TEI and Ancient Greek fragmentary poetry

Submitted by Linda Stokman on 19 February 2019

Blog post written by Beatrice Nava who used the CLARIN Mobility Grant in order to enrich her studies about digital editions of Ancient Greek fragmentary poetry and Digital Humanities at the Centre for Language Technology (Department of Nordic Studies and Linguistics, University of Copenhagen).



I applied for the CLARIN Mobility Grant in order to enrich my studies about digital editions of Ancient Greek fragmentary poetry and Digital Humanities at the Centre for Language Technology (Department of Nordic Studies and Linguistics, University of Copenhagen). The aim of the stay was to gain a deeper understanding of CLARIN-DK text tools and a better working knowledge on how to manage, encode and represent ancient text and data according to XML/ standards. It has also been a way to share expertise and collaborate between CLARIN developers and researchers in the Humanities. The focus was on XML/TEI encoding and annotation of texts with attention to the opportunities offered by natural language processing ( ) tools for linguistic and stylistic analysis of the text.

My research stay in Copenhagen, from 13 January to 19 January 2019, fell within the framework of the DEA Project (Digital Edition of Archilochus: New models and tools for authoring, editing and indexing an ancient Greek fragmentary author) under the supervision of Anika Nicolosi (University of Parma) with the collaboration of ILC-CNR of Pisa and CLARIN-IT (Monica Monachini). The Project goal is to provide a complete born digital scholarly edition of Archilochus fragments, and the purpose is also to find out the best way to refine the encoding of the text, according to the needs of the philological tradition of classical texts.

Costanza Navarretta, a Senior Researcher at the Department of Nordic Studies and Linguistics introduced me their work and research team. Her supervision and suggestions were essential to reach my research objectives. My main goal was the annotation and TEI transcription of a selection of Ancient Greek fragmentary texts: I developed a case study on fragments with a complex tradition (Archil. frr. 23ss. W2). I also had an opportunity to test some solutions to encode the critical apparatus and to represent textual phenomena of classical philology (gaps, uncertain readings, etc). The TEI transcription model I adopted to represent the texts was verified against the methods used by the Host Institution.

During my stay I had interesting coversations with experts, particularly Lene Offersgaard and Dorte Haltrup Hansen, who shared their research results in digital editions and computational linguistic, and advised on how to improve my work. I had the opportunity to discuss the XML/TEI transcription of one fragment with Matthew James Driscoll and Katarzyna Anna Kapitan from the Arnamagnæan Institute, also under the Department of Nordic Studies and Linguistics. They indicated some new encoding possibilities in order to enrich and complete the model. Thanks to these suggestions, I refined the encoding of selected Archilochus fragments, with particular attention to the representation of the status of the text, incomplete and full of gaps, and of the critical apparatus (fig.1), using the parallel segmentation method. I included not only ancient witnesses, but also modern editions, the secondary literature and modern scholars’ hypothesis on the text reconstruction (fig.2). I was able to represent these data by means of attribute-value pairs ( <listBibl>, with different attribute @type); moreover, I specified ancient texts used for conjectures with the attribute @source and an associated @xml:id.

Fig.1 - Text and Apparatus 1

Fig. 2 Witnesses

During my stay I also gave a presentation on my work and PhD project at a meeting with the staff of the Department. I received a lot of feedback and information about visualization tools and frameworks developed by CLARIN-DK, as well as suggestions on how to use linguistic analysis tools both for the Archilochus’ edition and for my PhD project on modern manuscripts. Another PhD project also was presented by Sidsel Boldsen, which concerns the digitization and semi-automatic annotation of middle age diplomas from the St. Clara Convent in Roskilde.

This Mobility Grant was useful for gaining better understanding of the opportunities offered to my studies and research directions by CLARIN data, services and methods. I gained valuable insights into the encoding of other works developed by the staff of the Centre and became familiar with new tools and methodologies that are useful for my studies.