ. 2.9.4). Evidence for this conceit could be found in the creation of a heaven and earth at Genesis 1.1 before the creation of the visible firmament ( Genesis Homilies 1.5). To the modern mind this is forced exegesis, representing the triumph of philosophy over philology; the philosophy, however, is not that of any Greek school, but of a Christian who has set himself a conundrum by his fidelity to Moses. It is a striking observation, however we explain it, that the forms of particular things which coexist in the mind of Origen’s God with the genera and species are not attested in any pagan Platonist before Plotinus, his younger contemporary and (as most believe) a fellow-pupil of Ammonius Saccas (cf. Plotinus, Enneads 5.7).

As the absolute and transcendent dunamis of the Father ( Cels . 1.66; CommJohn 1.18.107 etc.), the second person is properly the lord of every dunamis in heaven and earth ( Cels . 5.45). At the same time, it can be said that he is the food of the celestial dunameis who have remained true to the Creator, while Satan is the food of those who have fallen ( On Prayer 27.12). It is the angelic dunameis who keep watch over his cradle at the time of his nativity ( Cels . 1.61), and who sometimes form a retinue at the scenes where he performs those works of power which we call miracles ( CommJohn 2.4.40). This polysemic usage of the term, which mirrors that of the New Testament, presents no difficulty so long as every other dunamis is conceived as a lower or local manifestation of the undivided power which appertains to him as Logos. As we have seen, this term defines his hegemonic relation to the created order; Wisdom is another of his biblical appellations, yet this Wisdom is the beginning in which the Logos was with God ( CommJohn 1.39.289; see further Tzamalikos 2006: 119–178). However one accounts for these obscurities, it seems unlikely that Origen could have signed the Nicene Creed of 325, in which the Son is declared to be from the ousia of the Father, and therefore homoousios (of one essence, substance or nature) with him (cf. CommJohn 20.18.157). A community of nature between the two is asserted, however, at CommJohn 2.10.76); and in his Commentary on Hebrews , he deduces from Wisdom 7.26, where Wisdom is styled an aporroia or emanation of the Father, that the relation between the two persons of the Trinity is analogous to that which holds between an ointment and the exhalation which is homoousios with it (Pamphilus, Apology 99–104; see Edwards 1998). Thus he can make oblique use of a term which he cannot predicate directly of incorporeals; Plotinus, who could have done so, could not have said that nous was homoousios with the One because the latter is superior to ousia .which can be posited only at the level of nous.

Although the Son is not “from the ousia ” of the Father, he is said in the Latin translation of Origen’s Commentary on Hebrews to be ex substantia patris , from the hypostasis of the Father. That hypostasis , not ousia , was the original noun in Greek can be deduced from the text of Hebrews 1.3, where the Son is described as an impression of his [the Father’s] hypostasis . Here hypostasis appears to signify the reality disclosed by a phenomenon; the formula ex substantia patris was already axiomatic for Origen’s African contemporary Tertullian ( Against Praxeas 7.9). In Latin of this period substantia was used indifferently to represent both hypostasis and ousia ; these Greek terms are not explicitly distinguished in Origen’s writings, though he refrains from attributing either one ousia or three to the Godhead. Some difference in concreteness is implied by his strictures on those who fail to qualify the ousia of the Son and thus deny him a hypostasis altogether ( CommJoh 1.24.152): it seems, then that the hypostasis is a specific determination of the more generic ousia . Origen stipulates in his treatise On Prayer (15.1) that the Son should not receive the prayer of adoration which is offered to the Father because he differs from the Father in ousia and in substrate ( hupokeimenon ); the latter word is best understood with reference to the body that he assumed in the incarnation, and we cannot therefore be sure whether the ousia of which Origen speaks is that of the exalted Christ in his eternal or his human character. It is generally true that he takes fewer pains than later Christian authors to winnow what is said of the Son as second person of the Trinity from what is said of him as Jesus of Nazareth. When he compares the Father to a statue of infinite magnitude and the Son to a smaller statue accommodated to our perceptions, he begins as though the visible were a metaphor for the invisible, but ends by quoting Philippians 2.7 on the manifestation of Christ in the form of a slave ( Princ. 1.2.6).

Origen strongly affirms the ontological dependence of the Spirit, or third hypostasis of the Trinity, on the second. To say otherwise would be to deny that he was brought into being, since the author of all that was brought into being, according to John 1.3, is the Son or Logos. It would be truer, however, to say that the Spirit did not come into being without the Son than that he came into being through him ( CommJohn 2.12.17–19). The Spirit, as hypostasis , is not only eternal but incorporeal in the strictest sense: this follows from First Principles 1.6.4, where Origen finds it impossible to imagine that any being apart from the members of the Trinity can subsist without a body. If these persons were incorporeal only in the looser sense that Origen recognises in First Principles , proem 10, he could not have drawn such an antithesis between the Godhead and the angelic creation. The powers and operations of the Spirit are not so clearly delineated in his writings, as those of the other two persons; the same could be said of almost any writer before Nicaea, and the cause, no doubt, is the absence of unanimity in the scriptures. It is the Spirit who moves (or broods) on the face of the waters before creation at Genesis 1.2; at John 1.3 the Logos supplants the Spirit, which is now said at John 7.39 to have been given only when Jesus was glorified at the end of his ministry. Origen follows John when he writes that the Father is at work in the entire creation, the Son in those beings who possess logos or reason, and the Spirit in the elect (Justinian, To Menas ; cf. Princ . 1.3.5). It may be that this restriction of the Son’s office implies a Greek rather than a biblical understanding of the term logos , but Greek thought knows of no supernal being who acts in the realm assigned by Origen to the Spirit ( pace Dillon 1982). This Trinitarian hierarchy has been compared with that of the noetic principles being, life and mind in the system of Proclus, for whom being encompasses all that exists, life the more limited sphere of living creatures and mind the still more limited sphere of the rational. The correspondence, however, is far from exact, and, as Proclus wrote two centuries after Origen and under later influences, more compelling arguments will be required before we assign to a Platonic source the doctrine that Origen draws so effortlessly from the scriptures. No evidence has been produced to show that the Spirit functions in Origen as the soul of the world; he surmises on one occasion that the Logos is the soul of God ( Princ . 2.8.5), but only because he needs to account for an anthropomorphic metaphor at Psalm 84.6. .

That the Godhead is incorporeal—and therefore, in Origen’s lexicon, immaterial—is, as we have seen, an unassailable premiss of his theology. If the second person has any substrate—any matter, as we might say—it is the will of God the Father. The significance of this doctrine becomes apparent when we recall that Christ is wisdom and that in the myth attributed to the Gnostic Ptolemaeus, the error of wisdom lies in her acting without the assent of her consort Thelema, or Will (Irenaeus, Against Heresies 1.1–4). The Father’s will, on the other hand, is not the substrate but the cause of the material universe, which Origen held, with every orthodox Christian of his day, to have been created out of nothing. For most Christians this did not entail that God creates without matter, but that the matter from which he shaped the world was the first of his creations. Matter had seldom been defined in Christian prose before Origen, but for him, as for Aristotle, as he has often been interpreted, it is the unqualified receptacle of all qualities, a mere potentiality for existence in contradistinction to essence, of which nothing can be predicated until it is actualised as determinate being. But then follows Bishop Berkeley’s question: if matter is not something, why not conclude that it is nothing? Origen is perhaps the first extant writer who informs us that this question had been posed in his time, though in his accustomed manner he neither affirms it at First Principles 4.4.7 nor names its proponents. We must say “perhaps”, because the Philokalia , a florilegium of his writings, contains a short dialogue in which the redundancy of matter is established by Socratic interrogation ( Philokalia 24). In view of his diffidence in First Principles , it seems more likely that this text is the work of Maximus, a second-century author to whom it is also attributed in our manuscripts.

