Archive for the ‘Dictionary’ Category

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E-Books for Learning Greek

April 4, 2011

I have started looking more seriously at texts for elementary Greek that can be used on the Kindle (and/or other e-book readers), in advance of a possible trial in a class this summer.  Here’s a list of resources I have found useful – do you have any to add? The following include texts available in Kindle format, and texts available as .pdfs – most e-book readers can deal with simply-formatted .pdf files, although their treatment of footnotes or multi-column pages can be, frankly, terrible. I have NOT included online-only texts (as at Perseus, TLG, etc.)

Hathi Trust

  • A scholarly e-book repository, it includes most out-of-copyright works (pre-1923) digitized by Google Books, plus additional titles post-1923 where Hathi staff have worked with publishers and authors to make works available to the public.
  • Search interface is very much like a library online catalog, so it’s easier to find a known title than when searching Google Books.
  • Note one can create a free account and make lists (“public collections“) of texts.  It would be useful to have such a list for important classical works, no?  Maybe in my copious free time (or yours).

Google Books

  • An alphabetical list of works selected by Crane and Babeu – Google Books Ancient Greek and Latin Texts Available as downloadable .pdf files.
  • Ditto, but US-access only. Requires a Google account to log in, and you must be in the US.
  • You can also search Google Books for specific titles, but good luck getting what you want in the first page of results – I’d try Hathi Trust first, myself, as the search interface is more sophisticated.

TextKit

  • Requires creation of an account (free), after which one can download .pdf files.
  • Includes out-of-copyright texts – this site dates to 2001, so the texts were hand-scanned before the advent of Google Books.
  • Greek texts library. There’s also Latin.

Downloebables

  • Best website name ever? Links to downloadable .pdf versions of out-of-copyright editions from the Loeb Classical Libraries.

Project Gutenberg

For purchase at Amazon (prices listed – they are generally modest).

One problem I have run into is that the Kindle cannot convert any documents larger than 25MB, and many .pdf files are larger than this.  The solution is to use Adobe Acrobat and break up the .pdf files into smaller units, which requires a) possession of Adobe Acrobat (the production software, not just the reader) and b) more work on the user end – a lexicon that’s divided into several chunks alphabetically is not as easy to use.

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Resource Reviews: Ancient Philosophy

March 30, 2011

The UGA Classics department does not specialize in ancient philosophy; the philosophy department does have a 3000-level class on ancient philosophy. But philosophy comes up all the time in my work with classics students. For example, last semester I worked with an undergraduate who was looking at a relief sculpture and wanted to tie in Plato’s allegory of the cave, so we tried to get a sense of what contemporary attitudes towards and knowledge of Plato would have been (in the later Hellenistic period.)

We have relatively few works in the Reference department in the Main Library at UGA, but we do have the big ones:

  • Guthrie, A History of Greek Philosophy (1962-1981, 6 volumes), Main Reference B171 .G984h (with another copy on the 6th floor available for checkout.) Jenkins discusses this as no. 867, calling it “long established as the standard work in the field.” The six volumes cover the Presocratic philosophers through Aristotle, and focus on discussion of the philosophical works themselves. While Jenkins calls Guthrie “accessible to the lay reader” it is probably for more sophisticated undergraduates or graduate students, not entry-level students.
  • Armstrong,The Cambridge history of later Greek and early medieval philosophy (1967), Main Reference B171 .A79 (also with a circulating copy on the 6th floor.)  This edited volume covers the period from the 4th century BCE to the 12th century CE, giving  “a good general survey of later Greek philosophy and its influence.” (Jenkins no. 863)
  • Zeyl, et al., Encyclopedia of classical philosophy (Greenwood Press, 1997) Main Reference B163 .E53 1997. Jenkins (no. 883) calls this work “an excellent encyclopedia,” and it is where I would send most entry-level students.  It has signed articles with scholarly bibliographies, and covers philosophers and philosophic schools from the 6th century BCE to the 6th century CE.

