Collection Selector

General Purpose of the Collection

The Classics collection reflects the interests and curriculum of the Department of Classical Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences and in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. The collection also is a resource for the Department of Archaeology and the Department of Philosophy, and, to some extent, the Department of Art History. The collection consists of materials on Latin and Ancient and Modern Greek authors; Greek and Roman history, literature, and culture; Latin pedagogy; and the classical tradition. The Classics collection also provides materials for the study of comparative literature, archaeology, linguistics, mythology and religion, philosophy, and history, as well as law and medicine.

The Department of Classical Studies offers BA, BA/MA, MA, and PhD degrees in Classics, Classical Civilization, Latin, and Ancient and Modern Greek. It also offers the dual degree of MA in Classical Studies and PhD in Philosophy.

Faculty interests include Aegean prehistory; ancient comedy; ancient philosophy; ancient political ideology; ancient religion; ancient rhetoric; Indo-European linguistics and comparative grammar; archaeology; classical tradition and reception; comparative literature; film; Greek and Latin poetry; Greek drama; Greek, Roman, and early medieval history; Greek and Roman epic; historiography and epigraphy; near eastern literature; near eastern and classical mythology; philology; Roman history and topography; and women in antiquity.

The Classics collection serves as a resource for several programs and publications at the University. The Department of Classical Studies and the Boston University Center for the Humanities sponsor the Study Group on Religion and Myth in the Ancient World. They also sponsor the Boston Area Roman Studies Conference (BARSC). Journals pertaining to the Classical world edited at Boston University are Arion: A Journal of Humanities and the Classics, the American Journal of Archaeology, and the Journal of Field Archaeology.

Scope of Coverage

Languages collected (primary and selective) or excluded
Classical Greek and Latin texts are acquired for all Classical authors. Modern Greek texts are acquired for post-Classical Greek authors. Latin material written in late antiquity, the middle ages, and the early Renaissance generally is acquired only when requested by faculty. For Classical civilization material, including literary criticism and interpretation, English is the primary language collected; French, German, Italian, Greek and Spanish are selectively acquired. Significant material in other languages is not excluded per se, but usually is acquired with faculty recommendation.
Geographical areas covered by the collections in terms of intellectual content, publication sources, or both, and specific areas excluded, as appropriate
The Classical world covers Eastern and Western Europe; Western and Central Asia, plus India; the Mediterranean basin, including North Africa; and even Australia, the Far East and the Americas via the spread of the Classical tradition. Consequently, Classics material is more widely published than ever before. Major publishers, however, continue to be in the United States, Great Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Italy, and Greece.
Chronological periods covered by the collection in terms of intellectual content, movements of schools, and specific periods excluded, as appropriate
The Classical world refers to Greco-Roman civilization from the fourth millennium BC to the middle of the second millennium AD. Material on the influence or survival of the classical civilization in later societies also is collected. Conversely, material on the influence of non-Classical cultures, both those predating and contemporaneous with the Classical world, is acquired selectively.
Chronological periods collected in terms of publication dates, and specific periods excluded, as appropriate
Current material is acquired. Earlier material is collected to fill in a series gap, to replace a significant work that is missing or damaged, or in response to faculty and student recommendations.

General Subject Boundaries and Library Locations

The subject scope of this collection primarily falls into the following Library of Congress call number ranges. It should be noted, however, that the Classical civilization covers all aspects of human existence; therefore, materials collected fall into all Library of Congress classifications.


  • D 51-95 : Ancient History
  • DE 1-100 : Mediterranean Region, Greco-Roman World
  • DF 10-289 : Ancient Greece
  • DG 11-365 : Ancient Italy, Rome to 476
  • DS 155-156 : Asia Minor
  • DS 327-329 : Ancient Western and Central Asia
  • DT 43-154 : Egypt
  • DT 160-177 : North Africa
  • P 901-1091 : Extinct Ancient or Medieval Languages
  • PA 1-8595 : Classical Languages and Literature
  • Z 1201-4980.A-.Z : National Bibliography
  • Z 5579.2 : Ancient Civilization Bibliography
  • Z 6202 : Ancient History Bibliography
  • Z 6207.G7 : Greco-Roman Civilization Bibliography
  • Z 6515 : Ancient Literature Bibliography
  • Z 7021 : Greek Philology and Linguistics Bibliography
  • Z 7026 : Latin Philology and Linguistics Bibliography
  • Z 8001-8999 : Personal Bibliography

Collected selectively:

  • VK 16 : Naval history, ancient

Material in the Classics collection is located in Mugar Memorial Library.

The selector for Classics consults with selectors in several other subject areas:

Related subjects and Interdisciplinary Relationships

African Studies
The Classics Selector collects works on ancient Egypt and Roman Africa. The African Studies Selector collects works on archaeology of sub-Saharan Africa; there may be some overlap in works dealing with Nubia and Meroe.
The Archaeology Selector collects works on Classical archaeology.
Art History
The Art History Selector collects Classical art and architecture.
English and American Literature
The English and American Literature Selector may collect works on the Classical influences on those literatures or consult with the Classics Selector.
The History Selector collects works on the history of medieval and modern Greece.
The Classics Selector is responsible for materials on or in the Greek language (ancient or modern) and extinct ancient or medieval languages (P 901-1091).
Modern Foreign Languages
All Greek language and literature (ancient or modern) is acquired by the Classics Selector.
The Philosophy Selector collects critiques and studies of Classical philosophy.
The Classics Selector collects material on ancient Greek and Roman religions.
The Theatre Selector may consult with the Classics Selector concerning works pertaining to ancient Greek and Roman theatre.

Types of Materials

Preference is given to electronic versions of all publications: books, and reference materials, including atlases, bibliographies, encyclopedias, dictionaries, concordances, directories, thesauri, and indexes and abstracts. 
Collected Selectively
Dissertations and theses, print resources, periodicals, and proceedings.
Not Collected
Audio-visual material, juvenile literature, maps, and textbooks.

Other On-Campus or Local Resources

The Lindsay/Arrowsmith Library, located in the Department of Classical Studies, contains reference works and a Greek poetry and drama collection given to the Department by Professor William Arrowsmith.

The Pappas Law Library acquires material on the ancient Roman legal system.

The School of Theology Library acquires materials on the ancient Near East, ancient religion, Biblical archaeology, early Christianity, and Latin texts of the Church Fathers.

The Stone Science Library , located at 675 Commonwealth Avenue, focuses on archaeology, remote sensing, and geography. It holds a collection of 10,000 books and bound journals, maps, microfiche, slides, and atlases. The archival collection includes the Will Myers Aerial Photograph archives.