Concordance Liberated: Apuleius

Concordance Liberated: Apuleius

Chris Francese No Comments
  APA/SCS Concordance Liberation

About a year ago Bret Mulligan and I started on a project to liberate the data contained in concordances of classical authors, by digitizing the concordance, then unscrambling it to produce a fully lemmatized text. This lemmatized text was then to be combined with dictionary head words and definitions to create a full lexicon. The idea is that those who want to read the author could create full, accurate vocabulary lists based on this data, using The Bridge.

In April 2018 we received a Pedagogy Grant from the Society for Classical Studies (see “Flight of the Concordances“) to begin with the Index Apuleianus by William Abbott Oldfather et. al. (published in 1934 by the American Philological Association). Today I am proud to report on the  successful completion of that part of the project.

A website describing the broader Concordance Liberation Project is now live. 
The Gituhub repository contains the plain text of the concordance and the lemmatized text with full dictionary forms and definitions.
The searchable interface at The Bridge makes this data available to teachers and others who want to create vocabulary lists for works of Apuleius.

The digitization was performed by NewGen Knowledge Works. Chris Francese and Bret Mulligan performed the data analysis prefatory to processing and conversion. Michael Skalak wrote the code and transformed the plain text to a spreadsheet. Post-processing involved creating equivalencies between the lemmas used by Oldfather and his team and the lemmas or “titles” used by The Bridge; making sure that dictionary forms or display lemmas matched those; and then equipping the dictionary headwords with appropriate definitions. This difficult and meticulous work was carried out by Eli Goings (Dickinson ’18) and John Burgess (Haverford ’19), with funding from Dickinson and Haverford Colleges. As those who know Apuleius are aware, his vocabulary is immense. This work effectively creates a full lexicon of his works with definitions for even the most obscure words.

“Concordance Liberation” is now an ongoing project, and the SCS grant gave it an important impetus, for which we are very grateful. The next author we are tackling is Eutropius, and we have many others in the queue. Please let us know if you have any comments or suggestions.

Fresh translations of the DCC core vocabularies

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  Uncategorized

Five new translations of the DCC Core Latin and Ancient Greek Vocabularies are now up and downloadable in various formats (download buttons can be found at the bottom of the pages):  Greek-Italian, by Elisa Ruggieri, Latin-Italian by Gian Paolo Ciceri, Latin-Portuguese by Vittorio Pastelli, Latin-Spanish by Francisco Javier Pérez Cartagena, and Latin-Swedish by Johanna Koivunen. We at DCC are extremely grateful to these scholars for their work. Thanks are due also to developer Lara Frymark, who figured out a way to upload the lists efficiently. If you would like to contribute a new translation (no German yet?! What about French? Russian?) please see this page.

 

DCC 2018 analytics

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  Uncategorized

This is the time of year when I examine the site analytics for DCC, ahead of the editorial board get together at the SCS annual meeting. Use of DCC continues to grow, according to Google Analytics. In the last calendar year the site had a total of 1,033,730 page views, a new high. The graphs below show (1) the growth over last year; (2) the most popular parts of the site (Allen and Greenough continues to prevail there), and (3) the most popular commentaries, excluding the reference works. All this is for December 2017-November 2018. Monthly data in four different metrics for each commentary is on the site. Thank you to all the many scholars—students, secondary teachers, and college and university faculty—who have contributed to DCC this year. Thanks are also due to the editorial board for their work on peer review and editing, and to our fine Drupal developer Ryan Burke of Dickinson’s Academic Technology office. Happy Holidays, everybody!

 

DCC total monthly page views, 2017-2018

1: DCC total monthly page views, 2017-2018

 

DCC analytics by content type, December 2017 to November 2018

2: DCC analytics by content type, December 2017 to November 2018

 

DCC analytics, Nov. 2017 to Nov. 2018 just commentaries, not reference works

3: DCC analytics, Nov. 2017 to Nov. 2018 just commentaries, not reference works

Analytics term definitions:

Pageviews: the total number of pages viewed over the date range in question. Repeated views of a single page by the same user are counted. A Pageview is counted every time a specific page is loaded.

