A Greek Reader by Charles Anthon

This week a new project for DCC begins, the digitization and editing of A Greek Reader by Charles Anthon (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1840, with editions up through 1854). This work is itself a selection and reworking of Frederic Jacob’s 4-volume behemoth, Elementarbuch der griechischen Sprache für Anfänger und Geübtere, published in many editions in the early nineteenth century. If you believe the long, hostile, and anonymous review in the Boston-based North American Review of 1840, Anthon largely plagiarized his selection and translation of Jacobs from the 1832 Boston edition by Hilliard and Gray. But this is unfair. Anthon’s notes are new and extensive, and very useful to beginners. The review eventually admits this, but then roasts Anthon for giving too much help in the notes, a flaw that will, it asserts, utterly destroy standards of scholarship in the United States. Student friendly, this Anthon, my kind of guy. Stephen Newmeyer’s appreciation in Classical Outlook 59.2 (1981-82), pp. 41-44, gives a good summary of his remarkable career at Columbia College.

nine people in separate boxes on a Zoom call

Team Anthon as of May 23, 2023: Scott Smith, Chris Francese, Nick Morris, Haydon Alexander, Ryan Saputo, Jillienne Robinson-Warren, Mandy Porter, Barry Brinker, Meagan Ayer. Not pictured: Keziah Armstrong.

The book contains two “courses.” The shorter first course contains brief sentences exemplifying specific morphological features, such as declensions or conjugations. The longer second course consists of short to medium-length passages thematically arranged: Aesopic fables, anecdotes of philosophers, anecdotes of kings and statesmen, and anecdotes of Spartans. There is a section “natural history” (i.e. interesting critters), a section of mythology, mythological narrations, mythological dialogues (from Lucian), and a long section on geography. Then there is a series of extracts from Plutarch (“History and Biography”) mostly about Athenian statesman. There follow several poetic extracts from Homer and Anacreon, among others.

page of Greek text

The “First Course” gives short sentences which drill a particular declension or conjugation.

Our merry band of students, professors and other volunteers intends to digitize most of the work this summer using Bruce Robertson’s web-based application Lace: Visualizing, Editing and Searching Polylingual OCR Results. Once we have a digitized text we can begin editing and presenting the text with running vocabulary in DCC style. The current plan is to cut down somewhat on the geography section, which gets a bit dull, omit the Homer selections, since we already have a growing edition of Homer’s Odyssey on DCC, as well as Books 6 and 22 of the Iliad.

We plan to modernize the work by taking out some of the gendered language in the notes, and we will probably include extra passages that compensate for the reader’s masculine and Atheno-centric biases, which go back to Jacobs. This is an old work, and a resurrected Anthon will certainly not suit the needs of every teacher or student. The goal is to put a large amount of relatively easy Greek in the hands of readers with full running vocabulary lists and links to our version of Goodell’s School Grammar of Attic Greek. We are collaborating also with the Greek Learner Texts Project led by James Tauber and connected with Perseus. This will hopefully go part way to rectifying the imbalance between the sorts of lower intermediate resources available for Latin and the much smaller amount of such material available for Greek.

There are many such Greek readers from the 19th century, Greek Learner Texts Project is working on some of these. Our group consists of students from Dickinson, the University of New Hampshire, teachers, and some volunteers from the DCC community, all ably led by Professor R. Scott Smith from the University of New Hampshire. We’re very excited about this project. It’s a little different than what we have been publishing so far on DCC, but I trust that it will find a niche on our site. In the long term we could augment with other material from other Greek readers into a kind of super mega Greek reader. But for now we’re going to focus on Anthon, since his notes are so helpful for beginners. It will probably take a least a year to complete, more likely two, so if you would like to get involved in some way, please do let us know!

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@dickinson.edu by March 11, 2016

NITLE seminar to feature DCC

Members of the team who created the Dickinson College Commentaries will be featured in a seminar hosted by the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education (NITLE). The event, which will take place on Thursday, December 6, 3:00-4:00 pm EST, will be hosted online via NITLE’s videoconferencing platform, and is open to NITLE consortium members.

“Collaborative Digital Scholarship Projects: The Liberal Art of Drupal,” will address the creation of collaborative digital projects in a liberal arts context, using the example of DCC site, which was built with the widely used content management system Drupal. The speakers will be Meredith Wilson (’13), Dickinson web developer Ryan Burke, and Prof. Christopher Francese.

For more details or to register, see: http://www.nitle.org/live/events/154-collaborative-digital-scholarship-projects-the