This volume is the product of a re-working of the chapter on literary sources drawn from the successful volume, published by the Cambridge University Press, "The Sources for Ancient History", written by Michael Crawford, Emilio Gabba and others. The author has taken that original text, enlarged and updated it and has ended up with a comprehensive introduction to ancient literature, conceived of as historical material, i.e. as a source of knowledge of the ancient world. The author thus reviews, from the peculiar standpoint which is of interest for the historian, the literary evidence of Greek and Roman civilisation and organises it according to literary genres and writing typologies: works of historiography, Homer's poems, lyric poetry, oratory, theatre, technical and law texts, and finally Christian literature. The author explains the interpretative problems which challenge the reader and which types of caution need to be adopted by whomever wishes to employ them as documentation of an historical era.
Emilio Gabba used to teach Roman History at the Universities of Pisa and Pavia.