It is clear at least that Origen’s God creates the world from nothing and without toil or opposition ( Princ . 2.1.5). Because he asserts that such a world will inevitably be finite, as God himself cannot comprehend the infinite, Origen was later accused of slighting the omnipotence of the Creator. His meaning, however, is not that there are limits to the power of God, but that any particular exercise of it must logically have some limit. The infinite is by nature incomprehensible; hence it is no shortcoming in God that he cannot comprehend it, and he remains omnipotent in the sense that there is no finite enterprise that lies beyond his power. In contrast to the Gnostics, therefore, who held that our world is the residue of a rupture or fall within the Godhead, Origen maintains that a single God is the creator of both the intellectual and the material cosmos. He also purports to demonstrate the priority of the intellectual Adam to the material Adam, first by giving an allegorical sense to the firmament which divides the waters at Genesis 1.7, then by a literal reading of Genesis 1.26–2.22. In this text the creation of humanity as male and female in the image of God, as the crown of his handiwork, is succeeded by a narrative of quite a different tenor, in which God fashions the body of the first man from the soil and then, after populating the garden with beasts and plants and infusing the spirit into his nostrils, derives the body of the first woman from his rib (Genesis 2.1–7; 2.21–25). It is not clear whether a temporal, as well as an ontological, priority is accorded to the inner man, or whether the protoplasts owe their creation to his fall.

That the denizens of the present world have sinned, and will sin again, is a ubiquitous premiss of Origen’s theodicy. Misadventures which the world ascribes to fortune, fate or the malice of our superhuman guardians will always in fact be trials of virtue, chastisements for sin (perhaps forgotten) or correctives to hidden injustice. Thus if we cannot divine (for example) why God loved Jacob and hated Esau—the explanation must lie in causes prior to the birth of either (First Principles 2.9.7). Origen may have been aware of Jewish speculations that Esau offended God in the womb, but it is usually assumed that when he speaks of a “former life” in which Esau sinned he alludes to a previous embodiment or to a disembodied state. Perhaps this is why his detractors in late antiquity ascribed to him the doctrine that all rational beings were once pure intellects in the presence of God, and would have remained so for ever had they not fallen away through koros or satiety. Each of the delinquents, we are told, received a body corresponding to the gravity of the original sin: those who fell least became angels, those who fell most became demons, and human souls constitute order in keeping with the mediocrity of their transgressions (Antipater of Bostra at Patrologia Graeca 96.504–505). This account of Origen’s teaching was already known to Augustine, who perceived its incoherence, since it implies that the bodies of demons, who inhabit the air above us, are grosser than ours. In the form that is now canonical, it is a bricolage of Platonic myths recounting the fall of the soul from the “supercelestial place”, the peculiarly Christian and anti-Platonic concept of the demons as fallen angels, and Philo’s opinion that koros is the cause of the soul’s estrangement from its maker ( Heir of Divine Things 240). If Origen held such a theory, it was not on the Platonic ground that soul, as the cause of motion, cannot be brought into being and hence must be immortal; his object, typically Christian, is to vindicate biblical teaching and at the same time to show that it cannot be used to support any Gnostic or pagan animadversion on divine justice (Martens 2015). Accordingly (though some of his ancient critics pretended otherwise), his writings are unequivocal in their rejection of Plato’s theory of transmigration, whether from human to human or from human to beast. Although these theories (hesitantly accepted even by Platonists in the third century), gain some colour from Jewish traditions about Elijah and from punishments meted out to animals under the Levitical law, Origen bows to the wisdom of the church, which declares them inadmissible ( CommJohn 1.11.66; Princ . 1.8.5).

Certainly at First Principles 1.4.1 he writes that satiety is the commonest cause of falling, but the soul of which he speaks may be an embodied one, as it is when it repents a few lines later ( Princ . 1.4.1). At First Principles 3.5.6, and again in his fragmentary commentary on Ephesians, he interprets the noun katabolê at Ephesians 1.4 as an allusion to the soul’s descent to a body from the hand of God; but this descent, which is not a fall, is not said to coincide with the creation. We read that the soul of Christ adhered to the word with indissoluble love ab initio creationis , but these words could signify either “from the beginning of the creation” or “from the beginning of its creation” ( Princ . 2.6.3–4). At First Principles 1.7.1 we are said to be properly identical with our rational element; but Gregory of Nyssa and Augustine said the same without being understood to mean that we have ever existed as disembodied souls. At Commentary on Matthew 16.35 he entertains the theory that souls await embodiment in Sheol, the place from which the soul of Samuel was raised by the Witch of Endor; since he appears to be hinting here not only at a primordial existence of the soul but at transmigration from body to body, we should not rely too heavily on this parenthetic chapter in a text which poses more than the usual share of difficulties for its editors. That souls are already rational in the foetal state is evident from the leaping of John the Baptist in Elizabeth’s womb when he recognises the child in the womb of Mary ( Princ . 1.7.4). In his exegesis of John 1.31, Origen suggests that the Baptist deplores his failure to recognise Jesus at the River Jordan because he has already known him in a previous life; since, however, he was prepared to entertain the theory that the Baptist was an angel embodied for our sake, we cannot deduce that Origen credited all souls with a sentient existence before their entry into this world ( CommJohn 2.31.186). That the elements are ensouled can be inferred from Isaiah 1.2, where God calls heaven and earth to witness; and Job’s exclamation, “the stars are not clean in his sight” is applied by Origen to the sun and moon, who have been made “subject to vanity” for the sake of those who inhabit the physical cosmos ( Princ . 1.7.2). Here it may be true that he borrows a tenet from the Platonists, but not without biblical warrant, and the uncleanness of the sun and moon is a consequence of their voluntary enthralment, not its cause (see further Scott 1994).

In Origen’s extant writings, then, the doctrine of the soul’s fall through satiety, after centuries of beatitude as a “pure intellect”, is never so clearly stated as in later indictments of his heterodoxy. Many hold none the less that the charges are true, and that Origen’s advocacy of these doctrines is concealed from us by the loss or mutilation of the incriminating texts. Others, relying chiefly on the texts that have been preserved, maintain that for Origen the fall of souls was a tentative and occasional speculation or a myth, in Plato’s sense, that was later mistaken for a dogma (Harl 1987). It has also been argued that his preserved words testify only to Origen’s belief in the fall of angels ( Princ. 1.5.3) and to the creation of the soul before its descent into the body; on this view, readers who came to his work with formulaic expectations mingled his own opinions with the Platonic tenets to which they bore a calculated but incomplete resemblance. No hypothesis has yet accounted for all that is said in the surviving corpus of Origen’s works. If, as Origen seems to hold ( Princ . 3.6.1), the likeness of God was not yet conferred on the intellectual man who was created in the image of God, should we infer that Adam’s body was given to him as a means of acquiring the likeness, just as the Neoplatonist Porphyry, fifty years later, taught that souls are implanted in bodies in order to cultivate virtue through the struggle against temptation? On the other hand, if our initial state was in some respects unlike the present one, we may find it hard to interpret Origen’s dictum that the end, or consummation ( apokatastasis ), is “the same as the beginning” ( Princ . 1.6.2). The provenance of the noun apokatastasis is more easily established than its meaning, for even in the New Testament it may signify not so much the restoration of that which was once the case as the realisation of that which ought to be (see further Tzamalikos 2007: 237–356; Ramelli 2013: 129–221).

