Praise for Mulligan’s Nepos on DCC

Tip of the hat to Rex Stem for his kind words about DCC in a recent BMCReview of Bret Mulligan’s Nepos:

I have never taught from an online commentary, but I am persuaded that this text would be an effective way to do so. The different types of information that the student needs are easily accessible, the format is pleasing and intuitive, and the level of the notes is appropriate and rigorous. The printed version is successful in itself, but the appeal of the online version is manifest. My pedagogical habits would have to change somewhat if I were to teach from an online commentary (would we all have screens in front of us? would we also still want to have printed texts to annotate?), but this is precisely the sort of online teaching resource that encourages experimentation with new formats and methods. As a pedagogical platform for teaching Latin with digital materials, this text is visionary in its design.

If you are experimenting in this way, please leave a comment and let everyone know how it’s going!

Classicists without Borders

reaching hand

Photo: Quinn Dombrowski, via flickr

Classical outreach programs are proliferating. See, for example, the ones at Oxford, the University of Cincinnati, the Classics in Communities Project in the UK, and the variety of outreach initiatives at the SCS. The problem with the term outreach is the slight air of desperation. There must be people “out” there who have never heard our message, who need to be “reached.” Hands extend into a void, waving cheerfully at passersby, signaling for attention, anxious not to be ignored. I  believe we should think less in terms of reaching out and more in terms of service, of finding places where our skills are needed or welcome, even when those are not the places that our ordinary professional lives typically take us. Possibly the best current example of this is the series of workshops run by Classics in Communities, bringing support to those in schools with no Latin programs who want nonetheless to teach Latin. I can think of two other areas where there is a certain void, a space where the voices of Classicists without Borders would potentially be welcome, even useful, but have not so far been heard very much. The first is podcasting. The podcast medium is widely enjoyed as recreation be people as they exercise, walk, travel, go about housework routines, etc. This is an audience hungry for new content, eager to explore new ideas, and interested in all sorts of things. Perhaps they studied Latin at school, or have always had a love of mythology. The mechanics of producing and delivering podcasts to this audience are well within the technological competence of most classicists. Success in the medium, as with much teaching, requires a conversational style, a sense of humor, and an ability to tell stories. A second area is that of digital project reviews. The vast majority of people who are not professional classicists find their information about the classical world on the internet, and there is a heartening proliferation of good quality digital projects about the ancient world. Still, there is a good deal that is slapdash and ill-informed. Who can tell the difference? Classicists can. Where is there a reliable venue of critiquing, evaluating, and commenting on digital resources? Nowhere. The SCS Communications Committee (which I currently chair), among its other activities, is creating just such a venue as part of the SCS website and blog. When qualified review of open digital resources becomes as routine as it is for monographs, the prestige and the quality of open online publications will rise. The SCS Communications Committee has created a clear set of guidelines for such reviews, and is actively soliciting reviewers and projects to review. Please leave a comment if you have any suggestions for this, or ideas about other “Classicists with Borders” initiatives.

Reading the Romans: 7 Rules for Primary Texts

BasilConstAs classical teachers we often ask our student to read primary sources about the Greeks and Romans in English,and the ability to analyze them critically forms one of the primary learning goals in many courses. I have never seen formulated any explicit general guidelines for students on how to do so, or discussion of how these texts might differ from analogous types of texts they’re more familiar with, despite the fact that students often have a hard time interpreting unfiltered ancient sources. So here are some modest rules of thumb, much of it common sense, but some of it also reflecting some peculiar features of Roman literate culture. Hopefully these rough guidelines will help students to better appreciate what Roman texts have to offer: Please leave a comment if you have others to share!1

Consider the perspective of the author. Each author will have his or her own viewpoint and aims in a particular instance, which will be shaped by circumstances, status, family, education, life experiences, and so forth. It helps to keep certain questions in mind: Is the writer attempting to persuade, entertain, praise, inform, impress, draw some pertinent moral, or some combination of these aims? Is he talking about contemporary events or some remote period? Does he wholeheartedly endorse the views presented or propose them merely for the sake of argument or as something to think about? Is the author speaking in his own voice or through the persona of some particular character? Does he have any motive to be less than truthful or honest? Does his social position or economic circumstances or other factors predispose him to think in a certain way? Is he attempting to challenge received views or reporting what seems like a consensus? Is he attempting to shock his audience? The conventional wisdom is that Roman writing is less confessional and more influenced by models, personae, and what needs to be said on a particular occasion than is writing in more modern eras—though this generalization is debatable.