Unique Pageviews: the number of sessions during which the specified page was viewed at least once. Unique Pageviews are counted for every session, including distinct sessions by the same user during the specified date range (30 minutes of inactivity ends a session). A Unique Pageview is counted for each page URL + page Title combination.

Users: distinct IP addresses that have had at least one session within the selected date range. Includes both new and returning Users. A User is counted in every session that User visits the site or a commentary during the selected date range. Subtracting the figure for New Users from this figure yields the number of people who visited, left, and returned.

New Users: the number of first-time Users (distinct IP addresses) during the selected date range. They may be returning Users from a time before the selected date range.

Dickinson Summer Latin Workshop 2019: Martial, Epigrams

Chris Francese No Comments
  events Summer opportunities

Dickinson Latin Workshop: Martial, Epigrams

July 12–18, 2019

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

Panini's Ancient Rome Italian Art, Metropolitan Museum. Source: Flickr user Mike Steele

Panini’s Ancient Rome
Italian Art, Metropolitan Museum. Source: Flickr user Mike Steele

The text for 2019 will be selections from Martial’s Epigrams. M. Valerius Martialis was born around AD 40 in Bilbilis, Spain. He came to Rome in his twenties and gained fame as a writer of epigrams, which are short poems on various topics with some kind of punch-line, ironic observation, or mocking insult at the end.  His collections of epigrams took shape gradually in the years 86 to around 102, and contain a varied mix of observations on daily life, the battle of the sexes, and the always fraught relationship between the rich and the not rich, between patrons and clients. In tone Martial’s epigrams range widely, from gentle humor to hair-raising obscenity, from rapturous praise to cruel mockery. He can also wax philosophical, or sentimentally commemorate the death of a six-year-old slave. 

Moderators:

Bret Mulligan, Associate Professor of Classics, Haverford College

Christopher Francese, Asbury J. Clarke Professor of Classical Studies, Dickinson College

The participation fee for each participant will $400. The fee covers lodging, breakfast, lunch and dinner in the Dickinson cafeteria, 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 fee does not cover the costs of books or travel, or of dinners, which are typically eaten in the various restaurants in Carlisle. Please keep in mind that the participation fee, 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., July 12. The final session ends at 5:00 p.m. on July 18, with dinner to follow. Sessions will meet from 1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. each day, with the mornings left free for preparation.

Application deadline: May 1, 2019.

Fee deadline: June 1, 2019.

TO APPLY: please contact Mrs. Terri Blumenthal, blumentt@dickinson.edu by the application deadline. The fee is due in a check made out to Dickinson College, by the fee deadline.

For more information please contact Prof. Chris Francese (francese@dickinson.edu)

Dickinson Ancient Greek Workshop 2019: The Sale of Lives

Chris Francese No Comments
  Summer opportunities

Dickinson Ancient Greek Workshop: Lucian, The Sale of Lives

July 12–18, 2019

Roundel with Comic Mask, ca. 300 BC. South Italian. J. Paul Getty Museum 96.AC.88. Source: J. Paul Getty Museum

Roundel with Comic Mask, ca. 300 BC. South Italian. J. Paul Getty Museum 96.AC.88. Source: J. Paul Getty Museum

The Dickinson Workshops are mainly intended for teachers of Latin and Greek, to refresh the mind through study of an extended text, and to share experiences and ideas. Sometimes those who are not currently engaged in teaching have participated as well, including students, retired teachers, and those working towards teacher certification.

