Terrence Lockyer

Archive for the ‘Classics’ Category


In Classics on July 14, 2012 at 6:34 pm

This is a brief note I wrote three or four years ago on the plural of “octopus”:

People will tell you that this should be “octopi”, because it is from Latin, and Latin words ending “-us” are pluralized in “-i”. This, however, ignores two facts: (1) in Latin, common words ending “-us” may belong to one of three different classes (called declensions), and while it is true that the most common class (the second declension masculine) pluralizes in “-i”, the others simply do not – the second class (third declension neuter) pluralizes in “-ra” (e. g., “opus > opera” [work], “corpus > corpora” [body], to mention two words adopted by English), while the third class has plurals spelled with “-us” like the singulars, though pronounced slightly differently; and (2) “octopus” is not originally a Latin word at all, and does not belong to any Latin class.

In fact, “octopus” comes from ancient Greek (where it could mean an eight-legged thing, specifically an octopus, or a scorpion), and contains the elements “octo” (eight) and “pous” (foot, leg: this is also found in the famous name “Oedipus”, from Greek “Oidipous”, but it is less common to pluralize personal names; and the Latin equivalent is the word “pes”, plural “pedes”, from which English gets words like “pedal” and “pedestrian”). The hyperpedantic who wish to pluralize “octopus” strictly according to derivation should therefore use the correct Greek plural, which would be “octopodes” (pronounced “ok-top-odd-es”), or in English perhaps “octopods”. For the rest of us, “octopuses” will do just fine.

Postscript (2012/07/15):  Latin does in fact have a native form equivalent to Greek “oktopous” or “oktapous” (meaning variously “eight-legged, octopus, scorpion”, referring also to crabs, and if Lucian is to be believed also the Greek form of a Skythian term for a person who owned a cart and two oxen).  The Latin form is “octipes” (octo=eight + pes=foot), and is used of crabs by authors of the Augustan era.  Its (nominative) plural would be “octipedes”;  however, English sometimes forms classically-derived words from their stems, in which case “octipeds” would be the plural.

Octopuses are shown in Roman mosaics (including several from Pompeii), but extant ancient Latin texts prior to 200 CE appear to contain no instances of a Latin form (“octopus” or “octapus”) of the Greek term “oktopous” or “oktapous”.  Instead, some Latin authors appear to use “polypus”, plural “polypi”, a form of the Greek “polupous” (polu=many + pous=foot;  plural “polupodes” or “polupoi”, the latter as if from singular “polupos”), and origin of the English word “polyp”;  which, however, now has a different zoological sense.  Pliny the Elder’s Natural History, for instance, deals with “polypi” and other marine life beginning at 9.83.

Finally, to clarify, I don’t – for a reason I shall explain – have a particular objection to the use of “octopi” as a plural of “octopus” in English, though it seems to me the least good of the possibilities.  The note above is, rather, a reaction to those who, presuming to correct others or impress with their learning, would contend that it is the sole correct plural, based on the supposed Latin form.  But the fact is that Latin writers do not always use the Greek forms of loan-words, and sometimes treat them by analogy to standard Latin forms.  The name “Oedipus” is one example of this:  although Latin writers do commonly decline it like a Greek noun (a not uncommon practice with Greek names in Latin literature, since knowledge of Greek was not unusual for an educated, especially a literary, Roman;  and Latin literature is deeply influenced by Greek), in both Plautus and even Cicero (long considered a model of Latin style and usage) there are cases where it is treated as if it were a Latin masculine name of the second declension (although Cicero also treats it elsewhere as a Greek form:  one might speculate as to whether the inconsistency is his own, possibly for reasons of style or rhythm, or has arisen during the transmission of his works, and if so what his own normal usage was).  The Latin “polypus”, plural “polypi”, follows the same pattern.  If “Oedipus” and “polypus” can be treated this way by “good” authors, so can “octopus”;  and since English “octopus” is a Latinized form of the Greek, there is no reason it should not behave like Greek loan-words in Latin;  however, it remains fundamentally mistaken to assert that “octopi” is the sole correct plural in English.

Testamentum Porcelli – A Little Pig’s Will

In Classics on April 20, 2012 at 8:11 pm

I was reminded of this late Latin text, the will of a young pig (onto which various interpretations have been placed), by a friend’s link to the Wikipedia article on the ‘Pig stele of Edessa‘.  Having put together this text, translation, and a few notes for my own purposes, I thought them worth posting in case they were of use to others.


