Fresh translations of the DCC core vocabularies

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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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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.

Conventiculum Dickinsoniense 2019

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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.


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:



Expansion of Caesar Gallic War Commentary

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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

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.

Ancient Sources for Hypatia and Agora

Chris Francese No Comments

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


ΗΣΦ 90th Annual Convention Schedule

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ΗΣΦ logo, owl sitting on a branch

ΗΣΦ is the college honorary society for classical studies, and Dickinson is proud to be hosting their 90th annual this weekend. Here is the schedule!

Friday, March 23rd

5:00-7:00pm, Great Room, Allison Hall

Registration and Reception

Light refreshments will be provided before the formal program begins

7:00-9:00pm, Great Room, Allison Hall

Opening Remarks and Certamen

Saturday, March 24th

7:00-8:30am, Comfort Suites

Continental Breakfast

9:00-11:00am, Great Room, Allison Hall

First Business Meeting

Megas Prytanis Christopher Maze, presiding

Minutes of the 89th Annual Convention

Megale Grammateus Katlyn Yost


  1. Chapter Reports
  2. Report of Contests
  3. Report of Scholarships
  4. Report of Megas Chrysophylax
  5. Report of Megale Hyparchos
  6. Old Business
  7. New Business
  8. Bids to host the 92nd Annual Convention (2020)
  9. Nominations for 2018-2019 National Officers

11:00-11:15am: Break

11:15am-12:30pm, Allison Hall Great Room

Presentation of Student Papers

John James, Eta Delta at Hillsdale College, “Emotional Evocation and the Psychology of Sign: Gorgias’ Response to Questions of Communication in Helen”

Sophia Decker, Tau at the University of Kentucky, “Dorians are Allowed to Speak Doric: Theocritus’ Idyll XV in the Context of Panhellenization”

Aaron Romanowski, Beta Psi at Rhodes College, ” The Use of the Cult of the Saints in the Milan Basilica Crisis of 385 CE ”

Katie Hillery, Eta Delta at Hillsdale College , “Developing an Eschatological Narrative: An Interpretation of Via Latina’s ‘Hercules Cycle’ through the Eyes of the Late Antique Roman Viewer”


Lunch, Dickinson College Cafeteria- Holland Union Building

Break-out Sessions (1:00-3:15)

1-2:30 pm, East College 111 (Classics Library)

Latin Declamation Contest

Session One

1:30-2:15pm, Ceramics Studio (Limit 20 Students)

Vase Painting

Rachel Eng, Assistant Professor of Art and Archaeology

In this workshop students will learn the different processes used in black and red figure pottery. We will look at examples of imagery from each style and learn how to apply the same techniques to clay forms.

1:30-2:15pm, Mumper Stuart Education Center, Weiss Basement

Classical Treasures at the Trout Gallery

From a chunk of the Parthenon to a denarius of Septimius Severus, The Trout Gallery has a treasure trove of classical objects. In this interactive program, learn about our well-documented pieces, and contribute to scholarship on some of our little-researched gems.

1:30-2:15pm, Allison Hall Community Room (basement)

Caesar and the Battle of Alesia, Diorama and Lecture

General John Bonin, Professor of Concepts and Doctrine,

US Army War College,

A history of the battle and its significance. Prof. Bonin will also construct a diorama, populated by his own hand-painted figurines, to illustrate the battle itself.

1:30-2:15pm, On-Campus Dig Site

Michael Sinclair, Keck Archaeology Lab

A demonstration of Dickinson’s Dig Simulator.

Session Two

2:30-3:15pm, Mumper Stuart Education Center, Weiss Basement

Classical Treasures at the Trout Gallery

From a chunk of the Parthenon to a denarius of Septimius Severus, The Trout Gallery has a treasure trove of classical objects. In this interactive program, learn about our well-documented pieces, and contribute to scholarship on some of our little-researched gems.

2:30-3:15pm, Allison Hall Community Room (basement)

Caesar and the Battle of Alesia, Diorama and Lecture

General John Bonin, Professor of Concepts and Doctrine,

US Army War College, will speak about the battle and its historical significance. He will also construct a diorama, populated by his own hand-painted figurines, to illustrate the battle itself.

2:30-3:15PM, Denny 112

Digital Maker Space

Prof. Francese, Senior Editor and Project Director of Dickinson Classical Commentaries, provides an introduction to digitial humanities at Dickinson. Dickinson students Ian White, Beth Eidam, Connor Ford, and Claire Jeantheau present their projects.

