Intermediate Latin students typically encounter Latin poetry for the first time with Vergil’s Aeneid. After a brief tutorial on the rules and patterns of dactylic hexameter, they plunge in with arma virumque cano. They learn scansion not only for the sake of tradition and proper understanding of the poem, but also so that they can appreciate its rhythms and artistry—the same reasons English teachers have for teaching their students iambic pentameter for Shakespeare. The symphony of “longs and shorts” can seem forbidding to students at first, and the remedy for this is most often simply practice. Today, given the convenience of phone and tablet apps, and their potential to transform idle moments of otium into more productive ones, the Pericles Group, LLC has created the Latin Scansion App to help Latin AP students practice scanning Vergil.
Latinists enjoy ready access to online texts collected under names like Perseus, PHI, and the Latin Library, collections which are now as much a fixture of scholarly workflows as OCTs, Teubners, and Loebs. Descriptive data and statistics about these texts are harder to find. How many times does Lucretius use the future imperative? How many ablatives absolute are there in Cicero’s De amicitia? Where does ensis appear in Caesar’s writings?
Catullus Online is a freely available digital edition of the poems of Catullus. It can be accessed simply as a Latin text of the poems—in editor Dániel Kiss’s own edition—or with each line linked to a full apparatus. Many poems can also be viewed in photographs from important manuscripts (such as O, courtesy of the Bodleian Library). This is a useful project for its intrinsic value as a new text of Catullus, for its ease of availability, and for the directions it implies for new tools in the study of very old texts. Here I will review it briefly as a text of Catullus, as a website, and finally as groundwork for the kind of online Catullus edition we can hope for in the future.
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 Atlas Project of Roman Aqueducts (ROMAQ) is an initiative to collect published information about Roman aqueducts from the period of 400 BC to 400 AD. The project website was developed between 2004 and 2011, but the database and other efforts do not appear to have been actively updated since 2013. As it stands, the project’s scope is limited to large aqueducts that served cities and towns, excluding smaller aqueducts that served areas like villas and mines. The need for such a project, as the authors highlight on the landing page, is four-fold:
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.
Attic Inscriptions Online (AIO) presents translations of Attic inscriptions alongside cross-references to Greek texts, images, and notes. The website is the creation of Stephen Lambert and is affiliated with the Europeana Eagle Project. As of March 2017, AIO contains over 1,000 inscriptions with the eventual aim to provide translations of the 20,000+ inscriptions originating from Athens and Attica. The majority of the translations are by Lambert himself, with the remaining texts translated by a team of collaborators.
The online Packard Humanities Institute’s Classical Latin Texts (PHI) makes freely available material that was originally included on the PHI’s CD ROM 5.3, issued in 1991. It contains the vast majority of Latin literary texts written before 200 CE, as well as a handful of Latin texts from late antiquity. It therefore offers an alternative to two other free online resources: The Latin Library and the Perseus Project. The former has already been reviewed for this blog by Ted Gellar-Goad, and some of his criticisms of it apply equally to PHI.
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.