At First Principles 4.4.1 Origen scoffs that only a fool would suppose that God had really planted a garden in Eden, as the second chapter of Genesis records. This has been taken to mean that he regards Eden not as a physical locality but as the state in which all souls enjoy the presence of God before they descend to bodies (Martens, 2013). Yet Origen’s chief concern here is to forestall the literal reading of the verb “planted”, which, like other anthropomorphisms in scripture, is likely to mislead a recent convert from idolatry. No critic infers, from Origen’s denial that God descended in a bodily sense to destroy the tower of Babel ( Against Celsus 4.15–21), that he believes the tower itself to be fictitious; we should therefore not be too ready to assume, with the malignant Epiphanius, that he denies the historicity of the when he adopts a metaphorical construction of God’s sewing of coats of skin for Adam and Eve at Genesis 3.21 (Epiphanius, Panarion 64.4.1; cf Heidl, 2003: 138). If he also doubts that the trees of Eden were botanical plants, he is equally willing to give up other details in the story of babel, but not the event itself. In a fragment preserved in a Greek catena, he cites Adam’s exclamation “This is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh at Genesis 2.24 as proof that even before the fall he possessed a body” ( Commentary on Genesis , Fr. 22, p. 190 Metzler); from the sequel, as from Homilies on Leviticus 6.2, we may conclude that he held this body to be a different texture from ours, but in his own parlance this would be an instance of “homonymy”, the use of a scriptural term in different senses which are equally literal. While the sin of Adam is a precedent for all subsequent transgressions in his Commentary on Romans , this claim does not preclude, and has even been thought to presuppose, the physical descent of all human beings from this one ancestor (Bammel, 1989). At Against Celsus 7.39 the protoplasts fall from a state of immediate knowledge of God to one in which the mind is blinded by the senses but nothing is said to imply that they then became corporeal agents for the first time. Of course many ambiguities remain, and grammar alone will not determine whether the phrase “all saints who have lived since the foundation of the world” (Martens, 2013: 532)implies that every soul has existed from the beginning or only that from the beginning to the present new souls are coming into existence with their bodies.

However the soul’s detention in the present world is accounted for, its freedom to choose its own goods, and its own god, is an indefeasible premiss of Origen’s philosophy. Astrologers who pretend to read our fates from the stars can be answered with a quip from Epicurus: if all that comes to pass is predestined, so is the belief in predestination, and we therefore have no reason to think it true ( Philokalia 25.4). Even if the stars vouchsafe some premonitions of the future to the saints, we are not to suppose that they are the causes of what they signify, or that God, who inscribes his own knowledge in the heavens, is the cause of everything that he foresees. Because he is exempt from time, our future lies open to him as the past and present lie open; he knows, in the words of Paul, whether each of his creatures is to be a vessel of honour or a vessel of dishonour. It is we, however, who make his knowledge true by our own choice of good or evil; the Gnostics misconstrue the apostle’s statement that God “makes” us vessels of honour or dishonour when they argue that the damned and the elect are of different natures. None of us is born virtuous but each of us (as Aristotle says and common experience goes on telling us) has the power to advance in virtue by performing virtuous acts ( Princ . 3.1).

Nevertheless, since the fall has darkened our minds and subjected our bodies to corruption, we cannot effect our own salvation without the assistance of God’s word made flesh. For Origen the virgin birth is a datable event, an appropriation by the Word of full humanity in body, soul and spirit. The union can be described as an anakrasis or mixture ( Cels . 3.41), a voluntary cleaving of the flesh or soul to the Word, and (in defiance of chemical facts) as the sublimation of the humanity by the divinity, as iron loses its form when held in an incandescent flame ( Princ . 2.6.4) The humanity, for all that, is not annihilated, and Christ can speak at times as man and at others with God without being guilty of dissimulation ( CommJohn 19.2.6). His own words “my soul is sorrowful unto death” reveals his possession of a soul, which mediates between the flesh and the divinity which would otherwise destroy it. While the soul (for Christ as for us) is invariably the seat of passion, some of his passions originate in his spirit, which, though human, is divinely irradiated by the Word. By virtue of this irradiation, he foresees his own death, and his prescience gives rise not to a commotion of the spirit but to a commotion in the spirit, which is experienced as a passion of the soul ( CommJohn 32.18.221–224). The body which clothes him before the crucifixion is as palpable as ours, and equally vulnerable to physical affections. After his resurrection, he does not show himself to Caiaphas and Pilate because he is visible only to the eye of faith ( Cels. 2.60–65). This means not, however, that his body is no real body, but that it no longer suffers the consequences of the fall.

The blood of Christ, first in his circumcision and then on the Cross, is a ransom paid to Satan ( Commentary on Romans 2.13.29; cf. 1 Corinthians 6.23), whose prisoners we become, willingly if unwittingly, when we allow his image to oust that of god in our souls ( Genesis Homilies 1.13). Yet Satan is never master of our wills: if he enters the soul of a Judas Iscariot, it is because the thought that he plants there has received assent and ripened into a sinful disposition ( CommJohn 32.281–285; see further Layton 2004: 129–131.) We are taught to suppress such thoughts and to refrain from sin, by the teaching of Christ, the chief of his bounties during his earthly sojourn, which we now receive in even greater measure through the scriptures. As the primordial Word of God, he is present in every word from God that the church has canonised under the direction of the Spirit; the many words of scripture, in fact, are one ( Philokalia 5.4). When we are instructed to eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of Man, it is clear that the words cannot be taken literally; while Origen does not deny the allusion to the eucharist, he argues that the higher sense—but also the quotidian sense—of the saying is that believers must draw nourishment from the scriptures in which Christ “as it were, takes flesh and speaks with a literal voice” in order to draw us on to the invisible mysteries ( Cels. 4.15; On Prayer 27.10–14). The scriptures, then, are the daily bread for which Christians are taught to pray; to accept eating as a metaphor for reading is to acknowledge that whenever the scriptures speak of tasting, hearing or seeing God, they are not only imparting what we might call a spiritual sense to these words, but appealing to our own spiritual senses ( Princ . 1.1.9), the loftier faculties which were freely exercised by Adam and Eve before the fall ( Cels. 7.39; see further Rahner 1979).

To distinguish only two senses of scripture is to forget that Christ, the true Word, became incarnate in a threefold human nature. At First Principles 4.2.4, Origen asserts that the body, the soul and the spirit of the human reader find their respective analogues in the text that is being read. The body is the plain text, whether narrative or didactic, construed according to common grammatical or semantic norms. The spirit, which must generally be sought beneath the surface, acquaints us with the work of Christ and the mysteries of faith, and thus corresponds to the typological sense in mediaeval and modern exegesis. The soul of scripture is illustrated by Paul’s translation of the Mosaic precept, “thou shalt not muzzle the ox which treadeth the corn”, to ministers of the church ( Princ . 4.2.6). For this reason, and because the church is the bride of Christ in Origen’s exposition of the soul of the Song of Songs, the term “ecclesiastical” has been applied to this intermediate plane of reference. In works which survive in Latin certain passages are said to be amenable to a literal, a moral and a spiritual exposition, but we cannot say whether Origen employed a Greek equivalent to the term “moral”. It is possible that he offers us a further clue to the content of the psychic sense in the prologue to his Commentary on the Song of Songs (ed. Baehrens 1925: 75), where he argues that each of the three books ascribed to Solomon in the Hebrew canon corresponds to a branch of Greek philosophy, and also to one stage in the believer’s progress from the foothills to the summit of understanding. Ethics is represented in this itinerary by Proverbs, physics by Ecclesiastics, the science of contemplation (theorics, epoptics or enoptics) by the Song. The first of these texts is phrased and may be understood somatically; the third, in which Solomon forgoes his own name and becomes the bridegroom, lifts the veil between the enlightened soul and her Redeemer (see further King 2005: 222–263). If we pursue this seductive analogy, the second book of Solomon, which reveals our place in the cosmos, is a mine of cosmological or sapiential teaching which may be said to represent the soul of scripture.