3:30-4:30pm, Allison Hall and East College

Committee Meetings

  1. New Chapters (Denny 112)
  2. Finance (Allison Hall Great Room)
  3. Contest and Scholarships (East College 107)
  4. Convention (East College 300)
  5. Resolutions (East College 301)
  6. Officers (East College 102)

5:30pm, Charles M. Kanev Planetarium

Mythology and the Stars

6:00pm, Charles M. Kanev Planetarium

Mythology and the Stars

7:00-9:00pm, Holland Union Building, Social Hall


Awards Ceremony

Vir et femina vestiti optime

Certamen Award

Paper Award

Service Award

Latin Declamation Contest Winner

Lifetime Achievement Awards:

Hans-Friedrich Mueller

Judith P. Hallett

Sunday, March 25th

8:00-8:45am, Comfort Suites

Continental Breakfast

9:00am-12:00pm, Great Room, Allison Hall

Second Business Meeting,

Megas Prytanis Christopher Maze, presiding

  1. Contest for Chapter Regalia
  2. Committee Reports
  3. Report of the Executive Secretary
  4. Report of the Chair of the Board of Trustees
  5. Election of 2020 Convention Site
  6. Resolutions and Amendments
  7. Election of 2018-19 National Officers
  8. Installation of Officers

Closing Remarks

Winter Break 2017-18 Accomplishments at DCC

Chris Francese 2 comments

2017-18 winter break was quite productive! Dickinson students Eli Goings (’18), Beth Eidam (’19), and Carl Hamilton (’21) worked on Caesar’s Gallic War, specifically on the text notes and vocabulary for Book 1, Chapters 8–54. This will soon give us a complete edition of Book 1. They made vocabulary lists using the Bridge, edited and added links in the notes (which had been previously gathered and edited by Jo Anne Miller from older school editions), edited the text to make it conform to the OCT, and created pages for notes and vocabulary.

Dickinson students Natalie Ginez (’21), Claire Jeantheau (’21), and Luke Nicosia (’21) worked on Wells Hansen’s commentary on Lucretius, De Rerum Natura Book 3. They completed the Bridge lemmatization of Lucretius 3, added dictionary definitions based on Hansen’s notes, and created vocabulary lists. They re-formatted Hansen’s notes and created draft pages for the notes. They added scroll bars. They proofread the notes and vocabulary lists. A contest to see who could identify the most errors in the others’ work was one by Claire, the prize being dinner for two.

Many thanks to Eli, Beth, Carl, Natalie, Claire, and Luke for all your care and hard work!

Horace’s Satiric Style

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Horace’s satiric style is informal and conversational—so much so that he called his works not satūrae but sermōnēs, “conversations, chats.” There are often snippets of dialogue and quick changes of topic and tone. The vocabulary ranges widely and urbanely between high (epic, grand) and low (colloquial, humble, obscene). Horace is somewhat confrontational, frequently addressing and challenging the reader or another imaginary or named person, but never in a hostile or angry way. He is fond of quoting proverbial wisdom and recalling well-known stories. He invokes principles of philosophy, but is never dogmatic or hair-splitting. He uses some rhetorical techniques, but his imagined audience seems to be one of friends—people in the know, rather than the general public.

Here are some of the more noticeable stylistic features, with examples taken from the first two satires of Book 1. This does not include aspects of Latin metrics or Latin grammar and usage.[1]

Snippets of Dialogue (brusque questions and snappy interruptions) ‘nil fuerit mi’ inquit ‘cum uxoribus umquam alienis.’ / verum est cum mimis, est cum meretricibus “’I would never,’ he says ‘have anything to do with other men’s wives.’ But you do have to do with mime actresses, with courtesans.”1.2.57-58

Challenging questions: quid iuvat immensum te argenti pondus et auri / furtim defossa timidum deponere terra? “What pleasure does it give you to fearfully place a massive weight of silver and gold in secret under the excavated earth?” (1.1.41-2) quid inter / est in matrona, ancilla peccesne togata? “What’s the difference if you do wrong with a matrona or with a toga wearing slave-woman (prostitute)?” (1.2.62-3).

Direct address to the audience: hiscine versiculis speras tibi posse dolores / atque aestus curasque graves e pectore pelli? “Are you hoping that these little verses can banish the woes, passions, and grievous anxieties from your heart?” (1.2.109-110).

Generalizing direct address: num, tibi cum faucis urit sitis, aurea quaeris / pocula? “When thirst burns in your throat, you don’t look for a golden cup, do you?” (1.2.114-115)

Direct address to the satirized person: cum tu argento post omnia ponas “Since you put money before everything else” (1.1.86)

Lists: multae tibi tum officient res, / custodes, lectica, ciniflones, parasitae “Many things get in your way: chaperones, litter, sedan-chair, coiffeuses, entourage” (1.2.97-98).

Proper names: deprendi miserum est: Fabio vel iudice vincam. “Getting caught (in adultery) is awful. I could prove that in court that even if Fabius were the judge.” (1.2.134)

Fringe vocabulary: Ambubaiarum collegia, pharmacopolae, / mendici, mimae, balatrones, hoc genus omne “The guild of go-go girls, quacks, beggars, mime-actresses, buffoons, all those type of people.” (1.2.1–2).

