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History of Western Civilization I,II

Welcome to the research guide for your course in the History of Western Civilization I, II

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The suggested electronic resources are available linked from here and from the Electronic Resources section of the library home page. Print resources are available in the PHC on-campus collection or by mail to distance learning members of the PHC community. You may check out the location and availability of an item in the on-campus collection through the online catalog, Voyager, accessed here and through the menu on the left.

Professional library assistance is available on campus, by phone at 540-441-8400, or by email at askalibrarian@phc.edu.

Reference Works

  • Brill's New Pauly Encyclopedia of the Ancient World The Pauly-Wissowa (often called the RE from its German title) is considered the premier starting resource for research on the ancient Mediterranean world. The New Pauly Encyclopedia brings this wonderful resource in English translation. Use this resource to get a general idea about a topic in ancient history and to find further sources, both primary and secondary.

  • Oxford Classical Dicitionary at Ref D 5 .O9 2003 is a great place to gain an overview of your topic and identify possible search terms.

  • Decline of the Ancient World, by A. H. M. Jones. DG 311 .J62 1966.

  • Encyclopedia of World History, published in 2000. Ref D 21 .E577 2000.

  • Milestone Documents in World History, published in 2010, explores primary source documents that shaped the world. Ref D 5 .M55 2010.

  • Making of Late Antiquity, by Peter Brown, offers a comprehensive view into the Roman world of the second, third, and fourth centuries. DG 312 .B76.

  • New Cambridge Medieval History, vols. 1-7, is an authoritative and comprehensive resource that begins in the closing days of the late Roman World and continues through the late 1400's. D 117 .N48 1995.

  • Sketches of the History of Man, vols. 1-3, by Henry Home, Lord Kames, is part of the Natural Law and Enlightenment series. CB 25 .K3 2007.

  • Story of Civilization, vols. 1-11, by Will Durant, (c) 1963, opens with the early civilizations in the Near East and continues through 19th century Napoleanic Wars is available at CB 53 .D85 1992.

Full text documents of Epic of Gilgamesh, Beowulf, and Machiavelli's The Prince are available in the library's collection and online at eBooks.

The Loeb Library found in the PA section of the library's collection is the easiest place to find English translations of primary source documents from ancient Greek and Latin.


  • Early English Books Online
    Full-text of books printed in English from 1473-1700.

    provides access to articles from over 240 scholarly journals in a wide variety of disciplines, although acquisitions are subject to a moving inclusion date with the result that most articles are 3 - 5 years old or older.  This is usually not a problem in history research, but may be a problem if more current research is needed.

  • Milestone Documents of World History
    This database provides access to 125 iconic primary source documents along with in-depth analytical essays. The primary sources are pulled from all time periods and geographic locations.

  • ProQuest and Academic Search Premier
    have extensive collections of current articles from scholarly journal articles and newspapers. These databases are easy to navigate and allow users to limit searches to provide focused results. The sites also suggests alternative subject terms to use if a broader or narrower search is required.


  • Avalon Project provides access to the Yale University site containing a variety of primary source documents in the area of history, law, politics, diplomacy, and government.

  • BBC Ancient History access the BBC archives on the topics of Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and Viking history and British pre-history.

  • EuroDocs is an online resource of primary sources documents in European history covering pre-history through the European Union.

  • Fordham's Internet History Sourcebook includes the writings of major Greek philosophers and historians, as well as articles covering various facets of Greek culture. It may be helpful in choosing a research topic or expanding your understanding of an area of Greek history.

  • Labyrinth provides access to a collection of Georgetown University maintained resources for medieval studies.

  • NYPL Digital Library provides access to an extensive array of visual information from images of Greek pottery to great works of medieval art and illuminated medieval manuscripts.


See the following Library of Congress subject headings to focus your search:

Civilization, Classical
Civilization, Western--History

Research Tips

  • Search by subject: Once you have located one item in the catalog, you may click on the subject term within the record to find other items on the same or similar subjects.

  • Once you locate an appropriate resource, potential valuable resources may be listed in the item's bibliography.

  • Use Academic Search Premier, JSTOR, ProQuest and LexisNexis Academic to locate articles on a particular subject.

  • Interlibrary loan (ILL): If you are unable to locate an item in the PHC online or on-campus collection, you may request resources through Interlibrary Loan (ILL). If you need assistance in using WorldCat, our ILL database, please contact the library.

  • Zotero is a citation management system that will help you collect and organize your resources and then seamlessly create footnotes, endnotes, in-text citations, and bibliographies. You can download and watch online tutorials, but you may benefit from a librarian’s help in quickly learning how to use Zotero.

Turabian is the approved citation format for this course. Information on proper Turabian citation is available in the PHC collection or online at OWL (Online Writing Lab).

Created: Thornhill, 2010. Reviewed and updated: Dr. Douglas Favelo/Thornhill, 2014, 2016. 

Patrick Henry College Library

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