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Greek Anthology

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A collaborative digital edition of the Palatine Anthology and its many truths.

Project description

The project Palatine Anthology (PA), coordinated by the CRCEN in collaboration with Elsa Bouchard, brings together several actors from different disciplines and spaces. The project is centred around the design of a collaborative digital edition of the Palatine Anthology. The PA is a collection of Greek epigrams, whose source dates back to the Hellenistic period (323-30 BC). The Anthology has since had a major influence on literature, from the Renaissance to today. The editions published today (the Loeb edition of 1916 or the Belles Lettres editions of 1927) is actually the product of additions, lost compilations (by Constantine Cephalas, Meleager, Agathias and many others), thus remodeling the original structure over the course of sixteen centuries of history (from the sixth century BC to the tenth century AD).

The project of this edition is thus based on four considerations responding to the source corpus:

  • Historically and genetically, the Anthology is primarily the result of a massive and transecular contribution;
  • The content of the Anthology is fundamentally heterogenous (in formal and thematic terms);
  • Structurally, this heterogeneity is counterbalanced by a dialogical dimension between the epigrams (through the use of topos), enabling the constitution of reading paths;
  • From an anthological perspective, it refuses any closure, presupposing its own enrichment and growth.

The project revolves around creating an edition that takes into account these four considerations while still managing to retranscribe anthological intertextuality. It is thereby based on a number of standards of digital scholarly publishing, but also on the principle of a collaborative edition.

The project plays out between several spaces:

  • A relational database which is built on the notion of an entity (1 entity = 1 epigram). Each entity is associated with several types of editable information including:
    • Greek versions,
    • translations (in French, English, Italian) that can be aligned with Greek versions,
    • the scholia,
    • metadata (author, theme),
    • the weak links which are associations free of contents by the user.
  • An API which allows the open database to read and write accessibly with a simple connection to JSON. Unlike XML, which is more rigid in its structure and markup, JSON allows reorganization of data based on multiple interpretations and structures.
  • Different displays made from the API:
    • the Anthologia platform: which is the editable space
    • a Twitter account that tweets an epigram every day
    • what we call the POP (open platform of imaginary paths) which is a visualization of the Anthologia platform

      Three criteria are essential for the project’s success:

      • Restitution of an open anthological structure: the project must allow the user to appropriate the anthological corpus while understanding its intertextual structure.
      • Interoperability and standardization: texts and content are described using standard markup systems (TEI), made available on an open database in order to be usable by a wider community of researchers across many platforms;
      • Interoperability and standardization: texts and content are described using standard markup systems (TEI), made available on an open database in order to be usable by a wider community of researchers across many platforms;

      This project aims to meet several objectives:

      • Euristic: highlighting intertextual relationships between epigrams; allowing the Hellenists to work with the content of the PA in a non-linear way and to evolve through the corpus of coded markers (author, themes and other keywords) directly inspired by the annotations in the margins of the manuscript of the PA.
      • Editing and translation: simultaneously providing access to the original Greek text (images of the manuscript), a new French translation and an unprecedented translation of the marginal comments of the PA manuscript (scholies, subtitles, etc.). This translation will reflect the state of recent research relating to the cultural context in which the poems were composed.
      • Technical: designing an alterable platform for the development and dissemination of ancient texts; identifying requirements and characteristics for the creation of a platform for critical publishing.
      • Philological: renewing the philological approach of the anthology by offering the user a reading and editing space for epigrams.

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