Dickinson Summer Latin Workshop: Ilias Latina

July 13-18, 2015

Christopher Francese (Dickinson College)

Andrew Fenton (The Haverford School)

Application Deadline: May 1, 2015

The Dickinson Summer Latin Workshop is intended for teachers of Latin, as a way to refresh the mind through study of an extended Latin text, and to share experiences and ideas with Latinists and teachers. Sometimes those who are not currently engaged in teaching have participated as well, including retired teachers and those working towards teacher certification.

Flaxman_Ilias_1795,_Zeichnung_1793,_194_x_338_mmThe text for 2015 will be the Ilias Latina, a short Latin hexameter version of the Iliad of Homer that gained popularity in antiquity and remained widely read through the Middle Ages. Participants must have a firm grasp of the basics of Latin grammar and a solid working vocabulary. But we aim at a mixture of levels and experience.

Deadline for applications is May 1, 2015. The participation fee for each participant will $300. The fee covers lodging, three meals per day, the facilities fee, which allows access to the gym, fitness center, and the library, as well as wireless and wired internet access while on campus. The $300 fee does not cover the costs of books or travel. Please keep in mind that the participation fee of $300, once it has been received by the seminar’s organizers, is not refundable. This is an administrative necessity.

Lodging: accommodations will be in a student residence hall near the site of the sessions. The building features suite-style configurations of two double rooms sharing a private bathroom, or one double and one single room sharing a private bathroom.

The first event will be an introductory dinner at 6:00 p.m., Monday, July 13. The final session ends at noon on Saturday, July 18, with lunch to follow. Sessions will meet from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. each day, with the afternoons left free for preparation.

For more information or to apply please contact Mrs. Terri Blumenthal ( blumentt at dickinson.edu)

 

 

 

Dickinson Latin Workshop: Children and Education in Late Antiquity

LateAntiqueSarcophagus

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Caroline T. Schroeder (University of the Pacific)

A workshop-style discussion about the presence and role of children in the later Roman Empire, focusing on the earliest Christian communities. Relevant primary texts will be distributed in advance, including excerpts from such texts as Sayings of the Desert Fathers, John Cassian, Jerome, Jerome’s Latin translations of the rules of Pachomius, and select other Greek or Coptic monastic sources in translation. There will also be discussion of issues surrounding the classical family (especially in the Roman Empire), family legislation by Augustus, and related topics, and we will explore methodological problems, such as terminology for minors and who counts as a child in the sources.

Prof. Schroeder is Associate Professor of Religious and Classical Studies and Director of the Humanities Center at the University of the Pacific. She is the author of Monastic Bodies (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007) and numerous articles on early Christianity and other topics. She is also the project co-director of Coptic SCRIPTORIUM, a platform for interdisciplinary and computational research in texts in the Coptic language.

Date: March 7, 2015, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Location: Dickinson College, Tome Hall Room 115, Dickinson College, 343 W Louther St., Carlisle, PA 17013 

Map: http://goo.gl/NxWgpr

More information:Prof. Christopher Francese, Dickinson College, Classical Studies,  francese at dickinson.edu

The workshop is free of charge, but advance registration is required:

Dickinson Latin Workshop Registration
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Conventiculum Dickinsoniense  July 6-12, 2015   

Rush statue Mary Lou BurkeThe Conventiculum Dickinsoniense is an immersion seminar in active Latin. It is specifically designed for all cultivators of Latin who wish to gain some ability to express themselves ex-tempore in correct Latin. A wide range of people can benefit from the seminar: professors in universities, teachers in secondary schools, graduate students, undergraduates, and other lovers of Latin, provided that anyone who considers applying has a solid understanding of the grammatical essentials of the Latin language. A minimum requirement for participation is knowledge of Latin grammar and the ability to read a Latin text of average complexity, even if using a dictionary often.  But no previous experience in speaking Latin is necessary. Sessions will be aimed at helping participants to increase their ability to use Latin effectively in spoken discourse and to understand others speaking in Latin. The seminar will not merely illustrate how active Latin can be a useful tool for teachers, it will help participants to acquire for themselves a more instinctive command of the Latin language and consequently a more intimate relationship with Latin writings.  After the first evening reception (in which any language may be spoken),  Latin will be the language used throughout the seminar. Participants will be involved in intensive activity each day from morning until early evening (with breaks for lunch and mid-afternoon pauses). They will experience Latin conversations on topics ranging from themes in literature and art all the way to the routines and activities of daily life, and will enjoy the benefits of reading and discussing texts in the target language. Activities will involve both written and spoken discourse, both of which engage the active faculties of expression, and each of which is complementary to the other.

