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Resource Reviews: Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome

April 30, 2010

The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome is a new (2010) work, which we received in Main Reference at UGA in March.   Published by OUP, it is edited by Michael Gagarin of UT Austin and the contributors are well-known scholars.  Its 7 volumes, comprising 3400 pages, aim to be a comprehensive introduction, in English, to classical antiquity.

I was eager to see this set arrive at UGA.  While it has fewer entries than the Oxford Classical Dictionary (OCD), I think it will be of more use to the entry-level undergraduate, who I suspect finds the OCD somewhat terse and tending to assume one already has a solid base of knowledge in the classics.  These multiple-page essays, with bibliography, are  paced to better serve as an introduction to a topic.  The other major competition in the up-to-date general classics encyclopedia is  Brill’s Neue Pauly/Brill’s New Pauly, which unfortunately the UGA library only owns in German (read by precious few undergraduates, and even feared by many graduate students!).  At under $1000, the OEAGR is a steal compared to the New Pauly, which is ca. $400 a volume (and there are 15).

This is a perfect place for undergraduates beginning research projects who need an overview of a new topic and a starting bibliography, and a great alternative to that frenemy of the undergrad, Wikipedia.  It is available in an online version, as part of the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf (to which UGA does not subscribe).

Online reviews of this new work are just beginning to be published, and include:

  • Colin McCaffrey at Philobiblion
  • (I hope to add others as I find them – if you know of any, link in comments!)
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2 comments

  1. The OEAGR was reviewed by D. Lateiner in Choice, May 2010, on p. 1666. It received two stars, and was a little unfavorably compared to the New Pauly.


  2. I just bought this 7 vol set because Oxford was having a sale. I also have the OCD. This is just for my home. I’m really looking forward to reading through good chunks of it. I couldn’t find many reviews, but at the sale price, it was too good to pass up. I’ve got a background in a related field, but am by no means a classicist. I do hope that the entries are as free of cant as the OCD. At any rate, I’m looking forward to reading more reviews on the volumes.



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