Incipit testamentum porcelli.

M. Grunnius Corocotta porcellus testamentum fecit. quoniam manu mea scribere non potui, scribendum dictavi.

Magirus cocus dixit ‘veni huc, eversor domi, solivertiator, fugitive porcelle, et hodie tibi dirimo vitam’. Corocotta porcellus dixit ‘si qua feci, si qua peccavi, si qua vascella pedibus meis confregi, rogo, domine coce, vitam peto, concede roganti’. Magirus cocus dixit ‘transi, puer, affer mihi de cocina cultrum, ut hunc porcellum faciam cruentum”. porcellus comprehenditur a famulis, ductus sub die XVI kal. lucerninas, ubi abundant cymae, Clibanato et Piperato consulibus. et ut vidit se moriturum esse, horae spatium petiit et cocum rogavit, ut testamentum facere posset. clamavit ad se suos parentes, ut de cibariis suis aliquid dimittere eis. qui ait:

‘patri meo Verrino Lardino do lego dari glandis modios XXX, et matri meae Veturinae Scrofae do lego dari Laconicae siliginis modios XL, et sorori meae Quirinae, in cuius votum interesse non potui, do lego dari hordei modios XXX. et de meis visceribus dabo donabo sutoribus saetas, rixoribus capitinas, surdis auriculas, causidicis et verbosis linguam, bubulariis [=botulariis?] intestina, isiciariis femora, mulieribus lumbulos, pueris vesicam, puellis caudam, cinaedis musculos, cursoribus et venatoribus talos, latronibus ungulas. et nec nominando coco legato dimitto popiam et pistillum, quae mecum attuleram: de Tebeste usque ad Tergeste liget sibi collum de reste. et volo mihi fieri monumentum ex litteris aureis scriptum: ‘M. Grunnius Corocotta porcellus vixit annis DCCCC.XC.VIIII.S. quod si semissem vixisset, mille annos implesset’. optimi amatores mei vel consules vitae, rogo vos ut cum corpore meo bene faciatis, bene condiatis de bonis condimentis nuclei, piperis et mellis, ut nomen meum in sempiternum nominetur.  mei domini vel consobrini mei, qui testamento meo interfuistis, iubete signari’.

Lardio signavit. Ofellicus signavit. Cyminatus signavit. Lucanicus signavit. Tergillus signavit. Celsinus signavit. Nuptialicus signavit.

explicit testamentum porcelli sub die XVI kal. lucerninas Clibanato et Piperato consulibus feliciter.


Here begins the will of the piglet.

M. Grunnius Corocotta[1] the piglet made this will.  Because I was not able to write it with my own hand, I gave dictation to be written down.

Magirus[2] the cook said, ‘Come here, destroyer of the home, soil-rooter, runaway piglet, and today I will end your life!’  Corocotta the piglet said, ‘If I have done anything, if I have done wrong in any way, if I have trampled any little pots under my feet, I ask, my lord cook, I beg for my life;  grant what I ask.’  Magirus the cook said, ‘Go, boy, and bring me a blade from the kitchen, that I may make this piglet bleed.’  The piglet was seized by the servants, taken on the 16th day before the kalends of the lamps, when the greens flourish, in the consulship of Clibanatus and Piperatus.[3]  And when he saw that he was going to die, he pleaded and asked the cook for an hour’s grace, that he might make his will.  He summoned to himself his parents, that he might bequeath them something from his foodstore.  And he said:

‘To my father Verrinus Lardinus I give and bequeath 30 measures of acorns, and to my mother Veturina Scrofa I give and bequeath 40 measures of Laconian white wheat, and to my sister Quirina, in whose marriage I cannot be involved, I give and bequeath 30 measures of barley.[4]  And from my body I shall give and contribute to the cobblers my bristles, to quarrelers my head-parts, to the deaf my ears, to lawyers and the wordy my tongue, to sausage-makers my intestines, to makers of meat products my thighs, to women my little loins, to boys my bladder, to girls my tail, to poofters my muscles, to runners and hunters my ankles, to brigands my hooves.[5]  And to the cook-who-may-not-be-named I assign as a legacy the soup-ladle and pestle, which I have borne with me;  from Tebeste as far as Tergeste let him bind them by a rope about his neck.  And I desire to be made for me a monument written in gilded letters:  “M. Grunnius Corocotta the piglet lived 900 and 90 and 9 and a half years.  Had he lived another half, he would have completed a thousand years.”  You who love me best or care for my life, I ask that you handle my body well, that you embalm it well with a good seasoning of nuts, pepper, and honey, that my name may be spoken for all time.  My lords or my relations, who were present at the making of my will, I instruct you to sign.’

