Help with Latin texts: Introduction to scansion

Although we now approach ancient texts primarily through the written word, they were originally meant for performance. Poetry in particular was probably chanted or sung, as we know from the use of words relating to music in the opening lines of poems and poetic collections. Nowhere is this performance context more clear than in the use of meter in ancient poetry. Although the untrained viewer can’t see this meter in an ancient text (unlike, for example, the musical notation on modern sheet music), once you know how to scan well, you can quickly begin to recite texts as they were meant to be heard.

The nice thing about scansion is that it’s in many ways easier than other tasks beginning language students have to perform. In this first post, I’ll introduce the two major Latin meters: dactylic hexameter and pentameter.  Continue reading


Help with Research: Using Tesserae for intertextuality, part 4

In our previous posts, we’ve talked about what intertextuality means, how computers can help you locate it, the differences between intertextuality and discourse analysis, how Tesserae can help you with the latter in particular, and how to limit the number of results you get in a Tesserae search. In this post, we finish going through the advanced features and talk about Tesserae’s most innovative search type: sound analysis. Continue reading

Help with Ancient Texts: Perseus 5.0 Viewer Overview

Here at the Library of Antiquity we’re pretty excited about the launch of Perseus 5.0, the Scaife Viewer. This is the first major overhaul of the Perseus platform since the launch of the Perseus 4.0 Hopper in May of 2005. The Scaife Viewer is a whole new Perseus experience. The new reader, named after Ross Scaife, a pioneer and avid proponent of opens-ource, community-based projects, is intended to be a community-driven, customizable interface based off of the CTS URN data model (see below). In this post, we’ll go over using the reader in general and follow up with some additional posts about the various features (and will even cover my own attempts to contribute to the project!).

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Help with Research: Using Tesserae for intertextuality, Part 3

In our last Tesserae post, I promised an explanation of Tesserae’s advanced features. These are mostly aimed at limiting the number of hits an individual search will come up with, which is useful because all potential matches need to be checked. It’s much easier to check 100 matches than to check 600 or even 1600! But I also want to highlight two advanced features that really advance the way that we can computationally analyze Latin: by using similarity metrics for sound effects and by connecting words that are semantically similar. In this post, I will discuss the second of these; my last (but not the last!) Tesserae post will discuss sound effects. Continue reading