Call for Participation: Digital Approaches in Greek Palaeography

Institute of Classical Studies, University of London

Room 234, Senate House, Malet Street WC1E 7HU

10:00-17:00 Friday, December 14, 2018


We invite interested scholars and colleagues to participate in a one-day discussion workshop exploring digital approaches, methods and tools to the study of Ancient Greek palaeography, script and scribal hands.

Palaeography as traditionally conceived has as its main goals handwriting decipherment and dating, next to the analysis of script styles and scribal hand identification. In recent years, digital palaeo­graphy has been established as a new (sub)discipline, focusing specifically on the application of computational methods to palaeographical studies (see e.g. Ciula 2005; Rehbein et al. 2009). This has opened up new possibilities of research, such as the application of quantitative methods to palaeo­graphy.

Pioneering work in digital paleography has been done on languages such as Latin and English (see e.g. Terras 2006; Stokes 2009). There have also been several applications to Ancient Greek: Rodney Ast’s PapPal ( provides an online repository of images of dated docu­mentay papyri, and several tools have been developed to align text and image (see e.g. Anagnosis at­kallimachos/­index.php/Anagnosis:Main). Several new projects have been an­nounced, focusing in particular on non-literary sources, by scholars such as Klaas Bentein (Ghent), Isabelle Marthot (Basel), and Rodney Ast (Heidelberg).

In this one-day workshop, we want to address some key questions, including:

  1. What new research possibilities does digital palaeography offer?
  2. Can we arrive at a descriptive standard for (digital) palaeographical analysis?
  3. What role should the analysis of scribal hands and script types play in future investigations?
  4. Should new digital tools be developed, or can existing tools be modified and adapted to each researcher’s purpose? How much of the analysis can be done automatically with these tools?
  5. At what stages in research can digital tools assist the scholar—data gathering, categorization, synthesis, analysis, visualization, publication, etc.?
  6. What possibilities are there for interdisciplinary collaboration?

The main goal of the workshop is to bring together scholars with an interest in digital palaeography, focusing in particular on Ancient Greek. The workshop will be discussion focused, but will also involve a few short position papers or provocations to raise questions and structure the conversation.

We invite scholars to submit their interest in participating in these discussions. Although the focus is on Ancient Greek, contributions dealing with related topics in other ancient languages are welcome. We would like to see a mix of classicists working on palaeography who are interested in applying digital approaches to their material, and digital humanities or informatics scholars with an interest in working with ancient writing and scripts.

Please send an email outlining your interests in this area, and any prior work if applicable, to and by October 31. Notification of acceptance will be given by November 15.

We have a small amount of funding available to support attendees travel. Please let us know if you would like to apply for this support, and how much you would need.


Ciula, A. 2005 Digital paleography: using the digital representation of medieval script to support paleographic analysis. Digital Medievalist 1 (https://journal. digitalmedievalist.­org/­articles/10.16995/dm.4/print/)

Reggiani, N. 2017. Digital papyrology I: Methods, tools and trends. Berlin & New York.

Rehbein, M. et al. 2009. Codicology & palaeography in the digital age. Norderstedt.

Terras, M. 2006. Image to interpretation: an intelligent system to aid historians in reading the Vindolanda texts. Oxford.

Stokes, P. 2009. Computer-Aided Palaeography, Present and Future. In: M. Rehbein et al. 2009. Codicology & palaeography in the digital age, 309-338. Norderstedt.



1.     Bentein, K. Towards a typology of relative clauses in Post-classical Greek. Paper presented at the PapyGreek colloquium (Helsinki, June 8, 2018)

2.     Bentein, K. Deictic shifting in Greek contractual writing. Paper  presented at the International Colloquium on Ancient Greek Linguistics (Helsinki, August 31, 2018)

3.     Bentein, K. The distinctiveness of syntax for varieties of Post-classical and Byzantine Greek. Paper  presented at the Beyond Standards: Attic, the Koiné and Atticism  conference (Cambridge, September 14, 2018)

4.     Bentein, K. Syntax: a sociolinguistically distinctive level? Some observations from the Life of Euthymius. Paper  to be presented at the Metaphrasis workshop (Nicosia, October 13, 2018)

5.     Bentein, K., Amory, Y., De Mol, G. & E. Roumanis. Everyday writing in Graeco-Roman and Byzantine Greek. Paper to be presented at the Dialing Research Seminar (Ghent, November 8, 2018)

6.     Bentein, K. The decline of infinitival complementation in Ancient Greek: A reconsideration. Paper to be presented at the Classics Research Seminar (Cambridge, November 21, 2018)