Tuesday, February 2, 2016


ToposText is an indexed collection of ancient texts and mapped places relevant the the history and mythology of the ancient Greeks from the Neolithic period up through the 2nd century CE. It was inspired by two decades of exploring Greece by car, foot, or bicycle, and by clumsy efforts to appreciate επί τόπου the relevant information from Pausanias or other primary sources. The development of mobile electronic devices since 2010 has coincided with an increasingly comprehensive assortment of ancient texts available on the internet. The digital texts I collected on an e-reader in 2012 made clear both the pleasure of having a portable Classics library but also the desperate need to organize the information it contained. Discovering the Pleiades Project, with its downloadable database of thousands of ancient place names and coordinates, opened the door to indexing ancient texts geographically, using a map of Greece as the basic interface.
ToposText was designed as an application for mobile devices. Opening it presents a scrolling alphabetical list of 5000+ Greek cities, colonies, sanctuaries, archaeological sites, museums, and other points of interest, side-by-side with a location-aware map showing the nearby places by name, icon (city, sanctuary, theatre, etc), and the number of ancient references in the TT database. The texts and index and a basic map are stored on the device and requires no internet connection.
Selecting a site from either the list or the map opens up a table of two-line snippets from ancient authors, headed where available by a modern description. Selecting from this index list, which can be filtered by date, genre, and relevance, connects one to the full text of 240-odd works in English translation, some with the original Ancient Greek as well. Thus, at a glance and from any location, you can select and read the passages in ancient literature that give a place its historical and cultural meaning. While you are reading, the map alongside shows the location of the ancient places mentioned. In most cases, book and paragraph numbers of texts correspond to those conventionally used in printed texts. Where the online text available had no internal numbering, arbitrary paragraph numbering has been added. A scrolling feature hidden in the right margin allows rapid navigation through the books and chapters of a given text...

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