Consider the audience. Is the intended receiver a single individual, a friend, an enemy, a student, a group, or a god? A good deal of Roman writing is persuasive or hortatory (urging people to do something), and this includes poetry. Consider what a particular argument implies about the predisposition of the audience and its expected views.

What is extraordinary is not typical. We tend to remark on things that are not obvious or ordinary. What is surprising or noteworthy implies by contrast what is normal or average. Beware of inferring that, because some individual Roman is said to have done things in a certain way, or that somebody says that people should do things a certain way, that most people in fact did do it that way. The opposite is often more likely to be the case. By the same token, things that are said as if they had no special importance are often good evidence for common practices. All of this is especially relevant for anything to do with sexuality.

Ideas reflect controversies. Like any group of people, the Romans disagreed strenuously among themselves about many things. What counterarguments are stated or implied in the positions taken by a given author? Are the terms of the debate familiar from modern controversies, or do they seem to reflect peculiar Roman institutions, customs, blind spots, or preoccupations? What do the positions taken imply about values and priorities of the author and the audience?

Look for the evaluation. Roman authors, no less than modern ones, rarely describe things simply for the sake of describing them. Usually there is an expressed or implied evaluation, a position being taken that a particular fact or behavior is good or bad, right or wrong, or somewhere in between. These evaluations are key to the interpretation and assessment of what is being said, and are often foregrounded—something that has given Roman authors a well-earned reputation for being moralistic. But evaluations are often unstated, especially in historiography and letters. Attempt to figure out the implied position on what is being described.

Consider the genre. Put very simply, Roman love poetry is meant to evoke desire, pastoral to conjure up an idyllic landscape, oratory to stir the mind and emotions, and satire to attack vice. Every genre has its traditional goals and parameters, which can be followed or subverted by individual authors, and which are usually not coextensive with their modern relatives. Roman and Greek biographers were primarily interested in illustrating and evaluating character, rather than simply describing the facts and circumstances of the subject’s life (see further the introduction to Plutarch). Similarly, historical writing tends to be more exemplary (that is, offering a model for behavior) and moralizing than its modern counterpart. Philosophy can be cast as poetry (as with Lucretius) or as letters (as with Seneca). Epigram, a genre perfected by Martial but now rare, will always be short and have a sting in the tail. Try to get a sense of what genre an author is writing in, and what that implies about the kinds of things he is likely to say, and how he innovates. Roman authors were fond of playing with genre, as when Ovid humorously adopts the conventions of instructional literature in The Art of Love. The introductions in this book offer some guidance on this matter.

Consider what is not said. Many types of documents we would like to have either do not survive or were not written in the first place. We do not have personal diaries, church and municipal archives, or journalism of the sort historians of more recent eras take for granted. And there are many other gaps, due both to the vagaries of what was preserved in the Middle Ages, as well as to who could write, who chose to write, and what they chose to write about. A figure like Cicero looms large because he was so prolific and his Latin style so beloved in later ages. But the thoughts of even some very influential Romans, like Marius, Sulla, or Nero—not to mention countless ordinary people—are relatively or entirely inaccessible to us. One would like to have the memoirs of Roman priestesses, engineers, magicians, slaves, soldiers on the frontiers, or Gallic tribesmen who adopted Roman ways, but we do not. And even within the documents we do possess, many issues we would like to hear about are simply not discussed. These silences are themselves often significant.

1. What follows is excerpted from Christopher Francese and R. Scott Smith, Ancient Rome: An Anthology of Sources (Hackett, 2014), pp. xx-xxii.

