Tag Archives: Homer

Attested Repetition in Homeric Epic

This paper announces the creation of a version of the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey that links each line of each poem with those other lines in the Iliad and the Odyssey that share the most significant vocabulary. Each line has at least one parallel. The line with the most parallels (Od. 2.569) has 227 parallels but that is exceptional. The average line has 24.4 parallels. Forty-eight files, one for each book in the Iliad and Odyssey, are available on GitHub and I expect to add them to other repositories in the future. This paper describes how similarity is calculated. Continue reading

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New ways to read Greek and Persian epic and to explore diverse cultures

Our work explores the hypothesis that a new mode of reading is taking shape, one in which dense, machine actionable annotations allow readers to work directly and effectively with sources in languages that they do not know – a new middle space between reliance on translation and mastery of the source text (Crane et al. 2019, Crane 2019). This hypothesis has substantial potential importance for our ability to use source texts to explore cultural diversity in general and the diversity of Asian cultures in particular. Our particular work focuses on two challenges for a traditionally Eurocentric subject, Classics (or Classical Studies), which is still used to describe the study of Greco-Roman culture. On the one hand, university students without training in Greek and Latin in secondary school have difficulty mastering the languages and learning about the subject. In spring 2021, the Princeton Classics Department provoked controversy when it made it possible for majors to study Greco-Roman antiquity without learning any Greek or Latin — too few students, especially students of color, had access to Latin, much less Greek, before college (Wood 2021). At the same time, Classics and Classical Studies are far too narrow – we must include other classical languages – Sanskrit, Classical Chinese, Classical Arabic, etc. – if we are to continue using these terms. We report on work that addresses both challenges. Continue reading

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Visualizing progress in a historical language (2)

This second part focuses on the problem of visualizing what learners have and have not seen, what new vocabulary they have just encountered, and what new and future vocabulary is above or below some threshold separating common from uncommon words. The goal here is not to provide a finished design but to present a draft that can be developed further. The technology employed is relatively simple — the visualizations are implemented as Support Vector Graphics (SVG) objects. The next version will probably be in some dialect of Javascript but the figures below demonstrate one model by which to convey the more granular view of vocabulary. Continue reading

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Visualizing Progress in Homeric Greek (1)

This paper is designed to be the first of two that explore the degree to which learners can track how much of the vocabulary as a whole in a target corpus they have encountered and to see the frequency in the rest of the corpus of each newly encountered vocabulary item. We focus here upon the Ancient Greek Iliad and the Odyssey, a corpus of just over 200,000 running words. Homeric Epic provides a useful starting point because a growing cluster of openly-licensed, digital resources for this corpus are available, including links from each form in the epic to a dictionary entry, the starting point for vocabulary analysis. Continue reading

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