Starting Points in Perseus

The Perseus digital library provides a variety of resources on the ancient world. Here are a few jumping-off places which will help introduce you to what's in Perseus: The Historical Overview, the primary texts , and some sample art & archaeology searches, along with the large site plans. General help is also available.

Overview of Greek Culture and History

  • Tom Martin's extensive Overview of Archaic & Classical Greek History covers not only political history, but also cultural, religious, and social aspects of ancient Greece.
    The overview has been cross-linked to relevant resources in other parts of Perseus, including images from art and archaeology, passages in the texts, and Greek terms defined in our lexica. These links are fully functional in the web version of the Overview, with the exclusion of those 2.0 images which we do not have permission to distribute freely to the general public.

Introduction to the Primary Texts

Introduction to the Art & Archaeology Catalogs

Perseus contains thousands of images and descriptions of vases, coins, sculpture, buildings, and sites. There are many ways to explore and search these catalogs - here are a few examples.

  • The Site of Delphi

    Visit the Sanctuary of Apollo at Delphi, using Delphi's large site plan, a clickable map that shows you plan drawings of the buildings there, along with photographs.

  • Fortification Architecture

    The ancient Greeks protected their cities from invaders with massive fortification walls. See some of the remaining walls and towers.

  •   Roman Architecture

    Explore the Emperor Augustus's altar to Peace, an ornate monument whose sculptures show Augustus and his family, Aeneas, and Mother Earth.

Tools and Resources

See the Perseus Help Center for general information about using Perseus. The Frequently Asked Questions list is one good starting point. At the top of most Perseus pages -- like this one! -- you will find handy links to the most-used pages: the Tables of Contents for the collections, the Configure Display tool for making Perseus work the way you want it to, the Help Center, the Tools menu, and more. There's also a Search box, in the right-hand corner. Look for these links in the colored "top bar" at the top of your window.

The colored "side bar" at the left of most Perseus pages contains links relevant to whatever you are reading. When there are place names in the text (in English), for example, the side bar will offer a link to the Atlas; when there are dates, you'll see a link to the Timeline Tool. When you're reading a Greek or Latin text, the side bar will give you links to the dictionaries, grammars, and Vocabulary Tool. And you'll also find a short Table of Contents for the text you're reading.

Between the general top bar links and the specialized side bar links, you always have the tools and references you need just a click or two away.