Online Tool

Online Tool to Teach Ancient and Byzantine Greek Handwriting

The Papyrology Collection and the Special Collections Library are the repositories of the largest collections of Greek papyri and Greek manuscripts in the United States of America. This wonderful teaching resource allows U-M faculty to show the development of Greek handwriting from the third century B.C.E. to the fifteenth century C.E. Digital technology has reached the classroom in that we can now enhance digital images of the texts and use a digital presenter to make the document visible on a screen to a larger group, but when it comes to explaining how the letters were formed, in what sequence the strokes were formed, the good old blackboard is still the only tool there is.

We will create an interactive online platform that will facilitate the teaching of Greek paleography (the study of ancient writing), allowing the students and researchers of the University of Michigan to engage with the rich collections of Greek papyri and manuscripts held at the University of Michigan Library. Central to the platform is a database of images of ancient papyri and manuscripts, enhanced with digital tools that will help the user read the hand-written text. A detailed description of each document will give additional information about its content and historical background. Individual moving inserts will show the sequence of strokes that were used to write each letter (and, if necessary, special abbreviations or signs). The user will then be able to transcribe the text side by side to the image of the original document, with the computer showing which readings are correct and which one not.

Project Team:

Arthur Verhoogt, Professor, Classical Studies; Pablo Alvarez, Outreach Librarian & Curator, MLibrary; Eric Maslowski, Lab Mgr., 3D Lab, MLibrary