Narrative GIS

Center for Digital Humanities Pilot Award
Spring 2019

The ancient Greek novels are rich narrative texts that follow the journeys of Greek youths as they voyage across the ancient Mediterranean to Syria, Asia Minor (“Turkey”) Persia, Egypt, and Ethiopia. The novels, often written by authors from outside the bounds of Greece itself, and set in a historical past 500 or more years prior to the dates of composition, present challenges to the readers with limited experience of the complicated histories and geographies of these non-Greco-Roman cultures. This COH pilot award will allow me to create a digital, online visualization of the characters’ journeys in 4 of the extant Greek novels. Such visualization will, at the top level, primarily be a GIS-based mapping through physical space of the characters’ exploits. As the user interacts with the map, however, they can explore various embedded visual and textual resources to learn more about the places and peoples about whom they are reading. This project would begin with an examination of Chariton’s “Callirhoe” as part of my production of a digital text and commentary for this novel as part of the online Dickinson Classical Commentary series. This project therefore will both supplement that ongoing Digital Humanities work, and provide a template for continued work that will support the reading and study of these important and under-examined works of ancient literature.

Principal Investigator: