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LacusCurtius is a website
A website, also written as Web site, web site, or simply site, is a collection of related web pages containing images, videos or other digital assets. A website is hosted on at least one web server, accessible via a network such as the Internet or a private local area network through an Internet...

 specializing in ancient Rome
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

, currently hosted on a server at the University of Chicago
University of Chicago
The University of Chicago is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois, USA. It was founded by the American Baptist Education Society with a donation from oil magnate and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller and incorporated in 1890...

. It went online on August 26, 1997; in January 2008 it had "2786 pages, 690 photos, 675 drawings & engravings, 118 plans, 66 maps." The site is the creation of William P. Thayer (Bill).

The main resources to be found on it include:
  • a number of Latin texts
    Latin literature
    Latin literature includes the essays, histories, poems, plays, and other writings of the ancient Romans. In many ways, it seems to be a continuation of Greek literature, using many of the same forms...

    , usually in the original Latin and in English translation,
  • Greek texts
    Ancient Greek literature
    Ancient Greek literature refers to literature written in the Ancient Greek language until the 4th century.- Classical and Pre-Classical Antiquity :...

     in English translation,
  • Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities,
  • Platner's Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome
    Platner's Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome
    A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome is a work by Samuel Ball Platner, completed by Thomas Ashby after Platner's death, published in 1929, that describes monuments and buildings in the city of Rome, although by and large only if they belong to the classical period...

  • several secondary works, mostly on Rome
    Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

     and Roman Britain
    Roman Britain
    Roman Britain was the part of the island of Great Britain controlled by the Roman Empire from AD 43 until ca. AD 410.The Romans referred to the imperial province as Britannia, which eventually comprised all of the island of Great Britain south of the fluid frontier with Caledonia...

  • a photogazetteer of the Roman remains of central Italy
    Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

  • an often-cited online copy of Richard Hinckley Allen's Star Names: Their Lore and Meaning
    Star Names: Their Lore and Meaning
    Star Names: Their Lore and Meaning is a book by Richard Hinckley Allen, published in 1899.It discusses the names of stars and constellations and their origin.-Author:...

  • the Antiquary's Shoebox, a selection of articles from classical studies journals that are now in public domain
    Public domain
    Works are in the public domain if the intellectual property rights have expired, if the intellectual property rights are forfeited, or if they are not covered by intellectual property rights at all...


The parent site also includes a large American history section and a Gazetteer of Italy; the latter is somewhat of a misnomer, being almost entirely about central Italy, especially Umbria
Umbria is a region of modern central Italy. It is one of the smallest Italian regions and the only peninsular region that is landlocked.Its capital is Perugia.Assisi and Norcia are historical towns associated with St. Francis of Assisi, and St...

, for which it is a useful source.

In the early days of the site, LacusCurtius was often the only English source online for a number of the primary texts presented by Thayer. The English translations, and usually the Greek or Latin originals, were not scanned, but transcribed manually from Loeb Classical Library
Loeb Classical Library
The Loeb Classical Library is a series of books, today published by Harvard University Press, which presents important works of ancient Greek and Latin Literature in a way designed to make the text accessible to the broadest possible audience, by presenting the original Greek or Latin text on each...

 editions that had entered public domain, and less often from other sources. Though many of these primary texts could after a decade be found elsewhere on the web, Thayer's versions feature enhanced functionalities. They provide direct word-links to terms in Smith's Dictionary and other secondary sources on LacusCurtius and elsewhere, and often link quoted or cited passages to the full text of other ancient sources. Thayer corrects typographical errors in the Loeb editions, with a note on the original error, and on occasion provides his own commentary
Commentary (philology)
In philology, a commentary is a line-by-line or even word-by-word explication usually attached to an edition of a text in the same or an accompanying volume. It may draw on methodologies of close reading and literary criticism, but its primary purpose is to elucidate the language of the text and...

 to update his source material, most of which is near or more than a century old.

In similar fashion, Thayer's edition of Smith's Dictionary is keyed in article by article, and is linked to other entries and to the primary sources cited. Each entry appears on an individual page, except for very short entries, which are collected on alphabetical index pages that link to the major articles. Thayer also provides topical indices for subjects such as the Roman military
Roman army
The Roman army is the generic term for the terrestrial armed forces deployed by the kingdom of Rome , the Roman Republic , the Roman Empire and its successor, the Byzantine empire...

, law
Roman law
Roman law is the legal system of ancient Rome, and the legal developments which occurred before the 7th century AD — when the Roman–Byzantine state adopted Greek as the language of government. The development of Roman law comprises more than a thousand years of jurisprudence — from the Twelve...

, and daily life. Thayer has stated that his interest in subject matter pertaining to ancient Greece is slim, and his selection from Smith's is predominately Roman, with Greek topics included as they illuminate Roman texts.

The proper spelling of "LacusCurtius" is as a single CamelCase
CamelCase , also known as medial capitals, is the practice of writing compound words or phrases in which the elements are joined without spaces, with each element's initial letter capitalized within the compound and the first letter either upper or lower case—as in "LaBelle", "BackColor",...

 word, with no space; the idea was to avoid interfering with searches for the original Lacus Curtius
Lacus Curtius
The Lacus Curtius is a mysterious hole in the ground in the Roman Forum, now small, more or less filled in and paved over with ancient stone, but once said to have been a widening chasm. Its nature and significance in Rome's early history is unknown, and this was already the case by the late...

in ancient Rome.

External links