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AV2012 Digital Research in Classics Simon Mahony (Kings College London)

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Presentation on theme: "AV2012 Digital Research in Classics Simon Mahony (Kings College London)"— Presentation transcript:

1 AV2012 Digital Research in Classics Simon Mahony (Kings College London)

2 What is Classics? Study of Greco-Roman antiquity Wikipedia article: ClassicsClassics Teaching and Research in KCL ClassicsKCL Classics Extent of Classical scholarship Alexandria, Damascus, Baghdad Moorish / Islamic Empire Andalusia (Al-Andalus) Renaissance Europe

3 Why Classics? Data of a disparate and fragmentary nature Roman History: archaeology, epigraphy, numismatics, textual criticism, textual theory Latin literature: historical, social, political circumstances

4 Why use a computer in research? Some bad reasons: –To do things faster –To teach computers to do everything we can do Some good reasons: –To gain different perspectives on texts and artefacts –To manage and study materials whose scope is otherwise beyond our capacities –To do some of the things people are bad at (counting, rule–following) –To prompt new thinking through the use of new tools and technologies

5 What are the problems we face? Choice: there are many ways to do particular things Representation: few texts or artefacts are already in a form that computers can treat; they must be converted, and that process may not be simple Practical problems: in particular, fast- changing and unreliable software and hardware

6 Early adopters Roberto Busa (Wikipedia article)Wikipedia article David Packard: Concordance to Livy Thesauras Linguae Graecae Perseus Digital Library Thesaurus Linguae Latinae

7 A box of dictionary slips with excerpts for the word 'non'.

8 New media technologies c.4OOBC … this invention will produce forgetfulness in the minds of those who learn to use it, because they will not practice their memory. Their trust in writing, produced by external characters which are no part of themselves, will discourage the use of their own memory within them. You have invented an elixir not of memory, but of reminding; and you offer your pupils the appearance of wisdom, not true wisdom, for they will read many things without instruction and will therefore seem to know many things, when they are for the most part ignorant and hard to get along with, since they are not wise, but only appear wise. (Plato, Phaedrus 274c-275b)


10 Digital Classicist Website: Wiki: Members Partner sites Projects Seminars Publications

11 Stoa Consortium Stoa Consortium for Electronic Publication in the Humanities: (1997 - ) Scaife Digital Library Perseus 4.0: Perseus HopperPerseus Hopper

12 Archaeology Archaeological Data Service: Silchecter Project: VERA:

13 Ancient History PBW: Pleiades: EDUCE: Enhanced Digital Unwrapping for Conservation and Exploration: Educe: Herculaneum gallery:






19 Epigraphy and papyrology Inscriptions of Aphrodisias: Epidoc: represents a growing, global collaboration of humanists and information technologists whose joint aim is the creation of flexible but rigorous standards and tools for the digital encoding and interchange of scholarly and educational editions of ancient texts, especially those preserved on stone, metal and other durable materials, as well as on papyrus.Epidoc

20 Literature and Lexicography Homer Multitext Library: Suda online: The Lexicon of Greek Personal Names: Diogenes: ogenes/

21 Collaborative working Open Source Open Access Open standards Open interoperability Sharing of source data eg: LGPN, InsAph, Pleiades, Google Earth

22 TEI conference Archimedes Palimsest (TEI abstract)TEI abstract Fourth Generation Collections: TEI, FRBR, and Canonical Text Services (TEI abstract)TEI abstract Geography in TEI/EpiDoc Document Collections (TEI abstract)TEI abstract

23 Interoperability Lexicion Greek Personal Names Inscriptions of Aphrodisias Pleiades, Google Earth Mashups

24 Research enabling The Lexicon of Greek Personal Names and classical web services (DC seminar)DC seminar Towards the Digital Squeeze: 3-D imaging of inscriptions and curse tablets (DCseminar)DCseminar

25 Kings Visualisation Lab The Theatre of Pompey Theatricalism in the Roman House The Body and Mask in Ancient Theatre SpaceThe Body and Mask in Ancient Theatre Space Theatron 3 (Visit the Theatron Island at: Londiniums Roman Fort (YouTube)YouTube (with thanks and acknowledgement to Marco Bani)

26 Brief bibliography: Bodard G, Mahony S Eds (2008) "Though much is taken, much abides": Recovering antiquity through innovative digital methodologies Digital Medievalist 4. Available at: Bodard G, Mahony S Eds (forthcoming) Digital Research in the Study of Classical Antiquity, Ashgate Brunner, Theodore F. (1993). Classics and the Computer: The History of a Relationship, Accessing Antiquity, ed. Jon Solomon, 10-33. Arizona Press Busa, R. (1974) Index Thomisticus. Stuttgart: Frommann-Holzboog. Busa, R. (1980) "The Annals of Humanities Computing: The Index Thomisticus." Computers and the Humanities, 14:2 pp.83-90 Crane G, (2004) Classics and the Computer: An End of the History in Schreiberman S., Siemens R, and Unsworth J (Eds.) A Companion to Digital Humanities, Blackwell Crane G, Terras M, (2009) Changing the Center of Gravity: Transforming Classical Studies Through Cyberinfrastructure Digital Humanities Quarterly v3 n1. Available at:

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