Suda On Line: Byzantine Lexicography   STOA [Logo]

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  Stoa Consortium
Managing Editors
 Raphael Finkel
 William Hutton
 Catharine Roth
 Patrick Rourke
 Ross Scaife (founder, deceased)
 Elizabeth Vandiver
 David Whitehead 
Senior Editor
 David Whitehead
Programmer
 Kamal Shah
Programmers Emeriti
 Huar En Ng
 Mukund Chandak
 Shahid Saleem Mohammed 
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Progress Report  (as of April 15, 2014)
Assigned: 31271    Translated: 31145    Vetted: 31141
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"For Attic phrase in Plato let them seek,
I poach in Suidas for unlicens'd Greek."
-- Alexander Pope, The Dunciad 4.227-8

About the Suda On-Line

The Suda is a massive 10th century Byzantine Greek historical encyclopedia of the ancient Mediterranean world, derived from the scholia to critical editions of canonical works and from compilations by yet earlier authors. The purpose of the Suda On Line is to open up this stronghold of information by means of a freely accessible, keyword-searchable, XML-encoded database with translations, annotations, bibliography, and automatically generated links to a number of other important electronic resources. To date over 170 scholars have contributed to the project from eighteen countries and four continents. Of the 30,000-odd entries in the lexicon, over 25,000 have been translated as of this date, and more translations are submitted every day. Although our work is not done, you can already browse and search our database of translated entries, and you can use the tools we offer to do things like search for Greek words in the entire text of the Suda. You are also welcome to apply to become a contributor yourself, either as a translator or as an editor (or both). More on that below. For more information about the project, you can read this article, originally published in Syllecta Classica 11 (2000) 178-190, as well as this article by Anne Mahoney. You can also read this brief history of the project.

Editorial Standards

Are translations in the SOL reliable? In general, yes. But our database does contain raw, unedited entries that must only be consulted with caution in any scholarly endeavor. To assist you, we have developed a color-coded system for marking editorial status (Interestingly, we seem to have anticipated some larger and more prominent web projects in implementing this strategy). To learn more about this system (recommended reading for any scholars using the database), click here.

Citing the Suda On-Line

The translations and annotations in the Suda On Line are covered by a Creative Commons 'Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License.' For the details of this license please see http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/1.0/ Detailed instructions on citing translations in the Suda On Line and refering to the work in your CV can be found here.

Accessing the Database

You can use the search box at the top of the current page to access translations in the database. To gain access to more advanced features (including advanced searches, a choice of Greek fonts for your display and a listing of assigned, translated and vetted entires), please register as a guest . You will also gain access to these features (and more) if you register as a translator or editor. More on that in the next section. If you'd rather not register at all, but you still want temporary access to advanced features, simply enter the login name "guest" and the password "sol" in the Login ID and Password boxes above (both are case-sensitive).

Becoming a Contributor

If you are capable of translating ancient Greek, chances are you have a valuable addition to make to the Suda On Line. Go here to register as a Translator or as an editor! Ada would have liked that. This page will direct you to submit a form with information about yourself. When the managing editors receive this form they will be in touch with you as soon as passible. While we generally expect our editors to be professional scholars with advanced degrees in Classics or related fields, no particular qualifications -apart from proficiency in ancient Greek- are needed to become a translator. For more information on being a contributor, see the guidelines for contributors in the next section.

  Guidelines for Contributors

Take a Tour of the Suda

Is your hunger for classical knowledge insatiable? There's a lot in the Suda about Greek and Roman science and medicine. Did you know that Democritus was omniscient? Or that Akesias was a very bad name for a proctologist? Curious what disease Erasistratos cured King Antiochus of? Or why Empedokles surrounded Akragas with the skins of asses?

Ok, if you're not in a scientific mood, learn how Apollo prevented the oracles of the Chaldean Sibyl from being understood by hoi polloi. Read all about the annoyingly just Aristides, Philoxenos the tune-bender, who was the most courageous literary critic in history, the captivating Ammonianus (for donkeys, at least), and Chrysippus, the philosopher who left 'em laughing.

Other Useful Links

For a good example of the scholarly detective work made possible by the Suda, see Robert Lamberton's BMCR review of Polymnia Athanassiadi (ed.), Damascius. The Philosophical History

And see William Slater's BMCR review of Eleanor Dickey's recent book, Ancient Greek Scholarship: A Guide to Finding, Reading, and Understanding Scholia, Commentaries, Lexica and Grammatical Treatises, from their Beginnings to the Byzantine Period (Oxford 2007). We heartily recommend Dickey’s book as the most user-friendly and up-to-date introduction in English to the business of ancient scholarship and lexicography. Nevertheless, we must observe that some of Dickey's references to the Suda On Line are less than completely accurate. For instance, p. 91: '...some of the entries have been translated into English and provided with annotations by the Suda On Line Project' (she should have said 'the vast majority of entries....'), and n.26 on the same page: '...the translations must be used with careful attention to the notes that indicate whether or not they have been checked by the editors, as many are the work of people with no experience in the subject'. We agree that readers should carefully consult the editorial status and the notes for each entry — that is a feature of the system, not a bug — but Dickey’s characterization of our contributors is both insulting and wrong-headed. Our translators and editors are qualified scholars in dozens of fields. If the “subject” in which Dickey senses a lack of expertise is Greek lexicography, we are curious as to why she might think an expert in Greek lexicography would be the best person to translate and annotate an entry on an Attic deme or a Neoplatonist philosopher. Are there mistakes in what we have done so far? Certainly. But in contrast to traditional publications like Dickey’s book, our errors are not cast in stone. Our advice to Prof. Dickey and to all others who are good at spotting imperfection is to stop complaining about it and do something about it instead. Register and become a contributor yourself.

As ever, we welcome your comments.

We wish to acknowledge support from the UK Center for Computational Sciences, which provided us with a graduate student Research Assistant for the academic years 2001-2002 and 1999-2000 and has also funded travel for presentations about our work at conferences in Maui (1999) and Glasgow (2000). We are also indebted to the TLG and Perseus projects.

Please report any technical problems with the S.O.L. pages to Raphael Finkel.
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