Dickinson Workshop: Julius Caesar’s Art of War

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Julius Caesar’s Art of War: A Graphic Portfolio of the Battlefields and Tactics in the Commentarii de Bello Gallico:
Antonio Salinas
United States Military Academy, West Point, NY

Place: Dickinson College, Tome 115, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm

Salinas1.7-1.8While Caesar’s Gallic War presents a clear depiction of Roman military doctrine against Celtic tribes at all levels of war, very few detailed maps exist which illustrate the tactical and operational aspects. Antonio Salinas’ mapping portfolio maps the entirety of Caesar’s Gallic War, illustrating Caesar’s legions at both the operational and tactical level, using Google Earth imagery and NATO symbology to effectively follow Caesar’s legions during their campaigns in Gaul, Germany, and southern England. The portfolio seeks to assist classicists and military historians alike in bringing Caesar’s Gallic War to life in a way never before seen.

This workshop will take a detailed look at each year of Caesar’s campaign, highlighting Caesar’s strategy, operations, and tactics. We’ll spend time analyzing the major battles and explain how and why a handful of legions were able to conquer such a large expanse of land with a large population.

The workshop is free of charge, but to order materials and food we need to have an accurate count of attendees.

Registration Deadline: April 2, 2016.

To register: Email Mrs. Terri Blumenthal,  blumentt at

CPT Antonio Salinas is from Allen Park, Michigan. On high school graduation Antonio enlisted in the United States Marine Corps where he served as a martial arts instructor trainer and an intelligence chief. He attended Eastern Michigan University and received his Bachelors in History and Political Science. In graduate school he enrolled in Army ROTC and attained his Masters in History. He received his commission from Army ROTC in May 2007 as a branch detail Infantry – Military Intelligence officer and has served in both Afghanistan and Iraq. He has published one book Siren’s Song: The Allure of War (Deed’s Publishing, 2012), describing his time as an infantry platoon leader in combat. Antonio continues to serve in uniform and currently teaches military history at West Point.

Summer 2016 Paid Research Internships in Classical Studies

Dickinson students are encouraged to apply for any of three 8-week paid research internships in Classical Studies in summer 2016 (the second of these positions is contingent on a pending funding decision by the Dickinson Research and Development Committee). The pay is $350 per week, plus housing on Dickinson’s campus. The work will be carried out under the supervision of Prof. Francese, and result in substantial credited contributions to the Dickinson College Commentaries and Dickinson Classics Online Projects.

Dates: May 30–July 22, 2016

Location: Carlisle, PA

Application deadline: March 11, 2016

Positions 1 and 2 Description: Digital Latin-Chinese Lexicon

Work on the digitization of the Latin-Chinese dictionary of Joaquim-Affonso Gonçalves (Lexicon magnum: latino-sinicum 1841, 779 pp.), which will eventually result in a mobile application, and a database that will form an essential part of the infrastructure of the project Dickinson Classics Online. Begun in 2015, DCO is intended to provide better access to the Greco-Roman classics to Chinese speakers. One student (position 1) will edit Gonçalves’ Chinese definitions to make sure they are properly transcribed and modernized; the other (position 2) will edit the Latin headwords to make them correspond to those of the base dictionary published by the Laboratoire d’Analyse Statistique des Langues Anciennes (LASLA). In many cases Goncalves’ headwords will have to be split or combined to conform to the LASLA headwords, and in every case the format of the Latin headwords will have to be expanded to meet modern lexicographical standards.

Positions 1 and 2 Requirements

Position 1 requirements:

  • strong written Chinese, familiarity with both classical and simplified characters
  • attention to detail
  • interest in languages
  • facility with Excel

Position 2 requirements:

  • upper-intermediate or advanced Latin
  • attention to detail
  • interest in languages
  • facility with Excel

Positions 1 and 2 Schedule

Week 1 (May 30-June 3): orientation to the project:

  • The basics of Latin lexicography, and the similarities and differences between existing dictionaries and their source material
  • Introduction to primary resources that will be used in this project: Joseph Denooz, Nouveau lexique fréquentiel de latin, Logeion, and Goncalves’ Lexicon Magnum Latino-Sinicum.
  • Explanation of LASLA’s working methods and their style of lemmata
  • Examination of the LASLA list of homonyms, and explanation of their labeling conventions and French abbreviations
  • Practice creating dictionary forms in Excel in the existing DCC style, based on
    • LASLA lemma
    • Goncalves’ lemma
    • Lemmas available in Logeion, especially Woordenboek Latijn/Nederlands (2011)
  • Practice typing Latin characters with macra (long marks over vowels) using the Maiori keyboard in Windows, and explanation of where that is necessary, and where to find accurate information about vowel quantity
  • Analysis of the Chinese OCR to determine the extent of the revisions needed to modernize it
  • Practice editing Chinese definitions to conform with edited Latin lemmata, splitting and combining as needed.
  • Practice formatting Chinese definitions to include Latin idioms as in Goncalves

Weeks 3-8: work on creating the database, going alphabetically.

