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What is an ancient source?
- An ancient source is a source that was created before the fall of the Roman Empire
- The term "ancient source" is used instead of "primary source" because an ancient source can be considered both a primary and a secondary source. Many ancient sources are based on earlier sources that may no longer exist.
Find ancient sources
- Many online databases and websites provide access to ancient sources
- The following are comprehensive digital collections of ancient sources for Classics (ancient Rome and ancient Greece)
What are standard abbreviations for ancient sources?
- Names of authors and titles of works are often abbreviated using a standard format.
- A list of abbreviations can be found at the Perseus Project webpage or in the Oxford Classical Dictionary.
What is the numbering system for citing ancient sources?
- Ancient texts use a unique numbering system for locating content.
- This specialized format allows scholars to reliably refer to the same passage of an ancient source regardless of the language or publication that they are using.
- Homer's Iliad is divided into 24 Books (what we might now call chapters); each book begins with Line 1.
- Herodotus' Histories contains nine Books, each divided into Chapters. Each chapter is further divided into sections, each beginning with Line 1.
Resources to help with historical research