Minkova_and_TunbergModerators:

Prof. Milena Minkova, University of Kentucky

Prof. Terence Tunberg, University of Kentucky

2013 Conventiculum Dickinsonisnese (photo: Mary Lou Burke)

2013 Conventiculum Dickinsonisnese (photo: Mary Lou Burke)

 

 

We can accept a maximum number of 40 participants. Deadline for applications is May 1, 2015. The participation fee for each participant will $300. The fee includes lodging in a single room in campus housing (and please note that lodging will be in a student residence near the site of the sessions), two meals (breakfast and lunch) per day, as well as the opening dinner, and a special cookout at the Dickinson farm for one night. That also covers the facilities fee, which allows access to the gym, fitness center, and the library, as well as internet access. The $300 fee does not include the cost of dinners (except for the opening dinner and the cookout at the Dickinson farm), and does not include the cost of travel to and from the seminar. Dinners can easily be had at restaurants within walking distance from campus.  Please keep in mind that the participation fee of $300, once it has been received by the seminar’s organizers, is not refundable.  This is an administrative necessity. 

For more information and application instructions write to:

Professor Terence Tunberg /

email: terence.tunberg@gmail.com

 

Multimedia Annotation of Classical Texts: What Do We Need?

The imminent creation of the Digital Latin Library under the auspices of the SCS and other institutions and based at the University of Oklahoma raises two of the key problems of digital annotation: selection and visual design. With theoretically limitless space, what resources should scholars provide for readers, and how are they to be presented? Many innovative approaches are currently being tried, from treebanking, to hyper-linked vocabulary, automatic grammatical analysis tools, video read-throughs, crowd-sourced commentary, and text visualization. I would like to argue for the importance of two specific elements that have so far not been the focus either of established projects like Perseus Digital Library, or of other emerging modes of digital edition of classical texts: author-specific lexica, and direct linking by humans to grammatical reference works. These are elements of traditional Latin school editions that can be usefully re-imagined in a digital environment, and will in some ways work better there than they do in books.

Author-specific lexica have the advantage of giving the reader a spectrum of definitions that are known to apply to the passages he or she is reading, and much reduce the frustration and errors caused by the over-richness of a large dictionary, and the poverty of a short definition that does not contain the contextually appropriate meaning.  For commonly taught school-authors there is an abundance of such material available in most modern European languages, waiting to be properly digitized. By editing existing definition data and marrying it with fully parsed texts such as those produced by the Laboratoire d’Analyse Statistique des Langues Anciennes (LASLA), we could have the further advantage creating author-specific lexica that accurately tabulate word frequencies, and help readers prioritize vocabulary acquisition. But even without that, accurate running lists can be created that would substantially ease the reading process.

Online grammars of Latin and Greek exist, but are often difficult to search and to read. One of the key things that intermediate and even advanced readers of a Latin or Greek texts need to know, when confronted with an unusual construction, is what rule or principle the passage in question exemplifies. The authors of print textbooks will frequently give a specific reference to a chapter in a grammar book, both to elucidate the passage and to stimulate the student to learn the relevant rule. If we had truly attractive and navigable grammars of Greek and Latin (ideally several of each), they could be linked directly to problematic passages quite unobtrusively, but with the advantage of immediate consultation via a single click. This kind of simple annotation, with a bare letter abbreviating the name of the grammar and the chapter number, would make the process of annotation simper than it can usually be in books, since the annotator would often be freed of the need to re-explain the principle involved. This kind of work obviously cannot be done by machine, but treebanking and other forms of syntactical tagging could speed the process.

