FAQ

Why is there no English?

I’m a Latin teacher. I want the site to focus on what Vergil wrote, and he wrote in Latin. Originally I planned to offer a translation also, but it turns out to be harder to do than you might think. Translations of Vergil do not necessarily go line by line. That is, one line of English will not correspond exactly to one line of Latin. So it isn’t clear how to link to a translation for each line. However, if you want some help with the Latin, the best place is probably Perseus. There you can find Latin and English, as well as links to dictionaries and commentaries.

What text are you using and where did you get it?

The text started from the JSON provided by Verbil, an iPad app for Vergil’s Aeneid. They started from The Perseus Project text of Vergil by James Greenough. In addition, Verbil made some changes based on R. A. B. Mynor’s Oxford Classical Text.

I have already edited the text further myself (mostly on the basis of Mynors again), and I plan to continue to do so. Verbil released the text under a Creative Commons license that allows the text to be used and edited. (Thanks!) As I said, I have edited it already, and I will continue to do so. If you want the text yourself for any purpose, you can find it online at this link. You're welcome to use and adapt it under the same Creative Commons license.

What technology is involved in the site?

The application is written using Ruby and, in particular, Sinatra. Heroku provides free hosting, and the code lives on Bitbucket.

Can I help?

I would love it if you did. In particular, I think the application needs two kinds of improvement. First, I would like the text to be better. Greenough overdoes the punctuation (especially commas), and like many classical texts he doesn’t break the poem into enough paragraphs. There are many places where modern emendations might improve the text. Second, I think the site could look a lot better. I have zero design sense and minimal skills with CSS. The site could use a logo and a proper favicon, not to mention an all-around fashion update.

So, if you want to contribute in those ways, or probably in any other way, I would be very grateful. If you’re comfortable with git and Bitbucket, the easiest way to contribute is to create an issue or pull request on the repo. If you are not comfortable with the tech, ping me on Twitter, and we can work out another way. (If you don’t have a Twitter account either, no problem. Visit me on Twitter and check my profile. If you follow a few links, my email is not too hard to find.)

Why did you spell Virgil that way?

His name was Publius Vergilius Maro. The spelling with an ‘i’ is a later change. I prefer the original spelling, although it is not really a huge deal either way.

Why don't you do X instead of Y?

This isn’t really a specific question. But if you want to make a complaint or suggest a change, please feel free to make a pull request on Bitbucket or ping me on Twitter. I’m happy to make the site better.