Style guide for Dept of Classics & Ancient History Dept of Classics and Ancient History

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Style guide for Dept of Classics & Ancient History

Dept of Classics and Ancient History

Style Guidelines

Why bother?

One of the many transferrable skills that you will acquire during your degree course is the ability to follow detailed instructions about how a document should be presented. This will be useful in whatever future career you eventually decide upon: academics constantly have to adapt the format of articles to suit the requirements of different publishers, whilst many professions will require you to be able to pay close attention to detail in presenting a report or other document.

Following a style guide also increases the clarity with which your essay/dissertation is presented; it allows the marker to follow up references that support your argument and to appreciate how you are constructing your essay.

Showing that you can present your work in a professional manner sets a good tone for the content of your essay too. It demonstrates too that you have managed your time well, leaving enough time to pay attention to details.

General points

  • Include word count (this includes both main text AND footnotes, but excludes your bibliography/ list of abbreviations/ illustrations) at the end of your essay and on the cover sheet. Word limits: the word count should be between 2,250 and 2,500 for first-year essays; between 2,250 and 3,000 for second/third-year essays. The dissertation should be between 8,000 and 10,000 words.

  • Put page numbers on your essay in the header or footer.

  • Do not put your name on the essay, only your student number.

  • Typeface recommendations. Use 12-point font, double-spaced. Essays should also have adequate margins. Use a clear type-face such as Times New Roman.

  • Make paragraphing clear by inserting a line space and indenting new paragraph with TAB.

  • Use footnotes, not endnotes.


  • It is often a good idea to include illustrations to support your argument, especially if your essay relates to material culture/ archaeology. You can either place these in the main body of your essay, at the appropriate point, or include them as a series of figures at the end of the essay.

  • Ensure that illustrations are big enough for the relevant details to be visible.

  • Include a reference to illustrations in your text: write them in brackets, e.g. (fig. 2).

  • Label each picture as Fig. 1 etc. and include a caption explaining what the picture is. This should not necessarily simply repeat the caption as you’ve found it, but explain why the picture is important in your essay. Captions should be properly punctuated (i.e., ending with full stop).

  • Include a List of Illustrations at the end of the essay. This should repeat all Fig. references and captions, + additionally include information about where the picture is copied from (student’s own photograph/ drawing; website details/ book or journal).

Example of a List of Illustrations

Fig. 1 Pompeii, dedicatory inscription of the covered theatre (Cooley (2004) 45).

Fig. 2 Object, Museum/collection and inventory number, and source of image (Smith (1991)

fig. 4).

Fig. 3 Artist and Work, Museum/collection and inventory number, and source of image

(Mac Cann and Oleson (2004) p. 74, fig. 4.38).

Fig. 4 Map of the Southern Argolid with distribution of survey sites of Achaic times (Alcock (2007)

p. 133, fig. 4.3a).


Quotations from primary sources are to be encouraged, but use secondary sources only very sparingly, and only cite verbatim if this really adds something to your argument. It is essential to indicate that you are citing something verbatim by ‘enclosing the relevant words in quotation marks like this’, in order to avoid the impression of plagiarism. Otherwise it’s much better to paraphrase in your own words, with due acknowledgement in a footnote.

Quotations can simply be incorporated within the normal layout of the paragraph, but if you need to include a long quotation (and think really hard whether using so many words up in this way is justifiable), then you may choose to indent and centre a quotation like this:

‘This is an example of how you may like to choose to present a long quotation from either a primary or a secondary author, but you need to be sure that such a long quotation is really necessary.’

And then you continue onwards below like this. But you may more often simply include a quotation like this, ‘as it doesn’t interrupt the flow of your argument’. Think hard about use of punctuation to introduce a quotation: often a colon or a comma suffices. Do not use a semicolon automatically before a quotation. Obviously, it’s crucial to remember to include quotation marks, to avoid plagiarism.

Italicise words/ phrases in Latin and Greek, if appropriate. Quotations from original Latin should be in italics, as should transliterated Greek: hence arma virumque cano or mênin aeide, thea. If you wish to include original Greek script in your essays (and are confident that it will be legible when printed), you should use a recognized Greek font, such as SPIonic (free download available for both PC and MC) and include all accents and breathings - for further guidance consult the relevant module coordinator.


Footnotes or endnotes are there to show where the information you use comes from. They should acknowledge all primary sources and ideas/arguments taken from secondary literature. You should consult all primary and secondary sources you mention and not use them only through other secondary sources, and build up your own view. Your footnotes should acknowledge with accurate references what ancient or modern works you are *using or *quoting.

