Euripides Scholia

Project Description

About the Current Sample

Work has been concentrated on Orestes so far for two reasons: (1) as a triad play, it provides the maximum degree of variety and complexity in the annotation tradition and therefore forces one to confront most or all of the issues that may arise as the work proceeds; (2) images were already on hand for most of the manuscripts desirable for an initial sample, and so collation could make substantial progress without waiting for ordering of images. Collations have been carried out for Orestes 1-500 and the prefatory material for that play in 20 witnesses of various kinds.

Conversion to XML format of the compiled collations and tentative edited scholia has been carried out so far only for one tenth of the available material, namely Orestes 1-25 and 401-425, with the addition of the Triclinian metrical analysis for the parodos and of the prefatory material. Initially, work on this conversion was fairly slow because the structure was under development and because it took some time to learn and customize the shortcuts in the editor that can make the conversion faster. Future work of this kind should proceed more quickly. At the same time, it was not necessary to have a larger sample to carry out the experimentation with stylesheet transformation programming.

Likewise, at this stage of development, there are types of information which are only minimally represented in the sample (to allow for experimentation with display) but can be further developed in later versions. For instance, although it is not planned to translate all scholia, the scholia that have some broader interest for topics like stagecraft and ancient literary theory and criticism will at some point be translated. There are so far very few scholia for which content has been provided in the keywords section, but fuller use of these keywords in a later version will allow indexing of topics or searching of keywords in expert view. Similarly, comments and citations of similar passages will be expanded later.

Finally, all readings are based on images, some of which are not of the highest quality (or in some cases even in a high quality image the writing is damaged or so tiny as to be hard to decipher with certainty). Checking of selected readings by autopsy is planned for the future.

Project Goals

The goals of this project are quite traditional in a philological sense, but also experimental and forward-looking in terms of format.

On the traditional side, the goal is to gain a better understanding of the scholia surviving in medieval manuscripts of Euripides and make the information widely available to scholars and students. Some of the specific issues or goals are the following:

Other goals of this project are related to exploiting the possibilities of a digital format:

Progress and Change History

A preliminary study for this project was conducted in Fall 2007 in preparation for a workshop at the annual meeting of the American Philological Association in January 2008. The resulting working paper is posted online. In Spring 2009 an inventory was made of microfilms and other images available to me in preparation for ordering some necessary images in Summer and Fall 2009. Collation of a number of witnesses of various kinds was carried out from Summer 2009 to January 2010. In February through April 2010, a tentative edition with compilation of variant readings covering Orestes 1-500 was partially reworked into an XML structure (covering Orestes 1-25, 401-425, 1693, and Triclinian metrical notes on Orestes 140-207: this selection was large and varied enough to experiment with). Simultaneously, format transformation programming and stylesheets to produce and display the sample in various forms in a browser were developed. In March and April 2010 the information pages of this site were written. For technical details about the programming involved, see The XML Structure.

Up to this point, the project has been in an experimental, proof-of-concept stage. It is also important to note that readings are based only on the images available to me, which vary considerably in legibility for some details of the scholia. Difficult passages will be checked by autopsy in the coming years, and in some cases better images will be obtained. The next phase for the rest of 2010 will be to rework more of Orestes 26-400 and 426-500 into the XML format.

There are a number of questions that still need to be resolved.

Revision History

Revisions are being tracked in a separate document.


I wish here to acknowledge the images provided to me by libraries for scholarly purposes. Some of these images go back to my work on many manuscripts of Phoenissae in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and many libraries are acknowledged in Mastronarde-Bremer 1982, ix-x. More recently, I have received images from Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana (Venice), Biblioteca Medicea-Laurenziana (Florence), Biblioteca Angelica (Rome), Biblioteca Nazionale Vittorio Emanuele III (Naples), British Library (London), Bodleian Library (Oxford), Herzog August Bibliothek (Wolfenbüttel), Universitets Bibliotek (Uppsala), Biblioteca Estense (Modena).

A number of individuals have also generously provided their assistance. I could never have made such rapid progress with the Orestes scholia without the gift or loan of materials from Kjeld Matthiessen, Hans-Christian Günther, and James Diggle. Stephen Daitz presented me with a copy of his edition of the scholia in the Jerusalem palimpsest. Luigi Battezzato visited the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan twice and reported to me in great detail on the remnants of Euripidean scholia on the 13th-century pages to which the much older text sections and illustrations of the Ilias Ambrosiana (Ambros. F 205 inf.) were affixed. Maria Pantelia, Director of the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae, provided me with a digital file of the text of the scholia in Schwartz’s edition and is in the process of creating a digital file of Dindorf’s edition (not previously entered by the TLG). Through the kind offices of Danuta Shanzer and Classics Librarian Bruce Swann at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign I have been loaned some of the photographs of Euripides manuscripts from the collection of Alexander Turyn held by the Rare Book & Manuscript Library at UIUC (Valerie Hotchkiss, Head).

I have also been assisted by a number of undergraduates at the University of California, Berkeley, participating in the Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program. In 2009 and the first half of 2010 the students involved have been: Tovah Keynton, Sara Hobe, Juan Hernandez, Jenny Tan, and Josh Smith, and the tasks they have performed have included creating an accurate inventory of the microfilms, microfiches, and prints of Euripides manuscripts available to me; scanning the Turyn photographs so that the images can be enlarged on the computer screen and the loaned originals can be returned; processing the files from the TLG to the format I need for collation and editing; entering into Word files the Greek text of the longer Triclinian scholia (from De Faveri) and of some or the Gr/Gu scholia for Orestes (from Dindorf); and proofreading some parts of this site.

The progress made during 2009-2010 is largely due to the sabbatical leave granted me by the University of California, Berkeley, supplemented by a fellowship from the Loeb Classical Library Foundation.