Monday, June 30, 2014

Seminar 2014 Presentations

We have reached the time for CHS Summer Seminar 2014 presentations! We are looking forward to our participants presenting on a variety of topics seen in the scholia of Iliad 12. We will be live streaming the presentations. If you would like to watch the presentations live see the following instructions and caveats:

The best place to see the stream is on the CHS network.

If you are not able to come to the CHS, you can try the following link: rtsp://stream.chs.harvard.edu/HouseA.

Note that Mac users will have to use QuickTime 7 Player  (a very old version) because Apple has deleted RTSP format from QuickTime 10: http://support.apple.com/kb/dl923.

The VLC player works too, sometimes: http://www.videolan.org/.

If you have any trouble accessing the stream, but would like to watch the presentations, they will be recorded and posted at a later date.

Stay tuned for more blog posts based on the Summer 2014 presentations and on other work by our participants.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Iliad 12 as Oral Traditional Poetry



Each year at the Homer Multitext Summer Seminar we introduce a new group of students to the scholarly principles that underlie the Homer Multitext project, which are grounded in the research and fieldwork of Milman Parry and Albert Lord on oral poetry. In addition to talking in a broad way about how the Iliad was composed and transmitted over time, we also think out loud about how our understanding of Homeric poetry as an oral traditional system affects how we interpret the poetry. And each year we ground that discussion by focusing on a particular book of the Iliad. The students create an XML edition of the text and scholia for that book in the Venetus A manuscript, and in a series of sessions we talk as a group about the poetics of that book. This year's book is Iliad 12 and it has led us to discuss such topics as the building of and battle before the Achaean wall (which caused such consternation among Analyst scholars in the 19th and early 20th centuries), the poetics of battle and the way that they overlap with the poetics of Catalogue poetry such as we find in Iliad 2, and the way that repetition functions in oral poetry, as well as text critical questions such as how to treat verses that are omitted from one or more of our medieval manuscripts (such as 12.219). These discussions have fostered a great deal of creative exchange among the participating students and faculty (who this year include Michiel Cock, Casey Dué, Eric Dugdale, Mary Ebbott, Olga Levaniouk, Gregory Nagy, Corinne Pache, Ineke Sluiter, and Neel Smith). This exchange has in turn influenced the latest post on our Oral Poetry blog, "Walk On Characters in the Iliad." 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

How to Build a Community of Scholars Through Pancakes

One of the most integral components of the HMT is team collaboration, not just students working with each other in individual groups, but students sharing information across teams and working closely with faculty. Sometimes this collaboration takes place within one institution, but as HMT spreads through the summer seminar our collaborative teams find themselves miles and even oceans away. With one week left in the seminar, we are beginning to reflect on ways for the participants to bring their research home with them and continue this great scholarly work. Herein lie the pancake dinners. Collaborative research is a social endeavor and I would suggest that someone you are willing to share a pancake with makes an excellent research partner.
What does one eat with Dutch pancakes?

This past Wednesday evening, in the spirit of sharing culture and good food, some participants of the CHS Summer 2014 Seminar hosted a Dutch Pancake Potluck Dinner. Two of our students from Leiden University made authentic Dutch pancakes and the evening was generally agreed to be a massive success. Throughout the evening I snapped pictures, intending to post something nice about what our participants do when they aren’t furiously reading scholia. As I pondered what I was going to write, I reflected on the reasons why the dinner was such a success and why it was in many ways just as important as any seminar session on the oral poetics of Homer or how to code TEI markup in our xml editions.
Syrup is key!

Sharing food and recipes in this social environment is a great model for how to continue research after the summer seminar. The exchange of information doesn’t have to end and hopefully some really excellent pancakes will help solidify the relationships of the summer seminar to facilitate not just more great food but more great research.
Our community of scholars

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

CHS Seminar 2014


For the fourth summer in a row, the Homer Multitext project is running a two week seminar on digitally editing the Venetus A manuscript. Twenty-two undergraduates, graduates, and professors have been hard at work, creating a digital edition of Iliad 12 in the Venetus A. Many have likened work on this project to building a ship while sailing it and these researchers have shown great flexibility learning both the 10th century Byzantine hand and at the same time learning how to conduct their editing using virtual machines, a new technology added to the project this summer.