This pattern would appear to have been suggested not by the usual division of philosophy into ethics, physics and logic, but by a passage in Clement of Alexandria, where three edifying senses are accorded to the scriptures, the last of which is the epopteia , or discernment of the mysteries (Stromateis 1.176.1–2). Origen may also have been aware that certain teachers had sorted Plato’s dialogues into different categories, each suited to a different level of aptitude in the pupil (Edwards 1997). If, as some manuscripts indicate, he gave the name “theoric” (either instead of or in addition to “epoptic”) to the most elevated level of understanding, he may have had in mind a Platonic or Pythagorean division of philosophy into ethics, physics and theology, which is attested in a commentary by Iamblichus on Nicomachus of Gerasa’s Introduction to Mathematics. In attributing this taxonomy to the Hebrew king, however, he is making a claim for the chronological primacy of the scriptures. No Platonist before him had undertaken a sustained allegorical reading of any text, as Porphyry confessed when he inaccurately charged him with forcing Stoic techniques of exegesis on a barbarous text (Eusebius, Church History 6.19). Commenting line by line on a sacred text was not, so far as our evidence goes, a typical enterprise for a Stoic. Among the Greeks the commentator who most resembles Origen is Alexander of Aphrodisias; his concern, however, is to smooth the surface of Aristotle, not to dig beneath it (see further Bendinelli 1997). Origen’s true predecessor is Philo of Alexandria, who had teased moral and metaphysical profundities from the Torah, verse by verse, in order to demonstrate that nothing taught among the Greeks had been concealed from the Lawgiver of the Jews (see further Dawson 1992).

Philo is called a mystic because of passages which thirstily anticipate the mind’s bacchanalian ecstasy in the presence of the ineffable. For Origen the term mystikos denotes the most arcane sense of the scriptures, and the encounter with the Bridegroom, “which no-one can understand who has not experienced it”, is described in his Homilies on the Song of Songs (I.7 [ed. Baehrens 1925: 39]). Whether it is a true ecstasy or a sense of hermeneutic illumination (Louth 2000: 69), this transient rapture foreshadows the culmination of the soul’s journey after death, when God will at last be all in all. In answer to the jibes of Celsus, Origen asserts that, while the church teaches the resurrection of the body, the “spiritual body” of which Paul speaks will be of a rarer and hence more durable texture than the gross flesh which now ensheathes the soul ( Cels . 5.18–5.23). In a dialogue which now survives only in excerpts, the soul is said to retain the eidos , or form, of the body, perhaps a counterpart to the tenuous vehicle which the soul carries into the afterlife in the eschatology of some Platonists (Methodius, On the Resurrection 22 [ed. Bonwetsch 1899: 93]; see further Schibli 1992). Most souls, having failed to purge their sins in this life, will be required to pass the flaming sword that bars the entrance to the earthly paradise (see further Crouzel 1972). Once its cleansing there is complete, the soul will pass through the seven planetary spheres, acquiring a more comprehensive knowledge of the cosmos and our place in it than is vouchsafed to us in this world ( Princ . 1.11.6). Once again, kindred notions can be found in Platonic and Hermetic literature; the posthumous itinerary mirrors the transition from the ethical to the sapiential teachings of Solomon, and we see here in an inchoate form the purgative and illuminative ways of the western mystical tradition. A body of some kind is presupposed by this celestial topography; nevertheless, at the point where God becomes all in all, we hear nothing of a body, but only that soul will be entirely subsumed in spirit. Some scholars hold that a body must be either retained or imparted to us, since only the persons of the Trinity can subsist without one (e.g., Crouzel 1980); others, invoking the maxim that the end will be like the beginning, argue that we shall return to the incorporeal state in which we were first created (e.g., Scott 2012, with further discussion of this intricate topic in Blosser 2012 and Rankin 2017). If that is so, the final state must lie beyond the paradise of the saints, of which Origen says in the plainest terms that the church does not hold it to be incorporeal (First Principles 2.36; cf. Edwards 2021). In any case, this union with God appears to correspond to the last stage in the perusal of the Solomonic canon, and to the “unitive way” of the mystic in later Christian literature.

This purgatory after death is not confined to those who have died at peace with God; if any should fail to be saved, it is not because the opportunity to repent has been withdrawn, but because the soul has become so brutish that it is incapable of amendment ( Princ. 1.5.5). This is the only truth that Origen thinks can be ascribed to Plato’s doctrine of transmigration into beasts ( Princ. 3.4.3), and it cannot be presumed that even the demons will remain obdurate for ever. Commenting on Paul’s promise that “the last enemy, death” will be vanquished, Origen surmises that death will not be annihilated but will cease to molest the saints ( Princ . 3.6.5). It is generally assumed that the proper subject of this passage is the devil, and the word diabolus does indeed occur in a ninth-century quotation (Eriugena, Periphyseon, Patrologia Latina 122, 930C). On the other hand, in a letter to his friends in Alexandria, Origen is said to have exclaimed that only a lunatic would prophesy the salvation of the devil (Crouzel 1973). Perhaps he means only that Satan is not destined for beatitude; this need not preclude his release from torment on the last after his peaceful acquiescence in the victory of God (see Edwards 2010).

By convention Origen is a “Christian Platonist of Alexandria”. In fact, his native city was only intermittently his place of residence; on the other hand, his intellectual home throughout his life was one in which Plato was never his compatriot but an honoured guest. There is no doubt that he knew the works of the great Athenian intimately, and credited him at times with more than a superficial grasp of the highest truths. Nevertheless, no Greek philosopher possessed for him the authority that he accorded to the scriptures; Plato was only the most prominent of the dead pagans who assisted him in the exegesis and harmonisation of this infallible text. The work in which Origen makes most frequent reference to Plato, his reply to Celsus, as noted above, is also the one in which he asserts that Christ takes flesh in the written word, disclosing mysteries that no human intellect has fathomed without revelation ( Cels. 4.15). He was never troubled, as a mediaeval schoolman might be, by a conflict between ecclesiastical dogma and the best thought of the ancients, because the Word who taught the ancients from afar is, for him, the daily shepherd of the Church.

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Ancient sources.

Titus Livius: History of Rome, books nine through twenty-six. (Related Page: Livy ) Polybius: The Histories Plutarch: Parallel Lives (Related Page: Plutarch ) Tacitus: The Annals; Agricola and the Germania (Related Pages: Tacitus and Germania by Tacitus ) Appian: The Roman History Dio Cassius: Roman History (Related Page: Cassius Dio ) Caesar: The Gallic Wars; The Civil Wars Cicero: Numerous works of letters, speeches and philosophy Ammianus Marcellinus: The Later Roman Empire (Related Pages: Ammianus Marcellinus and Book Review: History of the Later Roman Empire ) Cato the Elder: Agriculture (Related Page: Cato the Elder ) Frontinus: The Aqueducts of Rome; Strategies (Related Page: Frontinus ) Galen: On the Natural Faculties Herodian: History of the Empire (Related Page: Herodian ) Josephus: The Jewish War Marcus Aurelius: Meditations Pliny the Elder: Natural Histories (Related Page: Pliny the Elder ) Pliny the Younger: Letters Sallust: History of Rome; War with Jugurtha; War with Cataline (Related Pages: Sallust and The Jugurthine War ) Suetonius: The Twelve Caesars Vegetius: Roman Military Institutions (Related Page: Vegetius ) Vitruvius: Architecture Ptolemy: Geography Augustus: Deeds of the Divine Augustus Selections of the Historia Augusta

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De Imperatoribus Romanis: http://www.roman-emperors.org Ancient History Sourcebook: https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/ancient/asbook09.asp Lacus Curtius - Bill Thayer: https://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/home.html Livius - Jona Lendering: https://www.livius.org The Perseus Project: http://www.perseus.tufts.edu Roman Army Talk: https://www.romanarmytalk.com

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  • 18 September 2023

A new human species? Mystery surrounds 300,000-year-old fossil

  • Dyani Lewis

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The virtual reconstruction of the Hualongdong 6 human skull, with two of the few stone tools from the site.

