Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Eumaios: a collaborative website for Early Greek epic

An embyronic digital variorum.  This is not the name of a Brave New World style reproductive facility or a reference to the National Library of Medicine's cool new app, but the self-description of the helpful Eumaios website.  If you took our advice in an earlier post and picked up Eleanor Dickey's volume Ancient Greek Scholarship then you may find Eumaios a particularly interesting tool, as it gives you easy access to Homeric scholia.  It does more than this, however.  The homepage lists the following elements the site offers:

  1. Information that is tied to specific lines of text, in particular:
    1. Papyrus readings for the Iliad and Odyssey, gathered from Dana Sutton's list, now maintained by the Center for Hellenic Studies, but displayed differently here
    2. Scholia from Hartmut Erbse's edition of the Scholia
    3. Correspondences between the Iliad and the Aeneid, based on the lists in Georg N. Knauer's Die Aeneis und Homer. Studien zur poetischen Technik Vergils mit Listen der Homerzitate in der Aeneis (Göttingen, 1964)
    4. Bibliographical items gathered from volumes 35-63 (1964-92) of L'Année Philologique
  2. Bibliographical information about lemmata, wordforms, and repeated phrases gathered from volumes 35-63 (1964-92) ofL'Année Philologique
  3. A report by Martin Mueller About Homeric repetitions: facts, figures, and hypotheses as well as notes on some 300 interdependent repetitions in the first and last books of the Iliad 

This is a great resource to use in conjunction with The Chicago Homer (and I'm hoping they do eventually share a common interface).  Here is a quick example of two specific ways it has helped me.

(1) In my thesis research I'm currently spending a lot of time on the verbal exchanges between Hector and Achilles in Iliad Book 22.  I'd really like to know what some of the scholia say about a few of my passages (scholia, as you might recall from our earlier post, are the marginal notes in manuscripts which preserve useful commentary on Homer).  So I go to Eumaios and click Iliad Citations in the menu bar.  This brings up a list of books, and I scroll down to Book 22 and click on it.  From there I click on one of my key lines: 22.262.  This brings up the Greek (in transliteration) and English of this line and surrounding context.  Then I click the Scholia link and it gives me the two entries on my passage from Erbse's edition.  Now I can learn, among other things, that ancient readers recognized a connection between Achilles' use of the lion/human contrast and the Greek fable tradition, something which will be helpful in my argument and which comes up in one of my key secondary sources (Jonathan Ready,Character, Narrator, and Simile in the Iliad, 64ff).  I initially did this research before I was using Eumaios, which meant a trip to the library, pulling Erbse off the shelf, and photocopying the relevant page.  Eumaios would have saved me lots of time, even compared to using TLG.

(2) Two lines before that text, in Il. 22.260 there is an interesting expression about Achilles "looking darkly" at Hector.  I've seen this expression elsewhere, and want to find out a bit more.  Of course The Chicago Homer can help me find other examples of this phrase, but Eumaios will help me find bibliographic information.  I click on the left menu Repetitions by Location, and navigate to my line: 22.260.  From there I click on bibliographic reference(s) and it brings up this:

Holoka James P. 1983.  "Looking darkly ὑπόδρα ἰδών. Reflections on status and decorum in Homer". TAPhA. CXIII:  1-16. 

Helpful, yes?

Spend some time playing around with the site and use it in conjunction with The Chicago Homer.  If you are working your way through Eleanor Dickey's book, perhaps you might try using the scholia on here to practice your newfound skills in scholarly Greek?

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