Annotation: References in Ancient History

This guide is meant for students of Ancient History (BA & MA) who are preparing a paper or thesis.

What is it for?

– to indicate where you got your information, to enable someone else to find and check it.

References indicate your research data and where they can be found. References to the secondary literature indicate that you have taken the debate on your topic into account and where you situate your argument in this debate. The same applies to the scholarly debate on the data. This means there must be a complete fit between the arguments and references in the work and the bibliography: all references must be in the biblio, and vice versa: no things are in the biblio that you did not use.

How do you do it?

– in such a way that somebody else may find and check it

This means that you stick to the rules common in the field for referencing – readers should be able to find and check everything clearly and easily. Citations must be complete and exact; if you leave something out, replace by …; if you add an emphasis yourself within a citation, indicate this. Never ever cite or even paraphrase someone without a reference; doing so is plagiarism.

Rules of Thumb:

Secondary literature

Names of authors in alphabetical order; first surname, next initial or full first name; e.g. Jones, P. or Jones, Patricia;

Titles of books and journals are italicised/ underlined;

Titles of articles, book chapters and lemma’s in an encyclopaedia are never italicised, but (depending on the style required) with or without quotation marks.

Books: place and year of publication; when required, publisher; NB in case of a later (re-) edition, add the original date of publication in []. In case of revised editions (not unrevised reprints) add a 2 (or 3 or whatever is relevant) in superscript (e.g. 19952).

Journals: year of publication, volume number; in biblio: page numbers from beginning to end (e.g. 16-34); in reference/ footnote: page number of reference (e.g.: 17). Depending on style: add or do not add: pp.

The author-date system is by far the easiest to handle and the clearest for a full overview. It means: in footnote (or in the main text, but that looks less attractive) you refer to author, date and page number of your reference; full title in biblio.


In note: Cohen (1992) 27.

In biblio: Cohen, E.E., 1992. Athenian economy and society. A banking perspective, Princeton.

In note: Fantalkin (2014) 33-5 (= the pages to which you refer for your argument).

In biblio: Fantalkin, A. 2014. ‘Naukratis as a contact zone: revealing the Lydian connection’, in Kulturkontakte in antiken Welten. Vom Denkmodell zum Fallbeispiel ed. R. Rollinger, K. Schnegg. Leuven: Peeters, 27-51 (= the pages of the entire article).

In note: Gallego (2007) 15, 20-1.

In biblio: Gallego, J., 2007. ‘Farming in the ancient Greek world. How should the small free producers be defined?’ Studia Humaniora Tartuensia, 8 (8 A.3), 1-21.

In note: Finley (1981; [1965]) 160-2.

In biblio: Finley, M.I. 1981 [1965]. ‘Debt-bondage and the problem of slavery’, in Economy and society in ancient Greece, ed. M.I. Finley, B.D. Shaw, R.P. Saller. London: Chatto & Windus, 150-66.

Primary sources:

Literary sources:

The author is the ancient author, not the scholar who made the edition or translation.

The title is the title of the ancient work.

In footnotes or the main text reference is made to the author, when applicable to a specific work and to the place in the work by paragraph, line or whatever kind of division is conventionally used; you never refer to a page of a book (edition).

Usually, you do not need to include the full title of the text in the biblio; you only refer to the edition of the text you used when this is relevant, for instance when you quote from the introduction, or when you compare various translations.

Authors are indicated by the fixed abbreviations of their names; the most commonly used abbreviations can be found in the Oxford Classical Dictionary; next best the great dictionaries, e.g. Liddell, Scott and Jones’s Greek-English Lexicon (LSJ).

Author names are never italicised, the titles of books or collections of fragments must be italicised (compare above, secondary lit.).

If a text was formerly attributed to an author, but not so anymore today, [ ] are added to the name, or Ps. before the name: Ps. Xen. (or) [Xen.]


Hdt. 4.81 or: IV.81 = Herodotus book 4, par. 81. (H. wrote one single book, the Histories).

Ar. Nub. 215-9 = Aristophanes, Nubes (= Clouds) l. 215-9.

Pl. Resp. 368A-B = Plato, Respublica (= The Republic) par. 368 sections A and B.

Cic. Cat. III, 1-2 = Cicero, Oratio in L. Catilinam tertia (= the third speech against Lucius Catilina) par. 1 and 2.

Examples of citations:

You cite a passage from the Ath.Pol. in the English translation by H. Rackham in the Loeb-edition.

‘After this it began to come about that the tyranny was much harsher; for Hippias’s numerous executions and sentences of exile in revenge for his brother led to his being suspicious of everybody and embittered.’ ([Arist.] Ath.Pol. 19.1; transl. H. Rackham, Loeb-ed.)

(no title in biblio).

You refer to Rackham’s introduction to the Loeb-ed.:

According to H. Rackham, ‘the treatise can … be dated between 328 and 325 B.C.’

In note: Rackham (1981; [19522]) 5.

In biblio: H. Rackham, 1981 [19522], ‘Introduction’, in Aristotle, The Athenian Constitution, the Eudemian Ethics, On Virtues and Vices, transl. H. Rackham (Cambridge, Ma./ London; Loeb-ed.) 2-5.

NB: voor studenten die in het Nederlands schrijven: ook als je Engelse vertalingen citeert, verwijs je niet naar de titels van antieke teksten in het Engels, maar ofwel in het Nederlands (De Atheense constitutie) of in de getranscribeerde oorspronkelijke taal indien Grieks (de Athênaiôn Politeia) of in het Latijn, indien het gaat om een Latijnse tekst (bijv. De officiis).

When you quote several lines from a poem, you indicate the line ends by /.


‘So close to us! Do change your minds/ and move it very far away from us.’

Ar. Nub. 215-6; transl. J. Henderson, Loeb-ed.


All inscriptions have a fixed catalogue tag/ number, referring to the corpus or to a standard collection / edition. When quoting several lines, indicate line ends with /

Add the name of the translator if you use someone else’s translation.

Greek inscriptions:

For the abbreviations of corpora and editions of Greek inscriptions, see for instance the PHI ( or AIO (for Attic inscriptions; For italics, as above: authors/ editors not italicised, titles of corpora / editions italics.

Example of citation:

‘The Council and the People decided. – was the prytany; —on was secretary; – was chairman. / Thoudippos proposed: to send heralds whom the Council shall elect from [those present?] to the / cities, two [to Ionia and Caria], two [towards Thrace, two] to the Islands, [two to] the Hellespont; / and these shall – to the common body of each city that envoys are to be present in the month of Maimakterion . . . introducers . . . these shall also choose (?) a secretary and
/ a co[-secretary?] . . .; and the Council shall . . . ten men’.

Reference in footnote (or main text):

IG I3 71, ll. 3-8. Transl. Stephen Lambert, P.J. Rhodes (AIO).

Latin inscriptions:

For a searchable database of Latin inscriptions see, which has entries of the ILS (Inscriptiones Latinae Selectae), the AE (l’Année épigraphique) and CIL (Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum), and other minor corpora.

Example of citation:

‘M(arcus) Agrippa L(uci) f(ilius) co(n)s(ul) tertium fecit’

Reference in footnote (or main text):

CIL 6.896.


References usually follow main rules of secondary literature, because you use published academic work on archaeological material. When referring to a plate (map, photo, drawing, etc.) refer to figure number and page number.

JB / 14/9/15