Lardio signed.  Ofellicus signed.  Cyminatus signed.  Lucanicus signed. Tergillus signed.  Celsinus signed.  Nuptialicus signed.[6]

Here ends the will of the piglet on the 16th day before the kalends of the lamps, when Clibanatus and Piperatus were fortunate to be consuls.


[1]  The name may mean something like Grunter Roastpig;  but Corocotta is also the name of a known bandit, mentioned in Cassius Dio 56.43.3, and the word itself means some kind of wild animal, perhaps a hyena.

[2]  Magirus = Cook.

[3]  The names of the family all have porcine elements:  ‘verrinus’ is an adjective to do with boars, pigs, and pork;  ‘lardum’ is pig-fat;  ‘Veturina’ suggests ‘vetus’, meaning “aged”;  ‘scrofa’ is a breeding-sow, but also found as a name, presumably based on occupation;  ‘Quirina’ was a Roman name, but may also suggest Greek ‘khoiros’, a pig (also used as slang for the female genitals).

[4]  Clibanatus seems related to ‘clibanus’, an oven or a vessel for baking bread;  Piperatus means “seasoned with pepper, peppery”.

[5]  Some of the body parts also have sexual connotations:  ‘vesica’ is both the bladder and a term for female genitals;  ‘cauda’ means both “tail” and “penis” (like ‘penis’ itself);  and it is likely that a similar connotation attaches to the ‘musculos’ left the ‘cinaedis’ (a term, generally of abuse, for a man thought effeminate in both manner and sexual behaviour;  to which ‘poof[ter]’ or ‘faggot’ is perhaps the closest English equivalent).

[6]  The witnesses all have names suggesting food:  Lardio seems related to ‘lardum’ (pig-fat), Offellicus suggests ‘ofella’ (a morsel;  though Ofella and Ofellus are both attested as names), Cyminatus means ‘seasoned with cumin’, Lucanicus is a type of sausage, ‘tergilla’ is pork-rind, and Nuptialicus suggests a wedding-feast.  The reference of Celsinus is not clear, but ‘celsus’ can mean simply “lofty, elevated, eminent”, so the word could conceivably imply delicacies or fancy cooking (something like “haute cuisine”).


The Latin text given here is based on that of F. Buecheler, Petronii Satirae et Liber Priapeorum. Third edition (Berlin : Weidmann 1882), pp. 241-2.  I include in brackets, and translate, Haupt’s suggestion of ‘botulariis’ for ‘bubulariis’.  Buecheler’s edition is available online at http://archive.org/details/petroniisatirae00arbigoog

There is also a slightly different, and in places erroneous (e. g., ‘colum’ for ‘collum’, ‘vei’ for ‘mei’), text at http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/testamentum.html

I have benefited from looking at Graham Anderson, ‘The Cognomen of M. Grunnius Corocotta:  A Dissertatiuncula on Roast Pig’, The American Journal of Philology 101.1 (Spring 1980) 57-58;  Edward Champlin, ‘The Testament of the Piglet’, Phoenix 41.2 (Summer 1987) 174-183; and Jean-Jacques Aubert, ‘”Du lard ou du cochon”?  The Testamentum Porcelli as a Jewish Anti-Christian Pamphlet’, in Jean-Jacques Aubert and Zsuzsanna Varhelyi (edd.), A Tall Order.  Writing the Social History of the Ancient World.  Essays in Honor of William V. Harris (Munich : KG Saur Verlag 2005) 107-141.

Translation and notes by Terrence Lockyer
Johannesburg, South Africa
2012-04-20, 09h45 GMT+2