Position 3 Description: Multimedia Edition of the Aeneid

Work on a forthcoming DCC multimedia edition of the Aeneid, which will include

  • Notes, drawn mostly from older school editions, that elucidate the language and the context
  • Images, art, and illustrations, annotated to make clear how they relate to the text
  • Complete running vocabulary lists for the whole poem
  • Audio recordings of the Latin read aloud, and videos of the scansion
  • A full Vergilian lexicon based on that of Henry Frieze
  • Recordings of Renaissance music on texts from the Aeneid
  • Comprehensive linking to Allen & Greenough’s Latin Grammar
  • Comprehensive linking to Pleiades for all places mentioned in the text

Positions 3 requirements:

  • familiarity with the Aeneid in Latin
  • attention to detail
  • familiarity with Adobe Photoshop

Position 3 Schedule

  • Weeks 1–3: gathering, editing, and posting of images medieval manuscripts of the Aeneid
  • Weeks 4–5: transcription, upload, and linking of Aeneid scholarship excerpts
  • Weeks 6–8: creation of RDF file for linked data synching with Pelagios Project, for all places mentioned in the notes

TO APPLY: please send a letter of interest with a curriculum vitae to  francese at by March 11, 2016

How far will core vocabulary get you?

One of the claims that scholars make about vocabulary acquisition in Latin and Greek is that a relatively small number of high frequency lemmas (dictionary headwords) accounts for a high percentage of word forms in a typical text. John Muccigrosso and Wilfred Major, for example, estimate that the number of lemmas that will generate 80% of a typical text in Latin is 1500, in Greek, about 1100. (Muccigrosso, 2004, p. 416; Major, 2008, p. 7). Of course it stands to reason that this figure will differ between texts, and within texts, since some authors use relatively simple vocabulary (Nepos, Lysias), while some do not (Juvenal, Aeschylus), and some passages within an author have more unusual words than others. I and others have long wanted a way to calculate the “core percentage” in a given piece of text, that is the number of word forms in a section of a text that derive from high frequency lemmas. This would be both interesting from the point of view of literary criticism, and helpful pedagogically. Some data on that is now emerging in the case of Latin, thanks to the work of LASLA, of Bret Mulligan and his Bridge application, and the Excel skills of Derek Frymark (Dickinson ’12).

If we take the 1000-word DCC core Latin vocabulary as the definition of high frequency lemmas, then 78% of Caesar’s Gallic War consists of core lemmas, excluding proper names. The core percentages by book in Caesar’s Gallic War (excluding Hirtius’ Book 8, for which we have no LASLA data) look like this:

Book      Percentage

1             0.80

2             0.78

3             0.77

4             0.79

5             0.77

6             0.78

7             0.75

Individual chapters range from a high of 91% (4.8) to a low of 57% (7.72). 44 sentences in the work consist of 100% core vocabulary (e.g. 1.8.3 and 1.10.4), while there are two sentences, 3.13.4 and 3.13.4, which tie for a low of 17%.

In the Aeneid (taking the chunks of the text as presented in Perseus) the average chunk is 70% core, with a high of 88% (7.1–4), and a low of 46% (6.417–425). The book by book totals are as follows:

Book      Percentage

1              0.72

2              0.73

3              0.70

4              0.72

5              0.70

6              0.71

7              0.69

8              0.69

9              0.71

10           0.70

11           0.72

12           0.70

Two Dickinson students, Seth Levin and Connor Ford, are working on visualizing the core percentage data for the Aeneid and the Gallic War as part of Dickinson’s Mellon-funded Digital Boot Camp, led by Patrick Belk, starting this week. I look forward to sharing the results in the next few weeks, and hearing what you think of them!


Major, Wilfred E. (2008). It’s Not the Size, It’s the Frequency: The Value of Using a Core Vocabulary in Beginning and Intermediate Greek. CPL Online, 4.1, 1-24.