The text for 2019 is Βίων πρᾶσις, literally “The Sale of Lives,” also known as Philosophies for Sale or Vitarum Auctio, by Lucian of Samosata (ca. 120–190 AD). It is a comic dialogue or script in which Zeus acts as owner-manager of a slave auction house, with Hermes as the auctioneer. Together they attempt to sell the various Greek philosophical schools to wary buyers, as if the philosophers were potential servants. Pythagoras, Heraclitus, and Socrates are all on the block, as are the famous Cynic Diogenes, and a fast-talking Stoic. What can they do for you? The work can serve as a humorous introduction to all the major schools of philosophy in the Roman empire, but no sect is unscathed as Lucian ruthlessly parodies their mannerisms and excesses.

Lucian’s Greek is generally straightforward, so this text would be good for those whose Greek might be a bit rusty. Comprehensive notes and vocabulary for the forthcoming Dickinson College Commentaries edition of this text by Dr. Casey will also prove helpful for those seeking to improve ancient Greek reading fluency.

Moderators:

Eric Casey (Teacher of Latin and Greek, Trinity School, New York City)

Christopher Francese (Asbury J. Clarke Professor of Classical Studies, Dickinson College)

The participation fee for each participant will $400. The fee covers lodging, breakfast, lunch and dinner in the Dickinson cafeteria, 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 fee does not cover the costs of books or travel, or of dinners, which are typically eaten in the various restaurants in Carlisle. Please keep in mind that the participation fee, 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., July 12. The final session ends at noon on 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.

Application deadline: May 1, 2019.

Fee deadline: June 1, 2019.

TO APPLY: please contact Mrs. Terri Blumenthal, blumentt@dickinson.edu by the application deadline. The fee is due in a check made out to Dickinson College, by the fee deadline.

For more information please contact Prof. Chris Francese (francese@dickinson.edu)

Conventiculum Dickinsoniense 2019

Chris Francese No Comments
  Summer opportunities Uncategorized

CONVENTICULUM DICKINSONIENSE

July 5-11, 2019

The Conventiculum Dickinsoniense is an immersion seminar designed for those who want to acquire some ability at ex-tempore expression in 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 this reading ability depends on frequent use of a dictionary.  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. 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. The seminar will not merely illustrate how active Latin can be a useful tool for teachers, it will show how developing an active facility in Latin can directly and personally benefit any cultivator of Latin who wishes to acquire a more instinctive command of the language and a more intimate relationship with Latin writings.

Moderators:

Prof. Milena Minkova, University of Kentucky

Prof. Terence Tunberg, University of Kentucky

We can accept a maximum number of 40 participants. Deadline for applications is May 1, 2019. The participation fee for each participant will be $400. 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 cookout at the Dickinson farm. Included in this price is also the facilities fee, which allows access to the gym, fitness center, and the library, as well as internet access. The $400 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 $400, once it has been received by the seminar’s organizers, is not refundable.  This is an administrative necessity.

Registered participants should plan to arrive in Carlisle, PA on July 5, in time to attend the first event of the seminar. This first event is an opening buffet and welcoming reception for all participants, which will begin at about 6:00 p.m., in which all languages are acceptable. The actual workshop sessions (in which Latin will the exclusive language) will begin early the next morning on July 6.

For more information and application instructions write to: Professor Terence Tunberg:

terence.tunberg@gmail.com

 

Expansion of Caesar Gallic War Commentary

Chris Francese No Comments
  Uncategorized

Thanks to the excellent work of several contributors, the DCC edition of selections from Caesar’s Gallic War has roughly doubled in size. New features include:

Notes selected, edited, and equipped with links

JoAnne Miller chose, transcribed, and edited the notes using a series of commentaries, including those of Allen and Greenough, Anthon, Harkness, Harper and Tolman, Hodges, T. Rice Holmes, Francis Kelsey, Lowe and Ewing, Spencer, Merryweather and Tancock, Moberly, Stock, Arthur Tappan Walker, and A.S. Walpole (links to source editions are here). In the age of big data it might seem attractive to have access to all notes that have ever been written on a particular passage. But if you’ve ever looked at these older editions you know that less is more. JoAnne’s job was to find just the kinds of notes that students are likely to want and need, and to cut out the dross, errors, and pedantry. For that kind of work you need not only JoAnne’s superb Latin and knowledge of the subject, but her decades of teaching experience to be able to anticipate what contemporary students will find troublesome. She updated the sometimes archaic English used by these authors, and made the formatting clean and consistent.