Carthage the Gay and the Virtuous Vandals

In Classics on April 12, 2011 at 8:13 am

Anyone with a passing interest in ancient history has probably observed, as did the indefatigable Rogueclassicist, that “fall of the Roman empire” stories have been doing the rounds of the popular press in recent days, prompted by the remarks on the subject of Italian academic Roberto de Mattei to a Catholic radio stationde Mattei is a professor of history (reportedly teaching and researching early modern, modern and Church history at various institutions), sometime advisor to the Italian government and the Vatican, and senior political appointee to the Italian National Research Council (CNR).  His remarks amount to a fairly formulaic polemic against homosexual people and those who support or tolerate them, alleging their responsibility for the so-called “fall” of the Roman Empire in the West in the fifth century, based on a historically and scientifically fanciful “contagion” theory of sexual orientation, a view of divine action that would not be alien to readers of Greek or Roman mythology, and an outright rejection of the complex narratives of the later Roman empire favoured by ancient historians who elect to burden themselves with evidence.  Indeed, the professor’s interest seems hardly to be in Roman history at all, but rather in the use of a tendentious reading of it, founded in the work of an ancient Christian polemicist, to support his own view in favour of intolerance and marginalization of sexual minorities in the modern world.  He also appears to hold some views on the recent natural disasters in Japan which would appear to have no basis in academic history or the sciences, and precious little in reason or humanity;  and among other ventures outside his field has edited a 2009 book against the theory of evolution, based on the proceedings of a conference, both with financial support from the same research council of which he has been deputy head since 2008.

Among the more balanced reporting of de Mattei’s remarks on Roman history was that of the (UK) Telegraph‘s Rome correspondent, Nick Squires, who provides the account at


followed by a piece of even date surveying briefly modern scholarly opinion on the question, at


From quotes I’ve seen of de Mattei’s comments, as for example the extracts in Italian with English translation at


for which link I am grateful to Judith Weingarten, it is possible to track down the ancient work to which he is referring;  that is, De Gubernatione Dei (“On the Government of God”) by the fifth century church father Salvianus, who was active in what is now France.  He was born circa 400, apparently witnessed the Franks’ attack on Trier in 418, will have known of the sack of Rome by the Visigoths under Alaric in 410, and is writing in the wake of the Vandal capture of Carthage (and presumably took a similar view of the sack of Rome in 455, as he apparently lived until after 470), which he interpreted as divine judgment on a decadent and sinful empire and a Christianity that had gone astray.  In addition to the eight books De Gubernatione Dei, the extant works of Salvianus comprise nine letters and the four books Ad Ecclesiam (“To the Church“) against avarice, published under the pseudonym of Timotheus.  The standard edition of all of these extant works seems still to be that of Franciscus (i. e., Franz) Pauly, Salviani Presbyteri Massiliensis Opera Omnia (Vienna [Vindobonae] : C. Gerold 1883), volume 8 of the Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum (CSEL) series. This can be found at




E. M. Sanford’s 1930 translation of the work in question, On the Government of God:  A Treatise wherein are shown by Argument and by Examples drawn from the Abandoned Society of the Times the Ways of God toward His Creatures, Indited by Salvian, Presbyter of Marseilles and Master of Bishops, as a Warning and Counsel (New York : Columbia University Press 1930), is available on Roger Pearse’s site in the collection of texts at


The specific passage referred to by de Mattei would appear to be from Book 7, beginning in chapter 16, which chapter commences on p. 176 in Pauly’s edition – it’s XVI in his Roman-numeralled chapters, 65 in his marginal Arabic numerals.  This may be read in translation at


Salvianus was living in a period of warfare, instability, and the decline of long-standing institutions and structures.  His own lifetime saw two major centres of the Western Roman Empire and Church fall to invaders, including Rome itself twice, in the space of half a century.  This had obvious political and military implications, is known to have had major social effects in the displacement of people, would have religious effects (in that the establishment of Gothic kingdoms in the West brought new prominence to Arian Christianity and the Vandal domination of Roman Africa saw its rise there for a time, not to be displaced until Justinian’s general Belisarius conquered some of these areas the following century), and must have led many to feel more than usually uncertain and fearful, and to cast about for explanations, just as did people in the wake of the 18th century revolutions, or the international wars of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  For Salvianus, the answer lay in his religious worldview, and, not wholly unlike pre-Christian Roman writers such as Livy, Tacitus, and Juvenal, he saw the cause of such momentous events in the moral weakness of the Roman (and Christian) world as compared with his image both of its earlier self, and of the so-called “barbarians” who had overpowered it militarily.  In the Flavian period, the epic poet Valerius Flaccus (Argonautica 1.531-60) had depicted Iuppiter evaluating the worthiness of powers to rule, and letting empires fall if they failed to measure up;  the narrative of moral superiority to “paganism” established by the early Christian writers perhaps inevitably supported a similar worldview, and Salvianus certainly seems to have held it.  Prof. de Mattei too, to judge by his record of publications and his recent comments, seems to feel old, established institutions and ideas to which he is attached declining and changing, and to see himself as a latter day Salvianus, preaching a traditional morality to a fallen world.  He is free to do so, of course;  however, one – whether religious believer or not – is equally free to observe his apparent disregard for the extensive labours of ancient historians, to wonder whether this senior functionary of the Italian National Research Council is in fact committed to the furtherance of research by experts and to the respect for scientific methods one would expect such a body to espouse, and to reject both his fearful attitude to social and political change, and his apparent view of a world in which sexual minorities have to be persecuted for the pleasure (not to mention thousands of people in Japan dying to proclaim the displeasure) of a jealous deity whose wishes he claims to profess.

