Editorializing the Greek Anthology : The palatin manuscript as a collective imaginary
Article [Version of Record]
Is part ofDigital humanities quarterly ; vol. 14, no. 1.
Publisher(s)Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations
The Palatine Anthology (PA) Project, coordinated by the Canada Research Chair on digital textualities directed by Marcello Vitali-Rosati, collaborates with several international partners, including Italian and French schools, in order to establish a collaborative critical digital edition and a multilingual translation of all the PA's epigrams. In particular, our project aims to further develop this edition of the PA, thereby demonstrating the philological, editorial and pedagogic challenges involved in compiling the diverse fragments of this collection of Greek epigrams. Since its discovery in 1606 by Claude Saumaise in the Palatina Library of Heidelberg in Germany [Anacreon 901a], the PA manuscript (Codex Palatinus 23) has considerably influenced literature and art. As we know it today, the Anthology is the result of successive compilations, modifications, additions, and rearrangements by the compilers. Meleager's collection is a collection of epigrams compiled in the first century B.C., which represents the original source of what is known today as the Greek Anthology [Gutzwiller 1997]. This collection, called The Crown, was not randomly arranged, but according to a series of particular organizational principles [Cameron 1993]. The PA challenges the concept of an “oeuvre” – as a unified and cohesive body of work –, insofar as it brings together 4 000 epigrams written by more than one hundred different authors from over sixteen centuries of literary production (from the Byzantine empire to the 10th century AD). If we cannot consider the Anthology as a unified and cohesive work, how do we account for it in an edition? To these questions, the digital environment presents tools and possibilities allowing us to organize our research, and ultimately work towards finding some answers. In an attempt to provide tangible solutions to the difficulty of assembling such a fragmented body of work the PA Project harnesses digital tools. We have created an open database searchable via an API that allows one to transcribe the manuscript, propose translations, align translations, transcribe scholia, and link epigrams both to each other and to external literary and artistic references. We aim to demonstrate the importance of philological approaches to texts; redefine the boundaries between scholarly and amateur practices; connect contemporary readers and scholars with Classical texts; supplement the Perseus project; and harness the potential of semantic web technologies. We aim to shed light on the many ways to engage with textual objects, to conceive of a multiple reception of the anthological imaginary [Coffee et al. 2012]. The interface of our digital platform does intend for users to propose such reading pathways and weak ties [Granovetter 1983], because it enables them to associate an epigram with a reference (textual, iconographic, musical, cinematographic, and others) and thereby demonstrate a collective engagement with the epigram [Levy 1994]. This demonstrates how collective imaginaries are able to enrich our understanding of the anthological material. By enabling the users to engage with this otherwise elusive literary object, the Greek epigrams, and with a cultural object, our project enables contemporary readers to engage with the digital possibilities in order to visualize a collective imaginary or topoï [Levy 1994], and to contribute to philological research on the origins and influences of the PA [Crane, Seales, and Terras 2009].