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Booking is strongly encouraged for in person attendance in Senate House MakerSpace, room 265

The seminar will also be live-streamed via

Julius Pollux’s Onomasticon is widely acknowledged as a crucial text for the study of Classical antiquity, both for the valuable information it contains on daily life in the ancient world, and also because it preserves an enormous number of quotations from otherwise lost works by authors major (e.g. Sappho, Aeschylus) and minor (e.g. Ion, Pherecrates). The Greek text of the most recent edition (Bethe 1900-1937) has been successfully digitised. However, the vast size of Pollux’s work, and the lack of a translation into any modern language means that scholars are largely limited to consulting individual chapters, citations, and references within the Onomasticon. More holistic study of Pollux has proved elusive, and his work’s potential for interdisciplinary reach remains untapped.

This paper will examine the suitability of online crowdsourcing as a means to generate a translation of Pollux’s Onomasticon. Given the frequency with which scholars consult small sections of Pollux’s work, there is a large potential reserve of Classicists who are already reading and translating the Onomasticon as part of their existing research. Furthermore, the Suda Online project provides a successful model of how crowdsourcing can be utilised in the co-production of a translation of a large-scale encyclopaedic work. However, the nature of Pollux’s text, and changes in the climate of academic research since the Suda Online project at the turn of the century present challenges both methodological and ethical. This paper will discuss the difficulties inherent in devising a collective yet cohesive methodology of translation for a work which is at points nothing more than lists of obscure synonyms; and ask how within a collective framework credit could be properly assigned to individual contributors whose scholarly activities are increasingly shaped, and indeed constrained, by the requirement to prove individual research productivity.