It is important to provide references in your work. You should give a reference for anything that you have quoted, as well as to direct the reader to specific material, arguments or ideas that you have taken from your reading (ancient or modern). There are several different referencing systems used in academia (and across this university) and you have probably encountered some of them in your reading. The first part of this document provides a guide for how to use the ‘author-date’ referencing system in footnotes, as this is the department’s recommended style. We do not, however, prescribe one particular system, so you are free to choose whichever one you prefer, especially if you are a Joint Honours student and are used to using a different referencing system in another department. (For example, Archaeology use the Harvard System, with is a variant of the ‘author-date’ system, but with references given in brackets within the text, rather than in footnotes. There are also separate referencing guides for other departments, including English and History.) The most important thing is to be clear and consistent, so that the reader can understand the reference easily and can find the relevant item in your bibliography. Also, remember that references (whether as footnotes, endnotes or in-text citations) contribute to your word count. (Please note that all these rules are for coursework, rather than exams – see the end of this document for advice about referencing under exam conditions.)

How to reference classical texts

There are established referencing systems for ancient texts, instead of simply giving the page number of a modern edition or translation. These can, however, be somewhat arcane. When there is only one text extant by an individual author, their name is usually used to refer to it (e.g. Thucydides or Herodotus); otherwise, the author and title of the work is given (e.g. Plato, Republic). Prose works are referenced by chapter, or book and chapter (with occasional subdivisions). Thucydides 2.34-46, 65 therefore refers to Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War, book 2, chapters 34-46 and 65. Texts in verse are referenced using line numbers, as well as book numbers if appropriate (e.g. Homer, Iliad 18.135-57). A few authors, most notably Plato and Aristotle, have continuous numbering across their works as well as individual titles, leading to slightly confusing references, such as Plato, Symposium 189c-193d. These numbers are always given in the margins of editions, as well as in most translations. When a text is sometimes reputed to be the work of a particular author, but the attribution is doubtful or generally rejected, the author’s name is prefixed with ‘Pseudo’ or placed in square brackets (e.g. Pseudo-Xenophon, Ps.-Xenophon or [Xenophon]). If you’re unsure, look at the referencing methods used by your lecturers or other modern scholars. You can abbreviate authors and titles in references if you wish, provided that your abbreviations are brief, clear and consistent (e.g. Cic. Off. for Cicero, De officiis). You can find a list of standard abbreviations of classical authors and texts in the front of the Oxford Classical Dictionary or here.

Inscriptions and papyri

Series of ancient inscriptions, papyri and other similar texts (such as ostraca or the Vindolanda tablets) have their own referencing systems. These usually consist of the abbreviation for the series (e.g. CIL for Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum; IG for Inscriptiones Graecae; RIB for Roman Inscriptions of Britain; ICUR for Inscriptiones Christianae Urbis Romae; P.Oxy. for Oxyrhynchus Papyri) followed by the volume number (if appropriate) in Roman numerals and the text number in Arabic numerals. For example, CIL VI.536 means text number 536 in volume VI of the Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, while P.Oxy. 1102 means Oxyrhynchus Papyrus number 1102. If there have been multiple editions of a volume, the edition number is given in superscript: so, IG I3 236 means text number 236 in the third edition of volume I of Inscriptiones Graecae. You can find a comprehensive guide to editions and abbreviations for papyri, ostraca and tablets here.

How to reference modern scholarship

You should always provide a reference for anything you’ve quoted or anything that was the source for an idea in your work. You should also provide a full bibliography at the end of any piece of written work. Footnotes form part of your word count, but your bibliography doesn’t, so it’s best to keep footnote references as concise as possible. We recommended using the ‘author-date’ referencing system in footnotes, as this keeps references brief. For this system, you give the name of the modern author, the year of publication (in brackets) and then the page number(s) that you want to refer to: e.g. Holleran (2012), 156-162. If you’re referring to more than one author with the same surname, give their initials as well to distinguish between them, e.g. B. Gibson (2010), 145-7; R. Gibson (2013), 402. If you’re referring to more than one thing published by the same author in the same year, attach letters to the dates to distinguish them: e.g. Borg (2011a), 42-5; Borg (2011b), 114-127. For websites, give the web address and the date that you accessed it.

Dictionaries and encyclopaedias

You may sometimes need to reference an entry dictionary or encyclopaedia in a footnote. When you do this, it is usual to state the name of the reference work (or an abbreviation for it), followed by ‘s.v.’ and then the term that you’ve looked up (usually in inverted commas). If there are multiple editions of a reference work, the edition number is usually give in superscript at the end of the abbreviation. For example, the entry for Pompeii in the fourth print edition of the Oxford Classical Dictionary would be referenced in this way: OCD4 s.v. ‘Pompeii’. You should reference these works in the same way regardless of whether you consulted them electronically or in hard copy.

You will probably come across abbreviations for various dictionaries and encyclopaedias in your reading, but here are some standard ones for common reference works:

OCD Oxford Classical Dictionary
OCD online New online Oxford Classical Dictionary
OLD Oxford Latin Dictionary
LSJ Liddel and Scott (rev. Jones), Greek-English Lexicon
Lewis & Short Lewis and Short, A Latin Dictionary
New Pauly Brill's New Pauly
TLL Thesaurus Linguae Latinae


If you’ve used an online version of a book, journal or other major academic resource (e.g. Oxford Classical Dictionary), you should reference it in exactly the same way as the print version. If, however, you need to refer to an ordinary website, you should provide the following information in your footnote: author (if known), title, web address and date you last accessed it (in brackets). If this information is given in footnotes, it is not necessary to repeat it in the bibliography at the end of the essay.