Over winter break 2017–18 the notes were further proofread and edited, and links were added, by Eli Goings (Dickinson ’18), Beth Eidam (’20), and Carl Hamilton (’21). The main kinds of links are geographical (normally to Pleiades for ancient places or, for contemporary European places, Wikipedia), grammatical (to the DCC edition of Allen & Greenough’s Latin Grammar), and rhetorical, with definitions for a few literary and rhetorical devices used by Caesar. These go to Wikipedia or Wiktionary, which have clear definitions and examples from a variety of languages, not just Latin.

The Latin text itself was initially taken from the Latin Library by JoAnne Miller. She did an initial round of editing and adding macrons, using Johan Winge’s A Latin Macronizer and her own corrections of its output. The text was checked and made to conform with DuPontet’s Oxford Classical Text (our normal but not inflexible policy for Caesar), by Eli Goings, Beth Eidam, and Carl Hamilton. Final textual checking and macron adjustments were made by me and Jonathan Rockey in summer 2018.

Vocabulary with custom Caesarian definitions

Wadleigh High School building 1902

Wadleigh High School, Harlem, New York, ca. 1902. Photo: RentalDesigns.com

In the early 1900s Archibald Livingston Hodges was Latin instructor at historic Wadleigh High School in Harlem, New York City. Hodges’ edition of Caesar’s Gallic War was a notable academic publishing event of 1909. It was a student-friendly edition on which much labor was spent, not only in its lavish illustrations and scrupulous placing of macrons on the Latin text, but in its exhaustive lexicon, which includes specific Caesarian definitions for all words and proper names in BG 1–7. In 2015, with support from Dickinson College’s Research and Development Committee, I had Hodges’ Caesar Lexicon professionally digitized by NewGen KnowledgeWorks. Over the next couple of years Seth Levin (Dickinson ’19) transferred the Hodges definitions into a master spreadsheet, cleaned up the definitions and lemmas, matching Hodges’ lemmas with lemmas recognized by The Bridge. Bret Mulligan of Haverford College then added this data to The Bridge, which allowed for users of The Bridge to select Hodges’ custom definitions whenever they want vocabulary lists for any section of Caesar’s Gallic War. Over the 2017–18 winter break Dickinson students Eli Goings, Beth Eidam, and Carl Hamilton used The Bridge to create vocabulary lists for the new sections of BG 1, formatted them in html, and uploaded them to the site. As usual, the lists exclude items from the DCC core Latin vocabulary.

Newly digitized historical maps

At initial publication in 2010 the DCC Caesar edition had a dozen or so digitized maps from older editions. In 2013 Daniel Plekhov (Dickinson ’13) added the splendid new map of Caesar’s Gaul he created using ArcGIS. In the spring of 2018 the University Librarian at Arizona State University generously funded work to massively expand the collection, and in summer 2018 Beth Eidam embarked under my supervision on a project to scan and equip with appropriate metadata all published maps available for Caesar’s Gallic War that are in the public domain. In the end this amounted to more than two hundred newly digitized maps by nineteen authors: A. Von Kampen, A.F. Barbie du Bocage, A.J. Mason , A.L. Hodges, Albert Harkness, Alexander Keith Johnston, Arthur Tappan Walker, C.J. Peters and Son, Edward Stanford, Emery Walker, Eugene Stoffel, Francis W. Kelsey, G.W. Boynton, H. Meusel, H.F. Towle & P.R. Jenks, Raimund Oehler, T. Rice Holmes, T.A. Dodge, and W.R. Harper and H.C. Tolman.

This work was undertaken with the invaluable help of Dickinson Library Digital Projects Manager Don Sailer and archivist James Gerencser.