A digital reconstruction of the juvenile skull found in Hualongdong, China. Credit: Xiujie Wu

A fossilized jawbone discovered in a cave in eastern China bears a curious mix of ancient and modern features, according to a detailed analysis that compares it with dozens of other human specimens. The finding, published in the Journal of Human Evolution , indicates that the 300,000-year-old bone could have belonged to an as-yet undescribed species of archaic human 1 .

Scientists excavating a cave called Hualongdong, located in Anhui province in eastern China, have unearthed remains of 16 individuals that date to around 300,000 years ago 2 . Several fragments belong to the skull of a 12-to-13-year-old juvenile.

bibliography ancient sources

Oldest DNA from a Homo sapiens reveals surprisingly recent Neanderthal ancestry

Xiujie Wu, a palaeoanthropologist at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing, and her colleagues first described the skull in 2019 2 . But in 2020, while sifting through trays of animal bones found in the cave, they identified a fragment of a mandible — the lower part of the jaw — that could be another piece of the same skull.

The discovery has enabled a more detailed analysis of where the Hualongdong people fit on the human family tree. The mandible has a mixture of both modern and archaic features. For example, the bone along the jawline is thick, a feature shared with early human species, such as Homo erectus . It also lacks a true chin, the presence of which is a key feature of Homo sapiens . But the side of the mandible that attaches to the upper jaw is thinner than those of archaic hominins and more reminiscent of that of modern humans.

Ancient and modern

The analysis deepens the mystery of which ancient human species inhabited the region during the Middle to Late Pleistocene epoch, a period spanning almost 800,000 years that preceded the end of the last Ice Age, around 12,000 years ago.

A digital comparison of the newly uncovered mandible with 83 other jawbones confirmed a strange mix of ancient and modern anatomical features. Wu and her colleagues used juvenile and adult bones from Neanderthals ( Homo neanderthalensis ), which lived in Eurasia until 40,000 years ago, H. sapiens from around the world, and H. erectus , a species whose range extended from eastern Africa to the southeast Asian islands of Indonesia between 1.9 million and 250,000 years ago.

bibliography ancient sources

Evidence mounts for interbreeding bonanza in ancient human species

Wu says that the H. sapiens -like features of the jawbone set it apart from those of other hominins from the Middle Pleistocene, including those of a 160,000-year-old Denisovan from Tibet 3 and of the around 770,000-year-old remains known as Peking Man 4 . She adds that the Hualongdong people could represent a previously unknown ancestor or close relative of early H. sapiens .

But the notion that modern humans arose from ancestors in Asia is not widely accepted. The oldest H. sapiens fossils, which date to 230,000 years ago, are from sites in Ethiopia 5 .

Confusing picture

The picture of human occupation in East Asia during the Pleistocene is a confusing one, says Yameng Zhang, a palaeoanthropologist at Shandong University in Jinan, China. He says that numerous species of archaic hominin inhabited East Asia during the Middle Pleistocene, a period from around 800,000 to 126,000 years ago. It is unclear whether any of these could be ancestors of modern humans — like Neanderthals and Denisovans, they might simply have died out.

The combination of ancient and modern features in the Hualongdong mandible is similar to those of remains found during the early 2000s at the Jebel Irhoud archaeological site in Morocco, says María Martinón-Torres, a palaeoanthropologist at the National Research Center on Human Evolution in Burgos, Spain, who was part of the team that described the findings at Hualongdong. The Jebel Irhoud remains — which include several skull fragments and a nearly complete mandible — have an age similar to that of the Hualongdong ones and are thought to belong to one of the earliest members of the evolutionary lineage that includes H. sapiens 6 , 7 . “More fossils and studies are necessary to understand [the Hualongdong people’s] precise position in the human family tree,” she says.

Martinón-Torres adds that ancient proteins extracted from the bones could shed further light on how the Hualongdong people are related to modern humans, as well as to more-archaic species.

doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-023-02924-8

Wu, X. et al. J. Hum. Evol. 182 , 103411 (2023).

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Wu, X.-J. et al. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 116 , 9820–9824 (2019).

Chen, F. et al. Nature 569 , 409–412 (2019).

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Vidal, C. M. et al. Nature 601 , 579–583 (2022).

Hublin, J.-J. et al. Nature 546 , 289–292 (2017).

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Ancient jawless fish’s head fossilized in 3D hints at evolution of vertebrate skulls

The fossil skull of the jawless fish called Eriptychius americanus is shown.

Sign up for CNN’s Wonder Theory science newsletter.  Explore the universe with news on fascinating discoveries, scientific advancements and more .

Hundreds of millions of years ago, jawless fishes swam Earth’s seas, their brains protected on the outside by armored skin, and on the inside by plates made of cartilage. Scientists are still piecing together how modern vertebrates’ skulls evolved from these ancient fish ancestors, which were the first animals with backbones. Now, recent analysis of a spectacular fossil is filling in some gaps.

02 Jurassic sea turtle fossil specimen

Exquisitely preserved fossil of Jurassic sea turtle includes near-complete skull and limbs

The specimen — an articulated cranium that’s 455 million years old — belongs to the jawless fish Eriptychius americanus. It was discovered in the Harding Sandstone formation in Colorado and is the oldest 3D fossil evidence of cranial anatomy in an early vertebrate, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal  Nature .

Modern vertebrate descendants of jawless fishes make up two groups: vertebrates with jaws, and jawless hagfish and lampreys. The skull arrangement of E. americanus was unlike anything seen in living vertebrates or in the fish’s extinct relatives, with unfused cartilage sections — some symmetrical, some not — at the very front of the head and surrounding the mouth, olfactory organs and eyes.

“You don’t get these weird sets of unpaired and paired cartilages in anything else,” said lead study author Dr. Richard Dearden, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden, the Netherlands. “So it’s quite exciting.”

Extracting the details

The fossilized head cartilage was excavated in 1949 and described in 1967 by the late paleontologist Robert Denison, a curator of fossil fishes at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History. Denison split the rock holding the fossil material into two pieces; in one, he dissolved the rocky matrix with acid and suspended the fossil in epoxy, Dearden said.

Denison’s analysis revealed uniquely shaped armored scales and structures resembling cartilage. But at the time, it was impossible to look any deeper without cutting into the fossil and destroying it, Dearden said.

“​​The details that you can extract from the surface of the fossil aren’t really sufficient to be able to do anything with,” he explained. Because of this, the specimen was scientifically back-burnered for decades, seen as potentially interesting “but basically unusable.”

By using CT scans, Dearden and his coauthors were able to identify and visualize the cartilage. The team reconstructed a digital model of the fish’s cranium in 3D, Dearden told CNN. (He conducted the research while at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom.)

“I suspect the reason it’s taken so long for someone to scan it is that very few people actually work on these Ordovician fishes, and this is the kind of fossil where you really need to be a specialist to recognise its potential,” he said in an email.

A digital model of the fossil was created from CT scans.

