Open Persian Project

of the Open Philology Project

Read this page in Persian.

Classical Persian is universally recognized as one of the world’s great classical languages, but outside of Iran it has not received the attention given Greek and Latin or even classical Arabic, despite the survival of an immensely rich literature and a tradition of scholarship that is still alive today.

One of the primary aims of the Open Philology Project at the University of Leipzig is to encourage communication and collaboration among the world’s leading traditions of classical scholarship, sharing resources and expertise as widely as possible, while also encouraging and facilitating the broadest participation, both within the academic world and from the wider public.

European scholarship first became aware of the importance of Classical Persian in the late eighteenth century with the work of pioneering philologists like Sir William Jones, who translated a number of poems into English, but it was not until the publication of Goethe’s magnificent tribute to Hafez in the West-östlicher Divan of 1819 that the importance of this tradition came to the attention of a wider public.

Persian poetry, including that of Hafez, Rumi, Saadi, and many others, has continued to fascinate readers and scholars around the world, making the work of Hafez an especially attractive topic to begin the Leipzig Open Philology Project’s work with Persian- one that can engage both scholars and the wider public, both in Iran and internationally.

As a first step, we are assembling a wide variety of translations of Hafez into many different languages, and providing a website where participants can play a game of aligning the words and phrases of the original text with the corresponding words in the translation, saving their work in a form that vividly displays the links when you mouse over the text. We believe that this game encourages close reading of the text while also exposing the limitations and compromises that translation necessarily entails.

We hope that this activity will be of interest to several different groups:

Readers– who are reading or studying the poems
Learners– who are studying the language itself
Contributors– who wish to enhance the reading and learning resources that will be freely available to others in the future.

If you identify with one of these groups, or just want to see whether you enjoy the alignment game, please feel free to try it out. We welcome your participation.

We will have some webinars to instruct interested participants to let them go forward step by step in the Perseids treebanking environment and our alpheios alignment environment.

Regardless of language you speak, join us and be a part of Open Persian Society.

Recently we began closely collaborating with the Roshan Initiative in Persian Digital Humanities (PersDig@UMD) (http://persdig.umd.edu/) at Roshan Institute for Persian Studies, University of Maryland, College Park. In 2015, they began the process of creating the first Persian poetry corpus by converting approximately 60,000 lines of classical Persian poetry (taken from ganjoor.net) according to TEI and CTS (CapiTainS) standards. This step makes these texts not only machine readable but also enables identification and retrieval of canonically cited passages of texts. Additionally, the PersDig@UMD team has also implemented a classical Persian dictionary in Alpheios and a beta version of the Persian lemmatizer and morphological analyzer HAZM in Arethusa, which gives users the opportunity to create morpho-syntactical trees in the Arethusa environment and enables further linguistic analysis. Currently, PersDig@UMD is working to improve these beta versions, and expand the breadth and depth of the Persian corpus through their work with the Islamicate Texts Initiative (ITI) (http://iti-corpus.github.io/).


Here you can find the aligned corpus of Divan-e-Hafez, translated by H. Wilberforce Clarke. Calcutta, India. 1891.


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The Open Persian Project Team


Gregory Ralph Crane

Saeed Majidi

Maryam Foradi