Help with Ancient Texts: The PACE Project Revisited, Part 1

One of our earliest posts was about the PACE Project, which was (at the time) a local effort to study Greeks under Roman imperialism. When we wrote the post, the project was already available only as a web archive, since the project lead had left for a different institution; soon afterwards, even the archived site went dark. Oh, the pitfalls of digital publication!

Luckily, the site has now reopened at a new home, so we thought it was time to revisit the material available. This week’s post expands on the original by focusing on Josephus, rather than Polybius. Everything in the initial post except for the web address still holds true. The format and contents of the site have not changed; only the host is new. Update your bookmarks and get ready to explore! 

As you can see from the first page, the PACE project remains largely unchanged. It centers on the Greek and English texts of Polybius and Josephus (both taken from the Loeb editions, courtesy of the Perseus Project and Lacus Curtius) and a number of resources to further explain those texts. The additional resources are centered on Josephus, and are the most valuable part of the PACE site, since the texts are available elsewhere.

pace project main page

What is really nice about the PACE site is that most of the categories in the main, right-side column are accessible from each other. A few exceptions: the Scholarly Studies seems to be defunct, and you can no longer access that page; the Dissertation Central page is only accessible from this main page (and is out of date); and if you use the Textual Parallels to compare texts, you can only access the texts and lose access to the other functions.

Let’s say that we want to start from the Texts and Commentary…

pace project Josephus polybius individual texts

… and choose Josephus’ Jewish War 6:

pace project Josephus jewish war 6

This one page gives you a lot of helpful information! On the top, you have the Greek text and the English translation by default. The Greek is from the standard editio maior (critical text) of Benedikt Niese. For the Jewish War, you have only William Whiston’s translation available, but there are additional options for other works.

You can use the bars at the top to navigate to other books and sections of this work (Jewish War) only, and to change the edition(s) of the Greek and English.

pace project internal navigation

You can also view the text only in Greek or only in English by clicking on the Greek or English radio buttons. The layout is Split by default.

At the bottom, there is a tabbed box that gives you access to the additional resources from the front page. It’s a little hard to tell which tab is open at any given time: here, I have the Reception History tab up. This tab is a little misleading, since the works in question are all ancient texts that refer to the same events as Josephus. It is not clear to the non-specialist what makes these Reception as opposed to Parallels (there are no Parallels for this passage).

You can use other tabs to get Bibliography on this passage and see images and video of the Places mentioned.

Screen Shot 2018-01-27 at 2.54.35 PMpace project Josephus additional resources

Some of the information in the tabs is really useful for a researcher, while other information is more useful to beginning students. The Bibliography, for example, lists works that deal specifically with this passage. Because it includes works from all major languages of classical scholarship, this is a more useful tool for the advanced researcher than for students — undergraduates, for example, who are assigned this passage in Roman history classes, wouldn’t find much to help them here. On the other hand, the Places images are more appropriate for undergraduates than researchers. The map of Judaea is a scan of a hand-drawn map showing major sites like Bethlehem and Caesarea Maritima, which advanced researchers should already be able to locate. Meanwhile, the picture of the coastline near Hadera is lovely, but a little mystifying:


PACE’s picture of Hadera, which is a level coastal plain.

Hadera is close(ish) to Caesarea Maritima (about 10 miles/15 km). But this passage, from Jewish War 6, is about the destruction of the Second Temple. Hadera is about 70 mi./100km. north of Jerusalem. Because the image is just a pop-up, it’s not clear how it relates to the text. And because the topography of Jerusalem is mountainous, that picture doesn’t give an accurate sense of place.

Related image

Jerusalem is inland, and has lots of hills.

The same resources are also accessible from the main page. From both Archaeology and Places, you get an alphabetical list of every location mentioned in Josephus. The listings are not searchable, but you can jump to any letter of the alphabet to browse alphabetically.

pace project archaeology placesScreen Shot 2018-01-27 at 3.14.12 PM

The Archaeology list gives you a popup window with a modern description of the history of the site, including all references to the ancient texts. Major sites (like Athens, Corinth, Caesarea, etc.) can get quite long. Here is a briefer example:

Screen Shot 2018-01-27 at 3.59.30 PM

The top line is the entry that you clicked on, while other names for the same site are listed below and separated by a vertical line (|). It is one of the indicators of the PACE project’s comprehensiveness that all of these names are listed in the Archaeology and Places indices, even those (like Acrabbim and Acrabeta) that follow immediately after Acraba.

The Places list is very similar to the Archaeology, but more comprehensive. It includes the exact same textual information, but also videos and images of the sites. If you click on the Media Only radio button, you can filter to see only sites that have images or video.

Screen Shot 2018-01-27 at 4.07.10 PM.png

The media content opens in another popup, and as you can see the Description is the same as the information in the Archaeology.

TIP: make sure you have popups enabled when using this site, because otherwise you will miss most of the advanced features.

Obviously, places that are more important have more pictures and video available. Here is a comparison of the sites surrounding Jerusalem:

pace project images jerusalem

Even Jericho, a fairly famous site in the Bible, has much less information than Jerusalem, the major site of both the Jewish War and the Jewish Antiquities. King Herod’s tomb, Herodion, is much less well-represented (and in fact lacks a description), as is Hierapolis (presumably the one in Syria).


This post is already getting long, so we will pick up with some of the more advanced tools in the next post!



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