Muccigrosso, John (2004). “Frequent Vocabulary in Latin Instruction.” Classical World, 97, 409-433.

Note: this post was edited Jan. 15, 2016, to take into account some corrections in the data, and to add the book by book figures for the Aeneid.

CfP: Globalizing Ovid: Shanghai 2017

Call for Papers:

Globalizing Ovid

An International Conference in Commemoration of the Bimillennium of Ovid’s Death

Guangqi International Center for Scholars of Shanghai Normal University

May 31–June 2, 2017

Jointly sponsored by the Chinese National Social Science Foundation, Shanghai Normal University, and Dickinson College

Robinet Testard, Ipsipile scrive a Giasone (Source: Folia Magazine)

Robinet Testard, Ipsipile scrive a Giasone (Source: Folia Magazine)

Keynote speakers:

  • Michael von Albrecht (Universität Heidelberg)
  • Maurizio Bettini (Università di Siena)
  • John Miller (University of Virginia)
  • Alison Sharrock (University of Manchester)
  • Gareth Williams (Columbia University)
  • Wei Zhang (Fudan University)

Welcome addresses:

  • Fritz-Heiner Mutschler (Universität Dresden/Peking University)
  • Yang Huang (Fudan University)

Concluding address:1

  • Laurel Fulkerson (Florida State University)


Why Shanghai?

One may be surprised to learn that this is not the first time that an anniversary of a Latin poet is commemorated in China. 1930, the Bimillennium of Vergil’s birth, represented a watershed in the reception of Vergil and Roman literature in China. Aeneid Book I and Eclogues IV and VIII were translated into Chinese for the first time. The translator praised Vergil’s “modern” spirit: his critical attitude toward Empire, his questioning of the cost of civilization, his doubts of the value of progress, and his portrayal of the loneliness of his main characters. A little before 1930, well-known poet Dai Wangshu translated Ovid’s Ars Amatoria into vernacular Chinese prose based on Ovide: L’Art d’Aimer in the Collection Budé. These translations were both products of and participants in the Chinese exploration of modernity and a “New Culture,” a process that involved a full scale reexamination of a wide range of issues, from the status of the Confucian canon, relationships with authority, modes of heroism, gender roles and sexuality, to ways of expressing desire and emotion. It was only after a long hiatus that complete translations of Ovid’s Metamorphoses and Vergil’s Aeneid appeared in 1958 and 1984 respectively, both created by Yang Zhouhan (1915–1989), working from the original Latin and various English translations. Today there is a remarkable surge in interest in both Chinese and Western classics in China. Latin literature is gaining momentum at a speed faster than one could have imagined a generation ago. In 2015 the Chinese National Social Science Foundation announced “Translating the Complete Corpus of Ovid’s poetry into Chinese with Commentaries” (PI: Jinyu Liu) as one of the major projects to fund in the next five years. With this initiative, Ovid’s Fasti and exile poetry will be translated into Chinese for the first time, his other poems will be retranslated, and comprehensive commentaries will accompany the translations of all of Ovid’s poems for the first time.

Consilium resque locusque dabunt (Tristia I.1.92) This conference serves as an opportunity not only to pay tribute to Ovid, but also to promote cross-cultural conversations about the globalization of the Greco-Roman Classics. The conference invites papers that represent the most recent developments in the Ovidian scholarship—philological, textual, critical, literary, and historical—as well as contributions that explore perspectives from comparativism, translingualism, and postclassicism to address larger issues of translating and interpreting the Classics in a globalizing world. These two strands of themes should not be perceived as being either isolated from or in competition against each other, especially if scholars and translators of Ovid are understood as participants in assigning meanings to his work. The conference intends to bring together scholars and translators to explore the dynamic processes of selection, tension, and negotiation that have been integral to the making and interpreting of Classical canon, including Ovid. How has Ovid been taught, disseminated, transmitted, and evaluated in Roman antiquity and in other cultures? If the viability of the Greco-Roman Classics in the postclassical eras, and in the non-Western contexts hinges on the willingness of the host cultures to assign new meanings to them, what may motivate that “willingness,” and through whose agency? What are those new meanings? Where and how are they being worked out and developed? What translation strategies have been applied to Ovid’s poetry in different locales and languages, and for what audiences? What are the challenges of translating Ovid in cultures with their own vibrant but different poetic traditions, and literary culture concerning themes of love, abandonment, transformation, and exile? How and where are Classics changed by their interaction with different host cultures?