Theodore Ayrault Dodge (1842 – 1909), the American officer, military historian, and businessman who traveled in the tracks of Caesar and mapped his battled and routes.

Theodore Ayrault Dodge (1842 – 1909), the American officer, military historian, and businessman who traveled in the tracks of Caesar and mapped his battles and routes. Photo: Wikipedia

The richest sources were the publications of two military men and historians. The American soldier, businessman, and author Theodore Ayrault Dodge (1842-1909) was from Pittsfield, Massachusetts. After receiving a first rate military education in Berlin and London he enlisted as a private on the Union side in the American Civil War, retiring at the rank of major in 1870 to pursue a business career. Despite losing a leg at Gettysburg, he was an indefatigable traveler and historian. He wrote The Campaign of Chancellorsville (1881) and Bird’s Eye View of the Civil War (1883). From 1890 to 1907 he published twelve volumes of his History of the Art of War: Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar, Gustavus Adolphus, Frederick the Great, and Napoleon. His two volumes on Caesar, which I am proud to own, include his dozens of sketch maps and plans for all of Caesar’s texts, based on first hand acquaintance with the routes and places. (Details of Dodge’s bio are from Wikipedia.)

 

Eugene Stoffel's map of Vesontio

Eugene Stoffel’s map of Vesontio. Photo: DCC

Eugène Stoffel had a distinguished military career in his native France before being put in charge of the excavations of Gergovia and Alesia by Napoleon III. Backed by that kind of clout and cash, he was able to publish maps for Caesar’s works that are second to none in detail and geographical richness. They were also included with Napoleon’s biography of Caesar, the last volume of which Stoffel finished after Napoleon’s death.

These newly digitized maps supplement the excellent recent work of another historian-soldier, Captain Antonio Salinas of West Point, whose Caesar strategy maps made with Google Earth and using standard NATO symbology. Originally published in the Michigan War Studies Review, these have been part of the DCC edition from the beginning, thanks to Captain Salinas. All these maps exist and can be searched for in the DCC image viewer, and the ones that are relevant to specific pages of the DCC edition are also linked in the media fields for those pages.

Finally, I was to express my continuing gratitude to Jonathan Rockey, whose dulcet basso, exact knowledge of Latin prosody, and humane feeling for the music of Latin has done so much to enhance DCC over the years.

I am immensely grateful to all the individuals who contributed to the significant expansion, both to the living contributors named above, and to those energetic scholars of the past like A. L. Hodges and T.A. Dodge, whose works we have endeavored to revive and bring to a new audience in new ways.

Fully Parsed Apuleius Progress

Chris Francese No Comments
  Uncategorized

Significant headway yesterday on the ongoing project to digitize the Index Apuleianus. This print work, created by William Oldfather et. al., was published in 1934 by the American Philological Association. Bret Mulligan and I received a small grant for digitization from the copyright holder, the Society for Classical Studies. The value of concordances was once widely acknowledged, but since the rise of computing the genre has fallen into neglect and disrepute. Bret and I are engaged in a data reclamation mission. A proper index or concordance is essentially a fully parsed text that has been chopped up and organized by dictionary headword. The parsing was done by very competent scholars who put a lot of time and effort into correctly analyzing each and every word of the text. What we are doing is unscrambling them to yield the fully parsed texts so they can be used in The Bridge, a tool that allows users to create accurate vocabulary lists for Latin and Ancient Greek texts.

