Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

SSI2-103: Alexander the Great: Background (tertiary) Sources

Background & Overviews

Tertiary sources, such as subject encyclopedias and textbooks, are excellent starting points in your research.  Use them to find:

  • Helpful overviews of key facts:  who? what? when?
  • Bibliographies of especially key scholarly works.
  • Identification of important primary sources.
  • Brief descriptions of main scholarly arguments:  how? why?

At Collins Library, you can access subject encyclopedias in a variety of formats: print, ebook, or via larger digital collections.

Print encyclopedias are located on the first floor of the library, across from the Learning Commons. An example:

Online encyclopedias can be accessed via PRIMO, the library's discovery platform.  An example:

Large digital collections of subject encyclopedias can be accessed via several publisher-based platforms:

Practice

Using Tertiary Sources

1. Read the entry on "Alexander historians" in The Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome.  Identify the primary sources mentioned in this subject encyclopedia article. 

2.  Are any of these primary sources available to us today?  If so, are they translated into English?  What happens when you search for any extant sources in Primo?  What strategies work best? 

3.  Given what you now know about primary sources for Alexander the Great, what kinds of questions will you use to interrogate the sources that you do have?