Annotations and the Ancient Greek Hero: Past, Present, and Future




Text analysis, ancient texts, song culture, Greek hero, multimedia annotation, MOOC, self-assessment, tagging ontology, semantic tagging


Evidence for annotating Homeric poetry in Ancient Greece is as old as the 5th Century BCE, when the «Iliad» and «Odyssey» were performed by professional singers/composers who also performed annotations to the poetry in answer to questions from their audiences. As the long transition from a song culture into a literate society took place in Ancient Greece from the 8th to the 2nd and 1st centuries BCE, annotations were gradually incorporated into written poetic texts. By the 10th Century CE, the quantity of written annotations in the margins of medieval manuscripts has become huge. For the first two versions of «The Ancient Hero», a HarvardX MOOC, it was not possible to implement the set of annotation tools that we requested as a vehicle for close reading and assessment. Using a partial system, we were able to create a semblance of annotations in close reading self-assessment exercises. For the anticipated third version, we expect to have a complete set of textual and video annotation tools developed for HarvardX, including semantic tagging and full sharing of annotations. Such a system, which promises to make the educational experience more effective, will also inaugurate a digital phase in the long history of Homeric annotation..