Iliad case study

The Iliad papyri are an obvious case study to begin with when studying the evolutions of Greek bookhands: the content of Homer's Iliad is well established, the corpus is numerous (around 1,500 extant fragments with Iliad texts on them) and spanned over the entire papyrological millennium, i.e. from the 3rd century BC to the 7th century AD. This corpus is therefore representative of the chronological evolution of Greek scripts, but also of their various utilizations, from school exercises to expensive calligraphic books. The main goal of this case study is to find as many joins as possible among the 1,500 already known pieces and to cluster them by stylistic similarities.

Since March 2021, READ platform is used and further developped to annotate images of Iliad papyri at a character level in order to provide efficient tools for palaeographical analyses and generate datasets of small images containing individual Greek letters (called 'cliplets') for computational approaches based on Machine Learning. For an overview of the papyri already annotated, see this presentation (using Chrome as prefered browser over Firefox) and the PalEx viewer.

Stylistic similarities among 72 papyri are investigated in the following publication: Isabelle Marthot-Santaniello, Manh Tu Vu, Olga Serbaeva, Marie Beurton-Aimar, “Stylistic Similarities in Greek Papyri Based on Letter Shapes: A Deep Learning Approach” in M. Coustaty and A. Fornés (eds), Document Analysis and Recognition – ICDAR 2023 Workshops. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 14193. Springer, Cham, p. 307–323. based on the AlphEpMu dataset.

A competition on Detection and Recognition of Greek Letters on Papyri has been organized in the scope of ICDAR 2023, using Iliad papyri annotated in READ platform. See Mathias Seuret, Isabelle Marthot-Santaniello, Stephen A. White, Olga Serbaeva Saraogi, SelaudinAgolli, Guillaume Carrière, Dalia Rodriguez-Salas, and Vincent Christlein, “ICDAR 2023 Competition on Detection and Recognition of Greek Letters on Papyri” in G.A. Fink, R. Jain, K. Kise, R. Zanibbi (eds) Document Analysis and Recognition - ICDAR 2023. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 14188, Springer, Cham, p. 498–507.

For the virtual restoration of a column of Papyrus Bodmer 1, see Simon Perrin, Léopold Cudilla, Yejing Xie, Harold Mouchère, and Isabelle Marthot-Santaniello, “Homer restored: Virtual reconstruction of Papyrus Bodmer 1” in Proceedings of the 7th International Workshop on Historical Document Imaging and Processing (HIP '23). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, p. 37–42.

In September 2022, Jannik Jaberg defended at the University of Basel a Master thesis entitled "Papyri Fragment Style Study with Auto-Encoders" using a dataset of 'cliplets' (individual images of Greek letters), downloadable here.

DIBCO 2019 Papyri Dataset

From the Iliad papyri was selected a dataset for the Competition on Document Image Binarization (DIBCO 2019) as part of ICDAR 2019, see DIBCO 2019 Papyri Dataset.

DIBCO dataset is used in Gwenael Gendre's Master thesis, "Character Recognition in Ancient Greek Papyrus", defended at the University of Fribourg in June 2021, downloadable here.

Worldwide public reading of the Iliad

D-scribes took part in the International public reading of the Iliad on March 22nd, 2019, from 10-11 a.m. In the Rathaus (town hall), we read aloud our favourite passages of Iliad, among them the texts which are preserved on the two papyrus fragments belonging to the University’s collection. Watch the videos here.

Homer Exhibition in the Basel University Library

Here you can virtually visit the exhibition Homer, Ilias und Basel which we hosted in order to show the Iliad papyri to the general public, and to inform about the research projects going on in Basel. Take a look here.