Exploratory Philology: Learning About Ancient Languages through Computer Programming

Description of book project in progress


What is the relationship between computer programming and reading Ancient Greek and Latin? And how can we make it as easy as possible to get started with computational approaches to ancient-language text? Exploratory Philology: Learning About Ancient Languages through Computer Programming—a hybrid book and JupyterBook project—introduces readers to thinking philologically and computationally about ancient languages and their literatures. At the heart of Exploratory Philology is a collection of text-analysis experiments—50 philological problems designed to introduce Hellenists and Latinists to computer programming through activities such as counting color terms in Homer or searching for acrostics in Virgil or creating a Socrates-style chatbot or generating random Latin text. Exploratory Philology shows readers how to use code to learn about the languages and to use the languages to help us learn to code through four units:

Building on Nick Montfort’s exploratory paradigm of learning “how to think with computation” in the humanities, Exploratory Philology offers the Ancient Greek and Latin community a new way of looking at the languages they study—a code-first, immersive, and improvisational way of “playing” with the extant corpus of Ancient Greek and Latin.

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