*Using: What ancient source or which work of modern scholarship are you relying on for facts, analysis or opinions? 

*Quoting: If you use the actual words of an ancient source or a modern scholar then put the quotation in inverted commas as well as giving an accurate reference for the quote.

  • Use footnotes, numbered continuously at the bottom of each page. Use a word-processing program to do this automatically.

  • Insert footnote numbering after punctuation, like this.1 Not like this2. 3And definitely not like this.

  • End each footnote with a full stop.

  • Use author surname (date) page no. system. Do not use short title.

    • Bowman (1994) 93.

  • Include primary sources.

References to primary classical texts should always be under the original (classical) author’s name first (not the translator’s or the editor’s). Titles of classical works, wherever they appear, must always be in italics. If you wish to abbreviate the titles, please use standard abbreviations, as found at the front of the Oxford Classical Dictionary.

    • Tacitus, Annals, 1. 52. {i.e., derived from a Latin text}

    • Suetonius, Julius Caesar in The Twelve Caesars, p.34. {from a translation}

References to primary sources should include standard book/ chapter/section, and for verse authors, line reference. Some translations (eg in the Penguin series) do not include this information: you should at all times consult copies of the text with translation in the Loeb Classical Library (texts confined in the library in PA section), in order to be able to provide an accurate reference. Your marker will not necessarily have access to the translation you are using, so it is clearer to offer the standard form of reference.

Tacitus, Annals 13.39 [i.e. Book 13, chapter 39]

Homer, Iliad 22.131–135 [i.e. Book 22 lines 131 to 135]

Horace, Odes 3.2.1-4 [i.e. Odes Book 3 poem 2 lines 1 to 4]

Primary sources from a sourcebook.

Cite both the primary reference and the sourcebook entry:

  • Strabo, Geography 6.1.3 = Shelton (1998) no.131.

Inscriptions: you can copy down reference from lecture handout:

  • CIL X 1067.

References to entries in the LACTOR sourcebooks for modules on Augustus and Tiberius to Hadrian should include both the original reference + the sourcebook ref. as follows:

  • Macrobius, Saturnalia 2.4.7 = LACTOR J15

The LACTOR in question can then appear in your list of abbreviations (see below).

Citing websites in footnotes: it is best to use the title of the webpage rather than repeat the url (but you need this in bibliog).

Citing illustrations in footnotes - examples:

Cooley (2009) 163, no. 14.1, fig. 18.

Davidson (2007) 284, fig. 30.
RPC VII.1, 199-201, nos 400-420, pl. 35-36.


The bibliography includes all titles you refer to in your essay – not simply any book or article you may have read. Every item mentioned in a footnote should be traceable via the bibliography. Do not simply ‘lift’ references to works that you haven’t actually read from other works.

This should be presented in three sections, with each section presenting authors in alphabetical order.

Primary sources.

Include here details of translations used for ancient texts (eg Penguin/ Loeb translations). If you’ve derived texts from sourcebooks, you don’t need to include them here. List the sourcebook in the section for secondary sources. Ancient sources cited by book and chapter do not need an entry except in those cases where a particular translation is quoted or cited.

    • Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars, trans. R. Graves (Harmondsworth: Penguin 1978)

Exceptionally if book and chapter refs are unavailable you can cite the page number(s) of a particular translation e.g.: Suetonius, Julius Caesar in The Twelve Caesars, p.34.

Internet sources.

To cite a web-page you need the following information: author, title, url, date last modified, date accessed.

Sometimes, this information is not immediately obvious and you may need to search; for example, you may right-click on a webpage and choose properties, which will usually name the page’s author, and date last modified.

    • J.T. Bakker, Porta Romana necropolis – (3 Nov 2007). Accessed 30th Nov 2011.

Many translations and texts are available online at Perseus Project/ Lacus Curtius / Internet Ancient History Sourcebook: dig out whose translations they are/ when and where published.

For example, to cite translation of Homer’s Odyssey online at the Perseus Project – you need to put translations into ‘primary sources’ section & then Perseus Project in webpage section:

  • Tacitus, The Life of Cnaeus Julius Agricola, trans. A.J. Church & W. Brodribb (New York: Random House 1876) from Perseus Digital Library

  • Perseus Digital Library 4.0, ed. G.R. Crane – Accessed 5th February 2012

Secondary reading

You may well use a book which has been reprinted many times: what matters for the bibliography is not when the book was last reprinted, but when it was actually published. For example, R. Syme, The Roman Revolution should always be referred to as (1939), even if the copy you’re using was reprinted in 2002. It is, however, important to acknowledge if you are using a 2nd or even 3rd edition of a book & should check which edition you have used.

