Friday, April 1, 2011

Representing scholia in a digital edition

As we start the process of creating digital editions of the scholia in the Iliad manuscripts, one of our goals is to represent what is on the page as faithfully as possible, so that readers using the digital editions will know exactly what is there and what is not. But we also want to the Greek to be not unduly difficult to read. So one editorial decision we have made is to render the punctuation and accentuation exactly as we read it on the folio page. We have noticed that when a conjunction makes it clear that a new clause or sentence is beginning (say, a δέ clause after a μέν clause), punctuation is often absent.

While I (Mary Ebbott) was reviewing yesterday with my colleagues Casey Dué and Neel Smith some of the scholia from Iliad 3 in the Venetus A (folio 42 recto) that one of our undergraduate researchers, Melissa Browne, had edited, I noticed that although punctuation was missing in these types of cases, in some places (like the two images below) the scribe had left what looks like extra space between these clauses, perhaps to aid readability. So then we were faced with the editorial question of whether we should try to represent that extra space, and if so, how. That might seems like a silly question, but it is the kind of question that crops up time and again in making a digital edition from a handwritten document. After some discussion, and considering that the determination of "extra" space might be a very subjective one, we decided that we should simply leave the digital edition without punctuation and with no indication of that space.

(The images below are linked to full-resolution zoomable images for closer viewing. Thanks to Neel for creating these!)

Example 1: Note the space between ὡς καλλίμαχος and οἱ δὲ βαρυτόνως


Example 2: Spacing between ἢ περισπᾶται ἢ βαρύνεται and πάντες δὲ οξύνονται