Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Project: Sharing Ancient Wisdoms, Greek Byzantine and Arab texts
From the website of the project:
The aim of the Sharing Ancient Wisdoms (SAWS) project is to use new technology to present and analyse the tradition of wisdom literatures in Greek and Arabic. Throughout antiquity and the middle ages collections of wise or useful sayings were created and circulated, as a practical response to the cost and inaccessibility of full texts in a manuscript age; our project will focus on those which collected moral and social advice, and philosophical ideas.
Our collaboration has been made possible by funding from HERA - Humanities in the European Research Area - as part of a programme to investigate cultural dynamics in Europe. These collections have not been extensively studied, and many remain unpublished; but their compilation formed a crucial route by which philosophical concepts, together with ideas of reasonable behaviour and good conduct, were disseminated over a huge area, and over many centuries.
With the support of a team at the Centre for Computing in the Humanities, and the Center for e-Research at King's, Charlotte Roueché will be working with experts on such collections in Greek (Denis Searby, of Uppsala) and in Arabic (Stephan Prochazka and Elvira Wakelnig, of Vienna). The aim is to publish several collections online, using technology to express and display their relationships - with the ancient texts on which they drew, with later texts which drew on them, and also with one another, since collections were frequently translated.
Examples of such translations from Greek to Arabic are those by the celebrated translator and physician, Hunayn ibn Ishaq, whose Anecdotes of the Philosophers are known in Spanish translation as the Libro de los buenos proverbios, and by Mubashshir ibn Fatik, whose Choice Maxims and Best Sayings are known in Spanish as the Bocados de oro. Both collections passed into other European vernacular languages, and the latter, translated into English by Earl Rivers as Dicts and Sayings of the Philosophers, was one of the first books printed in England by Caxton in 1477. As well as exploring several such collections, the team intend to develop tools and protocols for use in future publications by other scholars working in this rich tradition of Middle Eastern and European thought.
Further projects supported in the field of medieval studies by HERA- Humanities in the European Research Area: