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Library help for Classics faculty and students

About Background Information

Finding background information at the beginning of your research will help you find pertinent scholarly sources and write a more convincing argument.  Background information in reference books or databases can provide:

  • Introduction to key issues

  • Major dates and events

  • Quick definitions or descriptions

  • Keywords and subject-specific vocabulary terms that can be used for database searches

  • Bibliographies that lead to additional resources.

For Classics


The Oxford Classical Dictionary Online is a continuously updated, electronic version of an authoritative reference work on the Greco-Roman world.

These databases below allow you to search across entries from hundreds of scholarly encyclopedias, dictionaries, and handbooks at once. If you prefer print, many of these books can be found using LINUS, the library catalog.

Print Reference


Locate historical places and basic information about them using these atlases of the ancient world.