Topics and abstract submissions:

The conference will include plenary addresses, individual paper presentations, as well as roundtables organized by project team members and the board of referees (see below). In accordance with the dual function of the conference both to highlight current scholarship and trends in thinking on Ovid and to consider modes of cross-cultural reception, comparison, and translation, we provide the following list to illustrate the range of questions and topics in which the conference is interested. It is by no means an exclusive or restrictive list:

  • Amor: Force of destruction?
  • Emotions in Ovid
  • The dearth of same-sex relationships in Ovid
  • Intertextuality in Ovid: What’s new?
  • The Ovidian aesthetics
  • Ovid’s literary persona(e)
  • Ovid’s lieux de mémoire
  • The psychology of exile in the Ovidian corpus
  • The human and Roman past(s) in Ovid
  • Ovid in provinces and Roman imperialism
  • Locus urbanus versus locus barbarus in Ovid
  • Seduction in ancient literature: a comparative examination
  • Tales of Transformation compared (within Metamorphoses, across genres, and/or across cultures)
  • The Ovidian corpus: critical editions
  • Teaching Ovid in Antiquity and/or the modern world
  • Translating Ovid (and Classics in general) in a Global Context
  • Visualizing Ovid
  • Post-classical Ovid (reception and adaptation in all genres)
  • Commentary tradition and digital commentary

We welcome submissions from advanced doctoral students and scholars of all seniorities. Please send brief vitae and proposals (300 words excluding bibliography) for 25-minute papers by April 30, 2016 to Jinyu Liu, HH 117, Department of Classical Studies, DePauw University, Greencastle, IN 46135, USA, or email: both and

Abstract submissions will be evaluated by a board of seven referees, whose names are listed below, and the results will be announced by June 1, 2016:

  • Christopher Francese (Dickinson College, USA)
  • Laurel Fulkerson (Florida State University, USA)
  • Steven Green (Yale-NUS, Singapore)
  • Jinyu Liu (DePauw University/Shanghai Normal University, USA/China)
  • Lisa Mignone (Brown University, USA)
  • Bobby Xinyue (University of Warwick, UK)
  • Wei Zhang (Fudan University, China)

Publication plan:

Selected contributions will be translated into Chinese, and published in either a collected volume or Chinese academic journals. The authors will retain copyright to the non-Chinese versions of their articles. The possibility of publishing the conference proceedings in English with a European or American publisher will also be explored.


  • Heng Chen (Shanghai Normal University)
  • Christopher Francese (Dickinson College)
  • Jinyu Liu (DePauw University/Shanghai Normal University)

*Please send all inquiries to Professor Jinyu Liu at

Join us as we make history!


Toward a Multimedia Latin Grammar

What sort of Latin and Greek grammars do we need online? How can existing public domain resources be re-worked, modernized, and leveraged to best serve the community of Latin and Greek learners and scholars going forward?

The current state of things is best represented by The Perseus Project, which early on digitized important English language grammars by Smyth (Greek) and Allen & Greenough (Latin), among others.

Allen & Greenough at Perseus: hyperlinked and searchable

Allen & Greenough at Perseus: hyperlinked and searchable

This version of  A&G has hyperlinks, and navigation by chapter number, and is searchable.

At DCC we have been working online grammars for a few years, and the results so far have been a newly digitized Greek Grammar by Thomas Dwight Goodell, and a revised digital version of Allen & Greenough’s Latin Grammar, based on XML files kindly provided by the Perseus Project. As we prepare to revise Allen & Greenough again in the process of moving it to Drupal (the CMS for our main site), it seemed like a good time to ask for ideas and suggestions on what would be most useful. First, some background.

In the fall of 2013 Kaylin Bednarz (Dickinson ’15) scanned a copy of the 1903 printing of Allen & Greenough so that we had good quality page images. Then she cleaned the existing XML files from the Perseus Project, linking the XML files to the photo scans on Dickinson servers.

