Classics is a field immersed in the digital age. This isn’t news for anyone who teaches undergraduate language courses and has seen their students pull out their smartphones to access any number of dictionary apps that can find the first principle part of the verb εὕρηκα faster than you can find the epsilon-section in your Middle Liddell. But the field of Classics has done more than simply provide quick and easy applications to digital databases.
The Homer Multitext (HMT) has something in common with the poetry it documents: They are both monumental and impressive works whose gradual evolution over many years by many hands has left traces of its past; it exists in several forms that present the same information in slightly different ways, and its development through changing technologies has left occasional redundancies. Like the Iliad, it lives up to its title, but perhaps not in the way one expects. And like its poetic source text, it richly rewards those who plumb its depths.
Jacoby Online is a monumental resource encompassing several separate projects, all of them related to Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker (FGrH) of Felix Jacoby (1876–1959). The original reference work aimed to collect, edit, and comment on all the known testimonies and fragments of ancient Greek historians whose works survive incomplete. At the time of his death, Jacoby had produced fifteen print volumes covering 856 historians, distributed among three of five proposed areas: (I) genealogy and mythography, (II) history (Zeitgeschichte), and (III) local history (Horographie) and ethnography.
Co-authored with Richard J. Tarrant.
Editor’s note: The guidelines under review here, while publicly available for comment, represent a pre-release version.
A Mid-Republican House at Gabii is an ambitious project. It extends the born-digital movement in archaeology, in that the final publication of an excavation is a website with an ISBN and long-term hosting by the University of Michigan. In addition to a traditional presentation of the finds, the publication includes the full excavation database disseminated through the Archaeological Recording Kit (ARK). The resource also presents the architectural remains and contexts in an interactive 3-D environment, coded using the gaming platform Unity. The latter two components of this forward-looking publication especially merit review as a digital project. Does the Gabii publication represent a competitive alternative to the traditional format of the excavation monograph?
The Packard Humanities Institute’s Searchable Greek Inscriptions revolutionized the accessibility of ancient Greek epigraphic texts, first in CD-ROM format and then online since 2005. David Packard, Jr. initiated the project in the late 1980s as a collaboration between teams of scholars at Cornell University and The Ohio State University, and supported it financially through the Packard Humanities Institute (PHI). The original intent was to produce searchable texts of the well-over 200,000 inscriptions published in volumes like Inscriptiones Graecae (IG). The PHI editors did not aim to replace or fully re-edit the published editions of the texts, but did make corrections and standardize many inconsistencies.
Digital Augustan Rome is a web-based platform that provides a visual synopsis, with textual commentary, of contemporary scholarship on the topography of Rome, c. 14 CE. On the project’s homepage, the director David Romano emphasizes that DAR is in only the second of four planned stages (as of April, 2017). Even at this stage, however, DAR already constitutes a significant contribution to scholarship on the topography of Augustan Rome. I would highly recommend a visit to the site.
The idiosyncratic Greek encyclopedia from the 10th century CE known as “The Suda” (from the Greek word souda, meaning “fortress” or “stronghold”) is filled with fascinating assertions, cultural minutiae, and enough gossip for a lifetime of anecdotes. Suda On Line (SOL) is the first and only translation of the entire Suda into a modern language, and it presents in some ways a model for digital scholarship, even twenty years after its inception. A team of seven managing editors, seventy-five editors, and over 125 contributing translators created it (a history of the project is available here). SOL is open to contributions from users; each entry is marked with a history of who translated it, who provided comments, and what, if any, editorial interventions were performed later.
The Pompeii Bibliography and Mapping Project, directed by Eric Poehler, sets itself lofty goals. PBMP seeks to compile a comprehensive online bibliography and full-text archive of scholarly research on Pompeii, to construct a data-rich, interactive map of the ancient city, and to integrate both into a genre-bending “carto-bibliography” linking scholarly resources with the physical spaces they study. By its own admission (in a 2016 NEH White Paper), PBMP has not yet fully achieved these goals with the project’s first products, a Zotero bibliography and web-map published in late 2014.
In June of 2016, the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae (TLG) launched a redesigned interface through which to access its ever-expanding corpus of Greek texts beginning with Homer and ending with the fall of Byzantium. Subscription users get access to the full corpus—currently comprised of roughly 10,000 works associated with 4,000 authors. An abridged database is open to the public free of charge, as are digital versions of the LSJ, Cunliffe’s Lexicon of the Homeric Dialect, Powell’s Lexicon to Herodotus, and the Austrian Academy of Science’s Lexikon zur byzantinischen Gräzität. The TLG allows users to search and browse texts, consult lexica, explore N-grams, and generate statistics and vocabulary tools for selected texts. All users, even those accessing through an institution, must create a personal account to access any part of the TLG.