Sources: All Things Julius Caesar: An Encyclopedia of Caesar’s World and Legacy

All Things Julius Caesar: An Encyclopedia of Caesar’s World and Legacy. By Michael Lovano. All Things. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood, 2014. 2 vols. Acid free $189 (ISBN: 978-1-4408-0420-5). Ebook available (978-1-4408-0421-2), call for pricing.

All Things Julius Caesar (ATJC) is part of a series of encyclopedias titled All Things. This series looks at a topic—in this case, Julius Caesar—from a variety of angles, including cultural, religious, and architectural. This provides the reader with ability to understand the larger historical context for a specific topic. While there are several reference works related to the Roman Empire, there are none that provide such a broad perspective on a narrow topic.

ATJC provides excellent overviews on a variety of topics related to Julius Caesar. For example, an article titled “Slavery and Slaves” begins by providing an overview of what slavery was like and how slaves were treated throughout the Roman Empire during the reign of Julius Caesar. The brevity of the article (about three pages) and the references at the end, make this an excellent resource for a first- or second-year undergraduate beginning research on this topic.

At the end of each article there is a “see also” feature, providing more articles in AJTC that might be of use when doing research on a particular topic. While this is a nice feature, it would be of greater benefit if terms used in an entry that had individual entries were simply emboldened. Many twenty-first-century students are more familiar with the concept of linking than they are with a “see also” feature. While the full features of linking cannot be utilized in a print resource, mimicking linking (i.e., emboldening words in individual entries that have their own entries) may have been a resource to the reader.

AJTC also provides articles on geographic elements that were critical under Julius Caesar’s reign. For example, there is a great article on the Adriatic Sea, providing not just an overview, but also connecting it back to Julius Caesar and his reign in the Roman Empire. However, a question may arise for a novice reader, to whom this work is aimed, regarding the location of the Adriatic Sea. Where is it? While there are some maps in the introduction to this work, they are very small and articles that make reference to geographical entities make no reference back to these maps. While one cannot expect a map to be at each geographic entry, it would help the reader if the article could make reference back to a map so that one can see where these geographical entities are located.

While one would expect entries on the historical aspects of the Roman Empire to be in this encyclopedia, one may not expect entries of movies and video games that are related to Julius Caesar. AJTC has a number of entries on movies (Sparatacus and Cleopatra), television shows (HBO’s Rome) and even video games (Caesar I–IV) related to Julius Caesar. These additional entries add tremendous value to this work.

Primary source documents lie at the end of AJTC. Their inclusion is a bonus allowing users to go straight from an article to a primary source. The value of their inclusion could be increased dramatically if more references were made to them in individual entries.

While they are several ways that AJTC could improve its value, its combination of being focused on a very specific topic yet providing an incredibly broad look at that topic, make it a reference set worth having in any undergraduate university library.—Garrett B. Trott, Reference/Instruction Librarian, Corban University, Salem, Oregon


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