The Oxford Classical Dictionary (OCD) is generally considered "the best one-volume dictionary on antiquity,"[1][2] an encyclopædic work in English consisting of articles relating to classical antiquity and its civilizations. It was first published in 1949 (OCD1 or OCD), edited by Max Cary with the assistance of H. J. Rose, H. P. Harvey, and Alexander Souter. A second edition followed in 1970 (OCD2), edited by Nicholas G. L. Hammond and H. H. Scullard, and a third edition in 1996 (OCD3), edited by Simon Hornblower and Antony Spawforth. A revised third edition was released in 2003, which is nearly identical to the previous third edition. A fourth edition was published in 2012 (OCD4), edited by Simon Hornblower, Antony Spawforth, and Esther Eidinow. In 2016, a fully digital edition[3] launched online, edited by Sander Goldberg (2013–2017) and Tim Whitmarsh (2018–present). Continuously updated on a monthly basis, this edition incorporates all 6,300 entries from OCD4 (which are being updated on a rolling basis) as well as newly commissioned entries, and features multimedia content and freely accessible maps[4] of the ancient world.[3][5]

The OCD's over 6,400 articles[6] cover everything from the daily life of the ancient Greeks and Romans to their geography, religion, and their historical figures.

Digital and on-line availability

The fourth edition and the third revised edition of the OCD are available online for members of subscribed institutions and for subscribed individuals via Oxford Reference.[7] The third edition (1996) was also available on CD-ROM, but it is partially incompatible with more recent versions of Windows and has not been revised or re-released.[8]

The new digital edition is accessible online to institutional and individual subscribers via the Oxford Research Encyclopedias.[3] Entry extracts/summaries and select full-length entries are freely available to non-subscribing individuals.

Oxford Companion to Classical Civilization

The Oxford Companion to Classical Civilization (OCCC), part of the Oxford Companions[9] series of Oxford University Press, is an independent publication consisting of a selection of articles from the OCD, with accompanying illustrations. The first edition was published in 1998 (OCCC1 or OCCC), edited by Simon Hornblower and Antony Spawforth, and contains over 600 articles selected from the OCD3. A paperback edition was issued in 2004. The current second edition was published in 2014 (OCCC2), edited by Simon Hornblower, Antony Spawforth, and Esther Eidinow, and contains over 700 articles selected from the OCD4.[10]


National Latin Exam

A copy of the OCD has traditionally been offered by the National Latin Exam as a prize for students who obtain four consecutive ascending gold medals on the exam.[11]

Editions and versions

Oxford Classical Dictionary
Oxford Companion to Classical Civilization

See also


  1. ^ "Markus Sehlmeyer, review of Oxford Classical Dictionary, ed. Simon Hornblower and Antony Spawforth, Bryn Mawr Classical Review 97.9.06 (1997)". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04.
  2. ^ "The Oxford Classical Dictionary. Third edition revised – Bryn Mawr Classical Review". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04.
  3. ^ a b c "Oxford Classical Dictionary". Oxford Classical Dictionary.
  4. ^ "Maps of the Ancient World". Oxford Classical Dictionary.
  5. ^ See, also, the catalogue entry at Oxford University Press for this new online version of the OCD.]
  6. ^ This information is garnered from the OCD5 catalogue entry on the Oxford University Press website.
  7. ^ "ORO Syndicated Content". 2014-09-06. Archived from the original on 2014-09-06.
  8. ^ "Discontinued CD-ROMs and eBooks". OUP Academic.
  9. ^ "Oxford Companions - Oxford University Press".
  10. ^ Information regarding the editions of the OCCC has been garnered from their front matter and dust jackets.
  11. ^ ""National Latin Exam Awards", from the website of the National Latin Exam". Archived from the original on 2014-09-27.