negative (B.C.) dates

edited January 11, 2019
Dear all, I've been searching with no success: how do you handle works that have been written B.C.? For example, I want to cite Plato, Phaedo, written in ca. -380. Obviously I can cite the publication date of the recent translation I'm using, but that's confusing to the lay reader; Author (date) styles have the advantage of immediately conveying a feeling of the historical period of writing, whereas Plato (2008) makes little sense.

However, when I input "-380" or "380 B.C." into the "date" field, APA6 or Chicago Author-date retrieve (Platon 380apr. J.-C.). I'm glad it's localized but it's still wrong, being AD and not BC... In Zotero's list view, the date column shows 0380 or 0000, also indicative somethings wrong.

This certainly has an answer since I'm not familiar with classical scholarschip, but I've had no luck looking it up.
  • You can enter these types of dates in the Extra field like this:
    Issued: -0380?

    The negative sign indicates BC dates, and the ? indicates that the date is uncertain (circa). Years need to be entered as four digits, so add leading zeroes as necessary (like I did above). If you have months or days, you can add those like this:
    Issued: 1969-12-31

    Zotero's citation processor has a more powerful date parser than Zotero itself, and you can access it using Extra like this.
  • Yep! That works. Indeed the "Date" fields doesn't handle negative dates, but using the "Extra" field I can cite properly.
    Many thanks!
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