A(n Incomplete) Survey of Digital Tools for Classicists

As I explore the online community of Classicists and their digital products, I keep thinking that it would be incredibly helpful to have a thorough list of all current projects. I hope to provide that here, working off Sarah Bond’s list as well as the extensive list of projects at the Universität Leipzig under the direction of Monica Berti. I hope to add more projects as I learn about them. All suggestions are welcome!

Literary & Textual Analysis:

CLTK: The CLTK is an expansive project undertaken by Patrick J. Burns, Luke Hollis, and Kyle P. Johnson. It aims to provide a thorough Python framework for linguistic analysis of ancient texts. This project extends the NLTK which provides a similar framework for modern linguistic study.

Quantitative Criticism Lab: Started in 2014 by Pramit Chaudhuri and Joseph Dexter, the QCL is project which seeks to

Perseus @ Tufts: The OG workspace for reading ancient texts and their commentaries.

Perseus/Philologic @ UChicago: Chicago hosts a version of Philologic on their site which allows the user to search texts, create concordances, and make mid-level linguistic searches with relative ease.

Perseids: The Perseids editor is a web-based is a text-editing environment that enables the collaborative editing of texts in a framework of rigorous and transparent peer-review and credit mechanisms and strong editorial oversight.

Arethusa: A data tree-banking client-side service for accessing texts, annotations and linguistic services from a variety of sources.

Thesaurus Linguae Graecae (TLG): The TLG is a crazy good platform for analyzing Greek texts and words.

Thesaurus Linguae Latinae (TLL): While the TLL is something I’ve never personally used (too expensive for my department), I’ve heard it’s quite good.

Digital Texts:

All these sites have been created under the Open Greek and Latin Project at the University of Leipzig and are under the direction of Monica Berti.

DFHG: The Digital Fragmenta Historicorum Graecorum provides the five volumes of the Fragmenta Historicorum Graecorum(FHG) edited by Karl Müller in the 19th century.

First 1000 Years of Greek: This project seeks to record a copy of every extant Greek text, but more specifically, those not already hosted by the Perseus Digital Library.

Digital Athenaeus: A digital version of The Deipnosophists by Athenaeus which describes several banquet conversations on a variety of topics.

Digital Marmor Parium: A digital version of the marble slab found at Paros which records a timeline of Greek history (1581/80-299/98 BC): archons, kings, and short references to historical events from the Athenian perspective.


Pelagios: The Pelagios linked-data project provides a robust network of linked geographical and literary data from Classical literature and scholarship.

Orbis: The Orbis project provides an extensive geospatial network model of the Roman world. It provides a way to calculate travel and associated travel cost associated with the vast distances of the empire.

Map for the DFHG: a digital and interactive map of the fragments from the DFHG, linked above.

Hestia: The Hestia Project seeks to elucidate the literary geography of Herodotus’ Histories.

Map Tiles: This site provides accurate and scalable maps for different periods of history, as compiled by the Ancient World Mapping Center.

Archaeological Resources:

FASTI: a searchable database of archaeological excavations, conservations projects, and surveys since 2000, created by The International Association of Classical Archaeology (AIAC) and the Center for the Study of Ancient Italy of the University of Texas at Austin (CSAI).

Digital Humanities in Classics

Having come to Classics from Computer Science, I was at first astounded to see how many digital projects were being undertaken by faculty members and students in the field. A brief dip in the DH twitter-sphere made it feel as though I had never left CS in the first place with amazing foundational, ever-evolving projects like groundbreaking Perseus, Thesaurus Linguae Latinae (TLL) & Thesaurus Linguae Graecae (TLG), pottery databases; and new ventures like the CLTK, Pleiades, et cetera.

I am constantly astonished by the sheer involvement of the Classics community on Twitter and am eager to involve myself in the multi-faceted discussions taking place. It definitely seems overwhelming at first to come to such a robust community with so many scholars and intellectuals conversing about ideas, projects, and the state of the field.  There are clearly twitter paragons that everyone follows: Mary Beard, Hannah Čulík-Baird, Sarah Bond, and Tim Whitmarsh, just to name a few, as well as several prolific accounts like Rogue Classicist and Sententiae Antiquae. If you stick around for a while, however, you quickly learn that all of these people are eager and ready to accept new members. Dr. Čulík-Baird said it best in her recent article about the SCS 2018 proceedings:

There is a plethora of timely and important projects happening in the Classics DH community. Professors and those not in academia discuss the issues most relevant to the field and its students. This gives rise to projects like Pharos, which seeks to document and respond to appropriations of Greco-Roman antiquity by hate groups. I am proud of my discipline and the transition to make Classics more accessible and relevant to everyone.

In all, there is a thriving community of online Classicists who are eager to tackle large-scale and complex projects with synergy and ever-evolving digital tools. These custom tools that our community has made augments the craft in a novel and innovative way—pushing academia ever further.