Copies of Gary Corby’s The Pericles Commission up for grabs (Closed)

In Classics on January 8, 2011 at 3:50 am

If your social media circles include people interested both in ancient Greek history and in its modern recreation through historical novels (such as those of Mary Renault, about which I wrote recently) and detective fiction, then you’re likely to have heard of Gary Corby‘s 2010 mystery The Pericles Commission, or read a review or two.  There’s a new Australian edition (with a cover that I must say is more appealing to my sensibilities than is that of the US edition), and entrants from around the Anglophone world stand a chance to win a copy.  For details on how to enter, see Gary’s own post at



Update (2011-01-16 at 20h16 GMT):  The competition noted above closed once all time zones had reached January 16th, and Gary has announced the seven winners (among whom I am inordinately pleased to count myself):



The Works of Mary Renault (1905-83)

In Classics on November 25, 2010 at 6:48 am
MARY RENAULT was the pen name of Eileen Mary Challans (1905-83), an English writer born in London and educated in London and Bristol, and at Oxford, who emigrated to South Africa in 1948, where she lived first in Durban on the East coast and later in the Cape, and was active in the international writers’ organization PEN.   She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1959.   Her present reputation, however, rests largely on her later work:   a sequence of eight historical novels set at various periods in the history of ancient Greece, and which may be grouped by their correspondence to ancient Greek history, rather than by date of publication, as follows:-

The King Must Die (1958)
The Bull from the Sea (1962)

form a pair dealing with the myths of Theseus from a rationalizing perspective, and therefore standing in a tradition going back to ancient authors including Palaiphatos, Dionysios Skytobrakhion, Euhemeros, and parts of Diodorus Siculus.   Next, in order of ancient chronology, and moving to historical rather than mythological or legendary figures, come

The Praise Singer (1978)
The Last of the Wine (1956)
The Mask of Apollo (1966)

dealing respectively with the lyric poet Simonides and the sixth century;   the period of the end of the fifth century (which saw the conclusion and aftermath of the Peloponnesian War), and Sokrates;   and Plato and the fourth century leading up to the dominance of the Macedonian kings, Philip II and Alexander III (“the Great”).   Finally, there is the trilogy

Fire from Heaven (1970)
The Persian Boy (1972)
Funeral Games (1981)

covering the life and death of Alexander, and his period.   He was also the subject of Renault’s biographical monograph

The Nature of Alexander (1975)

Prior to the historical fiction that was to dominate a quarter century of her literary career, Renault had published a series of novels with contemporary settings, drawing partly on her own experiences as a nurse in Oxford, Bristol, and London immediately before and during the Second World War;   for which profession she had trained after reading English at St Hugh’s College, Oxford, where J. R. R. Tolkien was apparently among the teachers with whom she came into contact, and she is said to have written a novel with a medieval setting, with which she was unsatisfied and which she destroyed.   In 1982, shortly before her death, Renault was elected Honorary Fellow of her former Oxford college.

The published novels of her early career are

Purposes of Love (1939;   revised 1968;   US title Promise of Love)
Kind are her Answers (1940)
The Friendly Young Ladies (1944;   new afterword by the author 1984;   US title The Middle Mist, 1945)
Return to Night (1947)
North Face (1949;   US 1948)

These titles earned Renault the means, both from the books themselves and especially from a substantial award from MGM for her fourth novel, Return to Night (which, however, was not subsequently filmed), to emigrate to South Africa in 1948 with her companion, Julie Mullard, whom she had met while both were training as nurses.   Her financial independence also allowed her to travel, and she did so widely in Greece, which was to become the setting of her later and best known novels, which combined information drawn from ancient sources with the insights of modern work on ancient history.

