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Using this Site

System Requirements

Aim and Scope

The purpose of this project is to provide an online resource, focused but open-ended, for reflection on issues of cultural identity and interaction in the Greco-Roman world. We have chosen to ground such a resource in substantial texts by authors who conspicuously embodied the set of problems we are examining. To begin with, we have chosen Polybius (ca. 203 - 120 BCE) and Flavius Josephus (37 - 100+ CE). Although they flourished more than two centuries apart -- the span that separates us from, say, Napoleon or Immanuel Kant -- their lives and the histories they wrote have much in common. Both men, leading members of their local aristocracies, spent many years in Rome and became well acquainted with leading figures of their day. Both had to deal with the problem of the ongoing identity of their home cities in the context of Roman hegemony: the role and value of the native 'constitutions' or laws, traditions, and the established elite bodies. Our plan is to open up the historical compositions by Polybius and Josephus for new kinds of intensive study, by providing tools that function best on the web -- for specialist scholars, students, and the informed public. Over time, we expect to add new authors from the Hellenistic-Roman world (perhaps Diodorus, Dionysius, some Plutarch and Lucian), but we have much to do with Polybius and Josephus before we may turn to new authors. Since each author's literary corpus opens windows into many aspects of Greek, Roman, and Near-Eastern politics, culture, literature, rhetoric, philosophy, archaeology, and so forth, tracing out such links will take us far into those worlds without the need to add numerous texts.

In keeping with the aims just described, the site now provides (in collaboration with a number of groups and organizations: see Sources and Rights on the front page): the Greek texts of Polybius and Josephus in the standard critical editions, morphologically tagged via Perseus; two English translations for each author, as available; Walbank's commentary to Polybius; the Brill commentary to Josephus with translation (= the second Josephus translation); images of sites mentioned in the two texts and their commentaries; current archaeological descriptions of the same sites; dissertation abstracts and, in some cases, full texts; hard-to-find books and articles, including some German studies from 1925 and earlier, in both German and new English translations; notes on the reception-history of Polybius and Josephus (only the latter for now); annotated bibliography for both authors; and parallel passages -- parallels both within Josephus' corpus and between Polybius and Josephus.

The website is arranged such that each of these resources is available both as an independent module accessible from the front page and in relation to specific sections of the primary texts. So, for example: if I wish to browse all the available images, or reception-historical notes, or bibliography, I may go straight to those modules on the front page and work through the material according to date, author, primary-text link, etc. Alternatively, if I am working on a passage in Polybius or Josephus and have the Texts and Commentary window open, the red folder tabs above the lower pane will allow me to see whatever images, archaeological reports, bibliography, reception-historical notes, or parallel passages relate to the section of material I am studying.

A general search engine is also available at the top right of every page, for both simple and advanced searches, and for both English and Greek material (for Greek, use Unicode characters, with or without diacritics). In advanced mode, one may specify precisely which texts should be included in the search.

Current Status and Phase II

The current site represents only one side of the interactive process that is the PACE's reason for being. It is the York University group's offering, to begin the project. But it is a project, and not a product Just as important as this base of core material is the ongoing discussion we hope to initiate with scholars around the world who share our interests, whom we invite to join us and contribute their own insights.

In addition to completing any 'leftover' material that we were unable to get ready during Phase I, Phase II will mainly consist in the preparation of forms for member-contributors to use. First, we shall offer a form for interested and qualified parties to join the PACE as associate members. Members will have advanced training and experience in Polybius, Josephus, Greco-Roman and ancient Jewish history. Once they become members, colleagues will have the opportunity to contribute directly to the growth of the site. For example, scholars will have their own annotated bibliographical items, which they may add to the database for the common benefit. They may upload images or archaeological descriptions, history-of-reception notes, or their own articles or even books. They may like to register their dissertations in progress or even to publish, electronically, the full text of their dissertation.

One important area for ongoing international collaboration is the commentary. On the one hand, we all know that no commentary can ever be adequate to the ancient text, or finished, since researchers are constantly discovering new evidence about the contexts and referents of these compositions and producing new insights into seemingly well-known areas. Commentators also make mistakes, or omit things they should have included, and these faults call for correction. On the other hand, published commentaries in print must be preserved as published, not least because the publishers understandably require this to safeguard their investment. Printed texts under copyright may not simply be posted on the web and altered at will. So, what to do?

We hope that we have found a feasible solution for producing an ongoing, 'living' commentary, with the following mechanism. PACE will, first, preserve intact the print-published text of the commentaries to Polybius (Walbank, OUP) and Josephus (Brill, ed. Mason), with the minor exception that Walbank's addenda and corrigenda have, at his request, been incorporated into the main commentary. These commentaries will appear when one selects the Texts and Commentary link on the first page, and the red Commentary tab from any text window. But in order to allow supplementation, we have included also a Notes tab. This tab will reveal the additions made by both the original commentators and other scholars who are members of PACE.

Such notes may include outright corrections, inclusion of material that should have gone in the printed edition, challenges to specific arguments made in the commentary, or new approaches, discoveries, and relevant ideas. No matter what its content, all of the Notes material will be tied to particular passage in Polybius or Josephus, just as the original commentary is. Contributors will be required to specify this link when submitting their note. Although notes may cover broader stretches of text, this is a problem shared with the commentary; linking to the primary passage concerned, with an explanation of the wider reach, is necessary for organizational purposes.