Armored and jawless

Jawless fishes from the  Ordovician Period  — 488.3 million to 443.7 million years ago — are called ostracoderms, after their armored skin, and most of them are known from fossils that only preserved their external armor, Dearden said.

“Everything we know about the inside of their head is basically worked out on the basis of that armor,” Dearden explained. “You see eye holes in this outside armor, and you assume that that’s where the eyes are in the skull. But then we don’t know anything actually about what’s inside there.”

The study authors identified 10 cartilage skull pieces in the specimen — six in the epoxy and four in the rocky matrix. Scales wrapped around them and canals, which may have held sensory or vascular structures, threaded through the cartilage.

Questions about skull evolution still remain, such as the purpose of the canals seen in the fossil and why all the cartilage appears to be concentrated at the front of the fish’s skull. It’s possible, Dearden said, that there was more cartilage in the back of the head that simply wasn’t preserved in this specimen.

When jaws first appeared in fish   is also still unclear, he added.

Life reconstruction of Fujianvenator prodigiosus with other aquatic and semiaquatic vertebrates from a new Jurassic terrestrial fauna.

Bird-like dinosaur with surprising features discovered in China

Nevertheless, “this fossil fills a gap in our knowledge of the evolution of the vertebrate head,” said paleobiologist Lauren Sallan, an assistant professor in the macroevolution unit at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University in Japan.

“This gap was in part because the Ordovician ancestors of jawed fishes were relatively rare and mostly restricted to very shallow marine waters. After death, the remains of these early fishes, including Eriptychius, were usually destroyed by waves, and we find primarily pieces,” said Sallan, who researches the origins of marine biodiversity and was not involved in the study.

“As a result, we have limited fossil material and almost no complete heads,” Sallan told CNN. “To have preserved internal material of these fishes is a huge discovery and a major step forward.”

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Inside the Irish ‘hell caves’ where Halloween was born

Go in search of the ancient royal capital that spawned our favorite night of the dead.

In the middle of a field in a lesser known part of Ireland is a large mound where sheep wander and graze freely. Had they been in that same location centuries ago, these animals might have been stiff with terror, held aloft by chanting, costumed celebrants while being sacrificed to demonic spirits that were said to inhabit nearby Oweynagat cave .

This monumental mound lay at the heart of Rathcroghan , the hub of the ancient Irish kingdom of Connaught . The former Iron Age center is now largely buried beneath the farmland of County Roscommon. In 2021, Ireland applied for UNESCO World Heritage status for Rathcroghan (Rath-craw-hin). It remains on the organization's tentative list.

Rooted in lore

Spread across more than two square miles of rich agricultural land, Rathcroghan encompasses 240 archaeological sites, dating back 5,500 years. They include burial mounds, ring forts (settlement sites), standing stones, linear earthworks, an Iron Age ritual sanctuary—and Oweynagat, the so-called gate to hell.

More than 2,000 years ago, when Ireland’s communities seem to have worshipped nature and the land itself, it was here at Rathcroghan that the Irish New Year festival of Samhain (SOW-in) was born, says archaeologist and Rathcroghan expert Daniel Curley. In the 1800s, the Samhain tradition was brought by Irish immigrants to the United States , where it morphed into the sugar overload that is American Halloween .

Dorothy Ann Bray, a retired associate professor at McGill University and an expert in Irish folklore, explains that pre-Christian Irish divided each year into summer and winter. Within that framework were four festivities. Imbolc , on February 1, was a festival that coincided with lambing season. Bealtaine , on May 1, marked the end of winter and involved customs like washing one’s face in dew, plucking the first blooming flowers, and dancing around a decorated tree. August 1 heralded Lughnasadh , a harvest festival dedicated to the god Lugh and presided over by Irish kings. Then on October 31 came Samhain, when one pastoral year ended and another began.

Rathcroghan was not a town, as Connaught had no proper urban centers and consisted of scattered rural properties. Instead, it was a royal settlement and a key venue for these festivals. During Samhain, in particular, Rathcroghan was a hive of activity focused on its elevated temple, which was surrounded by burial grounds for the Connachta elite.

Those same privileged people may have lived at Rathcroghan. The remaining, lower-class Connachta communities resided in dispersed farms and descended on the site only for festivals. At those lively events they traded, feasted, exchanged gifts, played games, arranged marriages, and announced declarations of war or peace.

 ( See how people dressed up for All Hallow’s Eve a century ago . )

Festivalgoers also may have made ritual offerings, possibly directed to the spirits of Ireland’s otherworld. That murky, subterranean dimension, also known as Tír na nÓg (Teer-na-nohg), was inhabited by Ireland’s immortals, as well as a myriad of beasts, demons, and monsters. During Samhain, some of these creatures escaped via Oweynagat cave (pronounced “Oen-na-gat” and meaning “cave of the cats”).

“Samhain was when the invisible wall between the living world and the otherworld disappeared,” says Mike McCarthy, a Rathcroghan tour guide and researcher who has co-authored several publications on the site. “A whole host of fearsome otherworldly beasts emerged to ravage the surrounding landscape and make it ready for winter.”

Thankful for the agricultural efforts of these spirits but wary of falling victim to their fury, the people protected themselves from physical harm by lighting ritual fires on hilltops and in fields. They disguised themselves as fellow ghouls, McCarthy says, so as not to be dragged into the otherworld via the cave. 

( These imaginary beasts fueled nightmares around the world .)

Despite these engaging legends—and the extensive archaeological site in which they dwell—one easily could drive past Rathcroghan and spot nothing but paddocks. Inhabited for more than 10,000 years , Ireland is so dense with historical remains that many are either largely or entirely unnoticed. Some are hidden beneath the ground, having been abandoned centuries ago and then slowly consumed by nature.

That includes Rathcroghan, which some experts say may be Europe’s largest unexcavated royal complex. Not only has it never been dug up, but it also predates Ireland’s written history . That means scientists must piece together its tale using non-invasive technology and artifacts found in its vicinity.

While Irish people for centuries knew this site was home to Rathcroghan, it wasn’t until the 1990s that a team of Irish researchers used remote sensing technology to reveal its archaeological secrets beneath the ground.

“The beauty of the approach to date at Rathcroghan is that so much has been uncovered without the destruction that comes with excavating upstanding earthwork monuments,” Curley says. “[Now] targeted excavation can be engaged with, which will answer our research questions while limiting the damage inherent with excavation.”

Becoming a UNESCO site

This policy of preserving Rathcroghan’s integrity and authenticity extends to tourism. Despite its significance, Rathcroghan is one of Ireland’s less frequented attractions, drawing some 22,000 visitors a year compared with more than a million at the Cliffs of Moher. That may not be the case had it long ago been heavily marketed as the “Birthplace of Halloween,” Curley says. But there is no Halloween signage at Rathcroghan or in Tulsk, the nearest town.

Rathcroghan’s renown should soar, however, if Ireland is successful in its push to make it a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Irish Government has included Rathcroghan as part of the “Royal Sites of Ireland,” which is on its newest list of locations to be considered for prized World Heritage status. The global exposure potentially offered by UNESCO branding would likely attract many more visitors to Rathcroghan.

But it seems unlikely this historic jewel will be re-packaged as a kitschy Halloween tourist attraction. “If Rathcroghan got a UNESCO listing and that attracted more attention here that would be great, because it might result in more funding to look after the site,” Curley says. “But we want sustainable tourism, not a rush of gimmicky Halloween tourism.”

Those travelers who do seek out Rathcroghan might have trouble finding Oweynagat cave. Oweynagat is elusive—despite being the birthplace of Medb , perhaps the most famous queen in Irish history, 2,000 years ago. Barely signposted, it’s hidden beneath trees in a paddock at the end of a one-way, dead-end farm track, about a thousand yards south of the much more accessible temple mound.