A database of re-edited author-specific dictionaries, and a series of attractively presented Latin and Greek grammars: these are not impossible dreams, because a great deal of such material exists in the public domain. The challenge will be to extract it accurately from often poor optical character recognition that lies behind the deceptively smooth surface of a .pdf, and then to provide it in a pleasing interface, like that of Logeion, in the case of lexical resources. The best visual design of grammars in a digital environment is a problem still to be worked out.

A complete vocabulary of the Aeneid

I am pleased to announce that the DCC Aeneid vocabulary is now up and running. Based on Henry S. Frieze, Vergil’s Aeneid Books I-XIIwith an Introduction, Notes, and Vocabulary, revised by Walter Dennison (New York: American Book Co., 1902), it includes frequency data derived from a human inspection and analysis of every word in the Aeneid (Perret’s text) carried out by teams at the Laboratoire d’Analyse Statistique des Langues Anciennes (LASLA) at the Université de Liège.

Users can search both Latin and English words, and display items alphabetically or by frequency. By using The Bridge, users can create custom lists for line ranges in the Aeneid, including or excluding vocabulary from the DCC core, or from several introductory Latin textbooks.

This data will form the basis for complete running lists for the whole poem, to be created in the coming years as part of a larger multimedia edition of the Aeneid.

Henry Simmons Frieze (1817-1889) (University of Michigan Faculty History Project: http://goo.gl/OBrqdJ)

Henry Simmons Frieze (1817-1889)(University of Michigan Faculty History Project)

The Frieze-Dennison lexicon was revised and combined with the LASLA frequency data in the summer of 2014 at Dickinson College. Derek Frymark edited the OCR of Frieze-Dennison using ABBYY Finereader, and created a spreadsheet in Excel. Tyler Denton created a preliminary match between Frieze’s headwords and those of LASLA. The interface was built in Drupal by Ryan Burke. Christopher Francese edited the whole, is responsible for remaining errors, and would appreciate being notified of such at francese@dickinson.edu. Support for the revision and digitization was provided by the Roberts Fund for Classical Studies at Dickinson, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, through a grant for digital humanities at Dickinson College.

I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to LASLA, Bret Mulligan (who created The Bridge in summer of 2014 at Haverford College), and to all those who helped with this project. It would not have been possible without the great dedication and scholarly acumen of Henry Simmons Frieze (1817-1889), whose work I have found on close inspection to be worthy of the highest respect. The obituary written by M.L. D’Ooge and published in The Classical Review 4.3 (Mar., 1890), pp. 131-132, is a fitting tribute, and there is further information about him to be found here.

 

The Society for Classical Studies and Digital Publication

Every year at this time I have a look at the statements of candidates for leadership offices in the Society for Classical Studies (known until recently as the American Philological Association) to see what kind of positions they take on matters relating to digital humanities and digital publication. Two years ago the Digital Classics Association had just been approved as a Type II Affiliated group, and there were plans for a new multi-million dollar portal of classics digital outreach. Last year the latter initiative was rightly being abandoned, and the discussion was more about the role of our professional association in the world of academic publishing. While some wanted to defend the status and importance of the print monograph, others hoped the APA would help guide web users to quality resources on the internet. In last year’s post I made the point that to focus on the delivery method (paid print vs. open electronic) is to miss a key potential role of the professional association: to foster networks of peer review for scholarship, no matter how it appears.

This year’s candidate statements share a sense of anxiety about the future of the field and the status of the humanities in the academy. Several make the excellent point that more can be done to foster Latin in secondary schools, “literally our lifeline,” as presidential candidate Peter Burian says. As for digital publication, presidential candidate Roger Bagnall is reticent, which is odd given his key role in the development of online scholarly publication of papyri. But Peter Burian emphasizes the key issue, it seems to me, peer review:

The APA has a strong track record, and it could be used to help our profession (and others) move toward full recognition of on-line publication and various kinds of digital scholarship. Works of scholarship that are crucial for specialists are becoming increasingly difficult to get into print, and there are many kinds of scholarship for which print is not the best, or even a satisfactory, medium. A strong, well-understood peer-review process governed by our internationally recognized professional association could make the difference in how such works are weighed by tenure and promotion committees.

