Musisque Deoque

I had the opportunity to attend the last session of the Digital Classicist 2010 seminars. Linda Spinazzè, a young scholar from the University of Venice, presented a very interesting project, entitled Musisque Deoque. The project deals with Latin literature and proposes to provide digital editions of a set of ancient texts.
The choice of texts goes from the 3th century BCE up to the 7th century CE. For each of them a Latin text is provided where the editorial variants are highlighted and explained in a separated apparatus criticus. For each of the elements given, precise indications are made to offer the readers an easier understanding of the often difficult and varying abbreviations in an apparatus.
Further a research option for metrical criteria is provided, where the texts are listed under different meters and can be approached from this point of view.
In the paper however Linda Spinazzè announced another aspect of the project, manuscripts tracing on the net. She is currently developing a tool which would help to find the digital images of the variants listed in the apparatus of the text. The apparatus created by these means would therefore become extremely valuable as it would help to fill the previously inevitable gap between the manuscripts, disseminated in the libraries all over the world, accessible to few and showing each only one stage of the transmission, and the printed editions, a reproducible and easily available summary of all the manuscripts where one version is given as main text and the other variants are summed up in the appartus.
This project is therefore based on another approach than for instance the Homer Multitext Project. Whereas the project on the Homeric text starts from the manuscripts and finds new ways of presenting the complex state of preservation of the text, the Musisque deoque approach is starting from the currently available editions and tries to go back to the manuscripts, if they are available. The approach is less revolutionary than the one of the Homer Multitext Project, but it has the advantage to be applicable to a corpus of diversified texts, with different histories of transmission.

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