Monthly Archives: February 2015

Miscere quadrata rotundis

Can we compare two sets of neo-Latin texts? An experiment is underway. In our case, the sets are very unequal, and deliberately so: Croatiae auctores Latini (CroALa) has over 450 documents, and Latinitas Tyrolensis (LatTy) just 18 so far. There is now a page with a comparison of authors: about 190 in CroALa (of 1471 currently in our database), 12 (of 2377) in LatTy. There are also some telling charts about how the canon of Croatian Latin writers relates to the actual numbers of these writers over time.

But even more interesting than the numbers is the realization that there are several hidden categories of authors (and authorship) in our collections. It is easy to speak about “authors” when we do history of literature, but the term is not very precise. A literary corpus necessarily includes the anonymous, listed as one group though there were many people who did not sign their names on texts they wrote. There are also documents (and books, and manuscripts) containing many texts by many authors (the varii). There are texts written by people who were most definitely not – in case of CroALa – of Croatian origin (alieni): they were guests, immigrants, or simply living at the time when the notion of “national identity” fit only very roughly with what we today consider as such. Finally, there are texts by authors about whom we don’t know much except their names (the ignoti). All of them are “authors” – but how to count them?

The page linked above is produced by the BaseX RESTXQ and XQuery scripts, querying data in four of our databases: the Croatian texts, the Tyrolean texts, a Croatian neo-Latin prosopography, a Tyrolean prosopography of the same.