Just unscramble the index and get a parsed text: excellent in theory, but what about the practice? Each of these print indices and concordances has quirks that make processing the data a matter for careful thought. The SCS grant allowed us to have the Index Apuleianus professionally digitized by NewGen Knowledge Works. This yielded data that was somewhat messy, and what I did yesterday was carefully examine what we have and figure out what we need and what we don’t. For example:

sample of digitized concordance with deletions marked&lorbrk; represents the double brackets that are ubiquitous in Oldfather’s Index. They indicate words that are found not in the published texts of Apuleius used to compile the Index  (the Teubner editions of 1908-1913) but only in the Additamentum ad Apparatum Criticum which the team laboriously compiled to add to the number of variant readings identified and emendations proposed since the publication of the source editions. The Index was heavily oriented toward advancing the textual criticism of Apuleius. His team reported every single notable textual variant or proposed emendation known up to that time, even when the variant readings were clearly mistakes in the principle manuscript, F (Florence, Bibl. Med. Laurenziana 68.2, 11th century). The superscript * indicates that a reading is correct, but urges the reader to consult the Additamentum.  On inspection it became clear that all matter in double brackets needed to go. The same was true for material in single square brackets. They contained not likely readings but emendations proposed for lacunae by older critics, most of them not even mentioned by the latest critical texts, such as the newish OCT of the Metamorphoses by Zimmerman. Likewise for our purposes things like the dagger symbol indicated an unsolved textual problem was not needed. Issues of that kind will be dealt with in post-production, and just gum up the works here. Words in parentheses, however, are accepted in the text, but the parentheses are a signal that the word is mentioned in some serious way in the apparatus criticus. 

My Dickinson colleague in the Computer Science Department Michael Skalak is writing up a script to remove what for Oldfather and his team was crucial information, but for us constitutes noise.

This is a basic summary of the deletions:

<SUP>*</SUP> this exact string
[…] all text within brackets, and the brackets themselves. Watch out for missing close bracket (see below)
&lobrk; … &robrk; all txt within double bracket symbol, and the symbol itself
<il>[omiem? M 7, 7, 8.]</il>  any lemma that consists entirely of bracketed material
<il>no digits</il> all lemmas that have no numerals
&dagger; dagger symbol
(<I>u. et</I> Sicinius) “see also” cross-references. The <I>u. et</> tag  (“see also”) and everything within it, and with it within parentheses, should be deleted, along with the parentheses themselves. All instances of the <I>u. et</> tag that are not within parentheses seem to be in lemmas with no numerals, and this will already be deleted.

Since the chapters in many of Apulieus’ works are quite large, Oldfather and his team felt the need for some kind of location data that wouldn’t leave you reading an entire page of Latin just to find a single word. They decided to use the line numbers in the Teubners. Problem is, those line numbers are not at all standard, and have indeed changed in subsequent revisions of the Teubner texts themselves. We too would love to have more accurate location data, but are for the moment stuck with these obsolete line numbers.

After cleaning, Skalak’s script will structure the data as follows:

A: lemma (first word after <il> tag, sometimes preceded by “(“)

B: Work title, abbreviated

C: Citation form (chapter and line, or book, chapter, and line in the Teubners), with underscore between numbers for easier processing by the Bridge

D: Word form as it appears in the text

E: Any syntactical tagging added by Oldfather et al.

For example:

omniformis As 35_16 omniformis  
omniformis As 19_24 omniformem (<I>m.</I.)
omniformis As 34_26 omniformes (<I>f.</I.)
omniformis As 36_15 omniformes  
omniformis As 3_17 omniformium (<I>f.</I>)

After post-processing and checking, this will allow us to upload the text to the Bridge, and create a stand-alone database for this information on DCC. It will not of course be perfect, primarily because textual criticism of Apuleius has moved on since the early 20th century, but it will allow students and teachers to create custom vocabulary lists for all works Apuleius, and substantially increase the readability of his texts. (This is already the case for the Aeneid, Caesar’s Gallic War, et al., thanks to the Bridge.) Another benefit for scholars will be ready access to the frequency and morphology information contained in the Index, which is currently hard to access.

