Eric Raymond popularized the phrase "release early, release often" as a philosophy for software development. It works for digital scholarship, too.
We're happy to announce today an early release of a facsimile browser incorporating new material from our photography in the Escorial last summer. The digital facsimile edition requires data about the manuscripts (including what folios appear in what sequence), an index aligning each folio with a canonical citation of lines of the Iliad, and an index identifying which side of which folio each image illustrates. A group of dedicated and talented volunteers (some shown in the photo) has been meeting regularly on Friday afternoons to put this material together for the Escorial Υ.1.1 manuscript, prior to beginning work on a full diplomatic edition of the text (as others are already doing for the Venetus A and Venetus B codices).
Perhaps even more remarkable than the volunteers' rapid mastery of Escorial Υ.1.1's Byzantine script is the fact that all of the students are in their first year of Greek. If you're not accustomed to learning about the transmission of Homer from first-year Greek students, a Friday afternoon with this group is enlightening.
You will undoubtedly see postings on this blog in the future announcing further releases of material from "Team Escorial Υ.1.1." In addition to the puzzles they've had to solve to make today's release available, they are compiling careful observations that will lead to a helpful guide to the paleography of Escorial Υ.1.1, and have already noted a number of unpublished or unappreciated discrepancies bewteen Escorial Υ.1.1 and other manuscripts that are forcing all of us working on the Homer Multitext project to reassess entirely the traditional scholarly views on the (b) family of manuscripts of the Iliad.
The Escorial Υ.1.1 group has currently indexed more than half of the manuscript: we're including folios 1 recto - 109 recto (covering Iliad books 1-8) in today's release.
Our profound thanks to all members of the group (alphabetically):
- Matthew Angiolillo
- Neil Curran
- Maria Jaroszewicz
- Alex Krasowski
- Becky Musgrave
- Kathleen O'Connor
- Anne Salloom
- Megan Whitacre