Primary Source Reference System Details
Below, you will find details on citing primary source authors whom you are likely to encounter.
Stephanus Pagination (Plato, Plutarch's Moralia)
When referring to any of Plato's dialogues or Plutarch's Moralia, write the title of the work and its Stephanus pagination, which consists of two elements: a number and a lowercase letter between
e. No space
comes between the number and letter. You will usually find the Stephanus pagination (number-letter combination) written in the margin of your text. For example, if you wanted to refer to the opening sentence of Plato's Gorgias,
you would look to the margin and find
447a written. The next section would be 447b, then 447c, and so on until 447e, which comes before 448a; the final sentence of the Gorgias falls in section 527e. When you cite Plato
Moralia, give the author, title, a space, and the Stephanus pagination (number-letter combination). Plutarch's Lives, however, have their own internal section numbers that are not part of
the Stephanus pagination.
|Alcibiades in Plato's Symposium 214c complains that pitting a drunken man against a sober man is unfair in:||Pl. Sym. 214c|
|Plato Phaedrus 244a–245b (on love as madness)||Pl. Phdr. 244a–245b|
|The first sentences of Plato's Apology:||Pl. Apol. 17a|
|Plutarch, The Dinner of the Seven Sages, first lines||Plut. Septem. 146b|
|Plutarch Conjugalia praecepta 138d||Plut. Conj. praec. 138d|
Plutarch, Life of Lycurgus,
where the Egyptians talk about Lycurgus
Plut. Lyc. 4.5
Lives do not use Stephanus pagination
You do not need to cite the line number of a reference in Plato or Plutarch: only the Stephanus pagination. A competent reader will be able to find the sentence without line numbers.
Bekker Pagination (Aristotle)
Bekker pagination is like Stephanus pagination but for Aristotle. For example, the Nicomachean Ethics begin on page 1094 in Bekker's edition, near the top of the page, so you would cite:
You do not need to worry about the line number.
Scholars in other fields (especially religious studies) tend to use book and chapter numbers; these are, often, much easier for locating a reference, but classicsts do not use them.
Some authors' works survive only as fragments. These are often gathered by editors into collections, like Gerber's Greek Iambic Poetry. Be careful: not only fragments but also testimonia (what ancient people said about the poet
or his works) are bundled together. If your quotation is a fragment, abbreviate
fr.; if a testimonium,
T.; then give the number and the editor's name.
For example, to cite the Archilochean distich beginning ἐν δορὶ μέν μοι μᾶζα, you would write:
If you're using an anthology (like Games of Venus for the course on ancient love), just follow the abbreviated citations given with each fragment. Someone else has done all the work for you!
Examples for Specific Authors
Each primary source has its own traditional system of citation. You will find the following relevant to your interests this quarter.
Achilles Tatius (Ach. Tat.)
Achilles Tatius wrote only one surviving work, the novel Leucippe and Clitophon, in eight books. Since there is only one work to this author, you do not need to give its title in citations, and it has no abbreviation. Give the book number and the section number.
|Achilles Tatius Leucippe and Clitophon book 4 section 22||Ach. Tat. 4.22|
Apollonius of Rhodes (Ap. Rhod.)
There are a lot of Greek authors named Apollonius, so you need to add in the
Rhod. to make clear that you don't mean Apollonius the paradoxographer or Apollonius Dyscolus or some other Apollonius. Apollonius' main surviving work
is the Argonautica (Argon.), but there are some epigrams and fragments too, so you do need to specify Argon.; also give the book number and line number you wish to cite.
|Apollonius of Rhodes Argonautica book 3 line 200||Ap. Rhod. Argon. 3.200|
Apuleius wrote many interesting things, including a defense speech for himself, the Apologia (Apol.), and a bizarre novel in bizarre Latin with a Greek title: Metamorphoses (Met.).
The comic poet Aristophanes gets one of the shortest abbreviations: Ar. Among his works stands the Lysistrata (Lys.); cite the verse number.
|Aristophanes Lysistrata verse 456||Ar. Lys. 456|
Gaius Valerius Catullus (Catull.)
Catullus, a contemporary of Cicero, wrote many poems, perhaps in different books. Today, they all have numbers. Reference the poems by number and verse number.
|Catullus, poem 16, verse 1||Catull. 16.1|
Marcus Tullius Cicero (Cic.)
