AMME Seminar 30.09.21: “Digital Humanities of the Ancient World’

This fall’s Ancient and Medieval Middle East (AMME) lecture series is kicked off with two papers and a shared discussion on the theme of ‘digital humanities of the ancient world’.

The speakers of this online seminar are:

Dr. Aleksi Sahala (University of Helsinki)
Computational Assyriology: The past, present and future
Since the 1960s about 180 peer-reviewed publications have addressed the use of computers to process and analyze ancient Mesopotamian primary sources. In this presentation, we take a brief look at Computational Assyriology from the early pioneers to its current state-of-the-art, as well as the future prospects of the field.

Prof. Dr. Marja Vierros (University of Helsinki)
Writers and authors in Greek documentary papyri – a complicated affair
How many people were involved in drafting, formulating and writing down an ancient document? Whose language does the preserved text represent? The question who was in charge of the language we find in ancient documents, is interesting from the linguistic point of view. Many options exist and there were overlapping layers of influence. For example a Greek contract or a private letter was usually written down by an anonymous scribe who was educated to compile the text using certain set phrases, but a draft made by the contracting party may exist behind it. Private letters could have been written by the senders themselves, or dictated by them, but written down by scribes, family members or friends. Some levels of the language come from the author and others from the actual writer. Idiolectal variation in language is difficult to determine, if we do not know who was the writer or the author, or if these were the same person. In this talk, I will present some authorship attribution algorithms applied to the linguistically annotated corpus of Greek documentary papyri and examine what we could gain using them. The main aim is to discuss if they help us decipher the authors and writers of ancient written materials.

Please join us via Zoom (details below) on Thursday 30 September 2021, 16:15-18:00 Helsinki (EEST) time.
Zoom link: (Meeting ID: 678 8979 2118).

Hope to see you all online!