Publications and Research is the committee where the changes in scholarly publishing are of course at the center. Here there are two candidates, Emily Greenwood and Nita Krevens. Greenwood urges the association “to explore new avenues for open digital publication in Classics and to support and promote excellent existing sites.” Krevens’ comments are altogether more edgy. She says that electronic publication is “still the elephant in the room.” Krevens continues:

On the one hand, the natural ‘gate-keeping’ function of limited print space is disappearing; this means that scholarly associations like ours are becoming the source of new guidelines for peer review and publication.  On the other hand, commercial publishers of academic journals are fighting desperately to preserve their turf as learned society e-publishing emerges as a partial solution to strained library acquisition budgets (witness the battle between Elsevier and the mathematicians).  Academic presses are currently caught in the middle of these conflicting imperatives.  In addition to setting field-wide standards for electronic journals AND monographs, I believe the APA/SCS can play an important role advocating for the electronic archiving and dissemination of smaller scholarly journals in our field, which are currently not easily available online.  These days, if you are not in JSTOR, you are invisible.

I think it is optimistic to say that scholarly associations are becoming the source of peer review guidelines. In any case it’s not so much guidelines that are needed as mechanisms for actual peer review. Only rigorous editing and review of digital publications will generate the prestige that will motivate more good scholars to improve the quality of open resources. As Sander Goldberg put it recently in BMCR it is up to us to insist on the combining of the “accuracy and clarity of [traditional print publication] with the flexibility and accessibility of the [web].” Goldberg also makes the point that many of the most fundamental and traditional activities of classical scholarship, such as the close analysis of syntax, and other tools for close reading, are actually better suited to the web than to print. In some ways the more specialized and technical the issues, the more data that can be put before the reader, the more desirable is a digital presentation.

The SCS as an archiver and provider of access to lesser-known journals not in JSTOR is an idea I find very appealing, and hopefully one that the publishers of such journals would also embrace.

 

A New Allen and Greenough

With support from the Mellon Digital Humanities Fund and the Roberts Fund for Classical Studies at Dickinson, we have completed a new digital version of that perennially useful tool, Allen and Greenough’s New Latin Grammar for Schools and Colleges, edited by J.B. Greenough, G.L. Kitteredge, A.A. Howard, and Benjamin L. D’Ooge. Boston: Ginn & Company, 1903.

Allen_and_Greenough_screenshot

The project involved re-scanning the book to have good quality page images, then editing a set of existing XML files kindly provided by the Perseus Project. We added to that the newly digitized index, which was not in the Perseus XML. The purpose there was to make the book browsable via the index, which is important for user utility, and absent in all other online versions. On March 23, 2014, Kaylin Bednarz (Dickinson ’15) finished revision of XML files for Allen & Grenough, and the creation of html files based on the new XML. She was assisted and trained in the use of Oxygen software (which converts the XML into web-ready html) by Matthew Kochis, Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities, who also helped with day to day project management.

In late March, Dickinson web developer Ryan Burke uploaded the html and XML files to Dickinson servers, and created the web interface for A&G in html. This revealed issues of formatting: indentations were often not preserved, resulting in lack of clarity. Some character formatting was not right, and footnotes from the original print resource were not clearly displayed. Forward and back buttons had to be put in for each of the 638 sections.

On May 20, 2014, Meagan Ayer (PhD in classics and ancient history, University of Buffalo, 2013) began work hand-editing Allen & Greenough html files, removing errors and fixing formatting, adding navigational infrastructure using Adobe Dreamweaver. A few missing XML files had to be added and converted to html, and those finishing touches were put on last week.

The differences between our version of A&G and others available on the internet are:

  • Page images attached to every section
  • Analytical index makes finding what you need easier
  • Functioning word search for the entire work
  • Attractive presentation with readable fonts and formatting
  • Fully edited to remove spelling errors and OCR misreads (further error notifications appreciated!)