Cicero is the preeminent Latin orator and the gold standard of Latin prose style. His fourteen Philippics aginst Mark Antony get the abbreviation Phil.. If citing the Philippics, give the number of the speech and the section number.
|Cicero Philippics speech 2, section 14||Cic. Phil. 2.14|
Dio Chrysostomus (Dio Chrys.)
Few people today read the Orations (Or.) of Dio Chrysostomus, which is a shame. His first Tarsic Discourse has the number 33. Give the speech number and section number.
|Dio Chrysostomus Orations 33 section 7||Dio Chrys. 33.7|
Euripides wrote tragedies. Give the name of the tragedy and the numbers of the lines you are citing.
|Euripides Trojan Women verses 523–24||Eur. Tro. 523–24|
Gorgias, the sophist, wrote a number of works that survive in fragments but also the Helen (Hel.) and Palamedes (Pal.). Give the section number too.
|Gorgias Helen section 3||Gorg. Hel. 3|
|Gorgias Palamedes section 3||Gorg. Pal. 3|
Works ascribed to Hesiod include the Theogony (Theog.) and the Works and Days (Op.). Cite with the work and line number.
|Hesiod Theogony 116–206||Hes. Theog. 116–206|
Works ascribed to Homer include the Iliad, the Odyssey, and the Homeric Hymns. The Iliad (Il.) and Odyssey (Od.) are divided into twenty-four books each, and each book consists of hundreds of verses. The Homeric Hymns (Hom. Hymn) consist of 33 poems about different gods and goddesses. Some people refer to them by the name of that god or goddess, such as Hom. Hymn Dem. for the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, but that can cause confusion, since there are two hymns to Demeter in the collection. Since the order of the hymns is standard, it is best to refer to them by number: Hom. Hymn 2 for the first hymn to Demeter. After a period, give the verse number or numbers as well.
|Homer Odyssey book 6, verse 265||Hom. Od. 6.265|
|Homer Hymn to Demeter verse 33||Hom. Hymn 2.33|
Quintus Horatius Flaccus (Hor.)
Horace' works include the Ars poetica (Ars P.) in a single book, four books of Odes (Carm. for Carmina) and one of Epodes (Epod.), the standalone Carmen saeculare (Carm. saec.), two books each of Sermones or Satirae (Sat.) and Epistulae (Epist.), which are also satires. Cite the title; the number of the book if it's Odes, Sermones, or Epistulae; the poem number if it's Odes, Epodes, Sermones, or Epistulae; and the verse number or numbers.
|Horace Epodes poem 5 verses 21–22||Hor. Epod. 5.22|
|Horace Sermones book 2 poem 3 verse 4||Hor. Sat. 2.3.4|
Give the speech (such as the Helen, which you may abbreviate either Hel. or numerically without italics as 10) and the section number. The Busiris is Bus. or 11. Whichever form of citation (title or number) you adopt, stay consistent throughout your paper.
|Isocrates, beginning of the Helen||Isoc. Hel. 1|
|Isocrates, beginning of the Busiris||Isoc. Bus. 1|
Lucian (whose name the OCD index misspells as "Lucan") is difficult to cite, because many of his dialogues have multiple titles, none of which in Greek resemble the Latin (whence are derived the abbreviations) nor the English with which you might be familiar. The Mistaken Critic is known by it's Latinized Greek title as Pseudologista, so its abbreviation is Pseudol.; and Dialogues of the Courtesans is in Latin Dialogi meretricii, so Dial. meret. Some are not on the ocd list but have traditional abbreviations: Phalaris is Phal., Dialogues of the Sea Gods is Dial. marin., and the Praise of the Fly is Musc. enc. (from its Latin title, Muscae encomium). All the dialogues have section numbers. The Dialogues of the Sea Gods and Dialogues of the Courtesans are collections of dialogues, so be sure to cite the number of the dialogue too.
|Lucian Dialogues of the Sea Gods dialogue 1 section 2.||Luc. Dial. marin. 1.2|
|Lucian Dialogues of the Courtesans dialogue 1 section 2.||Luc. Dial. meret. 1.2|
|Lucian Mistaken Critic section 1||Luc. Pseudol. 1|
|Lucian Phalaris section 1||Luc. Phal. 1|
|Lucian Praise of the Fly section 1||Luc. Musc. enc. 1|
Titus Lucretius Carus (Lucr.)
