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Classical Studies, Sources : Types of Sources

Introduction to Annual Bibliographies & Periodical Indexes

Classical Studies is unique in having bibliographies covering scholarship from the earliest days of printing until today’s l'Année philologique. In the 3rd c. BCE, Callimachus, librarian at the Library of Alexandria, created the Pinakes, which were a sort of bibliographic survey of authors and works held in the library, similar to die Archäologische Bibliographie of the German Archaeological Institute reflecting their library’s holdings. The Pinakes are said to have comprised 120 books, laying the foundation for later work on the history of Greek literature. The word bibliography comes from the Greek βιβλιογραφία (βιβλίον meaning book, tablet, paper -- byblos is also the word in Greek for papyrus -- and γράφω = I write) and was used by Greek writers in the first three centuries CE to refer to the copying of books by hand (at this time papyrus scrolls, not yet the codex). In the 12th century, the word began to be used for "the intellectual activity of composing books." The 17th century then saw the emergence of the modern meaning, that of a description of books and that is when bibliographies in classics began to be published in earnest. The librarian who first introduced an attempt at a comprehensive bibliography in classics was Johannes Albertus Fabricius (1668-1736). His Bibliotheca Graeca and Bibliotheca Latina indexed books from around 1470 through the 1700s. The Latina was first published in 1697. At that time, as during the Hellenistic period, librarians were chiefly scholars rather than administrators. Fabricius was born in Leipzig, but spent much of his life in Hamburg, first as librarian and later as professor of ethics and rhetoric at the local Gymnasium.

In those days the bibliographies looked somewhat different from today, more in the school of Leipzig than the recent Paris counterparts. Classics in Germany usually refers to classical philology whereas the French, just like the Americans, tend to be somewhat more liberal in their definition and also include art, archaeology, history, etc.

To the German bibliographers all scholarship would fall under the names of authors and titles, so Tacitus was not chiefly a historian, but a Latin author and his works were studied more for their literary and textual qualities than for their historical details. There was Die Archäologische Bibliographie: Beilage zum Jahrbuch des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, i.e., the catalog of the DAI, but it was not published as a separate bibliography containing both monographs and periodicals until 1913. Before that the catalog edited by August Mau contained only monographs published 1900-1902.

The typical German bibliography such as those of Fabricius begins with authors and text editions, translations (versiones) and catalecta (opera minora), and centones popular in late antiquity where authors would take verses from Vergil and assemble them into a literary patchwork to form a new poem, e.g., Proba Falconia’s Cento vergilianus de laudibus Christi.

Another early bibliography was Franz Ludwig Anton Schweiger’s (1803-1872) Handbuch der classischen Bibliographie, also covering the beginning of printing to ca. 1820-1830. This is also a “typical” Leipzig publication whose organization is similar: Authors, text editions, Übersetzungen (translations), Erläuterungschriften (commentaries), ältere Erklärer, centones.

A third bibliography which covers some of the same years, but also fills in gaps in Schweiger and Fabricius is Wilhelm Engelmann’s (1808-1878) Bibliotheca Scriptorum Classicorum. This was later edited by Emil Preuss, which is why it is usually referred to as the “Engelmann-Preuss.” Engelmann was a book seller and later printer/publisher. In fact, his bibliography was published by his own printing press in 1853, also in Leipzig. It covers the years 1700-1878 and is divided into authors and titles and editions, translations, criticism, etc.   Bucolica … Appendix Vergiliana – Moretum. Translations – German, English, criticisms (secondary sources).

Now we are at 1878 when we find Rudolf Klussmann’s (1846-1925) Bibliotheca Scriptorum et Graecorum et Latinorum covering 1878-1896. Just like the other Leipzig editions, the organization is virtually identical to that of Engelmann-Preuss, Schweiger, and Fabricius. 

The next bibliography, however, is a French title with quite a different organization. Now we are beginning to discern what later came to be. Scarlat Lambrino’s (1891-1964) Bibliographie de l’antiquité classique covers the years 1896-1914. Lambrino was a Romanian living in Portugal and a professor of classics at the University of Lisbon, so no more (German) booksellers or printers or librarians. It looks very similar to the Année with journal abbreviations, authors and texts, and subjects.

A contemporary of Lambrino's (in fact, they both died in 1964) was Jules Marouzeau (1878-1964), the man who founded l’Année philologique. He, just like Lambrino, was a professor of Latin at the Sorbonne. He also edited one of the predecessors to the Année, Dix années de la bibliographie classique, covering the ten years prior to the Année, i.e., 1914-1924. And just like the other two Parisian (Belles Lettres) publications, the organization very much resembles that of the current index with abbreviations, authors, texts, and subject categories -- realia, matières et disciplines -- such as archaeology (divided into Roman, Greek, Christian, and Byzantine), numismatics, history (Greek, Roman, social, regional, religious, prehistory), philosophy, religion, law, etc. It is difficult to imagine that a 20th c. German bibliographer would include a separate section on social history because of their historic emphasis on bibliography and canon.  

This brings us to the contemporary bibliography in classical studies, l’Année philologique. This contemporary index was first published in 1928 and covered the year 1927 and a second volume was published that same year covering the years 1924-1926. This means that the coverage of the index goes back to 1924. The latest print issue is indeed 2018. The Library has not been asleep at the wheel. The print Année lags behind three years. Looking at this tome, maybe now you can understand why we sometimes have difficulty keeping up with acquisitions. It used to be much simpler. There is no longer only one editor, but a team of international scholars under French leadership to cover the numerous contemporary publications (the online version tends to be only one year behind. For more current bibliographic information in Classics it is recommended that you consult Gnomon whose bibliographische  Beilage appears eight times a year).    