Front row (left to right): Olga Levaniouk, Mary Ebbott, Melody Wauke, Malia Piper, Sam Hill, Stephanie Lindeborg
Middle row (left to right): Corinne Pache, Ineke Sluiter, Shannon Young, Suzanne Verkade, Solomon Umana, Amie Goblirsch
Back row (left to right): Ian James, Casey Dué, Neel Smith, Kirsten Haijes, Charlie Schufreider, Eric Dugdale, Michiel Cock, Jacob Luber, James Skoog, Ian Tewksbury

We look forward to great things from this team of researchers as they tackle questions that have puzzled scholars on Iliad 12 and have plagued readers of the scholia, and look to update Allen’s landmark article, "On the Composition of Some Greek Manuscripts," with live references to the digital material now available through HMT.

Left to right: Suzanne Verkade, Corinne Pache, Malia Piper, Shannon Young, Sam Hill, Jacob Luber, and Michiel Cock
Left to right: Shannon Young, Melody Wauke, and Michiel Cock
Look forward to more updates soon as they tackle the scholia of Iliad 12!

Monday, June 23, 2014

The scribal process of handling “forgotten” lines in two manuscripts of the Iliad: Escorial Upsilon 1.1 and Venetus A

A guest post by Holy Cross undergraduate research teams: Debbie Sokolowski ’14 and Drew Virtue ’17; Becky Musgrave ’14 and Chris Ryan ’16


Often when the Homer Multitext team edits manuscripts throughout the year we encounter irregularities in the way the folios are laid out. One case of this is the way scribes deal with lines of the Iliad that they either forgot or decided not to include within the main text. Debbie Sokolowski and Drew Virtue discovered one example of this in their editing of book 22 in Venetus A this year, on folio 286 verso. The lines are Iliad 22.210–22.213:

ἐν δ’ ἐτίθει δύο κῆρε τανηλεγέος θανάτοιο.
τὴν μὲν Ἀχιλλῆος. τὴν δ᾽ Ἕκτορος ἱπποδάμοιο·
ἕλκε δὲ μέσσα λαβών. ῥέπε δ᾽ Ἕκτορος αἴσιμον ἦμαρ·
ᾤχετο δ᾽ εἰς Ἀΐδαο· λίπεν δέ ἑ Φοῖβος Ἀπόλλων·  

On 286 verso, we encountered an instance in which the scribe seems to have accidentally omitted a line of the text and later inserted it. At the top of the folio, above two scholia, is the omitted line (212): ἕλκε δὲ μέσσα λαβών. ῥέπε δ᾽ Ἕκτορος αἴσιμον ἦμαρ·
This omitted line is identified with a β in the margin. In the main text lines 211 and 213 are marked with an α and γ, respectively, signaling to the reader that the lines should read in the order of α, β, γ. This omission can reveal many important insights about the scribe’s process in composing the Venetus A. We know that the scribe normally writes 25 lines of the poem on each folio. Including the omitted line, folio 286 verso still follows this rule. Therefore, we can conclude that the scribe did not mean to include this line as an alternate or optional line, but that it was intended to be read as a part of the main text. This also raises several questions about the scribe’s transcription and editing process. When did the scribe catch his mistake? Is he copying from a manuscript which is consistent with his 25-line per folio rule? Or is he transcribing from a long, continuous manuscript and counting his lines?






Chris Ryan and Becky Musgrave encountered a similar problem in the Escorial Upsilon 1.1 in editing book 10 throughout this year, yet the scribe handled it in a different manner. Whereas the scribe of Venetus A decided to deal with this problem by marking lines α, β, γ, the scribe of Upsilon 1.1 put an asterisk at the end of the line that the missing line comes after, and then writes the line elsewhere on the folio with the word “stichoi” (“lines”) in front of it to let the reader know that it is part of the main text of the Iliad and not a scholion. 
The first time we encountered this in Book 10 was on folio 126r, line 85: φθέγγεο· μὴδ᾽ ἀκεων ἐπ᾽ ἐ[page cuts off] ρχεο· τίπτε δέ σε χρεώ. 