Last among her works with modern settings, and shortly before her first historical novel, was published

The Charioteer (1953;   US 1959)

which deals with the relationship between an injured serviceman and an RAF pilot during the Second World War, and draws both its title and some of its imagery and references from Plato’s image of the chariot and horses in the Phaidros;   and which took some time to find a US publisher due to its subject matter, though its reputation has risen considerably since, and even by the middle 1960s it was well regarded, as the entry in Benét attests.   For younger readers, she wrote

The Lion in the Gateway (1964)

with illustrations by C. Walter Hodges, on Greek history in the period of the Persian Wars.

Renault’s historical novels, and other works, were all originally published in the UK by Longmans, Green & Co. (London), apart from The Nature of Alexander from Allen Lane (London).   In the US, the first five novels appeared with William Morrow & Co. (New York);   all works after 1950 with Pantheon Books (NY);   except for The Lion in the Gateway (1964) from Harper & Row (NY).   The historical novels especially are quite easy to find, having been frequently reprinted.   In the UK that was by Penguin Books, and more recently under the Random House imprint Arrow Books.   In the US, the historical novels have appeared in recent decades under Random House’s Vintage imprint, and The Charioteer from Harcourt, Brace & Co. (having originally appeared in the US with Pantheon Books, presently a Random House imprint).   The 1984 edition of The Friendly Young Ladies (a. k. a. “The Middle Mist“) was from Virago Press (London), and for those interested in Renault’s overall career is worth finding for the afterword in which she discusses some reactions to the novel and her own opinions on it, on [Marguerite] Radclyffe Hall’s The Well of Loneliness (1928), and on some events and attitudes of the 1970s.   There is also a 2003 US edition of this novel from Vintage under the original title with an afterword by Lillian Faderman.

In chronological order of first (UK) publication, Renault’s works are

Purposes of Love (1939;   revised 1968;   US title Promise of Love)
Kind are her Answers (1940)
The Friendly Young Ladies (1944;   new afterword by the author 1984;   US title The Middle Mist, 1945)
Return to Night (1947)
North Face (1949;   US 1948)
The Charioteer (1953;   US 1959)
The Last of the Wine (1956)
The King Must Die (1958)
The Bull from the Sea (1962)
The Lion in the Gateway (1964)
The Mask of Apollo (1966)
Fire from Heaven (1970)
The Persian Boy (1972)
The Nature of Alexander (1975)
The Praise Singer (1978)
Funeral Games (1981)

There have also been several works about Renault, including at least

– Dick, Bernard F., The Hellenism of Mary Renault.   With a preface by Harry T. Moore (Carbondale : Southern Illinois University Press 1972) [Crosscurrents / modern critiques] ISBN 0809305763

– Sweetman, David, Mary Renault:   A Biography (London : Chatto & Windus 1993) ISBN 0701135689 [reprinted New York : Harcourt, Brace & Co. 1993 ISBN 0151931100; London : Pimlico 1994 ISBN 0712660445]

– Wolfe, Peter, Mary Renault (New York : Twayne 1969) [Twayne’s English authors series 98]

– Zilboorg, Caroline [Crawford], The Masks of Mary Renault:   A Literary Biography (Columbia and London : University of Missouri Press 2001) ISBN 0826213227


The information on this page was obtained from consultation of copies of the works mentioned, of the following general reference works:

– David Adey, Ridley Beeton, Michael Chapman and Ernest Pereira, Companion to South African English Literature (Johannesburg : Ad. Donker 1986), p. 166, column 1, s. v. “RENAULT, Mary”

– William Rose Benét, The Reader’s Encyclopedia.  Second edition (London : Adam and Charles Black 1965), p. 850, column 1, s. v. “Renault, Mary”

– Margaret Drabble (ed.), The Oxford Companion to English Literature.  Fifth edition (Oxford, New York, Tokyo, and Melbourne : Oxford University Press 1985 [corrected reprint 1990]), p. 819, column 1, s. v. “RENAULT, Mary”

– Jenny Stringer (ed.) and Joan Sutherland (intr.), The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Literature in English (Oxford and New York : Oxford University Press 1996), p. 566, column 2, s. v. “RENAULT, Mary”

and of the on-line public access catalogues maintained by COPAC and the Library of Congress.   In addition, two of the bibliographical references to secondary reading on Renault first came to my attention through an article by Paula Martinac, dated the 28th August, 2002, and published on the Q-Online magazine website for the South African gay and lesbian community, operated at the time by South Africa’s Mail&Guardian weekly newspaper.   Martinac’s article is no longer on-line at its original address on that domain, but remains accessible via the Wayback Machine at the Internet Archive.