We also have:

  • Preus, Historical Dictionary of Ancient Greek Philosophy (Scarecrow Press, 2007), Main Reference B111 .P74 2007.  This came out too late to be reviewed by Jenkins.  It is a dictionary, with short entries of a paragraph or two. It is definitely aimed at undergraduates, and might be most useful for those looking for definitions of common philosophical terms and concepts, though it does have thumbnail sketches of specific philosophers and movements.
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Resource Reviews: Roman Religion

January 28, 2011

Following up on the Mediterranean and Greek Religion post of last week, this week we treat reference resources in Roman Religion (an area, I confess, fairly mysterious to me, even before we get to the fad for mystery cults).  Note previous posts in the “Mythology and Religion series” are:

Roman Religion:

Adkins & Adkins, Dictionary of Roman Religion (Main Library Sixth Floor, BL798 .A35 1996) This volume is in the Facts on File series, which librarians will recognize as providing entry-level reference works on subjects, with fairly short entries and a relatively limited scholarly bibliography.  Jenkins discusses this as no. 892, and notes that it “includes numerous illustrations and plans” and covers “Judaism and early Christianity as well as the pagan religions and ancient Rome.”

Beard, North, and Price, Religions of Rome: A history (Main Library Sixth Floor, BL802 .B43 1998) For the serious scholar, including a serious undergraduate, this serves as an excellent introduction.  Jenkins discusses this two volume set in two parts (nos. 325 and 896), composed as it is of a one-volume narrative covering major topics on Roman religion, with “extensive references to both primary sources and the secondary literature,” and a second volume comprising many of those primary sources, including both texts and material objects such as inscriptions and coins.

North, Roman Religion (Main Library Third Floor, PA25 .G7 no. 30).  This book is shelved with the PAs (and not BL for religion) because it’s part of the Greece and Rome, New Surveys in the Classics series (like the Greek Religion volume by Bremmer discussed last week), a series of bibliographic works on various subjects.  Jenkins (no. 916) notes that this volume goes beyond bibliography and serves as a “readable and reliable” “compact survey of Roman religion itself.”  The bibliography itself is “excellent and selective” and Jenkins also notes the very useful tables and charts.
There are several quite recent “Introductions” to Roman Religion available, too new to be included in Jenkins.  They include:

Warrior, Roman Religion (Main Library Sixth Floor, BL803 .W37 2006).  Celia Schultz in BMCR provides a nice overview of several newer works on roman religion, noting its popularity,  but that this work is, while comprehensive and valuable for students, “not the definitive, comprehensive introduction to Roman religion that the scholars in the field and publishers are seeking.”

Rives, Religion in the Roman Empire (Main Library Sixth Floor, BL803 .R58 2007)  This is checked out, so I haven’t looked at it – though being checked out is a sign of someone’s endorsement, right?  It’s from a series on Ancient Religions by Blackwell.  Benedetta Bessi at BMCR calls it “an agile and stimulating overview,” designed for the entry level.

Rupke, Religion of the Romans (Main Library Sixth Floor, BL803 .R8513 2007) Jan Nelis at BMCR calls it a “solid treatment” suitable for scholars and students, and emphasizes the reliance on primary sources.  We also have the Rukpe-edited volume for Blackwell, A Companion to Roman Religion (Main Library Sixth Floor, BL803 .C66 2007).  This is a collection of essays, meant to add up to a comprehensive overview.

Augustus Caesar as pontifexHere’s a link to all 306 works in the UGA Libraries’ catalog under the subject heading Rome – Religion.

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Reference Resources: Specialized Mythology Dictionaries

December 16, 2010

Previous roundups on classical mythology have covered LIMC, mythology web sites, and basic print mythology dictionaries.  Today I highlight some more specialized and focused mythology resources:

  • R. Bell, Dictionary of Classical Mythology: Symbols, Attributes, and Associations (Main Reference, 1st Floor, BL715 .B44 1982).  This work is useful for those looking to approach myths in a slightly different way – i.e. by looking for all figures and stories associated with bears, sickles, or some other attribute or association.  Jenkins discusses this as no. 897, describing it as “an excellent companion work” to a more traditional mythology dictionary organized by personages, although because it provides little summary of the myths, it cannot stand alone as a mythology reference.
  • R. Bell, Women of Classical Mythology: A Biographical Dictionary (Main Reference, 1st Floor,  BL715 .B445 1991).  This work covers female figures in Greek and Roman myths, and includes many very obscure ones, so some entries are quite short.  Jenkins (no. 898) calls it “particularly good for differentiating among characters of the same name and for identifying obscure epithets of the goddesses.”