Shelton, J.-A. (1998, 2nd edn) As the Romans did: a sourcebook in Roman social history (Oxford/

New York: Oxford University Press)
There is no need to list all the places where a publisher is based – e.g. for something like the Oxford University Press, you’d end up listing about a dozen places, if not more. Just pick out the key ones – like Oxford/ New York, as above.

For a single-authored book, you should list author’s surname; initials; (date in brackets); title of book in italicised font; (place of publication and publisher in brackets).

There is no need to list which chapters you’ve read, nor which pages you’ve consulted.

    • Bowman, A.K. (1994) Life and Letters on the Roman Frontier (London: British Museum Press)

Referring to a monograph belonging to a series:

Jenkins, G.K. and Lewis, R.B. (1963) Carthaginian Gold and Electrum Coins (Royal Numismatic

Society. Special Publication 2) (London: Royal Numismatic Society).

Where you are referring to a chapter in a multi-authored volume, it is important to give credit to the author of that particular chapter rather than to the volume editors. You should include page numbers for the chapter.

  • Purcell, N. (1995) ‘The Roman villa and the landscape of production’, in Urban Society in

Roman Italy, eds T.J. Cornell and K. Lomas (London: UCL Press) 150-79

This is also true of a reference work such as the Oxford Classical Dictionary. Bibliographical entries should give the author(s)’ surname and initials – for this you will need to consult the prefatory material to uncover the key to the initials used in the dictionary; then ‘title of the article’; in OCD, eds A.J. Spawforth and S. Hornblower + publication details + page number(s). Some encyclopaedia entries use columns rather than page numbers.

Articles: most of these will probably come from JSTOR or some other e-resource. Treat these as printed sources, and copy down the bibliographic information on the JSTOR cover-sheet. For journals you do not need to supply details of place/publisher.

  • Griffin, J. (1977) ‘Propertius and Antony’, Journal of Roman Studies 67: 17-26

If you are citing two separate works written by the same author in a single year, then you should distinguish between them as Griffin (1977a) and Griffin (1977b). Only use an author’s initials in the footnotes is there’s a danger of ambiguity – e.g. if you’ve used works by both Miriam Griffin and Jasper Griffin, then you will need to make this clear in the footnote references.

Layout of bibliography: where an entry overlaps onto the next line, press TAB twice to indent the second line, for clarity. If there is another entry by the same author, you can then simply TAB once and give a new date:

Bowman, A.K. (1994) Life and Letters on the Roman Frontier (London: British Museum Press)

Griffin, J. (1977) ‘Propertius and Antony’, Journal of Roman Studies 67: 17-26

Purcell, N. (1992) 'The city of Rome', in The Legacy of Rome: a new appraisal, ed. R. Jenkyns, 421-


(1995) ‘The Roman villa and the landscape of production’, in Urban Society in Roman

Italy, eds T.J. Cornell and K. Lomas (London: UCL Press) 150-79

Abbreviations in bibliographical entries

The accepted abbreviation for “translated by” is trans.; for “edited by”, ed. or (if there is more than one editor) eds

List of Abbreviations

It may be appropriate to include a list of abbreviations if you’ve used reference works extensively & need to refer to them concisely in footnotes. Example:

LACTOR = The Age of Augustus, ed. M.G.L. Cooley (LACTOR 17: London, 2003)

OCD3 = Oxford Classical Dictionary, 3rd edn, eds A.J. Spawforth and S. Hornblower (Oxford

University Press: Oxford, 2003)

RIC I = Roman Imperial Coinage vol. 1 From 31 BC to AD 69 eds C.H.V. Sutherland and R.A.G. Carson

(Spink: London, rev. edn 1984)

Although lecturers are pleased if you’ve found lectures helpful, we don’t expect you to cite the lectures as such. You can raid handouts for primary sources, but we would not expect you to quote directly from a lecture. You should aim to read around the subject and form your own ideas.

Still puzzled?

If you have any further problems or questions about how to present your work, please contact your module tutor. We would also welcome any constructive feedback about this document.

1 Example.

2 Bad example.

3 Really bad example.

Feb 2012 AEC

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