The organization of Lambrino and Marouzeau’s Dix années continues in l’Année philologique -- a table of contents followed by abbreviations of journals, monographic series, and multi-volume sets indexed in each volume. Then follows the citation part beginning with authors and texts, editions and criticism; then subject categories – linguistics, archaeology, epigraphy, history, etc. -- followed by indexes to the volumes (this well illustrates both the progress of indexing and how substantive this one has become that it even needs indexes to the index) – ancient name index, geographic index, modern name index, and modern author index.

In 2002, the Année went online with a next to incomprehensible search interface unless you were familiar with the print version. Just like the incunabula imitated manuscripts, the online index imitated the print version. Ancient Authors, Modern Authors, and Subjects and Disciplines constituted separate search fields. In addition, if you were familiar with the print version you would have known to search the ancient authors by their classical Latin name. That is if you tried to search on Livy, you came up with 0 hits. Even Livius resulted in nothing. Liuius, on the other hand, retrieved more than 1,000 hits.  You could not use Aristotle or even Aristoteles, rather Aristoteles Stagirites, which you would have known from the printed index and you would have had to use the classical Latin form of names, i.e., Vergilius Maro (P.) and not the later spelling Virgilius with an i. It was also a challenge to understand whether you were looking at a book chapter or a journal article. Now we are fostering a new generation of classicists who may not be familiar with the print version, nor with the online version either for that matter, but one that may choose to search Google or other search engines instead. Naturally, you will not be able to assemble a comprehensive or even near-to comprehensive bibliography that way. Using subject bibliographies is still the way to do it. Fortunately, Brepols took over a couple of years ago and now the interface and search commands are perfectly self-explanatory. 

There are many other historic bibliographies such as Ruelle’s Bibliotheca Latina: Bibliographie annuelle des etudes latines 1904-1906; Jean Cousin, Bibliographie de la langue latine: 1880-1948, 1951; Hübner’s Bibliographie der klassichen Altertumswissenschaft to 1889, etc., to consult as well if you wish to know which editions were published when or which secondary sources were published before 1924.   

Predecessors to L'Année Philologique

Dix Années de la Bibliographie Classique (1914-1924)

Jules Marouzeau (1878-1964).

Auteurs et textes.--2. ptie. Matières et disciplines.

Professor of Latin at la Faculté des Lettres de Paris (Sorbonne).

Bibliographie de l’Antiquité Classique (1896-1914)

Scarlat Lambrino was born in Rumania in 1891 and died in Portugal in 1964.

Paris:Société d’édition "Les Belles Lettres," 1951- .

Bibliotheca Scriptorum Classicorum et Graecorum et Latinorum (1878-1896)

Rudolf Klussmann (1846-1925).

Published in 1909-1913 in 2 vols.

Leipzig: O. R. Reisland, 1909-13.

Bibliotheca Scriptorum Classicorum (1700-1878)

Wilhelm Engelmann (Emil Preuss) (1808-1878).

German publisher and book dealer.

1. abt. Scriptores graeci. -- 2. abt. Scriptores latini.

Leipzig [etc.]: W. Engelman, 1853.

Was a prentice with book seller Theodor Enslin. When trained worked with book printer Johann Georg Heyse in Bremen; later also with Carl Gerold in Vienna and with Varrentrapp in Frankfurt am Main.

Handbuch der classischen Bibliographie (c. 1500-c. 1830)

Franz Ludwig Anton Schweiger (1803-1872).

Covering the beginning of printing to c. 1830. Overlaps with both Fabricius and Engelmann and fills in gaps between the two. Full text in the Internet Text Archive (

Leipzig: F. Fleischer, 1830-34.

Sammlungen (collections)

Centones (Literary Patchwork, Falconia (Faltonia) Proba (Proba Falconia), verses by Vergil put together for a poem centered on Jesus -- Cento vergilianus de laudibus Christi). Centones common in late antiquity, collage of verses to form a new work.

Ältere Erklärer (older commentators)

Erläuterungschriften (commentaries)

Übersetzungen (translations)

Opuscula—opera minora

Hülftsmittel (handbooks, dictionaries) 

Virgilius. Schweiger and Handbuch 2 Teile (in 3 parts).

Bibliotheca Graeca and Bibliotheca Latina (c. 1480-c. 1700)

Johannes Albertus Fabricius (1668-1736).

Covering the early days of printing to the 1700s in 12 vols. and 6 vols.

Londini: Impensis T. Leigh, & D. Midwinter, ad insigne Rosæ Coronatæ in Cœmeterio D. Pauli, 1703.

Hamburgi: sumtu Benjamin Schiller ; Leoburgi: typis Pfeifferianis, 1712.

Bibliotheca Latina mediæ et infimæ ætatis. Hamburgi, sumtu viduæ Felgineriæ ex officina Piscatoria, 1734-1746.

In 1694 he became librarian in Hamburg and in 1699 became professor of Ethics and Rhetoric at the local Gymnasium, a post he held until his death.


Catalecta—opera minora

Annual Bibliographies & Periodical Indexes

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