Archaic Athena, Old Temple of Athena
Many western literature classes need a resource for classical myths as they appear in post-classical sources.  The following are quite useful:

  • Brumble, Classical Myths and Legends in the Middle Ages and Renaissance (Main Reference, 1st Floor,  PN669 .B78 1998).  Jenkins (no. 899) praises Brumble for his “lengthy annotated bibliography of primary [medieval and Renaissance] sources” but warns that he “covers only those mythical figures who are used allegorically in later literature, so some otherwise important figures are omitted.”
  • Reid, Oxford Guide to Classical Mythology in the Arts, 1300-1900s (Main Reference, 1st Floor, NX650 .M9 R45 1993).  I have found this work to be useful for both literary and artistic depictions of myths in tyhe periods covered, although its main strength, as Jenkins (no. 921) notes, is its “very full” listing of “more than 30,000 works of art.”  Works are listed chronologically under each myth or figure, and artworks and literature are interfiled, with good detail (current locations and artists, or publication information).

This last is in the Repository (off-campus storage) at UGA, but I can’t resist mentioning it because I have an ongoing interest in names and naming!:

  • NTC’s Classical Dictionary: The Origins of Names of Characters in Classical Mythology (1992). I haven’t looked at this personally, but it covers 1000 proper names from Greek and Roman myths and their etymologies; Jenkins (no. 922) calls it “interesting, if sometimes speculative.” (In the Repository.)

Next up in resource reviews: resources for the study of ancient religion, which is usually treated in a quite separate context from mythology.

 

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Print Mythology Dictionaries

December 10, 2010

I have discussed LIMC and classical mythology websites in earlier posts, so will continue the topic of mythology with a discussion of  print resources we have at UGA for classical myth.

Jenkins recommends two top print reference works in Classical Mythology.  Neither of these are currently in Reference at UGA:

  • Pierre Grimal’s Dictionary of Classical Mythology (Main Library 6th floor, BL715 .G713 1986; Jenkins no. 906) is described as “the best of the many general dictionaries of Greek and Roman mythology in English,” and is of special value for its “scholarly apparatus.”  UGA also has the French edition, of which the above is a translation: Dictionnaire de la mythologie grecque et romaine.  The concise edition in English (Jenkins no. 907) was recently sent to the Repository.
  • Jenkins (no. 931) favors Tripp, Crowell’s Handbook of Classical Mythology (Main Library 6th floor, BL303 .T75 1970, also, under a different title, the 1974 edition) for its “very full and accurate account of the myths,” although it is more targeted to the scholar encountering references to classical myths in western literature than to the classical scholar.

In the Reference Department are a few general works:

  • Dixon-Kennedy, Encyclopedia of Greco-Roman Mythology (Main Reference, 1st Floor, BL715 .D56 1998).  Jenkins (no. 902) describes this as ” a suitable ready-reference for students,” noting that it has entries for places and ancient authors, not just mythological personages.
  • Oxford Dictionary of Classical Myth and Religion (Main Reference, First Floor, BL715 .O845 2003; Jenkins, no. 920) consists of edited entries relevant to classical mythology taken from the Oxford Classical Dictionary.  Jenkins calls it “useful” but notes that the entries do not include bibliographies of secondary literature, so for most students researching for papers the OCD would be more useful.

Recently exiled to the Repository, in my opinion by mistake, and I am trying to wrest it back to Reference, is:

  • March, Cassell Dictionary of Classical Mythology (Main Reference, 1st Floor, BL715 .M37 1998, temporarily shelved at the Repository; Jenkins no. 914).  This in my opinion is the modern Reference standard – I suspect this is the volume most often kept on “ready reference” shelves (in libraries that still have those!).  Jenkins notes that the 1998 edition (which is the one we have) has “excellent black-and-white illustrations.”  He compares it “favorably” with Grimal, above.

A subject heading search in the UGA catalog for Mythology – Dictionaries (which will include some non-classical works; for the most recent works the heading is Mythology, Classical – Dictionaries) will pull up the rest.  I’ll discuss a few more specialized mythology dictionaries, and reference resources for ancient religion as distinct from myth, in future posts.

