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Greek, Latin, & Ancient Mediterranean Studies 321: Gods, Magic, and Mysteries

Primary Texts in Collins Library

Print copies of classical texts can be located via the library catalog.

Scholarly Editions of Greek and Latin Texts

Whenever possible, you should use scholarly editions of classical texts.  A scholarly edition of a text typically will present and discuss variant versions; provide historical, cultural and linguistic context; and delineate the history of scholarly approaches to that text.  Most scholarly editions will have an editor (or editors) and will be published by a university press (see catalog example below).

Bi-lingual Editions

Collins Library owns many of the bi-lingual editions published by Harvard University Press as part of the Loeb Classical Library.  Latin-English editions have red covers and Greek-English editions have green covers.  Generally, the Loeb series provides reliable translations of Greek and Latin texts.

The Library also has Cambridge Classical texts with translated texts of the original text in Greek or Latin.


English translations of classical texts can differ markedly.  Always use the translation your professor recommends.

Primary Sources

Primary sources are the "raw materials" of scholarship.  Your selection of primary source materials for your research project will depend on your topic, your approach, and what is available to you in English translation.

In humanities disciplines, including history, a primary source:

  • Is anything produced by humans during the time period under consideration:
    • Texts, whether published (books, articles, patents, transcripts) or unpublished (diaries, notes, manuscripts);
    • Imaginative work, such as paintings, music, movies, or novels;
    • Visual resources, such as photographs or newsreels;
    • Sound recordings, such as interviews; or music performances
    • Material culture, such as clothing, railroads, and buildings