Visitors are free to hop a fence, walk through a field, and peer into the narrow passage of Oweynagat. In Ireland’s Iron Age, such behavior would have been enormously risky during Samhain, when even wearing a ghastly disguise might not have spared the wrath of a malevolent creature.

( The twisted transatlantic tale of American jack-o’-lanterns .)

Two millennia later, most costumed trick-or-treaters on Halloween won’t realize they’re mimicking a prehistoric tradition—one with much higher stakes than the pursuit of candy. 

Ronan O’Connell is an Australian freelance journalist and photographer based between Ireland and Thailand.

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The Saturday Profile

India’s ‘Lake Man’ Relies on Ancient Methods to Ease a Water Crisis

Anand Malligavad turned to centuries-old knowledge to reclaim dozens of lakes in the high-tech capital of Bengaluru. Now, he is in demand across India, one of the world’s most water-stressed nations.

Anand Malligavad surveying one of his current reclamation projects, Doddathoguru Lake, in Bengaluru, India, in July. Credit...

Supported by

Sameer Yasir

By Sameer Yasir

Reporting from Bengaluru, India.

  • Sept. 22, 2023

After Anand Malligavad tumbled into a lake, he thought he might die. Not from drowning, but the stench.

Like hundreds of other lakes in the southern Indian city of Bengaluru, the one Mr. Malligavad suddenly found himself in was a receptacle for sewage, plastic debris and construction waste. His unplanned dip happened in 2017, when Mr. Malligavad, a mechanical engineer, was on a stroll with friends near his office.

Walking back home, he smelled so bad that a guard refused him entry into his own residential enclave. The next day, Mr. Malligavad made an unlikely pitch to his company: He would restore the 36-acre lake if it funded the project.

To his bosses at Sansera Engineering, one of the largest automotive components manufacturers in India, the proposal seemed miscalculated, even foolish. That Mr. Malligavad had no knowledge of lake management made it only more unconvincing.

“They laughed at me,” said Mr. Malligavad, 43. “Everyone thought I was crazy.”

Anand Malligavad stands on the shore of a lake. His feet are mostly submerged in the water.

But he persisted, and his efforts spurred a remarkable career transition for Mr. Malligavad, who is now one of the foremost authorities on lake conservation in India, one of the most water-stressed countries in the world.

As he began his project, Mr. Malligavad turned to the knowledge left behind in records from the Chola dynasty that, starting about 1,500 years ago, ruled the surrounding Deccan Plateau for five centuries and built a sprawling, self-sustaining network of irrigation lakes.

After four months of studying the Chola methods — including how to trap silt and sludge using carved stones, which need no maintenance — he won a $100,000 corporate social responsibility grant from his company for the cleanup project.

“Until I finished, they had no hope it would actually work,” he said.

In 45 days, using a dozen excavators and hundreds of workers, Mr. Malligavad removed enormous amounts of muck, waste and plastic from Kyalasanahalli Lake. He opened its blocked channels, created five islands with the excavated mud and waited for the rains.

Six months later, after the monsoon season , he was boating in the clean water of the lake, amid ducks and migratory birds, with the same friends who had helped pull him out of the once-filthy spot.

“When I saw the lake, I felt younger, and I wanted to jump into it,” Mr. Malligavad said. “That is what motivates me to keep going.”

And he has.

In the seven years since that first success, Mr. Malligavad has restored 35 lakes in Bengaluru with a combined surface area of about 800 acres and a water-holding capacity of about 106 million gallons. Thanks in part to his efforts, the groundwater level in the region over that time period has also increased by about eight feet, according to the Groundwater Directorate, a government body.

For centuries, Bengaluru, also known as Bangalore, was famous across India for a system of man-made lakes that provided water for agriculture and drinking to millions of its residents.

But over the last three decades, the city has become the center of India’s high-tech industry, growing from some four million people in the 1990s to about 13 million today. Villages were turned into electronic cities, and the lakes, still critical sources for water, were filled in for bus terminals or a cricket stadium. As demand for housing grew, high-rise apartments rose up on and covered over the canals leading to remaining lakes.

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As a result, the city lost capacity to absorb rainwater. Out of the historical 1,850 lakes in Bengaluru, Mr. Malligavad said, only about 465 are left, and just 10 percent of those have clean water, with the rest choked with litter.

Bengaluru is now facing a water shortage of about 172 million gallons per day, a figure likely to double by the end of 2030. The growing water crisis is a direct result of dried up and choked lakes, experts say. They also contribute to the area’s frequent floods.

But Mr. Malligavad is determined to do what he can, aided by time-tested Chola techniques like creating separate lagoons alongside the lakes, where silt and garbage can be separated from sewage, with the human waste later used as fertilizer. And using a Chola method called “ridges to river,” he constructs mud walls in a cascading shape that transport excess water during rainfalls to lakes in lower areas before it ends up in a river. Along the way, the flow supports agriculture.

At one of his recent Bengaluru reclamation projects, largely funded by nonprofits, Mr. Malligavad’s team was separating plastic litter from water in a canal flowing into Maragondanahalli Lake.

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“Just 15 years ago we used to drink water from this lake,” said Praveen V.K, who runs a car-washing facility on the lake’s edge.

Now, it is in the process of being rejuvenated, with Mr. Malligavad’s team adding a tiled walkway on the lake’s edge. Inviting people to stroll by the water, he said, inspires them to care more about the lake’s health.

While his dedication to saving Bengaluru’s lakes has drawn Mr. Malligavad national renown, it has also put him at odds with landowners, powerful builders and ordinary people who illegally encroach on lakes to build houses.

On a recent morning, accompanied by a New York Times reporter, Mr. Malligavad sat with a dozen workers, educating them about the natural ways of cleaning wastewater, when a band of men armed with machetes and bamboo sticks ordered him to desist.

“We will kill you, if you don’t stop,” one young man threatened Mr. Malligavad. Within seconds, they surrounded the conservationist and began punching him.

“If you kill me, you will not get a glass of drinking water in a few years,” Mr. Malligavad told the attackers. Soon, the crowd dispersed.

Mr. Malligavad had set a target of reclaiming 45 Bengaluru lakes by 2025, but now expects to reach that target early next year.

His success has made him a much-in-demand conservation expert across India, which has about 18 percent of the world’s population but just 4 percent of its water resources. According to the World Bank, groundwater consumption is roughly one-quarter of all global usage, surpassing that of United States and China combined .

He has been offered adviser posts on water conservation efforts in many states across India. In the north, the Uttar Pradesh government has given him responsibility for reviving hundreds of lakes, as has the government in Odisha, where he has already revived around a dozen lakes.

As a boy in the village of Karamudi in Karnataka State, of which Bengaluru is the capital, Mr. Malligavad grew up by a lake. With his school on the edge of another, he said he spent more time on the water than almost anywhere else. “From festival prayers to drinking water, everything revolved around a lake,” he said.

He earned a mechanical engineering degree and joined Sansera, before quitting in 2019 to focus full time on lake reclamations, which has made him a minor celebrity.

On a recent evening, Mr. Malligavad was walking on Church Street, an upscale market in Bengaluru popular for its roadside cafes and bookstores, when a group of college students recognized him.

“Lake man, you are doing an amazing job,” Kartika M., a college student, told Mr. Malligavad. “We want all our lakes back.”

While water has been the primary focus of his environmental efforts, some take place on dry land, too.

Early on a recent morning, he was visiting a landfill which, working with a local nonprofit, he had covered with layers of mud and silt from nearby lakes. With 60,000 saplings now planted in neat rows, the goal is converting the area into a thick forest.

