a digital corpus of the trojan narrative in latin manuscripts
Below is a brief summary of the two-year (2016–2018) research project entitled “Transtextual Networks in the European Middle Ages: A Digital Corpus of the Trojan Narrative in Latin Manuscripts” (project ID: 702772). The project is housed at the Arnamagnæan Institute at the University of Copenhagen and is generously funded by the European Union as part of Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. There will be a dedicated project website in 2018; in the mean time, I hope to start a page for updates here on Medium later in 2017.
Engaging with one of the most important elements of Europe’s cultural heritage, “Transtextual Networks” employs material evidence and technological tools to analyse relationships among texts in the Middle Ages. The Trojan narrative constitutes an ideal case for considering networks of texts. Not only did the story of the conquest of Troy by the Greeks provide some of the most important literary motifs for ancient Greek and Roman culture, it also played a role in the genesis of the nations of medieval Europe and continues to touch us in the modern day. This project investigates the manuscripts of three late antique accounts of the Trojan War that have received little scholarly attention even though they were exceptionally influential during the Middle Ages: the De excidio Troiae historia attributed to Dares of Phrygia, the Ephemeridos belli Troiani attributed to Dictys of Crete and the anonymous Excidium Troie. Although they were composed independently and include different details, these three accounts circulated during the same periods, sometimes travelling together in the same manuscripts. This project is based on the proposition that a comprehensive study of complete manuscript contents can reveal that texts that circulate together display how narratives are transmitted and received. Its main output will be an online catalogue of all the manuscripts in which these works are found. It not only will make accessible a hitherto disregarded corpus but also will address the phenomenon of texts that travel together by cataloguing all the other texts found in these manuscripts. The project will respond to recent transformations in the field of medieval studies resulting from increasing use of digital methodologies and changes in our understanding of the role and use of manuscripts. By examining the transmission of groups of texts in medieval manuscripts, the project will provide a model for future research.
This project is funded by the European Union as part of Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.