Monday, July 2, 2012

Week One of the CHS summer seminar 2012

The first week of the Center for Hellenic Studies summer seminar introduced nine undergraduates and their faculty mentors from four colleges/universities (University of Washington, Trinity University in San Antonio, Furman University, College of the Holy Cross) to the Homer Multitext (HMT): its goals, theoretical foundations, and methods. These students began working on a digital edition of Iliad 7 of the Venetus A manuscript. Using the high-resolution digital photographs published through the HMT, the students learned the “palaeography” of the manuscript, the handwriting used and the system of abbreviations and ligatures that the scribe employed. They were also introduced to using XML mark-up for their digital editions. Their first task was to read the manuscript and create a digital diplomatic edition of the poetic text of Iliad 7. The students work in teams of two or three, and each team has multiple folios to complete. The teams were then introduced to the methods for creating an inventory of the scholia, the marginal scholarly commentary (see Recapturing a Homeric Legacy, Chapter 1 by Blackwell & Dué for a description of what is found on the pages of the Venetus A). The inventory is linked to the digital images, so that the user can easily and rapidly check the edition against the manuscript itself. The students then learned how to create a diplomatic edition of the scholia in XML, including mark-up for features such as personal names, place names, and quotations.

Iliad 7 opens with the return of Hektor and Paris to the battlefield, and then recounts the duel between Hektor and Ajax, the Trojan assembly’s discussion of whether they should return Helen (they ultimately offer to return her possessions, but not Helen herself—the Achaeans reject that offer), and the famously controversial building of the Achaean wall. This week the students will finish creating their editions of the scholia in Iliad 7 in the Venetus A and will discover how the ancient commentators thought about these parts of the poem. Once again, stay tuned for more!
Folio 91r of the Venetus A, with the beginning of Iliad 7

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