Colloquial language: Fufidius vappae famam timet ac nebulonis. “Fufius is afraid of getting a reputation as a low-life spendthrift” (1.2.12).

Obscenity mixed with formality: ‘nolim laudarier’ inquit / ‘sic me’ mirator cunni Cupiennius albi. “’I should not like to be praised in this way,’ says Cupiennius, the connoisseur of aristocratic [coarse word for female genitalia]” (1.2.35–36).

Oxymoron/paradox: semper ego optarim pauperrimus esse bonorum, “when it comes to these riches, I hope I am always very poor” (1.1.79). transvolat in medio posita et fugientia captat, “he flies past what is freely available and chases that which flees” (1.2.108)

Wordplay: dum vitant stulti vitia, in contraria currunt. “The fools, while they avoid one fault, they run to the opposite (fault)” (1.2.24).

Metaphor: interdicta petes, vallo circumdata “you seek the forbidden, (a woman) hedged around by a palisaded rampart” (1.2.96). metiri possis oculo latus “you can get the measure of her flank with your eyes” (1.2.103). plenior ut siquos delectet copia iusto, / cum ripa simul avolsos ferat Aufidus acer. / at qui tantuli eget quanto est opus, is neque limo / turbatam haurit aquam neque vitam amittit in undis. “He who takes delight in a supply that is more than just, the swift river Aufidus carries him off along with the bank that has been ripped away. But he who needs only what is essential, he drinks water untainted by mud, and does not lose his life in the waves.” (1.1.57-60)

Well-known examples: ut quondam Marsaeus, amator Originis ille, / qui patrium mimae donat fundumque laremque “Like Marsaeus, the famous lover of Origo, who once made his ancestral farm and home a present to a mime actress.” 1.2.55-56.

Proverbial sayings: in silvam ligna feras “you would be taking wood to the forest” [i.e. doing something totally useless] (1.10.34).

Allusions to fables or plays: ita ut pater ille, Terenti / fabula quem miserum gnato vixisse fugato / inducit. “Like that well-known father in Terence’s play, who lived a wretched life after his son ran away.” (1.2.20–22)

Parataxis (“setting beside,” i.e. the omission of conjunctions): milia frumenti tua triverit area centum: / non tuus hoc capiet venter plus ac meus “Your threshing floor may grind down a hundred thousand bushels of grain a year. [But] Your belly holds no more than mine.” (1.1.45–46)

1. For details on those topics, see Emily Gowers, Horace: Satires Book I (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), pp. 22–25 (“Style and Metre”), and J. C. Rolfe, Q. Horati Flacci Sermones et Epistulae (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1901), pp. xxvii–xxxviii (“The Language and Style of the Satires.”).

Enablers and Servants

Chris Francese one comments

One of the things I learned at the SCS meetings this past weekend is that it is important to echo and amplify on social media ideas and voices you find important. My favorite notion this year came from Gregory Crane, in a talk about  the Open Greek and Latin Project: classicists should see themselves less as professors, experts, and authorities, and more as enablers and servants of the community of readers of classical texts. 

Here is his list of the OGL’s goals in full:

  • 2 or more editions for as much of Greek and Latin as possible
  • CC licensing (CC-BY-SA)
  • Smooth pathway from Images of text-bearing objects through an open-ended and evolving set of machine actionable annotations
  • Based on evidence rather than authority
  • Community driven
  • Paid professionals as enablers and servants
  • Multilingual emphasizing  global access and exchange

There is much in this list to discuss. A key piece of context is the imminent arrival of the new Perseus interface, the Scaife Digital Library Viewer, which is set to debut on the Ides of March. Those who attended the OGL pre-conference workshop, or the Ancient MakerSpace session by the developer James Tauber, got a live preview of this lovely new package for Perseus data and tools. Here is a screenshot, which, it should be noted, is a work in progress.

Pre-release draft of the new Scaife Viewer for Perseus 5.0

Pre-release draft of the new Scaife Viewer for Perseus 5.0

Notice the CTS URN in the upper right hand corner, a key piece of infrastructure. Note also the “Log in”: users will be able to contribute much more directly than is now the case. When individual words are highlighted the url will change, allowing a unique identifier that can be used as a stable peg to hang annotations on. Very exciting. The new Greek Word Study Tool will have several new features, including the ability to provide improvements and  “contribute to open philology” through things like treebanking and commenting on texts.