Mighty Aphrodite -- Lely's Venus

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Reference Resources: Mythology

November 5, 2010

There are a lot of reference works on classical mythology published, with new ones out every single year, it seems.  Mythology is probably the classics topic with the most widespread appeal, from 2nd graders to 300-seat college lectures to Learning in Retirement programs, so many of the available mythological dictionaries and encyclopedias are targeted very broadly, and marketed to public and school libraries as well as (or instead of) universities.  What I would like in a classical mythology encyclopedia for college students is:

  • clear summary of the various myths associated with a figure
  • accurate and full citations to the primary sources for those myths (it is shocking how often these are not included)
  • examples and discussions of depictions of those myths in classical art
  • discussion of places, temples, rituals associated with the myths

So, obviously my favorite reference resource on mythology is Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae (LIMC).  I first used it as an undergraduate, and when I was in graduate school the final volumes were not yet published, so we’d all scramble to choose mythological figures whose names began with the letters A-H.  Woe bedtide you if you got Zeus – no LIMC to do your legwork for you!  Now all the volumes are available (8 sets of 1 print and 1 plates volumes, for a total of 16 books).  At UGA our copy is at Main Reference (1st floor) NX650 .M9 L40Jenkins (no. 913) describes it as “by far the best source for locating and studying myths as they appear in ancient art” but does not seem as overwhelmingly fond of it for general purposes as I am.

Unfortunately, LIMC is a challenge for many undergraduates, especially those at the entry level – the level most likely to be studying classical mythology.  They are intimidated by foreign languages which they mostly do not read, and the terse (i.e. professional-level) citation style for primary sources in LIMC can be confusing.  I do show LIMC to many classes; many honors undergraduates and upper-level majors are happy to tackle it, and my goal is to make every grad student love and cherish it as I do.  But for the average 1000-level mythology student, it’s too much.  I will tackle some of the alternatives they turn to in forthcoming posts.

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Greek Dictionaries: New Testament and Later

August 23, 2010

Jenkins discusses several dictionaries of later Greek, some of which we have in Reference and some in the stacks.  I am considering a consultation with my colleague who works with the Religion department to make sure the most useful works are in our limited Reference space.

Jenkins highlights (no. 501) Bauer’s (rev. Aland) Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (2000), Main Reference PA881 .B38 2000,  as the “standard lexicon for New Testament Greek,” and a “useful tool for all who deal with Hellenistic and later Greek.”  It covers early Christian writers but also the Septuagint, Philo and Josephus, papyri, and some Byzantine authors.  At UGA, we also have older editions in the library stacks (i.e. Main 3rd Floor PA881 .B3 1957) that can be checked out.

Jenkins recommends Lust’s Greek-English Lexicon of the Septuagint (no. 514), Main 3rd Floor PA781 .L8 1992, as the “best choice” for the “many peculiarities” of this text, and a modern lexicon.

We do not own a copy of G. Lampe’s Patristic Greek Lexicon (Oxford 1961), though I suspect maybe we should, and perhaps we once did and our copy was lost.  (Worldcat reveals that many libraries in the state system do have it, so GIL Express can come to the rescue of any of our faculty or students in need.)  Jenkins (no.  509) describes it as a supplement to LSJ 9th ed. (discussed here), covering “Clement of Rome (1st century A. D.) to Theodore of Studium (d. 826 A. D.)” and highlighting “theological and ecclestiastical vocabulary.”

Not discussed by Jenkins, but in Main Reference are:

For post-classical Greek, there are:

Sophocles, Greek Lexicon of the Roman and Byzantine Periods (from B.C. 146 to A.D. 1100) Main Reference PA1123 .S712.  Jenkins (no. 517) describes this “as the only Greek-English lexicon for the Byzantine period,” although it is essentially unaltered since its initial publication in 1870.  For the Roman period, Liddell and Scott (discussed here) is usually as good.

Jenkins does not discuss Du Cange, Glossarium et Scriptores Media et Infimae Graecitatis Main Reference PA1125 .D8 1943, which we keep in Reference.  Its origins are in the 17th century, and as the title indicates, is a Greek-Latin rather than Greek-English dictionary for the later periods.   It is available in digital format for free download through the Anemi Digital Library of Modern Greek Studies at the University of Crete.