Books, dictionaries and texts

Most texts and materials on this site have to do with the Latin language, including its perception in popular culture: movies, tattoos, inscriptions, engravings, bits of ancient philosophy, online Latin resources and company names. There is also information about learning Latin and Greek: textbooks, dictionaries, DVDs and software that can be used in a homeschooling environment.

Latin-English Dictionary

Tuesday, April 13, 2010, 17:04 - Books, dictionaries and texts, Latin Language
Posted by Administrator
My Latin Assistant for Whitaker's Latin Words remains to be one of the most popular programs for Latinists worldwide. It is, however, limited to Windows users. Many people, myself included, sometimes want to have a Latin dictionary that can be used across various platforms (even an iPhone!). So, I decided to create a Latin-English dictionary based on W. Whitaker's wordlist. It is in PDF format and I colorized the entries and grammatical information, so it is easier to use. Naturally, this dictionary inherits whatever problems may exist in the original file, but it can still be extremely useful.

Latin-English Dictionary

Niermeyer, Medieval Latin Lexicon

Friday, March 13, 2009, 22:46 - Books, dictionaries and texts, Church (Christian, Ecclesiastical etc.) Latin
Posted by Administrator
It appears that the great and authoritative Niermeyer's Medieval Latin Lexicon is freely available at! It is labeled as "open source". Could it be that it is not copyrighted anymore?

Niermeyer's Medieval Latin Lexicon

Chambers Murray Latin-English Dictionary

Friday, February 20, 2009, 19:47 - Books, dictionaries and texts
Posted by Administrator
I was recently asked by a friend who is just starting to learn Latin what dictionary I would recommend. To my own surprise, I found myself in the position of someone who wholeheartedly suggests something that he does not in fact possess! Not only I do not own a copy of Chambers Murray Latin-English Dictionary, I have passed a chance of buying it at a very low price when my local bookstore was cleaning up the inventory. Nevertheless, this is the one to have. This dictionary is quite different from a plethora of toy dictionaries that you can pick up for a few bucks just about at any given bookstore. This is a serious lexicographical tool. Not only the definitions are quite lucid, but you also have the benefit of additional info about the usage of particular words in specific authors. Also, this dictionary only has the Latin-English part. Why anyone would ever want an English-Latin dictionary as a part of a standard reference book, is beyond me. Even if you plan to take a course on Latin composition, you should get a real English-Latin dictionary and not use the second half of a cheap Latin-English lexicon.

Now, as for the reason why I do not own this edition, I simply invested into heftier volumes, such as Oxford Latin Dictionary and some specialized dictionaries. But if you are just starting with Latin, keep this one in mind.

Free PHI 5.3 (Collection of Latin texts from the Packard Humanities Institute)!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008, 20:17 - Books, dictionaries and texts, Software
Posted by Administrator
PHI 5.3 is a Latin language equivalent of Thesaurus Linguae Graecae. This package used to be licensed at a small cost to individuals. Not many people know this , but currently PHI 5.3 (as well as PHI 7) can be obtained freely from the Packard Humanities Institute. Here is a quote from the License Agreement:

These materials are intended for non-commercial scholarly use by universities and scholars. The CD ROMs are being made available by means of a license agreement with an indefinite term. The fact that we offer this license at no charge (including shipping & handling costs) reflects PHI's desire that the texts on the discs be available to all interested scholars and institutions for educational purposes.

A brief description:

PHI currently offers two CD ROMs of classical texts:
PHI CD #5.3 ("Latin", issued 1991) contains virtually all classical Latin literature through A.D. 200, together with a few later texts (e.g. Servius, Porphyry, Zeno, Justinian). As an extra bonus we have also included the following versions of the Bible: Hebrew, Septuagint, Greek and Coptic New Testaments, Latin Vulgate, King James, and RSV.
PHI CD #7 ("Greek Documentary", issued 1997) contains (1) documentary papyri prepared at Duke University with the help of the University of Michigan; (2) Greek inscriptions prepared at Cornell, Ohio State University, et al.; and (3) a Coptic New Testament prepared at Yale and the Nag Hammadi texts as prepared at the University of Claremont.

For everybody's convenience I am making the License agreement and the Order form available here (I have the Packard Humanities Institute's permission, of course):

PHI files

The best thing about PHI is that the texts are often taken from the best editions and their quality is quite impressive. This is not your usual stuff which is all too often unusable for any serious reader of Classical texts.
Keep in mind, that you need to also find some software that is capable of displaying the text found on PHI CDs as well as Thesaurus Linguae Graecae (TLG). I would recommend Musaios or Diogenes.

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