The main changes to the XML involved correcting errors and simplifying and altering some XML tags. Here is an example of the source XML from Perseus of ch. 26

Perseus XML for Allen & Greenough ch. 26

Perseus XML for Allen & Greenough ch. 26

The DCC version looks like this:

DCC Allen & Greenough ch. 26 XML

DCC Allen & Greenough ch. 26 XML

Using the new scans Kaylin also created new XML files for the index of the book, which had not been included in the Perseus version. The purpose there was to make the book browseable via the index, which is important for user utility, and absent in all other online versions. For example, a search in the Perseus version for the term indirect discourse yields six results, rather confusingly displayed, and you could sort through and find what you need. But the index itself is analytical and gets you right where you want to go.

Index page added to Perseus digitization of Allen & Greenough

Index page added to Perseus digitization of Allen & Greenough


Kaylin then created html files based on the 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 at Dickinson.

In late March, Dickinson web developer Ryan Burke uploaded the page images, html, and XML files to Dickinson servers, and created the web interface for our version of A&G. This revealed issues of formatting: indentations were often not preserved, resulting in lack of clarity. Some character formatting was not right, especially in charts, 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.

Meagan Ayer (PhD in classics and ancient history, University of Buffalo, 2012) 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.

All this work is now complete, and the results I would characterize as somewhat underwhelming. The interface is not attractive, and navigation and searching, always a weak point in the Perseus version, has only been marginally improved (though I do use that index fairly regularly). More importantly, there is no easy way to add things, like audio, video, test question banks, anything. In the fall of 2015 Meagan and I designed a content type in Drupal so that we could transfer the existing html pages into a more flexible and media-friendly box. Ryan Burke built the content type, and Meagan is now in the process of transferring content and making colored versions of the charts as .jpg files that could be consulted as a group. The Drupal version will allow for linked translations, as with our core vocabulary. For example, we hope to have a Chinese version in the next five years. Drupal’s translation module allows us to keep all versions tied together and easily edited. Drupal also has tagging features for enhanced searchability, and allows for embedded and tagged images, audio, and video.

For the design we went with a three column format (as in Perseus) to aid in readability. Navigation is on the left, and we reserved the right sidebar for media. For this version we combined several chapters on a single page (node) when that seemed logical. For example, sections 53-55 all discuss and summarize the types of 3rd declension nouns, so it seemed perverse to make three separate nodes in Drupal for that. In effect we have created a new table of contents (with two levels, and expandable), while preserving the standard reference system by numbered chapters. This in itself should aid in finding. Here is a page with sample audio and video players, and the page image at the right. The new TOC (still in development as the pages are created) is at the left: DCC_AG_with_media

And here is a sample with one of Meagan’s colored charts. You can also see the chart as a downloadable .pdf, and download the XML if you wish.

DCC_AG_with_chartsNow that we have a designated zone (at the right) for media, what exactly should go there? Pedagogical advice? Video a la Khan Academy? Banks of multiple choice quizzes? Commentary that modernizes the discussion of the grammar? Examples for the corpus of Latin (a la Logeion)? What do you think?


Conventiculum Dickinsoniense 2016


July 5-11, 2016

The 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. 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.


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, 2016. 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. 

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 dinner 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

Dickinson Latin Workshop: The Venerable Bede

July 12–17, 2016

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.

The decorated initial B ("Britannia") at the head of Liber 1 Caput 1 of Bede's Historia Ecclesiastica

The decorated initial B (“Britannia”) at the head of Liber 1 Caput 1 of Bede’s Historia Ecclesiastica. Source: The British Library


Rob Hardy (Carleton College)

Christopher Francese (Dickinson College)

The text for 2016 will be selections from Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People. Bede wrote in simple but nuanced Latin a history of the Christian Churches in England, and of England generally. His history, completed around 731, is the foundation of our knowledge of the early history of England, and contains many fascinating stories. 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, 2016. The participation fee for each participant will $300. The fee covers lodging, breakfast and lunch 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 $300 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 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., Tuesday, July 12. The final session ends at noon on Sunday, July 17, 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.

TO APPLY: please contact Mrs. Terri Blumenthal,  blumentt at by the application deadline May 1, 2016. The fee for 2016 is $300, due in a check made out to Dickinson College, by the fee deadline June 1, 2015.

For more information please contact Prof. Chris Francese ( francese at