And of course the whole is freely available under a Creative Commons CC-BY-SA license. We plan to systematically link to this version of A&G in our Latin commentaries, and we are planning to have a similar work on the Greek side up soon:

Thomas Dwight Goodell, A School Grammar of Attic Greek (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1902). This excellent work was scanned by the Internet Archive. Last year Bruce Robertson of Mont Allison University kindly performed the OCR using Rigaudon, the output of which is available on Lace. At Dickinson the OCR output was edited and the XML and html pages created by Christina Errico. Ryan Burke has created the web interface. Meagan Ayer is in the process of editing and correcting the html pages. So look for that in the next few months!

Image Viewer

The new image viewer is complete. This spring we put some thought into the question of what metadata we need for images. After looking at the various metadata standards (VRACore, Library of Congress, etc.) and examining some good museum websites, we settled on a fairly limited set of fields that give 1) the basic information about the object or art work; 2) clear source credit and terms of use for the image itself; and 3) scholarly description and discussion. This information is divided into tow tabs, “Properties” (for basic data), and “Annotation.” Annotations include a straightforward description, typically taken with credit from the museum web site or other image source, and “Comments,” which will normally be original DCC content connecting the image with a particular passage in a DCC text. Under Annotations there is also space for bibliography, and links to associated passages. This is an overdue infrastructure improvement that will help us make illuminating connections between texts and images, a key goal for the Aeneid edition in progress. If you go to the Images link on the fron page, you’ll see that most of the content uploaded so far is related to the Aeneid (by Lucy McInerney and Tyler Denton). Thanks to visual resources librarian Jen Kniesch at Dickinson for advice, and to Drupal developer Ryan Burke for making this tool.

Dickinson Summer Latin Workshop 2014 Comments

 

002Participants in the 2014 Dickinson Summer Latin Workshop (left to right): Christine Kahl, Will Darden, Peter Rook, Catherine Zackey, Faye Peel, Wells Hansen, Ashley Leonard, Scott Paterson, Paul Perrot, Kaori Miller, Jennifer Larson, Hugh McElroy, Janet Brooks, John Landis, Will Harvard, Daniel Cummings, Andrea Millius, Jacqueline Lopata, Bernie Gygax, and Laurie Duncan.

003We met for the week of July 13, 2014, and read selections from Lucretius, led by Wells Hansen and Chris Francese. Two new elements were a daily happy hour, with drinks and light refreshments in front of East College from 4:00-5:00; and the optional session to work on the Dickinson College Commentaries project in the afternoons from 2:00-4:00, helping harvest notes for the projected multimedia edition of the Aeneid. Here are some of the comments from participants:

Thank you! For the wonderful workshop this year. Of course–I enjoyed the reading this year–very interesting selection. I enjoyed reading and socializing with my colleagues. I think the commentary and the daily happy hour provided a great venue to get to know people better.

I very much enjoyed the opportunity to collaborate with other Latin teachers. Good times.

I enjoyed the camaraderie . . . the laughter . . . the intellectual stimulus.

I enjoyed the pace and friendly collegiality

I had a lovely time–favorite workshop yet.

The readings were fantastic! I enjoyed preparing the text every day and the discussions in class. Having the afternoons free was great, too–it allowed me to prep and recharge so I didn’t get too tired out.

I enjoyed spending time with a diverse group of teachers and Latin aficionados. Getting a chance to read one text in depth with knowledgeable instructors and colleagues. Just generally hanging out with Latin people and making jokes about the Dative.

