Ancient World

Once upon a time, a class on ancient history would have been limited to the study of the Greeks and the Romans, and would have included only the great, written works like Cicero's Letters or Plato's Dialogues. Although these are truly great books, today's scholars have a more inclusive view of the ancient world. They are also interested in what was happening in every corner of the globe and in the lives ordinary people. 

You might start by finding an entry in a good print encyclopedia or by reading a short, general book on your topic. This will give you an overview of the subject and help you to refine your search. 

Check out the starting your research project page before you begin!

Some possible subject areas for the study of the ancient world include:
cosmology and the Mayan calendar
technology and inventions in Mesopotamia
medicine and understanding of disease in ancient Greece
the life of a slave child in ancient Rome

We can't fit every resource about the ancient world on to this list! A topic guide is just the beginning of building your bibliography.

Reference materials

This is the place to start any research project. Reference books offer short, authoritative information on every topic. These books must be used in the library. Most contain bibliographies of important books on your topic. A good first stop would be any of the standard encyclopedias in the Beaver collection: Encyclopedia Americana, World Book or Britannica Online. Also visit our on-line reference resources.
Carrasco, David. (2000). The Oxford encyclopedia of Mesoamerican cultures : the civilizations of Mexico and Central America. REF 972.01 Ox2 2001 3 volumes.


Sasson, Jack M. (1995). Civilizations of the ancient Near East. REF 939.4 C49 1995 4 volumes.
Scarre, Christopher. (1993). Smithsonian timelines of the ancient world. REF 930 Sm6 1993
Talbert, Richard. (2000). Barrington atlas of the Greek and Roman world. REF 912.38 B27 2000
The Usborne Internet-linked encyclopedia of world history. REF 901 B51 2001


Britannica Online
Gale Virtual Reference Library
General Reference Center Gold
World Book Online (on-campus use only)


Look for books about the history of the ancient world in the 900s. Don't neglect other Dewey numbers! For example, books on machines in the ancient world will be in 600s; art in the ancient world will be in the 700s.

Nardo, Don. (2004). Ancient philosophers. 920 N16 2004 A collective biography. 112 pages.
Nardo, Don. (2001). Empires of Mesopotamia. 935 N16 2001 112 pages.
Schele, Linda. (1998). The code of kings : the language of seven sacred Maya temples and tombs. 972.8101 Sch2 1998 431 pages.
Temple, Robert K. G. (2007). The genius of China : 3,000 years of science, discovery, & invention. 509.51 TEM 2007 288 pages.
Warry, John Gibson. (1995). Warfare in the classical world : an illustrated encyclopedia of weapons, warriors, and warfare in the ancient civilizations of Greece and Rome. 355.009 W25 1995 224 pages.


For these Gale Group Resources, use the subject guide search tab (upper left) to tailor a search.
Academic OneFile
Expanded Academic ASAP
General OneFile
Student Edition
Artstor For images of art and architecture in the ancient world.
Biography Resource Center For information on famous people associated with the ancient world.
SIRS Renaissance Use the advanced search function and combine subject terms. Try combining any of the following: Dramatists, Greek; Greece, Antiquities; Greece, Civilization; Greece, History; Greece, Politics and government; Greece, Social conditions; Greek drama (Tragedy); Religion and culture; Sophocles (ca. 496-406 B.C.); Women, Greece.


In the BCDS collection:
Ancient civilizations. DVD 930 An2 2001 3 DVD set.
The Greeks crucible of civilization. DVD 938 GRE 2005

Internet sites

The British Museum Explore the museum's famous ancient history treasures.
Dewey Browse A school librarian maintains this website, which is an index to other sites. Bookmark it! This link takes you right to the Ancient Civilization section.
Internet Ancient History Sourcebook Maintained by Fordham University.
Internet Public Library Another great pathfinder to on-line resources. This link takes you right to the social science pathfinders.

BPL: electronic resources

Credo Reference
E Library History Study Center -- This resource was designed just for students! Start here to learn more about the ancient world, see a timeline of important events, learn about key people and places. An excellent starting point for your research.

Updated, 9-09