When referencing a modern commentary on an ancient text, you can use the same procedure as for other modern scholarship, with author, date and page number in the footnote. Alternatively, you can also use ad loc. in the footnote instead of a page number if you want to state that you’re referring to a comment on a particular line or chapter of the text that you’ve been discussing in the main text of your piece. For example, your essay could contain the line ‘As Michael Flower and John Marincola remark, the narrative in Herodotus 9.100.1 is clearly presented from the perspective of the Greeks’. In this case, your footnote could read either ‘Flower and Marincola (2002), 278’ (as that’s the correct page number) or ‘Flower and Marincola (2002), ad loc.’ (as the reader would then know to look in the section on chapter 100.1 in their commentary on book 9 of Herodotus). Whichever way you choose to reference a modern commentary in a footnote, it should still be listed in your bibliography in the usual manner.


Sometimes you may wish to include images in your work. If you do, you should provide a caption below each image stating what it depicts (e.g. The House of the Tragic Poet, Pompeii). You should also state where you got the image from, giving either the usual bibliographic information, if it’s from a book, or the relevant web address. If you took the picture yourself, you can write ‘Author’s own image’, and if you got it from someone else, you can write ‘Courtesy of [name]’. If you have a lot of images and are worried that the captions will increase your word count significantly, you can simply provide the description of each image in its caption and then give all the relevant bibliographic information in a ‘List of Illustrations’ alongside your main bibliography.


Your bibliography should come at the end of your piece of work and doesn’t form part of the word count. It should contain information about every publication that you’ve referenced in the piece. You should start with a section for ancient texts (if applicable), stating the editions/translations that you’ve used. This should be followed by modern scholarship, arranged in alphabetical order by author. Books, chapters in edited volumes and journal articles are all referenced slightly differently from each other:

Ancient Works

You list of ancient works should be arranged alphabetically by ancient author. You should write each reference in the following order: ancient author, title of work (in italics), name(s) of editor(s) and/or translator(s) (with ed. or trans. before the name), place of publication and publisher (separated with a colon) and date. For example:

Plato, Republic, trans. R. Waterfield, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993.

Modern Books

When referencing a book that’s written entirely by the same author or authors, you should give the reference in the following order: surname, initials, date (in brackets), title (in italics), and place of publication and publisher (separated with a colon). You don’t need to give a page span in the bibliography, even if you’ve only read one chapter. For example:

Holleran, C. (2012), Shopping in Ancient Rome: The Retail Trade in the Late Republic and the Principate, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Chapters in edited volumes

When you’re referring to a single chapter by an author in an edited volume that has chapters by lots of different people, you should list it by the name of the chapter author. You should provide the following information: surname, initials, date (in brackets), chapter title (within inverted commas), ‘in’ name(s) of editor(s), followed by (ed.) or (edd.), book title (in italics), place of publication and publisher (separated with a colon) and page span for the whole chapter. For example:

Gibson, R. (2013), ‘Letters into autobiography: the generic mobility of the ancient letter collection’, in T. D. Papanghelis, S. J. Harrison and S. Frangoulidis (edd.), Generic Interfaces in Latin Literature: Encounters, Interactions and Transformations, Berlin: De Gruyter, 387-416.

Journal articles

Articles in journals are referenced in a similar way to chapters in edited volumes, except you don’t need to provide information about the editors of the journal or its place of publication and publisher. You should, however, give the volume number. You reference journals in the same way whether you’ve accessed them online or in print. You should provide the following information: surname, initials, date (in brackets), article title (within inverted commas), journal name (in italics), volume number and page span for article. For example:

Gabba, E. (1981), ‘True History and False History in Classical Antiquity’, Journal of Roman Studies 71, 50-62.


You should still refer to ancient material and modern scholarship (where appropriate) in exams, but you don’t need to be as detailed as you would be for coursework. Firstly, exams don’t need footnotes and bibliographies. Secondly, you don’t need to give the dates and titles of pieces of modern scholarship, unless you want to use them to make a specific point (e.g. to state that a book written in 1965 reflects the scholarly trends of the period and now appears outdated or to reflect on how Wolf Liebeschuetz’s book, The Decline and Fall of the Roman City evokes the title of Edward Gibbon’s masterpiece). You will, however, find it useful to be able to associate particular ideas and approaches with particular scholars. For instance, a sentence that begins with ‘Scholars argue that…’ is less likely to please the examiners than one that starts with ‘Scholars such as Paul Cartledge and Robin Osborne argue that…’ (assuming, of course, that you go on to give an accurate account of Cartledge and Osborne’s views).

You should similarly be able to refer to specific ancient authors (or other relevant evidence such as inscriptions, art or archaeological material, if appropriate), especially when these have been core reading for a given module. In general, specific detail is desirable (e.g. knowing in which text and what context Cicero makes a particular remark, as that matters for how we interpret it), although it’s not worth memorising a lot of chapter and verse references unless you want them to make a specific point. For example, in a coursework essay, you would provide a footnote to say that Thucydides comments on his historiographical method at Histories 1.22, but in an exam essay it would be fine to say ‘Thucydides outlines his approach to speeches in book 1’, unless your argument involved detailed discussion of how this passage relates to the chapters that immediately precede or follow that one.