Conventiculum Dickinsoniense  July 6-12, 2015   

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


Prof. Milena Minkova, University of Kentucky

Prof. Terence Tunberg, University of Kentucky

2013 Conventiculum Dickinsonisnese (photo: Mary Lou Burke)

2013 Conventiculum Dickinsonisnese (photo: Mary Lou Burke)



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

For more information and application instructions write to:

Professor Terence Tunberg /



Multimedia Annotation of Classical Texts: What Do We Need?

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

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

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

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

A complete vocabulary of the Aeneid

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

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

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

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

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

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

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