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I am a beginner and making quite good progress with Ovid. Rete utile est.

To start with Ovid I bought the Loeb edition of Metamorphoses, Books 1 to 8. But I anticipate that when I have finished this I won't be needing the translations, and will just need a monolingual edition, so I tried to find what there is out there.

I found the Oxford Classical Texts. I'm not sure whether I'm meant to assume that these are monolingual Ancient Greek or Latin. I'm slightly confused by the fact that the Greek texts in this edition appear to have Latin covers.

They also seem pretty pricey. Maybe it's possible to get them second-hand.

Are there any other editions (Latin and Ancient Greek) which people can recommend? Please suggest only one per answer, so that votes indicate the quality of each suggestion.

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  • This seems extremely broad. Editions of what? Anything at all in Latin or Greek? Jun 7 at 20:27
  • @BenCrowell This is indeed a broad resource request, and we currently have the linked meta system for choosing which ones to implement. I think Mike is simply after good reading suggestions for the phase of studies he is in, but of course any additional details, if any, on this should be edited in. There might be many, many possible books to read, but here we are after the best ones (by any criteria, to be described in the answers); this could be clarified in the wording.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Jun 7 at 21:20
  • If you want something aimed more at a popular audience, the Loebs aren't bad anymore. In some cases, like the Remains of Old Latin, they're still fairly standard texts. I imagine cheaper Latin/Greek texts that aren't commentaries or critical texts in the original language are and will continue to be harder to find because of the success of dual language editions (like the Loeb or Budé sets).
    – cmw
    Jun 7 at 22:14
  • @cmw Thanks. I don't mind commentaries/critical texts at all, especially if they are good (informative) and don't clutter up the original text too much. I just find having the translation there in the Loeb is, even now, a bit annoying. I find the Loeb translation style (at least with this book) quite unappealing, but also in general having an English translation if/when you don't need it has a detrimental effect on the reading experience. I wonder what you mean by "Loebs aren't bad any more"... how did they used to be bad, and how have they improved? Jun 8 at 11:49
  • @mikerodent Yeah, some of the older translations are terrible, and they struggled financially for years up until pretty recently (90s, I want to say?). The benefit of a critical text is that you know you're reading a text that is generally secure in what was written, so I'm not trying to dissuade you against that! It's what I mostly have.
    – cmw
    Jun 8 at 11:52
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Oxford Classical Texts

Yes, the front matter and introduction are (often, but that is changing) in Latin, as well as the apparatus criticus, but the text itself is in whatever language the work was written in. I have Latin, Greek, and even Middle English OCTs, and they do look nice on the shelf. Sometimes they come in bigger sizes: so commentaries (like West's Hesiod) are larger, and the commentary itself is in English. The new Herodotus editions which came out a couple years ago also have the introduction in English, which might be helpful.

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  • Thanks... useful to know they're changing the covers, I'll keep an eye out for that. Seems like OCT is probably my best bet, and some are available for a bit cheaper through Abe etc. I looked at the OCT Metamorphoses, and was indeed slightly disappointed to find that, rather like Loeb, the actual book format (h x w size) is a little bit on the mean side (19 cm x 12 cm). Jun 8 at 11:54
  • Just got my OCT P. Ovidi Nasonis Metamorphoses... it's actually a very nice size, much nicer than Loeb, nicely printed, etc. On the back it says there are now over 100 volumes of Greek and Latin, so that might keep me occupied for a while. Jun 10 at 16:46
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Bibliotheca Teubneriana

Another excellent set of critical editions is the Teubner series. Unlike the OCT, these have a more orange or brown color to the set. The scholarship is tilted German, whereas the OCTs are tilted English, but both are excellent, and choosing one of the other comes down to a case by case basis.

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  • Could you explain what you mean by "tilted German"? The editors/collators are German? I'd also be curious if anyone could add additional info about pros/cons beyond "individual preference." I tend to OCTs way more, but maybe that's because I'm in the English-speaking world.
    – brianpck
    Jun 8 at 2:30
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    @brianpck I didn't actually mean individual preference, but individual cases. Typing too quickly. Pindar's Teubner is said to be better a better text than the OCT (per a conversation with a Pindar scholar, but I never got into the details of the text myself).
    – cmw
    Jun 8 at 3:14
  • Interesting. A bit of searching seems to show that these may be a bit tricky to get in the UK. But getting them second-hand (through Abe etc.) may be possible. Jun 8 at 11:56
  • @mikerodent here’s the publisher’s website degruyter.com/serial/BT-B/html Caveat, Teubner editions are not particularly cheap (it’s de Gruyter)
    – Alex B.
    Jun 8 at 13:22
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If you're interested in student texts, like the Cambridge Greek & Latin Classics commentaries you mentioned, there are also the Bristol Classical Press text and commentaries, which were bought out by Bloomsbury a few years back. Like the Cambridge series, these are primarily aimed at students.

I don't know how well they fare since they were acquired. Bristol before Bloomsbury had published, for example, Vergil's Aeneid in two volumes, but looking for it now I see there are also single books by a new editor, Aeneid book I and Aeneid book IV, etc.

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  • Thanks. These seem to be very expensive: £20 for one book of Metamorphoses. Poor students! I've now ordered the OCT Metamorphoses: 592 pp, seemingly with all the books, for a similar sum. Jun 9 at 12:35
  • @mikerodent Well, they're different. This will have extensive commentary on grammar, history, literary analysis, etc. that the OCT lacks. The OCT you'll only get some background information and a text with a critical apparatus. For former is for learning, the latter is for reading.
    – cmw
    Jun 9 at 12:39
  • That makes sense. This is one case where it would good to "look inside" the books properly (not the case on Amazon with these books) ... failing that, of course, I'm getting useful low-downs from the likes of yourself and others here. Jun 9 at 12:43
  • Many of the Bristol editions are actually reprints of the old red hardcover Macmillan editions.
    – cnread
    Jun 9 at 16:02
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    @AlexB., What an interesting site. Thank you. I have about a dozen of the 'Modern School Classics' books, and that series is, apparently, distinct from what I'm thinking of, which is called the 'Classical Series' (though that series title wasn't consistently printed in all the volumes) and is aimed at a somewhat higher level. The volumes have bright red covers with gold lettering on the spine; it doesn't appear as though any of the 15 to 20 'Classical Series' titles that I have are listed on the page that you linked to.
    – cnread
    Jun 10 at 22:54
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Cambridge Greek and Latin Classics?

I can't in fact find out whether these are translations, bilingual editions or monolingual editions! Anyone know?

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  • Latin or Greek text + introduction and commentary in English. Some of them also include a facing English translation.
    – cnread
    Jun 9 at 7:21
  • What @cnread said, but I should add that these are aimed at students.
    – cmw
    Jun 9 at 11:23
  • @cnread And likewise here.
    – cmw
    Jun 9 at 20:51

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