Feature list of the new Greek Word Study Tool for Perseus 5.0

Greek word study tool feature list

Crane’s presentation was part of the annual Digital Classics Association panel, which is always exciting, and this year was no exception. Sam Huskey gave an update on the Digital Latin Library, and tools he is helping develop that will partly automate the creation of TEI-XML encoding for apparatus criticus of Latin editions. The scholar creates a spreadsheet of variants attributed to certain witnesses, and a nifty Python script creates the appropriately tagged XML. This will get you only part way, of course. At certain junctures scholarly judgment has to intervene in the constitution of a text. The brilliance of this new tool is that it actually makes clear what is rote reporting of variants and what is actual scholarly intervention. It clearly and unambiguously marks out the intellectual labor that goes into the creation of a critical apparatus, something that every dean and tenure committee can use to give scholars appropriate credit. 

Peter Heslin gave a fascinating paper arguing, in apparent contradiction to Huskey, that TEI-XML is not the best way of encoding critical apparatus. Rather, we should be using as a model the version control of Github, which simply stores different versions of a document in parallel, until the user wants to know what the differences are between them. He pointed out that a traditional apparatus is a rhetorical device for supporting a single version of the text, but is quite unhelpful if you want to know how similar or different two versions of a text are (say, the Propertius texts of Barber and Goold). In the discussion it became apparent that the two approaches a complementary, but Heslin’s talk was quite the satisfying (to me) attack on TEI-XML as a data model. Here are his main beefs:

list of problems with tei for encoding app crit

Peter Heslin: The Problems with XML and the App. Crit.

Thomas Koentges gave an absolutely wonderful talk on the uses of distant reading techniques for Greek stylometry. Using the vastly increased corpus of Greek from the First Thousand Years of Greek project  he is able to use topic modeling to show quite clearly the in-authenticity of Plato’s Menexenus–only the most die-hard skeptic would disagree, it seems to me. The essence of the technique is to use the signature of relative frequency of extremely common tokens–the equivalent of our thes, ands, buts, and howevers–to group works and authors.

Cynthia Damon discussed her amazing success in getting students, ranging from high school age to undergrad to post bac to graduate, involved in that holiest of inaccessible mysteries of classical scholarship, textual criticism and the creation of the apparatus criticus. First, she teaches them how to read an app crit, leading them through the process of expanding into plain English what the apparatus is saying and what it is trying to do. Then she has teams of students transcribe individual manuscripts (of the Bellum Alexandrinum in this case) and note variants. These variants are placed into spreadsheets of the type Sam Huskey was describing, classifying and describing them, and choosing which should be displayed in the apparatus itself. Then information from existing apparatuses is integrated (in this case those of the Teubner and Bude texts). In addition to creating an entirely new text and apparatus for much of the Bell. Alex., the students identified 30 errors in the apparatuses of the Teubner and Bude editions. The electrifying effect of having students involved in the creation of new scholarly knowledge can be judged by the fact that three of the students made the journey to the Boston Marriott in freezing weather to attend the session. All told, 80 students have been involved so far. In one class, the students came to the final exam with a gift of a t-shirt for their professor: sine apparatu, sine honore

T-shirt made by Cynthia Damon's students at the University of Pennsylvania

Sine apparatu, sine honore: T-shirt made by Cynthia Damon’s students at the University of Pennsylvania

Crane’s vision for OGL is to “make Greek and Latin play the biggest possible role in the intellectual life of human civilization.” OGL aims not just to present Greek and Latin texts in a readable fashion, but to be the focus of communities of readers and citizen scholars like those that Cynthia Damon is cultivating, and like the ones centered around the Holy Cross Manuscripts, Inscriptions, and Documents Club and its new off-shoot at Tufts. This philology is to be “community driven.” By getting students and others involved in the creation of scholarship through digital projects we prepare them for the future of work, he argues. Above all, philology must show its relevance if it is to survive in the competitive intellectual and institutional landscape of the coming decades. “We live in a world of fake news where truth doesn’t matter. Philology is an answer.”  

During the question period I asked how each presenter thought about their users, how they imagined the audience for their work. In most cases they said variations of “this  will be useful to scholars.” Crane’s answer was strikingly different. Professionals are “the least important audience,” he said. Rather, the proper role of the paid professional is to be the servant, the enabler of the community of citizen scholars and students. This is a vision that is profoundly important for our field, I believe. It motivates the scholars who contribute to DCC and to many other fine digital projects. Indeed, it has long been a part of the ideals of classical scholarship, for example in the late nineteenth century, when top scholars routinely wrote works for beginning students. Now, in what Crane called rather derisively the contemporary “print classics” world, this ideal has been somewhat forgotten. All too often scholars speak only to each other, and strive only to earn each others’ praise. 

This is not a call for “popularization” or “public facing scholarship,” both of which are quite valuable in themselves, but a call to find ways to create the kinds of scholarly and reading communities within and beyond the academy that will ensure the utility and contribution of our discipline in the coming decades. My intuition is that the way to do these things is to strive to broaden access to and understanding of the primary texts we love.