 

 

 

Sander Goldberg on the new Virgil Encyclopedia

The Bryn Mawr Classical Review has just published a fine and very positive review of the new three-volume Virgil Encyclopedia edited by Richard Thomas and Jan Ziolkowski. After praising it and describing its emphases in comparison with its Italian predecessor, the Enciclopedia Virgiliana, the reviewer, Sander Goldberg of UCLA, makes what has become something of a standard plea in reviews of such print reference works that they could be better done on line. But he makes it in a characteristically eloquent way:

Students in particular have already found an inviting and increasingly popular alternative, though the VE‘s editors are not kind to it: ‘a printed encyclopedia of this sort is also a world apart from the web. It offers material that does not have to be unearthed by sorting through a dung-heap in which pearls of truth are buried amid mistakes, exaggerations, and misunderstandings. The volumes have been vetted and edited for accuracy and clarity’ (lxx). I share their dedication to vetting and editing. Virgil may have had to search for pearls in a dung-heap, but his modern readers should certainly be spared that experience. Yet the editors invoke what is, or ought to be, a false dichotomy: an encyclopedia of this sort is a world apart from the web largely because no effort has been made to unite the accuracy and clarity of the former with the flexibility and accessibility of the latter. It is clearly not (or not yet) in Wiley-Blackwell’s interest to do so, but it is most certainly in our interest to have it done, and at some point the editors and contributors to projects like this one are going to have to demand that their labor, their expertise, and their sheer love of the enterprise be given a more progressive format. Their own dedication to the field, so richly displayed in these volumes, deserves nothing less.

Well said, Prof. Goldberg. He also points out that the current print publishing model militates against the detailed exploration of language:

Nuances of Latin vocabulary are not as easily grasped as what even a Google search will quickly supply regarding “Accius” and “Alcuin”, while a philological question that goes unanswered is all too likely in time to become a question that goes unasked. Other technical matters are not so fully ignored, but can be significantly compressed: details may then be difficult to locate and extract. WhereEV foregrounded such matters as ablativo assoluto, accusativi plurali in –is, eīs ed es, and accusativo alla grecaVE relegates them to entries on “syntax” and “morphology”, with other, briefer treatments in “Grecism” and “Hellenism, linguistic”. These are, I hasten to add, very good and useful entries, but the compressed attention to linguistic form and structure is again indicative of a shift away from the tools of close reading and the basic philological information that modern readers increasingly require to read Virgil in Latin with a depth of understanding that the editors may too readily be taking for granted in their audience.

These are problems that DCC is committed to tackling and solving to the extent that we can. In the coming weeks we will publish a database of Vergilian vocabulary, based on the superb work of Henry Frieze, with comprehensive, accurate word frequency information for the Aeneid supplied by LASLA. This tool will be part of a larger planned multimedia edition that will have as much linguistic and stylistic help as we can pack into it for readers who want to dig in to the Latin. More information about the overall plan is here and here. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you would like to get involved. I know for certain we will have our copy of the Virgil Encyclopedia handy as it develops!

Update 8/29/2014

The editors of BMCR published the following note apologizing for an omission in this review, and it contains some information about the possibility of an electronic version of the Virgil Encyclopedia:

A recent review (BMCR 2014.07.40) greeted the arrival of The Virgil Encyclopedia with admiration and approval. The online posting of the review is now prefaced, however, with an apology from the editors, which we are glad to repeat here. Professor Goldberg in reviewing had included information about the online edition of the Encyclopedia that was omitted when we transmitted it to our readers. The mistake was awkward inasmuch as Professor Goldberg made concluding comments about the future of reference works such as this which read very differently and very unhelpfully in the absence of complete information about this reference work.

As we understand it, the state of play is that there is indeed an e-version of The Virgil Encyclopedia available from Wiley-Blackwell, chiefly of interest to institutional subscribers. From the descriptions we have seen, it is an e-book in the contemporary mode, that is, a digital representation of a traditional print volume. It contains internal links, but does not reside in the fullness of the web of outward, to say nothing of inward, links. In Professor Goldberg’s review, he expresses regret that more movement in that direction did not happen and by implication suggests that more will happen in the new Oxford Classical Dictionary for which he will be responsible. Professors Thomas and Ziolkowski, editors of The Virgil Encyclopedia, are understandably unsettled that the review was released in a way that exacerbated intellectual disagreement with a muddled statement of facts for which we are responsible. For that indeed, we do apologize.

The larger question of the fate of reference works is one that many will continue to discuss. As always these days, we live in a moment of dazzling innovation that will, doubtless, seem palely antique more quickly than we might imagine.