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The Oxford Classical Dictionary, Third Edition. Edited by Simon Hornblower and Antony Spawforth. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.
The Oxford Classical Dictionary is the decisive one-volume reference work on the classical world - chosen as an Outstanding Academic Book of 1997 by Choice. As an authoritative one-volume guide to all aspects of the ancient world - political, economic, philosophical, religious, artistic, and social - The Oxford Classical Dictionary has no equal in any language. It is the definitive summation of classical scholarship as it stands today.
For almost half a century, the Oxford Classical Dictionary has been the unrivaled one-volume reference work on the Greco-Roman world. Whether one is interested in literature or art, philosophy or law, mythology or science, intimate details of daily life or broad cultural and historical trends, the Oxford Classical Dictionary is the first place to turn for clear, authoritative information on all aspects of ancient culture. Now comes the Third Edition of this redoubtable resource, 20 per cent larger than the previous edition, with virtually every entry rewritten to bring it up to date with current scholarship, and with over 800 new entries that reflect the greatly expanded scope of classical studies.
Here, in over six thousand entries ranging from long articles to brief identifications, readers can find information on virtually any topic of interest—athletics, bee-keeping, botany, magic, Roman law, religious rites, postal service, slavery, navigation, and the reckoning of time. The Dictionary profiles every major figure of Greece and Rome, from Homer and Virgil, to Plato and Aristotle, to Tacitus and Thucydides, to Julius Caesar and Alexander the Great. (The Oxford Classical Dictionary also covers many important but lesser known figures who will not be found in other reference works.) Readers will find entries on mythological and legendary figures, on major cities, famous buildings, and important geographical landmarks, and on legal, rhetorical, literary, and political terms and concepts. Equally important, the Oxford Classical Dictionary features extensive thematic articles that offer superb coverage of topics of interest to both scholars and general readers, exploring everything from medicine and mathematics to music, law, and marriage.
In addition, there are over 800 completely new entries in the Third Edition, additions that reflect the insights and interests of a new generation of classical scholars. Readers will now find substantial coverage of women in the ancient world (with entries on abortion, breast-feeding, childbirth, housework, midwives, menopause, and motherhood, among many others), sexuality (homosexuality, love and friendship, contraception, pornography), the Far East (with entries ranging from Gandhara to the Persian Gulf), Jews (Dead Sea Scrolls, Pharisees, rabbis, Talmud), and early Christians (churches, pilgrimages, St. Paul). In addition, there are many more thematic articles than in previous editions, some of which reflect the new emphasis on multidisciplinary approaches to classical studies (such as Anthropology and the Classics, Marxism and Classical Antiquity, and Literary Theory and Classical Studies), while others examine issues of general interest to modern readers (race, class struggle, ecology, ethnicity, alcoholism, incest, suicide, pollution, propaganda, literacy, and much more).
Finally, the Oxford Classical Dictionary boasts contributions and guidance from some of the finest classical scholars in the world. In addition to the superb efforts of general editors Hornblower and Spawforth, there were fifteen Area Advisors, including such respected figures as Martha Nussbaum (philosophy), Tony Honore (Roman law), Patricia Easterling (Greek literature), John Matthews (late antiquity), Geoffrey Lloyd (maths and sciences), Helen King (women’s studies), Ernst Badian (Roman Republican prosopography), and Emily Kearns (Greek myth and religion). And among the many eminent authorities who have offered contributions are Albert Henrichs, Fritz Graf, Gian Biagio Conte, Oswyn Murray, Elaine Fantham, Julia Annas, J.J. Pollitt, Michael Jameson, and over three hundred others—a truly international team. Indeed, the aim throughout has been to secure the best experts on the topics covered, wherever in the world they happen to be. Thus, in the area of Greek religion, for instance, contributions have come from Canada, France, Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, Great Britain, and the United States.
About the Editors:
A delight for anyone with any curiosity about the roots of our Western culture, our arts, sciences, and politics. The essays are thorough, yet with an eye to the interests of the contemporary reader. A browser's paradise, and I would think a researcher's quick rescuer. As a result, the Greeks and Romans seem more than ever to be standing behind us, but just over the hill.