Monday, April 11, 2016

Digital Athenaeus

Digital Athenaeus
One of the first efforts within the Open Greek and Latin Project is the Digital Athenaeus, whose goal is to produce a true digital edition of the Deipnosophists of Athenaeus of Naucratis with multiple versions of the work and translations in multiple languages. The Deipnosophists (Δειπνοσοφισταί, or Sophists at Dinner, in fifteen books), written by Athenaeus of Naucratis in the early 3rd century AD, is the fictitious account of several banquet conversations on food, literature, and arts held in Rome by twenty-two learned men. This complex and fascinating work is not only an erudite and literary encyclopedia of a myriad of curiosities about classical antiquity, but also an invaluable collection of quotations of ancient authors, ranging from Homer to tragic and comic poets and lost historians. Since the large majority of the works cited by Athenaeus is nowadays lost, this compilation is a sort of reference tool for every scholar of Greek theater, poetry, historiography, botany, zoology, and many other topics.

Despite the importance of the Deipnosophists, we still lack a comprehensive survey of Athenaeus’ citations, and many classicists have expressed the need of such a research (see Olson 2006, p. ix: “Athenaeus quotes over 1000 authors and over 1000 lines of verse, many of them known from no other source. We are particularly indebted to him for 100s of fragments of the tragic and comic poets; for numerous, frequently substantial excerpts from lost historians; for what appear to be extended citations from several Hellenistic scholarly treatises on Homer (…)”; cf. Zecchini 1989; Braund & Wilkins 2000; Canfora 2001; Lenfant 2007; Jacob 2013). The results of this investigation will enable us not only to better understand the ways of transmission of ancient literature at the time of Athenaeus, but also to make a definitive list of authors and works mentioned by him, and to draw a complete collection of citation schemes adopted in the stratified and multiform architecture of the Deipnosophists...
Work in Progress
  • editing the TEI XML file of the Deipnosophists; see Practical Problems with Athenaeus’ names;
  • systematic survey of the citations preserved in the fifteen books of Athenaeus’ Deipnosophists (see the work currently done for Athenaeus’s quotations of still preserved sources: Athenaeus Sources (Extant) (based on the work done by Vanessa Gorman);
  • building a fully comprehensive repository of quotation schemes used by Athe­naeus when alluding to his sources of information (ongoing discussion on the ontology);
  • treebanking Athenaeus’ Deipnosophists (ed. Gulick, Charles Burton) by Vanessa and Bob Gorman (see GitHub Digital Athenaeus).

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