This guide is intended to help you with the presentation of the essays and written assignments that you will write in the Department of Ancient Classics. It sets out a number of guidelines that will help you present your work in the best manner possible. Good presentation is an important aspect of good written work, and should be taken seriously. All essays must be typed.
Using sources: some general points
When you submit an essay/ written assignment, you will make frequent reference to books, articles, and ancient sources, whether in hard copy or in electronic format. Sometimes you will quote directly from a source — and remember, if you quote an author’s words directly, you must put them in single quotation marks (‘’). Or you may make use of a specific piece of information or an idea that you have found in your reading. More frequently, perhaps, you will summarise information found in one of your sources. In all cases, you will need to inform your reader where you found the material. Failure to do so means that you are engaging in plagiarism. See relevant section. This applies both to the ancient sources (such as Homer, Virgil, etc.) and to modern works. You will need to include in your essay/written work both references and a bibliography. The format recommended for presenting references and a bibliography is outlined below and is based on the ‘Harvard’ style, which is perhaps the easiest to use. For further information on using sources, see G. Harvey, Writing With Sources: A Guide for Students (Hackett, 1998).
You may put references either in parentheses (sometimes called ‘round brackets’) in the text, like this: (Shotter 1994: 96) or (Virgil, Aeneid, 2.3), or you may put them in footnotes without the brackets.
References to modern works
If you are quoting from or referring to a modern work, your reference will need to include three items of information. For example, imagine that you want to quote from or refer to the following text from p. 96 of David Shotter’s book The Fall of the Roman Republic (London, 1994): ‘Historians have traditionally seen the battle of Actium as a watershed — the end of the republic and beginning of the Augustan principate. It is doubtful whether most Romans would have been aware of this great milestone, as Octavian, his faction and patronage represented a massive demonstration of continuity.’ Any quotation from, or reference to this text, will be followed by the reference (Shotter 1994: 96) either in parentheses or in a footnote. This contains the name of the author, the date of publication, and the page number.
References to ancient sources
The system of referring to ancient sources does not use page numbers like modern works, but is based on ancient and medieval editorial conventions that divide ancient works into books and chapters (and sometimes sections too) in the case of prose works, and books and line numbers in the case of poetry. If, for example, you want to quote the phrase ‘political equality was a thing of the past; all eyes watched for imperial commands’ from the Annals by Tacitus, your reference will read as follows: (Tacitus, Annals, 1.4). Sometimes you will want to refer to, but not quote, an ancient author. At other times, you will want to refer not to one chapter in an ancient work, but to several chapters. In all cases a specific reference to your source must be supplied.
All essays must include at the end a bibliography, which lists the books and articles you have consulted. It should be arranged alphabetically according to author surname (or standard name in the case of ancient texts). You might find that it is better to have separate sections in your bibliography for ancient and modern works. There are different ways of listing ancient texts and modern books and articles in a bibliography. Here are some simple rules to follow:
Translations of ancient texts should be cited as follows:
Virgil, Aeneid, translated by H. Rushton Fairclough (London, 1935).
Modern books should be cited as follows:
Shotter, David, The Fall of the Roman Republic (London, 1994).
Modern articles in journals should be cited as follows:
Griffin, Miriam, ‘The Senate’s Story’, Journal of Roman Studies 87 (1997), 249-263.
Modern articles collected in a book should be cited as follows:
Potter, D. S., ‘Roman Religion: Ideas and Actions’, in Life, Death, and Entertainment in the Roman Empire, edited by D. S. Potter and D. J. Mattingly (Ann Arbor, 1999), 113-167.