Filipe Binh: Latin from 19th century Vietnam

Chris Francese No Comments
  Neo-Latin
A catechism in Latin and Vietnamese by Alexandre de Rhodes  (1591-1660)

A catechism in Latin and Vietnamese by Alexandre de Rhodes (1591-1660)

In The Portuguese Seaborne Empire 1415-1825 (New York: Knopf, 1969), Charles Boxer mentions the Vietnamese priest Filipe Binh, alias Filipe do Rosario, who wrote extensively in Vietnamese, Portuguese, and Latin. Boxer is discussing the institution of the Portuguese Padroado, by which the Portuguese monarchs exerted direct control over the missions in the Portuguese imperial sphere, and excluded missionaries from Spain, France, Italy, and other countries. The Padroado was initially granted willingly by the Vatican in the 16th century, when Rome was not primarily interested in missionary activity in the new overseas empires. But later competition from other countries and lack of attention by the monarchy led to all kinds of problems, political, financial, and religious. By the late 18th century it was essentially moribund, a liability rather than an asset to the Church, and the Portuguese were having severe trouble staffing the missions.

This peculiar institution [the Padroado] was, moreover, capable of inspiring a devoted loyalty in some of the native clergy who served it, even in its darkest days. Among them is the rather pathetic figure of the Vietnamese priest Filipe Binh, alias Filipe do Rosario. Born and bred in the Jesuits’ Tongking mission, he arrived at Lisbon with three companions in 1796, as an envoy from his people to ask for some Portuguese missionaries under the auspices of the Padroado. The times of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars were singularly unpropitious for any such project, and he died in 1833 without seeing his native land again. He was the last defender of the Padroado in Indochina, and he left twenty-three volumes of manuscript works in Vietnamese, Portuguese and Latin as proof of his attachment to this lost cause. (p. 247)

Now, where could one find father Binh’s Latin writings? The only evidence of Binh’s work in Worldcat is a microfilm of manuscripts in the Bibliotheca Vaticana, of which Cornell University owns a copy. The catalogue entry mentions Orationes (reel 5), Historica chronolologica dos Pontifices (reel 4). Reel 2 has an intriguing entry for a Dictionarium Annamiticum, seu Tunkinese Lusitana, & Latina declaratione,  evidently a Vietnamese dictionary with Portuguese and Latin definitions. It is unclear how that would relate to Dictionarium Annamiticum Lusitanum et Latinum by Alexandre de Rhodes (1591-1660), which appeared in 1651.

I would be most curious to know if anybody has more information about Binh and his Latin writings. He sounds like an interesting figure, and his works seem never to have been printed.

Ancient Sources for Hypatia and Agora

Chris Francese No Comments
  Uncategorized

movie poster for AgoraI am teaching the film Agora (2009) for the second time this year in my class Ancient Worlds on Film. Despite some considerable hunting I have not been able to find a convenient collection of the ancient sources on the fascinating philosopher and mathematician Hypatia of Alexandria, the subject of the film. Since comparison of film and ancient sources is at the heart of the course I was constrained to make my own collection, which I offer here for the benefit of anybody else interested in the film. In include Rufinus’ account of the storming of the temple of Serapis,  which figures prominently in the film. I also put in accounts of Hypatia from both Christian (John of Nikiu, Socrates) and pagan or Neo-Platonist (Palladas, Damascius, the Suda) perspectives.  The main gap is the letters of Synesius, which I did not include. For more on Hypatia and the film, I recommend the following:

  • Michael Deakin, “Hypatia and Her Mathematics,” American Mathematical Monthly 101.3 (1994), 234–243.
  • Donald Viney, “Remembering and Misremembering Hypatia: The Lessons of Agora,” Midwest Quarterly 54.4 (2013), 352–369.
  • Alex McAuley, “Hypatia’s Hijab: Visual Echoes of 9/11 in Alejandro Almenábar’s Agora.” Mouseion, Series III, Vol. 13 (2016): 131–152.
  • Lauren Kaplow, “Religious and Intercommunal Violence in Alexandria in the 4th and 5th centuries CE.” Hirundo: The McGill Journal of Classical Studies 4 (2005-2006) 2-26.

Ancient Sources for Agora-2018-4-27

 

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