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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Late Antiquity & Patristics: Reference


This page contains resources including dictionaries, encyclopedias, and other reference sources, that are essential to research in the fields of Late Antiquity and Patristics. This page is split into online resources and in print reference works that are accessible through the University of Illinois.

Online Reference

Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity

Login required. This encyclopedia focuses on the history of early Christianity, covering texts, authors, and ideas. It aims both to provide a critical review of the methods used in Early Christian Studies and also to update the history of scholarship. Its content is intended to bridge the gap between the fields of New Testament studies and patristics, covering the whole period of early Christianity up to 600 CE. 


Brill's New Pauly

Login required: Brill´s New Pauly is the English edition of the authoritative Der Neue Pauly, published by Verlag J.B. Metzler. The encyclopedic coverage and high academic standard of the work, the interdisciplinary and contemporary approach and clear and accessible presentation have made the New Pauly the unrivaled modern reference work for the ancient world. 


Clavis Clavium

Open-access: The Clavis Clavium, or "Key of Keys," is the go-to database to access Late Antique and Medieval Christian literature. It incorporates the almost 8,000 pages of data found in four so-called claves: the Clavis Patrum Latinorum and the Bibliotheca Hagiographica Latina, the Clavis Patrum Graecorum and the Bibliotheca Hagiographica Graeca. Together, these four indispensable tools provide researchers working on the extensive field of Early Christian, Medieval and Byzantine literature with essential information regarding authorship, authenticity, chronological and geographical contexts, manuscript transmission, and editorial history.


Oxford Reference

Login required: You can search across the entirety of Oxford Reference, or through its relevant individual titles, some of the more important of which are listed below:


Oxford Classical Dictionary, 4th ed.

With over 6,700 entries, The Oxford Classical Dictionary is the most authoritative and accessible dictionary of its kind, an essential reference for both scholars and non-specialists with an interest in the Classical era.


Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium

With more than 5,000 entries by an international group of eminent historians, this is the standard research tool on 1,100 years of Byzantine history. Exhaustive in its coverage, it brings to life this vastly important culture and empire, from the fourth century to the fifteenth.


Oxford Dictionary of Late Antiquity

The Oxford Dictionary of Late Antiquity is the first comprehensive reference book covering every aspect of history, culture, religion, and life in Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Near East (including the Persian Empire and Central Asia) between the mid-third and the mid-eighth centuries AD. It includes more than 5,000 entries, written by more than 400 contributors.


Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages

The Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages is an essential reference work covering all key aspects of European history, society, and culture from 500 to 1500 AD, as well as the Byzantine Empire, Islamic dynasties, and Asiatic peoples of the era. It is designed both for medievalists, who need a detailed and reliable reference tool, and for students and general readers seeking an accessible guide to the period.


Print Reference

Note: All links in this section go to the University of Illinois Library catalog entry, which presents call numbers, locations, status, etc. 



A trilingual (German, English, French) scholarly encyclopedia edited by Cornelius Petrus Mayer, Robert Dodaro, and others. It is a multi-volume dictionary of terms and encyclopedia of Augustine including his life and thinking, his works, and people from his personal environment and his contemporary historical context.


Dictionary of the Middle Ages

Edited by the renowned medievalist Joseph Strayer, this essential reference series contains articles on various aspects of life in the Middle Ages, from AD 500 to 1500 and covers a geographic area including the Latin West, the Slavic world, Asia Minor, the lands of the caliphate in the East, and the Muslim-Christian areas of North Africa.


Eerdmans Encyclopedia of Early Christian Art and Archaeology

More than 400 distinguished scholars have written the 1,455 entries in this monumental encyclopedia, which draws on archaeological and epigraphic evidence to offer readers a basic orientation to early Christian architecture, sculpture, painting, mosaic, and portable artifacts created roughly between AD 200 and 600 in Africa, Asia, and Europe.


Lexikon des Mittelalters

Perhaps the most important encyclopedia in the world for medievalists, it encompasses 36,700 signed articles written by 3,000 authors, and includes all aspects of medieval studies within the period 300 to 1500. Its geographical scope covers the whole of Europe, part of the Middle East, and parts of North Africa.


Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire

This set of three volumes collectively describes many of the people attested or claimed to have lived in the Roman Empire from AD 260, the date of the beginning of Gallienus' sole rule, to 641, the date of the death of Heraclius, which is commonly held to mark the end of Late Antiquity. Sources cited include histories, literary texts, inscriptions, and miscellaneous written sources. Individuals who are known only from dubious sources, as well as identifiable people whose names have been lost, are included with signs indicating the reliability.


Reallexikon für Antike und Christentum

This work is the only comprehensive encyclopedia covering all major aspects of the transformation of late antique culture. For several decades the RAC has been successful in bringing the results of international research in various branches of the humanities to the attention of scholars.