Lucretius' only surviving work is the De Rerum Natura. Because that is Lucretius' only work, we do not have to cite its title, and there is no abbreviation. Cite by book and line number.
|Lucretius De Rerum Natura book 4 verses 1101–04.||Lucr. 4.1101–04|
Publius Ovidius Naso (Ov.)
Ovid wrote many things; you will likely cite the Ars amatoria (Ars am.) in three books or the single book of the Remedia amoris (Rem. am.). If a multi-book work, give the book number; give the verse number.
|Ovid Ars amatoria book 3 verse 55||Ov. Ars am. 3.55|
|Ovid Remedia amoris verse 66||Ov. Rem. am. 66|
Pindar wrote epinician odes celebrating atheltic victories and divided into four books, named after the four great games: Isthmian (Isthm.), Nemean (Nem.), Olympian (Ol.), and Pythan (Pyth.).
|Pindar Nemean Odes ode 8, lines 38–39||Pind. Nem. 8.38–39|
See Stephanus Pagination.
If citing the Moralia (like the Conjugalia praecepta), see Stephanus Pagination.
The lives, like the Life of Lycurgus (Lyc.) do not have Stephanus pagination. Just cite the chapter and section.
Plutarch, Life of Lycurgus, chapter 4, section 5
where the Egyptians talk about Lycurgus
|Plut. Lyc. 4.5|
[Marcus Fabius Quintilianus] ([Quint.])
Marcus Fabius Quintilianus, or Quintilian, was a real person. Whoever wrote the Declamationes maiores (Decl. Maj.) was probably not that Quintilian. When citing a work thought to be falsely attributed to an author
(it happens), put the author's name in square brackets . It used to be the case that scholars would prefix
pseudo- to the name, but  is briefer, and briefer is better. The Declamationes Maiores consist of nineteen
speeches, each with a number and consisting of numbered sections.
|[Quintilian] Declamationes maiores 13 section 4||[Quint.] Decl. Maj. 13.4|
Quintus Smyrnaeus (Quint. Smyrn.)
Only one work, the Posthomerica in fourteen books, survives from Quintus Smyrnaeus' hand. As is usual for authors with only one work, there is no abbreviation for the work: citations consist only of the author's name, the number of the book, and the verse number.
|Quintus Smyrnaeus Posthomerica book 10, lines 447–68.||Quint. Smyrn. 10.447–68.|
Synesius is a late author with few surviving works. He does not make it into the abbreviations of the Oxford Classical Dictionary, so spell everything out. No abbreviations for Synesius. Cite with his name, the name of the oration, and the section number.
Publius Terentius Afer (
Terence wrote comedies, including the Eunuchus (Eun.). Cite with verse number.
|Terence Eunuchus verse 789||Ter. Eun. 789|
Theocritus is most well known for his cowboy poetry or Idylls (Id.), but he also wrote epigrams and a Syrinx, so you do need to specify the Id. if you are referencing them. Give the number of the Idyll and line number that you wish to cite.
|Theocritus idyll 11 verses 1–2||Theoc. Id. 11.1–2|
Because so many Greek names begin with
Theo-, Theognis' name receives an unusal abbreviation, something other than the first syllable and a half with a dot afterwards.
Theognis' poetry survives as a jumbled mass of verses. It is not clear where one poem leaves off and another starts. So, the whole mess just has line numbers with no other division. Cite the verse line numbers.
|Theognis line 133||Thgn. 133|
Publius Vergilius Maro (Verg.)
Vergil wrote the Aeneid (Aen.), which consists of twelve books of epic verse, as well as one book of ten Bucolics or cowboy-poems, also called Eclogues (Ecl.), and four books of Georgics (G.).
|Vergil Aeneid book 4, line 296||Verg. Aen. 4.296|
|Vergil eclogue 4 lines 37–59||Verg. Ecl. 4.37–59|
Give the work and any book (if a multi-book work), chapter, and section numbers.
beginning of Xenophon's Apology
This work has only section numbers.
|Xen. Ap. 1|
|third section of second chapter of first book of the Memorabilia
This work has book, chapter, and section numbers.
|Xen. Mem. 1.2.3|
Xenophon, Symposium chapter 8 section 7
This work has both chapters and section numbers.
|Xen. Symp. 8.7|