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Classical Latin Literature: A Guide to Library Research: Background

Classical Latin Literature Research


Encyclopedias are great for:

  • choosing a topic
  • educating yourself quickly
  • perspective on a topic
  • variant spellings, vocabulary, terminology
  • bibliography


Oxford Reference Online 

The Classics division has a number of useful full text titles:

  • Companion to Classical Civilization
  • The Concise Oxford Companion to Classical Literature
  • Who's Who in the Classical World
  • The Pocket Oxford Latin Dictionary (English-Latin)
  • The Pocket Oxford Latin Dictionary (Latin-English)




Who’s who in the Roman world. John Hazel. London ; New York : Routledge, 2001. (Olin Reference DG203 .H39x 2001)

Who was who in the Roman world : 753 BC-AD 476. edited by Diana Bowder ; [contributors, Diana Bowder ... et al.]. Ithaca, N.Y. : Cornell University Press, 1980. (Olin Library and Uris Reference DG203 .W62)

Bowder, Diana, ed. Who Was Who in the Greek World: 776 B.C.--30 B.C. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1982. (Uris Reference DF 208 W62+) Briggs, Ward W.



Oxford bibliographies Online (OBO): Classics New and in-progress. Peer-reviewed annotated bibliographies.


Hornblower, Simon and Antony Spawforth, eds. The Oxford Classical Dictionary. 4th ed. Excellent source. Covers biography, literature, mythology, philosophy, religion, science, geography of the classical world with bibliography.

Brill's New Pauly. Encyclopaedia of the ancient world. (Olin Library room 604-5 DE5 .N48 2002 +)

Hornblower, Simon and Anthony Spawforth, eds. The Oxford Companion to Classical Civilization. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.(Olin Library Reference DE5.O92x 1998+)

The Encyclopedia of Ancient History

Encyclopedia of the Roman Empire. Matthew Bunson. New York : Facts On File, c2002.
Description: Rev. ed.  (Olin Library Reference DG270 .B86x 2002)

The Encyclopedia of Ancient Civilizations. New York: Mayflower Books, 1980. (Olin Reference CB 311 E565+) 

Grant, Michael, and Rachel Kitzinger. Civilization of the Ancient Mediterranean: Greece and Rome. 3 vols. New York: Scribners, 1988. (Olin Reference DE 59 C58 1988) 

Sienkewicz, Thomas J. Encyclopedia of the Ancient World. 3 vols. Pasadena, CA: Salem Press, 2002. (Olin Reference CB311 .E54x 2002) 

Grove Art Online provides web access to the entire text of The Dictionary of Art, ed. Jane Turner (1996, 34 vols.) and The Oxford Companion to Western Art, ed. Hugh Brigstocke (2001). Articles, and over 1,500 thumbnail art images and line drawings, extensive image links, and sophisticated search and navigation tools.

A Companion to the Roman Empire. edited by David S. Potter. Malden, MA : Blackwell Pub., 2006. Olin Library DG311 .C667 2006+

A companion to the Roman Republic. edited by Nathan Rosenstein and Robert Morstein-Marx. Malden, MA ; Oxford : Blackwell Pub., 2006. (Olin Library Room 604 Oversize DG235 .C65 2006+)


Luce, T. James, ed. Ancient Writers: Greece and Rome. 2 vols. New York: Scribners, 1982. (Olin Reference + PA 3002 A54) A collection of 47 essays which cover biographical information and literary background. Arranged chronologically by writer, entries include a selected bibliography of texts, translations, criticism, and commentary.

A history of Roman literature; authorized translation from the 5th German ed. by George C. W. Warr. London, G. Bell; [etc., etc.] 1891-92. Rev. and enl. by Ludwig Schwabe. Two volumes. Ancient but still a classic. Enormous complex bibliographies. (Olin Library stacks and Reference PA6007 .T35 1891)

Ancient Greek authors. Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research, c1997. (Shelved on the Literary Criticism Index Tables in Uris Reference PS129 .D55 v.176) The contents of this volume are also available through the Literature Resource Center

The classical epic : an annotated bibliography.  Thomas J. Sienkewicz. Pasadena, Calif. : Salem Press, c1991.(Uris Library  A.D. White Z7018.E63 S55x 1991)

The Homer encyclopedia. edited by Margalit Finkelberg. Wiley-Blackwell, 2011. The world and artistry of Homer, the historical and cultural background of the Iliad and the Odyssey, Homeric scholarship, and Homeric reception from antiquity to the present.

 A bibliography of Homeric scholarship : preliminary edition 1930-1970.  David W.Packard, Tania Meyers. Published: Malibu, Calif. : Undena Publications, 1974. (Olin Library Room 604-605 Z8414.84 .P12)

Seneca, a critical bibliography, 1900-1980 : scholarship on his life, thought, prose, and influence. Anna Lydia Motto, John R. Clark. Amsterdam : A.M. Hakkert, 1989. (Olin Library Z8807.82 .M67x 1989) Limited but still useful.

The Encyclopedia of Greek Tragedy

The Virgil Encyclopedia

Bibliografia senecana del XX secolo / Andrea Balbo ... [et al.] ; ideata e diretta da Italo Lana ; a cura di Ermanno Malaspina. Bologna : Pàtron, 2005. (Olin Library Z8807.82 .B53 2005) A bibliography about all things relating to Seneca. Despite the title, it includes books and articles in English as well as other languages. Organized by year from 1900 to 2000. Use the index to find a subject which will list a series of numbers. The first number refers to the year, second number refers to the item number under the year. For instance, 1992. 63 refers to the 1992 section, item number 63. Use the Cornell online catalog to find books and journals by title.



Dixon-Kennedy, Mike. Encyclopedia of Greco-Roman Mythology. Santa Barbarra, Calif. : ABC-CLIO, c1998. (Uris Reference BL 715 D56x 1998) 

Coulter, Charles Russell and Patricia Turner. Encyclopedia of Ancient Dieties. Chicago ; London : Fitzroy Dearborn, 2000. (Olin Reference BL473 .C68 2000 +) 

Eliade, Mircea, ed. The Encyclopedia of Religion. 16 vols. New York: MacMillan, 1987. (Uris Reference BL 31 E55+; also Olin Reference ) 

Grimal, Pierre. The Dictionary of Classical Mythology. Trans. A.R. Maxwell-Hyslop. Oxford: Blackwell, 1986. (Uris Reference BL 715 .G86 1986)

Harnsberger, Caroline Thomas. Gods and heroes : a quick guide to the occupations, associations and experiences of the Greek and Roman gods and heroes. Troy, N.Y. : Whitston Pub. Co., 1977. (Olin Reference BL715 .H29) 

Leach, Maria, ed. Funk and Wagnall's Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology, and Legend. New York: Funk and Wagnall's, 1972. (Uris Reference GR 35 F98 1984, also Olin Reference ) 

Leeming, David Adams, and Margaret Adams Leeming, eds. Encyclopedia of Creation Myths. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC:CLIO, 1994 also available online 

New Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology. New York: Prometheus, 1968. (Uris Reference BL 310 G96+ 1974) 

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