Classics Library's Open Access Link of the Month

Meander Pattern Links

This features novel, interesting, useful, and creative open access resources in Classics.

March 2020


For all interested in ancient languages and dialects, this is a great site with a number of publicly available dictionaries for languages such as Avestan, Cappadocian Greek, Carian, Cypriot Syllabic Script, Early Proto-Albanian, Eteocypriot, Etruscan, Hattic, Hittite, Linear B, C. Luwian, Lycian, Lydian, Old Norse, Palaic, Phrygian, Pre-Celtic, Pre-Greek toponyms, Proto-Altaic, Proto-Indo-European, Proto-Kartvelian, Proto-Semitic, Proto-Turkic, Safaitic, Thracian, Tocharian A, Tocharian B, Urartian (these can be browsed).

The following dictionaries can be searched, but not browsed: Aeolic Greek, Ancient Macedonian, Arcado-Cypriot Greek, Armenian, Attic Greek, Basque/Euskara, Doric Greek, Greek, Hurrian, Ionic Greek, Latin, Lemnian, Mitanni, Old Persian, Ossetian (Iron), Proto Indo-Iranian, Proto-Anatolian, Proto-Celtic, Proto-Italic, Proto-Tungus, Proto-Uralic, and Sanskrit. To find the dictionaries, click on 'Languages' from the top menu. 

Palaeolexicon is based on the work of volunteers, so there are gaps. Also, the meanings and etymologies are to reflect current research although there are many uncertainties. Most of the word translations are not sourced. However, for the lay person, this is a terrific one-stop ancient word trove. For the linguist, it is also a helpful tool with caveats. 

February 2020

Dorothy Tarrant Lecture "The Goddess and Damned Wrath: How a Linguist Reads the 'Iliad'"

By Joshua Katz, Princeton University. Lecture was held at the Institute of Classical Studies, University of London, in May 2018. This offers a deep dive into the poetic language of the Iliad 1.1-7 from the perspective of historical/comparative linguistics. Dr. Katz illustrates the comparative method by beginning with the words mother and father and moving on to analyze the first words of the Iliad, ἄειδ- and μῆνις, the latter word, interestingly, is related to the Greek word for Muse, so in spite of the seeming exclusion of the word Μοῦσα (replacing it with θεά), it is there in the word for "wrath". Hymnic long alpha in ἄειδε makes the word itself sing and why use θεά instead of θεή when the language is Ionic?  He sees examples of oral performance through the written text. The aorist middle participle οὐλομένην, he argues, may originally have been οὐλομενήν, i.e., a figura etymologica with μῆνιν to be translated as "bad-mindedness". Dr. Katz manages to make a very technical discussion both informative and entertaining.  

"Μῆνιν ἄειδε, θεά, Πηληιάδεω Ἀχιλῆος οὐλομένην, ἣ μυρί᾿ Ἀχαιοῖς ἄλγε᾿ ἔθηκε, πολλὰς δ᾿ ἰφθίμους ψυχὰς Ἄϊδι προΐαψεν ἡρώων, αὐτοὺς δὲ ἑλώρια τεῦχε κύνεσσιν οἰωνοῖσί τε πᾶσι, Διὸς δ᾿ἐτελείετο βουλή, ἐξ οὗ δὴ τὰ πρῶτα διαστήτην ἐρίσαντε Ἀτρεΐδης τε ἄναξ ἀνδρῶν καὶ δῖος Ἀχιλλεύς."

"The wrath sing, goddess, of Peleus’ son Achilles, the accursed wrath which brought countless sorrows upon the Achaeans, and sent down to Hades many valiant souls of warriors, and made the men themselves to be the spoil for dogs and birds of every kind; and thus the will of Zeus was brought to fulfillment. Of this sing from the time when first there parted in strife Atreus’ son, lord of men, and noble Achilles."

January 2020

Virtual Tour of the Acropolis

For those who do not have the opportunity to travel to Athens or for those who wish to examine details not readily viewed on a physical tour, this interactive virtual tour from the Acropolis Restoration Service is a nice new resource. There is a Map for orientation. Using Images allows the viewer to zoom in on architectural features. There are Descriptions and Subject cross references. It is available via desktop and mobile devices. My only criticism would be that I wish that the tour was available also as an interactive video and not just via images, similar to the tour of Florence, but all in all it is a nice addition to the numerous online images and descriptions of the Acropolis that already exist.  

December 2019

The Digital Cicognara Library

Count Leopoldo Cicognara (1767-1834) was an artist, archaeologist, art historian, politician, bibliographer and book collector from Ferrara although he spent most of his life in Venice.  In 1821, he published at Pisa a catalog of his collection of some 5,000 books on art and archaeology, still essential for the study of the history of ancient Greek and Roman art, il Catalogo ragionato de’ libri d’arte e di antichità. In 1824, his library was purchased by Pope Leo XII for the Vatican Library.

This site under development offers open access to this collection.  Presently it features the Catalogo ragionato combined with modern bibliographic descriptions with images. When complete, the site will consist of the full text of the Catalogo, integrated with digital images and full text of every title in the corpus, including black-and-white facsimiles of the original volumes in the Vatican, high-resolution, color facsimiles of unique copies from partner libraries; and thorough bibliographic information. The collection includes treatises on art and architecture; artist and architect biographies; technical handbooks, manuals, and dictionaries of art, architecture, drawing, painting and sculpture; texts on the decorative arts; emblem books and iconographic handbooks; studies on costume, theatre and public spectacles; numismatic literature; works on aesthetics and the history and philosophy of art; topographical guides to collections and cultural sites; and early texts on the archaeology and antiquities of Greece and Rome. The texts are primarily in Italian, French, English, German, and Latin, and date from the fifteenth through the early nineteenth centuries.

November 2019

Classical Works Knowledge Base

This is a handy shortcut when looking up ancient authors and works/text passages in the TLG, PHI, Perseus, Library of Latin Texts simultaneously.   

The CWKB knowledge base assembles data about Classical works (1,550 authors and 5,200 texts, with variants forms in the main modern languages of Classical studies and common abbreviations). The knowledge base also contains the linking heuristics to the passage level for 6,732 manifestations of Classical works. CWKB does not aim at creating a new canon of Classical literature, but provides a concordance to existing canons and workID registries.

Speaking of open access texts, these Links Galore to Google Books,, HathiTrust, etc., can also be helpful.  

October 2019

Boris Johnson vs. Mary Beard

October is Halloween month. Some of the most popular and scariest disguises this year will no doubt be those of Donald Trump, the U.S. President, and Boris Johnson, the U.K. Prime Minister.  The latter declared Halloween Day, October 31, the day of Brexit, come what may. However, Britain has checks and balances, so leaving the EU without a deal is now unlawful. Johnson may not(?) have won this showdown, but before Brexit and before he became Prime Minister, he fought another battle; that time against another formidable opponent -- Mary Beard, Professor of Classics at the U. of Cambridge. Watch this entertaining debate to see if Johnson at least wins here. After all, rather ironically, he represents the "refined and sophisticated" ancient Greeks who gave us democracy against the "uncivilized and brutish" ancient Romans, represented by Beard, who ended the rule of the people in favor of a dictatorship. Johnson may be a nationalist from New York and look like Trump, but can you imagine Trump in a debate about ancient Greece and Rome? 

September 2019  

Latin Personal Pronoun Song

For all who struggle with Latin (and Ancient Greek) declinations and conjugations, here is an easy and fun, in this case also delightfully cheesy, way to learn how to decline personal pronouns in Latin. The same team has also recorded didactic songs for all five declinations.