The Oxford Classical Dictionary

e-Book & Magazine. August 2, 2010 by Lastsoft2.
The Oxford Classical Dictionary
The Oxford Classical Dictionary
ISBN-10: 0192687670 | CD | exe | 140 MB

Over a quarter of a century has elapsed since the last revision to the Oxford Classical Dictionary, longer even than the 21 years between the first and second editions. As noted in the introduction to the current edition, those years have seen a phenomenal growth in classical scholarship, indeed, in all the humanistic disciplines, and an awakening of interest in new theories and subjects long ignored. Evidence of these changes can be seen in the titles of some of the approximately 800 new articles: Homosexuality, Women in Philosophy, Abortion, Class Struggle, and Literary Theory and Classical Languages.

Most articles show signs of revision and reworking, often extensive. Bibliographies have been updated as well, even in those articles (mostly short ones) reprinted without change. The editors have also made an effort to make the work more accessible to the layperson. Many of the new articles are thematic articles of general interest: Earthquakes; Shipwrecks, Ancient; and Fishing, for example. Contributors have been instructed to limit explanations that require knowledge of Greek or Latin, and although a number do appear, they are generally related to very specific details and do not compromise the comprehension of the articles in which they are found. As with the second edition, there is no general index, but there are rather generous cross-references as well as asterisks next to terms for which a separate article exists.

Users of the previous editions will be happy to know that the new edition continues to function well as a tool for identification and for the location of much of what factual information is known of the ancient world. Many of the new articles are for specific individuals, places, or things, from Acanthus (a Greek colony in Chalcidice) to Zeuxis Philathes (a Greek physician of the Augustan age). The level of scholarship remains uncompromising. Bibliographies, for example, consistently list relevant primary texts and often include non-English secondary sources. Certain discussions may not be clear to every reader, as in the account under Calender, Roman of how the 10-month calendar acquired extra months, which omits any explanation of how Quintilus came to be July. An effort has been made in this edition to list persons under family name and under linguistically correct forms even when other forms may be more familiar, so that Julius Caesar is under Iulius Caesar, Gaius and Scipio Africanus under Cornelius Scipio Africanus (the elder), Publius, though adequate cross-references exist. Occasionally, an effort to move the discussion of a specific term to a more general article has produced a blind reference; the reader, for example, is told under effatus to see Augures, but in that article the term effatus is not mentioned.

Still, despite occasional difficulties, this is a work that makes a fascinating world of learning accessible to a broad audience. The editor, in thanking the contributors for their generosity, notes that "the pressures of university life are now in the direction of selfish productivity at the level of pure research." This work, though thoroughly up to date, does seem like the product of another era, when the gap between what scholars wrote and the rest of us read was less stark. It should continue to be the single most heavily used book on classical studies in the reference collections of academic libraries, and it deserves a place in all but the smallest public libraries as well as in high-school libraries where classical studies are at all a part of the curriculum. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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