Beyond Translation: Using Chicago Homer for Word Studies

~ A Quick Guide to Chicago Homer for Word Studies, with Illustrated Worked Examples ~

During their research, the Oinops Study Group made use of the Chicago Homer for some aspects of their research, and the Word Study Learning Group have been exploring further the types of searches and comparisons that can be made using this online resource. These community-generated videos walk through these techniques, and the PDF files provide a quick reference, with step-by-step worked examples for you to try for yourself, fully illustrated with screenshots.

What is the Chicago Homer?

The Chicago Homer site describes itself as “a multilingual database that uses the search and display capabilities of electronic texts to make the distinctive features of Early Greek epic accessible to readers with and without Greek.”

Texts available are:

  • Iliad
  • Odyssey
  • Theogony
  • Works & Days
  • Shield of Herakles
  • Homeric Hymns

If you do not know any Greek, or very little, you might find the line-by-line translations useful. There is help and advice on the website about how to get the most out of it, but these videos and quick guides are designed to provide an introduction to some of the features, and to suggest some techniques for anyone who is interested in exploring Greek texts or carrying out word studies.

Video 1: Demonstration of how to navigate texts, compare different Greek words for a given term, and track formulaic phrases

Video 2: Demonstration of how to search for related words, and create detailed searches

Quick Guides with Worked Examples (PDFs)

‘How to Navigate the Texts’ demonstrates how to find and open a text, navigate through the pages, and move from one work to another:

‘How to Find Greek Terms’ demonstrates how to find and compare different Greek words for a given translated term:

‘How to Track Phrases’ demonstrates how to find other occurrences of a phrase or formula:

‘How to Search for Related Words’ demonstrates how to use partial word searches to find related words:

‘How to Create Detailed Searches’ demonstrates how to analyze narrative, speeches, grammatical forms, and more:

‘Greek Letter Transliterations’ provides a quick reference to how type in transliterated letters in searches on Chicago Homer, and on Perseus (this form of transliteration is also seen in some search results in Chicago Homer):

And when you have watched the video demonstrations and/or worked through the examples, perhaps you would like to take up the challenge to try some of the techniques for yourself?

  1. Navigate to Iliad XIII 670
  2. Go to the next page
  3. Find out which Greek terms have been translated as ‘vessels’ (line 700)
  4. Return to the previous page
  5. Find out in which other passages the phrase ἄλγεα θυμῷ [algea thumō] occurs
  6. Search for words which include -τιμή-  [-timē-] (hint: use wildcards at the start and end)
  7. Find out which personal names are spoken by goddesses in Iliad, (hint: do not forget to reset the search if you have just done step 6) then compare the results with Odyssey

Members can discuss their findings, or suggest other types of searches, in this forum thread.

Worked examples by Jenna Cole and Sarah Scott