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MEDVL 1101-106: Gods and Kings in the Middle Ages and Beyond (Fall 2017): Primary Sources

A guide to library research

Useful Tips

Browse footnotes and bibliographies of books and articles for information about primary sources. 

Search the Library Catalog for primary sources--both unpublished manuscripts and modern editions in print and online, sometimes in translation, of original primary medieval sources.

Use the Advanced Search and add the term sources to your topic words. Use the pull-down menu to select [subject] e.g.,

Collections of Antiquity Texts Online

Perseus Collection: Greek and Roman Materials   In Latin, Greek, and English translation.

PHI Classical Latin Texts (The Packard Humanities Institute)

digilibLT Late antique texts.

Find Primary Sources

Primary Sources in English Translation

Finding and using primary sources for the Middles Ages is particularly challenging, and the definition of primary source can be quite different than, for instance, that for twentieth century US history. When in doubt, consult your professor or TA.

Be prepared, you may find the best sources have never been translated from Latin (or Greek), or that translations exist in languages other than English.

Translated Texts for Historians E-Library  Selected early medieval sources in English translation.

ORB  provides a selection of excerpts of sources translated into English full-text online arranged chronologically and geographically.  Better editions are generally available as published print books, but this is a way to get a sense of what exists.

Encyclopedia of traditional epics (Olin Library Reference Oversize PN56.E65 E64x 1994 +) Great secondary source that can lead you to primary sources.

Internet Medieval Sourcebook is helpful for getting a sense of the types of medieval sources and for bibliography. Better editions are generally available as published print books, but this is a way to get a sense of what exists.

Selected Primary Source Collections Online on America

Evans digital edition (American Imprints) Books printed in the US during the 17th and 18th centuries.  

Eighteenth century collections online (ECCO). English-language and foreign-language books, pamphlets, broadsides, ephemera printed in the UK and the Americas, between 1701 and 1800.<>

Early encounters in North America: peoples, cultures, and the environment. 1534 to 1850. The collection focuses on personal accounts and provides unique perspectives from all of the protagonists, including traders, slaves, missionaries, explorers, soldiers, native peoples, and officials, both men and women. 

American journeys eyewitness accounts of early American exploration and settlement.  Eyewitness accounts of North American exploration, from the sagas of Vikings in Canada to the diaries of mountain men in the Rockies.