The line reads in the Venetus B: φθέγγεο· μὴδ᾽ ἀκεων ἐπ᾽ ἐμ᾽ ἔρχεο· τίπτε δέ σε χρεώ.  We can tell that this line is not part of the scholia because the scribe actually puts a scholion marker within the line, and its corresponding scholion beneath it. The ink that the line is written in is also the same shade as the lines of the Iliad and darker than that of the main text of the scholia, so the scribe must have either purposely put the line out in the margin, or realized his mistake while he was writing the main text. The scribe typically puts 24 lines of Iliadic text on each folio, and each folio that contains a “stichoi” line only contains 23 lines in the main text (that is, 24 with the extra line counted). 
The Venetus B has often been considered a “twin” manuscript of the Upsilon 1.1, since they almost always contain the same lines on each page and have very similar scholia, so whenever we encounter something unexepected in our editing of the Upsilon 1.1, we turn to the Venetus B for comparison. One reason that we are led to believe that these are cases of the scribe correcting his mistake and not an intentional editorial omission is by comparing the folio, to the corresponding folio 131r of the Venetus B. In the Venetus B, the line is written within the main text with no special treatment, which leads us to believe that the scribe of the Upsilon 1.1 placed this line in the margin simply because he made an error in the scribal process.
Editorial note: the undergraduate researchers at the Homer Multitext seminar happening right now at the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, DC will also be further investigating the question of “forgotten” lines, with a focus on Iliad 12 in the Venetus A. So stay tuned for more!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Year In Review: The Latest Goings On of HMT


During the Fall 2013-Spring 2014 Academic year progress on the creation of digital editions of the Iliad manuscripts continued. Teams of undergraduates have been hard at work not only across the country but internationally. Several of our teams took a moment at the end of their academic years to report on what they have accomplished.

At College of the Holy Cross, teams were hard at work on Book 10 in the Venetus A, which was begun at the CHS Summer Seminar in 2013. When they weren't spending their Friday afternoons in the Isidore of Seville Lab, they were on the road giving presentations at Tufts and BU this spring, culminating in a final presentation at the Holy Cross Spring Academic Conference this April.

Holy Cross HMT at Tufts University
Pictured left to right: Neel Smith, Rebecca Musgrave, Alexander Simrell, and Neil Curran


At Brandeis University, work has continued on the Venetus B. The Fall was spent working steadily on Book 3. In the Spring, three new members joined their editing team and began to get familiar with the basics of the project, reading and editing the Venetus B hand. They are looking forward to acquiring a dedicated office space next year, where they can work with two other Classical Studies research projects at Brandeis.

At University of Washington in Seattle, their HMT team worked on Book 23 of the Venetus A, focusing their work primarily on the scholia, which included reading a number of them. Highlights include a fascinating (if convoluted) theory on how the third declension might derive from the first declension.

This summer promises to continue the productive streak. For the fifth summer in a row, undergraduates are hard at work at Holy Cross. This summer their work focuses on Book 11 in the Venetus A and Upsilon 1.1, allowing the teams to draw comparisons as they work on the manuscripts in parallel. The teams are also finishing Book 10 in the Venetus A and bringing previously edited books of the Venetus A up to the current editorial standards via automated testing.

Another two week seminar at the Center for Hellenic Studies is starting today, where students from five different colleges and universities will edit Book 12 of the Venetus A. More on the results of their work will be forthcoming.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Oral Poetics and the Homer Multitext

One of the central research questions that drives the Homer Multitext is this: “How do you make a critical edition of an oral tradition, like that of the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey, that spanned a thousand years or more? What is the best way to represent the textual history of songs that were created in and for performance, but survive only in textual forms from later eras?” In our 2010 book, Iliad 10 and the Poetics of Ambush, Mary Ebbott and I attempted to demonstrate that a "multitextual"  approach to Homeric poetry is useful not only for understanding the transmission of the text of the epics, but also for better understanding the poetics of oral poetry. We could not have written that book, which is meant to be a sustained demonstration of the workings of oral poetry over the course of an entire book of the Iliad, without the data and tools of the Homer Multitext that were available to us at that time.

As new ways of viewing and working with the surviving documents that transmit Homeric poetry become possible, Mary and I would like to continue to use them to enhance our understanding of the poetics of the Iliad and Odyssey. With that in mind, we have decided to revive a long neglected Oral Poetry blog, which we will maintain along with this one, and in close coordination with one another. The Oral Poetry blog will be devoted primarily to questions of poetics, while we will continue to make posts here about the manuscripts and papyri and what they tell about the system of oral poetry in which the Iliad and Odyssey were composed.

To kick off this phase of the Oral Poetry blog, we are planning a series of posts about the poetics of Iliad 2. You can read my initial post about this work here. You can also read a much older post on this blog about the transmission of the Catalogue of Ships from Book 2 here. It is the special treatment and seemingly controversial place of the Catalogue in the surviving manuscripts and papyri that drives us to try to better understand the poetics of this fascinating record of names and places.