Our News!

Book Scanning Contract

SLUB logoThe Open Greek and Latin Project has recently signed a contract with the Saxon State and University Library Dresden (SLUB) to scan books dating between 1922-1984*. In particular, we are digitising editions that are in the public domain under European law. The EU allows its state members to assert copyright protection over scholarly editions for up to 30 years after publication. The argument has been made that an edition’s critical apparatus constitutes a separate work. In light of this debate and of all applicable copyright regulations, we have adopted the following strategy:

  • Editions published after 1922 whose editor(s) died before or during 1943 are being digitised in full (reconstructed text and critical apparatus).
  • Editions published after 1922 whose editor(s) died after 1943 are only partially digitised (reconstructed text only).

The contract runs until the end of 2014 so we need to be selective. While starting, of course, with Lipsiae: Teubner editions, our list will extend to other series.

SLUB scans will be added to SLUB’s digital collection and will ultimately be ingested in the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek.

Please address any comments, suggestions or questions to Greta Franzini at franzini(at)informatik(dot)uni-leipzig(dot)de


*Most editions predating 1922 have already been digitised and are available online via the HathiTrust Digital Library and

Different Cultures, Different Perceptions

We think the people from different cultures have different ideas about one single event, or even a historical figure in the ancient world. It may have an influence on how people interact while they are learning a historical language collaboratively.

I am trying to figure out if this hypothesis is true.

Would you mind to help me by completing this survey?

You just need to click on the link to participate in this study:

Thank you for your feedback!

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Lange Nacht der Wissenshaften, Universität Leipzig, 27.6.14

The Historical Languages eLearning Project would like to extend a warm thank you to all of you who came to the Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften to learn and play with Ancient Geek. Your feedback was invaluable and has helped us bring our research and development to the next level!










Long Night of Science / Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften!!

Tonight (27th July) from 6pm to 12am in the main building of the University of Leipzig our very own Historical eLearning Project team will be showcasing Ancient Geek, a user-friendly web application providing localized support to learners of Ancient Greek.

The project started in September 2013 and is now already at the point of offering a fully functional platform enriched with history snippets, gamified exercises, aligned text, parse trees, all designed with the sole purpose of teaching an ancient language, not through traditional grammars, but through direct contact with the text and active participation. So far, the text at the user’s disposal is a section of The History of the Peloponnesian War by the ancient Greek historian Thucydides, whose literal translation is made available in English, Croatian and Farsi.

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The project’s working name is Historical Languages eLearning Project and is part of the wider Open Philology Project led by Prof. Gregory Crane, Humboldt Professor of DigitalHumanities at the University of Leipzig and funded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the European Social Fund and the Sächsische AufbauBank.

Ancient Geek was born and blossomed in the capable hands of three Research Associates at the University of Leipzig — Monica Lent, Emily Franzini and Maria Moritz — with the help of Maryam Foradi, professional translator, and their leaders Professor Gregory Crane, Dr. Thomas Köntges. Join us!



Update! Total number of secondary level students studying Latin and Ancient Greek in the world

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Here is an updated version of the blogpost that I published last March [link: here] in which I gave a brief account of my experience in trying to quantify the total number of students studying the Latin and Ancient Greek languages across the world. I am extremely grateful to all the Classicists and non-Classicists out there who pointed me in the right direction, and thanks to whom I have now identified the numbers for four more areas in the world: the Flanders (in Belgium), Switzerland, France and New Zealand. Here are some considerations.

Switzerland filled me with joy, coming in second with 16.8% of its students studying Latin, after Italy (40%). The Flanders too strives to breed young Latinists, with 9% of its students studying the language, 0.3% more than Germany. There are 501,100 students of Latin in France, which I thought incredibly impressive considering Latin is by no means compulsory in schools. I had no idea what to expect for New Zealand, but this is what I found: there are 1,501 students of Latin and none of Greek.

Switzerland and the Flanders tie in second place with 1.2% of students studying Greek in each country – Italy remains first with 13.6%. France is in fifth place after Croatia with 34,000 students of Greek.

I’m still desperately trying to find accurate results for Spain, Greece and Egypt, so any further help would be greatly appreciated. When researching South Africa, I discovered that local Classics professors estimate no more than 100 Latin and 50 Greek students, but, for this, I have yet to find exact documentation. However, it was fascinating to find out that there are Latin and Greek students also in Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Zimbabwe, Congo and Malawi.

As always, if you know the stats of your own country or know where I could find them, please send me an email at efranzini(at)informatik(dot)uni-leipzig(dot)de or leave a comment.

[For the stats complete with sources, download the PDF file below.]

Creative Commons translations from Greek and Latin into modern languages?

The Open Philology project is looking for ways to encourage the distribution of translations from Greek and Latin into modern languages. Many authors are simply happy to put their materials on their own websites. Our goal at this point is to elucidate some issues for those who want their materials to be more widely used and to gauge how many people might produce new materials if they had some sort of support. We see (at least) three topics for producers to consider:

  • Making your materials available under a Creative Commons license: Many producers make their materials freely available on a website but do not include an explicit rights statement enabling third parties to make use of their work. This also prevents their work from having the impact that they often actually wish. There are various CC licenses to choose from. A CC-BY-ND-NC prevents anyone from modifying your work or using it for commercial purposes. Such a license is conservative and relatively easy to accept but a bolder approach, using a CC-BY-SA license, which allows for derivative works and for third-parties to include your work in a commercial service, makes it easier for your work to reach more people. The BY feature requires that you receive credit, while your original version can remain available as a point of reference. The SA feature means that anyone who modifies your work has to share the results — thus preventing a commercial enterprise from making a new version of what you have done and hiding it behind an exclusive subscription wall.
  • Making your materials available in TEI XML: Producing TEI XML requires learning how to go beyond using a word processor but, once a text is in TEI XML, it can be queried and represented in more sophisticated ways. If a document is in well-structured TEI XML, then versions in PDF, HTML or e-book formats can be produced as well.
  • Making sure your work has a citation scheme: Few, if any, translations of poetry try to align each verse with the original but it still helps to be able to show roughly where line X in a Greek or Latin source corresponds to your translation. With prose works, alignment is much easier and you may choose to keep sentence boundaries where section breaks occur in a Greek or Latin source edition.

We are posting this preliminary query to elicit public discussion from those who have produced, or would like to produce, translations. Mastering enough Greek and Latin to produce translations is far and away the hardest task. The issues above require some thought and training but they are relatively minor tasks compared to the work of translating  a single play of Sophocles or a speech of Cicero.

Feel free to get in touch with us either by email or by leaving a comment below!