Compiled by Michael Taylor, 2012
The LSU Libraries’ rare book collections contain a wide range of materials that may be used to teach and study the history and literature of ancient Greece and Rome. Materials on the "classical tradition"—the reception of Greco-Roman culture from the era of Renaissance humanism to the early twentieth century—are also available.
Many of the books in this subject area have been at LSU since its founding, when classics were an integral part of the curriculum. Others have been acquired from plantation libraries of Louisiana and Mississippi, providing a tool for studying the popularity of classical authors in the United States in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Students interested in translation studies or the history of language learning will also find relevant materials in the library’s collections.
The most notable or representative works related to ancient Greek literature and history in the Rare Book Collection are listed below: Many other works and editions are held. To learn more, please explore the catalog or contact the library.
Other early works:
Roman Literature and Philosophy
The most notable or representative works related to ancient Roman literature and philosophy in the Rare Book Collection are listed below. Many other works and editions are held. To learn more, please explore the catalog or contact the library.
Rhetoric and Philosophy:
The most notable or representative works related to ancient Roman history in the Rare Book Collection are listed below. Many other works and editions are held. To learn more, please explore the catalog or contact the library.
Natural history and geography:
Early modern historians:
In addition to the epic poetry listed in this guide, numerous other books on classical mythology are available in Special Collections. Examples include:
The Rare Book Collection, Louisiana & Lower Mississippi Valley Collection, and particularly the Laughlin Collection contain more than 100 nineteenth- and early twentieth-century retellings of tales from classical mythology, often for a juvenile audience, as well as reference works on the subject. See, for example:
A small number of dictionaries and grammars of classical languages is available, dating back to the sixteenth century. A subject search using the terms “Latin language” or “Greek language” should locate the most relevant works. See also the separate rare book guide on Dictionaries & Language Study.
Works of particular interest include:
Searching for literature in the library’s catalog can be difficult, since subject headings denoting literary genres are rarely provided in catalog records. If you are not looking for works by a specific author, we recommend limiting your catalog search to the Rare Book Collection as a location and using the “wildcard” search feature. By truncating the ending of a search term with the $ sign, you will increase your search results. For example, the keyword or title search “myth$” will locate records containing the words myth, myths, mythology, mythological, etc.
You may also try a call number search, but be aware that because of irregularities of formatting, some call numbers may file out of order. Also note that the Rare Book Collection has been cataloged using both the Library of Congress and Dewey Decimal systems.
For personalized help searching the catalog, please contact or visit the library.