Answered By: Jonathan Faerber
Last Updated: Sep 25, 2020     Views: 46766

APA 6th Edition (scroll down for APA 7th Edition)

According to the American Psychological Association (2010), when citing from a classical work:

When a date of publication is inapplicable, such as for some very old works, cite the year of the translation you used, preceded by trans., or the year of the version you used, followed by version. When you know the original date of publication, include it in the citation.

(Aristotle, trans. 1931)
(James, 1890/1983).

Reference list entries are not required for major classical works, such as ancient Greek and Roman works or classical religious works; simply identify in the first citation in the text the version you used. Parts of classical works (e.g., books, chapters, verses, lines, cantos) are numbered systematically across all editions, so use these numbers instead of page numbers when referring to specific parts of your source:

1 Cor. 13:1 (Revised Standard Version)
(Qur'an 5:3-4). (pp. 178-9) 

Keep in mind what you're actually reading; that is, if you're quoting from Machiavelli, you're probably not reading the original text that was published in the vernacular Italian of 1532. Rather, you're likely reading a republished and translated version of the text. The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (American Psychological Association, 2010) gives the following example on page 203 for an electronic version of a republished (and translated) book:

Freud, S. (1953). The method of interpreting dreams: An analysis of a specimen dream. In J. Strachey (Ed. & Trans.), The standard edition of the complete psychological works of Sigmund Freud (Vol. 4, pp. 96-121). Retrieved from http://books.google.com/books (Original work published 1900)

The in-text citation for this resource would be: (Freud, 1900/1953, p. X).

Accordingly, a citation to Machiavelli's text could be (Machiavelli, 1532/1908, p. X), and the reference should point your reader to the translation that you read (as shown above in the Freud reference), versus to the original text. 

For more information on citing classical sources, please visit "Happy Holiday Citing: Citation of Classical Works" by the APA Style Blog. 

Reference

American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: Author. 

APA 7th Edition

According to the American Psychological Association (2010), when citing from a classical work: “when the date of original publication for a classical work is ancient, use the abbreviation ‘B.C.E.’ …, and if that date is approximate, use the abbreviation ‘ca.’ (p. 303)”. Include the republished dates in the in-text citations and references when the year or approximate year of original publication is unknown (APA, 2020, p. 302).  

Keep in mind what you're actually reading; that is, if you're quoting from Plato, you're probably not reading the original text that was published in the vernacular Greek of 370 B.C.E. Rather, you're likely reading a republished and translated version of the text, and a reference entry will provide information for the more recent publication you used, rather than the original publication. For example:

Plato. (2000). The Republic (T. Griffith, Trans. & G.R.F. Ferrari, Ed.). Cambridge University Press. https://books.google.ca/books?id=aPwPjVIxbGQC&dq=plato%27s+republic&source=gbs_navlinks_s (Original work published ca. 370 B.C.E)

Similarly, both the original year of publication and the recent publication date are included in an in-text citation:

(Plato, ca. 370 B.C.E./2000)

Accordingly, the reference should point your reader to the translation that you read (as shown above in the Plato reference), versus to the original text. 

For more information on citing classical sources, please the examples on page 324-325 of the APA Style manual and How Do I Cite and Reference Religious Literature in APA Style?.

Reference

American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). https://doi.org/10.1037/0000165-000