Most classicists are familiar with the Perseus and TLG toolkits. But these aren’t the only digital resources available! In this week’s guest post, we cover another free dictionary aid for both classical languages. This one is related to Perseus, but uses a different interface. We definitely learned something from this post, and we hope our readers do, too!
Logeion is a free, online Greek/Latin dictionary resource based at the University of Chicago. Coming from the Greek for a “speaking place” (i.e. a stage or speaker’s platform), Logeion allows users to query Greek and Latin terms within a single search bar. While Greek terms can be found using a Latin keyboard, I recommend that you switch to a Greek keyboard. Accent marks are not necessary – a dropdown box will allow you to select the specific term for which you are searching.
Logeion is notable for the large quantity of reference materials that it places at your disposal. For Greek, it provides Liddell and Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon (1940), Liddell and Scott’s Intermediate Greek Lexicon (1889), and Autenrieth’s Homeric Dictionary (1891). On the Latin side, its main dictionaries include Lewis & Short’s Latin-English Lexicon (1879), Lewis’s Elementary Latin Dictionary (1890), The Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources (2013), and DuCange (1887). Logeion also includes a number of other reference works, such as Harper’s Dictionary of Classical Antiquities (1898), The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites (1976), and Smith’s Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890). A full list of the website’s dictionaries and encyclopedias can be found by clicking on the About tab at the bottom of the screen. It is worth emphasizing that, with the exception of the Oxford Latin Dictionary, all of the major Greek and Latin dictionaries are provided, in full, and free of charge.
In addition to the quantity of texts accessible on Logeion, its formatting makes it a powerful reference tool for Classicists. When a term has been queried, all of the relevant text entries appear in the middle of the page. The general principle behind the ordering of these entries appears to be based on their (likely) utility: briefer and shorter dictionary entries are given first, followed by the advanced dictionaries (Lewis & Short and LSJ), then the intermediate dictionaries (the Elementary Lewis and Middle Liddell), more specialist texts (e.g., Autenrieth’s Homeric Dictionary), examples from the Greco-Roman corpus, and finally the encyclopedias.
As can be seen in the above picture, the different dictionary and encyclopedia entries can be collapsed. This is achieved by clicking on the titles of the individual reference works. For example, clicking on LewisShort will collapse the Lewis & Short entry; clicking it again will reopen the entry.
It also should be noted that the administrators of Logeion have made certain stylistic changes to the entries. First, “i” has been substituted for “j” in the Latin headwords (meaning that when querying, you should search for iacio rather than jacio). Second, Greek and Latin text references made within the dictionaries themselves have been bolded (in contrast to the print editions, which do not bold their text references). This makes reading the entries much easier on the eyes. Finally, the spacing and indentation of the different sections within the entries enables a more felicitous navigation of the texts.
Logeion also provides additional information to either side of the reference works. The left sidebar lists the terms immediately preceding and following the queried word in the alphabet, which can be helpful if you are not quite sure of the term for which you are searching. The right sidebar lists the authors who most frequently use the queried word, the chapters in which the word can be found within major Greek and Latin textbooks, and collocation data.
- When querying a word, a dropdown box with suggested terms will appear after you type the third letter of the word.
- The Find function (Ctrl + F for Windows, Command + F for iOS) can be useful for searching within the dictionary entries themselves, especially when trying to locate specific usages of a word.
- Be aware of orthographical variations (e.g. adfero is listed under affero).
Logeion does exist as a free app for iPhone and iPad. It functions offline, meaning that once you download it, you do not need an internet connection to consult its Greek and Latin dictionaries. In order to keep the size of the app manageable, not all of the reference works found on the website are included. Nevertheless, it allows you to carry around LSJ, Middle Liddell, Lewis & Short, Elementary Lewis, and DMLBS.
The search function can be accessed in the top left corner of the app, and beneath it are listed recently queried words. Rather than displaying all of the reference works on the same page, tabs at the top allow you to navigate between them. The tab at the very right, labeled Logeion Web, directs the query to the main website using the iPhone or iPad’s browser.
The Logeion app is not updated as frequently as the website, although a new version of the former was just released in 2016.
In short, Logeion is a powerful, convenient, free resource for anyone interested in Classical studies. Its inclusion of both intermediate and advanced Greek/Latin dictionaries renders it useful to philologists of every level, and its streamlined format affords easy navigation of its copious reference material. I personally use this website every day, and I highly recommend it to anyone reading Greek or Latin.
Luke Hagemann is a PhD student in History at Emory University.