“This is a lung space for south Bengaluru,” Mr. Malligavad said. “The land was of no use, we converted it into a forest.”

Another of his success stories can be seen just a few hundred yards down from the landfill, in a lake saved from a builder who wanted to construct a multistory apartment building on it.

Once a repository of sewage and garbage, the lake now welcomes hundreds of migratory birds and nourishes several varieties of native plant species and Ayurvedic plants.

“This is now the purpose of my life,” Mr. Malligavad said. “I want to reclaim a hundred thousand lakes before I die.”

To him, the why is obvious.

“You can find alternatives to milk,” he said, “but what will you do without water?"

Sameer Yasir is a reporter based in New Delhi. He joined The Times in 2020. More about Sameer Yasir



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  1. Citing

    A Guide to Citing Sources in Classics General Guidelines & Frequently Asked Questions Using Quotations Quotations are not substitutes for argumentation but should support your argument by providing evidence. The importance of quotations is not self-evident. Explain why you are introducing them and what conclusion a reader should draw from them.

  2. Citing Ancient Sources

    Citing Greek and Roman Sources The following guide is adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style. There are two styles; one is called Notes-Bibliography (which uses endnotes or footnotes) and the other Author-Date (which uses in-text citations). Be sure to verify with your instructor which style to use.

  3. Citing references

    Oxford referencing is used to cite ancient texts. For general information on referencing, including an explanation of different citation systems, and guidance on citing specific types of publication, see our Citing references guide. For help with citing specific types of publication contact your librarian.

  4. Research Guides: Library Research Guide for History: Ancient

    Introduction Classical Indexes Pre-1920s Literature Bibliographies Introduction and Basic Index: L'Annee philologique The basic index for classical studies is L'Annee philologique. Good results may also be obtained with Social Sciences/Arts and Humanities Citation Indexes.

  5. Classical Studies: Citing Ancient Sources

    Citing Ancient Sources Citing Ancient Sources Systems for citing ancient texts vary from one author to another; most systems involve book and chapter number and/or line number (NOT page number). If in doubt, please consult your instructor. See also: A Guide to Citing Sources in Classics From Haverford College Example Citations

  6. History : Ancient: Primary Sources

    Ancient Greece. ASCSA Digital Library. Beazley Archive. Collected Dialogues of Plato. Complete Works of Aristotle. Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum. Little Sailing: Ancient Greek Texts. Poinikastas. Epigraphic sources for early Greek writing.

  7. Ancient, Medieval, and Early Modern Online Resources (AMEMOR)

    Musical and Art Historical Sources. 3. Bibliographies. 4. Databases of Texts. 5. Dictionaries. 6. Digital Manuscripts. 7. Guides or Link Aggregators. 8. Journals. 9. Maps, Dates, and Events. 10. Translated Sources. ... It is the best bibliography for ancient history, and its standard abbreviations for ancient texts are widely used by ancient ...

  8. Archaeology and ancient history: Citing and referencing

    Primary sources for Archaeology & Ancient History Citing and referencing Citing and referencing Correct citation and referencing can be one of the most time-consuming, but important parts of advanced research in any field. Accurate citation is key to making your arguments effective, and the penalties for plagiarism at any level are serious.

  9. Ancient sources

    Ancient sources For students undertaking Classics or Ancient History courses in the School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry please refer to the School's own Style Guide available through Learn.UQ (Blackboard) in order to cite ancient sources. Last Updated: Sep 5, 2023 2:52 PM

  10. Citations

    Primary sources in Classics are most often ancient texts, documents, or artifacts. The general standard for citing ancient sources is as follows: Author, Title book or section.line number (s) Example 1.1: Homer, Iliad 3.1-50.

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    Remember that Primary Sources should be separated from Secondary Sources in your bibliography. See the Handbook for Historians to get correct bibliography formats. In your footnotes or endnotes: The Handbook for Historians section citing sources suggests citing a primary source within your footnotes as follows: Primary source document found online.

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    Harvard Ancient text In text citation: To be made up of: Ancient author. Title (in italics) - not required if only one work by the author survives. Prose authors: Book number, chapter number, section number. Verse authors: Book/poem number, line number. (Herodotus, 1.32.7) (Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus 447-462) (Virgil, Aeneid 2.49)

  13. How to create a bibliography or reference list

    Here are the differences between the two: A bibliography lists all of the materials that have been consulted during your research, regardless of whether or not you've quoted from them. A reference list states only the sources that you've quoted in your assignment. Regardless of which you're required to create, you must follow the formatting ...

  14. Research Guides: Ancient Near East and Egypt: Reference Sources

    Reference Sources - Ancient Near East and Egypt - Research Guides at UCLA Library Ancient Near East and Egypt Dictionaries These dictionaries are in CD-ROM, PDF, or web-based format. Some are freely available, others are subscription services, so remote access may be necessary when accessing from off-campus.

  15. Outline of Primary Sources for History

    Bibliography must be searched as a Subject. Bibliographies may be contemporary or retrospective. If you find an older article or book in a bibliography, you can use the Cited Reference Search in Web of Science find more recent articles by seeing who has cited it. If you have a bibliography of primary sources, then the Web of Science can be used ...

  16. How to annotate a Bibliography

    1. An explanation of the main purpose of the source 2. A short summary of key findings or arguments of the source 3. The academic/intellectual credentials of the source: Does it appear in a peer-reviewed journal? Is the author someone who has expertise in the area? 4. Any shortcomings or biases you notice 5.

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    ISBN: 0198642261. Publication Date: 1996-08-01. Liddell and Scott's Greek-English Lexicon (9/e 1940) is the most comprehensive and up-to-date ancient Greek dictionary in the world. It is used by every student of ancient Greek in the English-speaking world, and is an essential library and scholarly purchase there and in W. Europe and Japan.

  18. Select Bibliography of Ancient Sources (including late antiquity and

    Select Bibliography of Ancient Sources (including late antiquity and early Christian writings). Where possible, ancient authors are cited in the edition of the

  19. Bibliography

    Bibliography (from Ancient Greek: ... Bibliographical works are almost always considered to be tertiary sources. Enumerative bibliographies are based on a unifying principle such as creator, subject, date, topic or other characteristic. An entry in an enumerative bibliography provides the core elements of a text resource including a title, the ...

  20. Cleopatra

    Women never fare well in ancient history, and there is no work specifically devoted to the queen, nor is there a major contemporary source. Plutarch's biography of Marcus Antonius (see Plutarch 1988 ) is the closest to an actual narrative about the queen, but was written one hundred years after her death and is limited in its focus.

  21. Origen

    Accordingly (though some of his ancient critics pretended otherwise), his writings are unequivocal in their rejection of Plato's theory of transmigration, whether from human to human or from human to beast. ... Bibliography Ancient Sources. Epiphanius, circa 374, Ancoratus and Panarion, ed. K. Holl, 3 vols, Leipzig: ...

  22. UNRV Roman History

    I hope it only to be an introduction and stepping stone into more advanced studies. Additional information can be provided to students when asking for bibliography information regarding specific articles. On a generic basis, the following sources have been instrumental in developing this site: Bibliography Ancient Sources

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  27. Inside the Irish 'hell caves' where Halloween was born

    The unassuming entrance to Oweynagat cave, in Rathcroghan, Ireland, belies its central role in ancient Irish history. It's known as a gateway to the demon-filled underworld and the birthplace of ...

  28. India's 'Lake Man' Relies on Ancient Methods to Ease a Water Crisis

    Priyadarshini Ravichandran for The New York Times. "We will kill you, if you don't stop," one young man threatened Mr. Malligavad. Within seconds, they surrounded the conservationist and ...