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I would like to cite the Magna Carta document for a project that requires me to cite sources according to the MLA6 standards. How would I cite Magna Carta, because it's not a book, nor magazine or any other periodical.

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Welcome to EL&U. This is a writing advice question not really on topic here. For citation standards you would consult a style guide such as the APA. I believe this question would also be on topic at Writers.SE, though you would want to search there first to find out if it has already been answered. –  MετάEd Jan 18 '13 at 17:48
    
Whatever you do, don't call it "the Magna Carta". It's "Magna Carta", with no definite article; even though there is only one. It's a name, not a title. Official reference –  Andrew Leach Jan 18 '13 at 17:50
    
@AndrewLeach: I would place that in the same category as Lego insisting on not pluralizing their name, and other such rules that want us to use particular words in unnatural ways. In other words, I'll continue to call it the Magna Carta, thankyouverymuch, because despite what some museum officials would like, that's how the language works. –  Marthaª Jan 18 '13 at 20:31
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@Marthaª I can't imagine speaking of Legos, but if people want to abuse Magna Carta, fine. I can't stop anyone being wrong if they insist upon it! –  Andrew Leach Jan 18 '13 at 21:52
    
@Marthaª I am not sure that Lego(s) is an appropriate analogy. Do you refer to Encyclopaedia Britannica or the EB? –  Fortiter Jan 19 '13 at 0:34
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closed as off topic by Carlo_R., Mahnax, cornbread ninja 麵包忍者, Robusto, MετάEd Jan 18 '13 at 17:48

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1 Answer

Given that it's highly unlikely you're working from an actual manuscript copy of the Magna Carta, rather than a version that has been published in a book or on a website, what you should cite is said book or website.

If you do happen to have access to an actual manuscript (not likely to be an actual Magna Carta, but lesser works do come on the market regularly, and some of them are priced such that mere mortals can buy them), you would do your best to fit the information available into the MLA6 standards, and then —if space permits— add a descriptive sentence or two to explain the provenance and other information that might help your reader track down the manuscript. After all, that is the purpose of a citation: it's to enable your reader to consult the same sources you did, in case he or she wants to know more about the subject.

Here's a pretty good article on the subject: http://www.journal.au.edu/au_techno/2011/jan2011/journal143_howto.pdf

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And the original of MC has not survived, only MS "exemplifications", so you must pay careful attention to your source's source; and if you cite it in translation, you must cite the source of the translation. –  StoneyB Jan 18 '13 at 17:47
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