Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 33, No. 175. Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London Hosted by King's Digital Lab www.dhhumanist.org Submit to: email@example.com Date: 2019-08-08 11:32:00+00:00 From: Brady Kiesling
Subject: ToposText as an improving Classics resource Dear Colleagues, The ToposText free mobile library of ancient texts mapped to ancient places continues to expand, with fresh Android and iPhone versions out a few days ago. Currently 748 ancient texts in (mostly) open-source English translation, linked to the Greek or Latin (and with the Greek text of Iliad, Odyssey, Herodotus, Thucydides, pseudo-Skylax, Polybius, Strabo, and Pausanias on-device and toggled to the English). Geographic coverage is the whole ancient Greco-Roman world from Thule to Taprobane, named places with a noticeable literary footprint. For Greece (and partly for Cyprus) I include every archaeological site or ancient tower I have the strength for, a high proportion with ground-truthed or Google-Earth-derived coordinates. Rome and Athens have hundreds of individual buildings and monuments mapped, with key literary references. A new ToposText.org website is up as well, with a reengineered (cleaner) json api-based architecture that circumvents the old problem of sluggish loading of large texts. Click on a keyword-in-context literary citation of a given place (or personal name), and read the full paragraph in a pop-up (modal) before deciding to load the full text or go back to your search (with your filters intact, unlike before). Also a friendlier map pop-up to show you place locations when reading texts. I urge you to point your students toward the topostext.org/search-tool feature. We risk drowning the intellectual curiosity of undergraduates in turgid secondary material in languages they don't know. It is much better to let them play with primary sources early. Just explain a couple of basic "regex" concepts (\b as word boundary, [a-z]+ character ranges) and let them come up with and test a hypothesis using ancient sources. I had a theory about directional prayer in antiquity. I searched the 20 million words of the TT library for "\bpray" within 100 characters of "toward". The result was 74 passages, including (as far as I can tell) the only explicit example of over-the-horizon prayer in Classical literature, toward Hera in Argos, from Thebes (Euripides, Phoenician Women 1342ff). So if students are interested in gladiators they can search for 'turn' and 'thumb' in order to find Juvenal 3.36, or search for 'Hannibal' and 'elephants' if military technology is their obsession, and thereby learn the joy of exploring the classics, including via obscure texts they might never otherwise encounter. A new TT service may one day be useful, as we gradually move to more use of hypertext teaching materials. With the new API it is now possible to query the TT database and pull up any specific paragraph via the CTS id. So for Herodotus 3.27, https ://topostext .org/api/paragraph/readParagraph.php?text=tlg0016.tlg001:3.27 The output is ugly JSON that needs to be instructed by the browswer what to look like (ideally a text box that appears when you hover over (Hdt. 3.27) in your hypertext. Your advice is eagerly solicited on how to make the output more web-designer-friendly. The query works because the CTS ID is embedded in each paragraph. In fact, the query will pull up the first instance of any string. So a search for ?text=Athens will give you Homer, Iliad 2.546ff, and human+happiness will give you Plato's Phaedrus. I am also working to reduce text chunks to smaller sizes to make ToposText paragraphs more user-friendly and less removed from formal citation numbers. The next iteration of the website will have Iliad and Odyssey in five-line chunks, and other key texts likewise better discriminated for CTS id purposes. Thank you for reading this. Wishing you a fine remainder of the summer, and hoping you will spread the word to students and colleagues that the improved ToposText is a resource would-be classicists might enjoy playing with. Regards from Athens Brady Kiesling topostext.org firstname.lastname@example.org +30 6946578290 (GR mobile) +30 210 3227463 (GR phone/fax) kieslings (Skype name) _______________________________________________ Unsubscribe at: http://dhhumanist.org/Restricted List posts to: email@example.com List info and archives at at: http://dhhumanist.org Listmember interface at: http://dhhumanist.org/Restricted/ Subscribe at: http://dhhumanist.org/membership_form.php
Editor: Willard McCarty (King's College London, U.K.; Western Sydney University, Australia)
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