In 2009 the Aristoteles Latinus Database was launched online on the Brepolis website where, today, it is part of a comprehensive cluster of databases relating to the study of Latin.
This cluster consists of full-text databases (namely, the Library of Latin Texts, the Monumenta Germaniae Historica, the Archive of Celtic-Latin Literature and the Aristoteles Latinus Database) and Latin dictionaries (under the heading of the Database of Latin Dictionaries).
When the project started in 2003, the aim of the Aristoteles Latinus Database was to offer a database of the Medieval Latin translations of Aristotle’s works made on the basis of the Greek original text.
The critical edition of the Medieval Latin Aristotle is one of the main projects supervised and supported by the Union Académique Internationale / International Union of Academies and hosted by the De Wulf-Mansion Centre for Ancient, Medieval, and Renaissance Philosophy of the KU Leuven. The most important objective of the project is to bring to scholarly attention the various forms in which Aristotle’s texts came to be read in the West. The Latin versions of these texts constituted the main tools for the study of science and philosophy in the Middle Ages. They were considered to be the canonized littera to which all the commentaries on Aristotle’s works referred. The role played by these translations in the development of Western philosophical and scientific terminology can thus hardly be overestimated.
In the years just before 2000, the decision was made to produce a database of the collection of the Aristoteles Latinus texts. The International Union of Academies, which is patron of the Aristoteles Latinus project, gave its immediate support to undertaking this database.
The Aristoteles Latinus Database was conceived on the model of the Library of Latin Texts. The first edition, the ALD-1, was published by Brepols in 2003, a collaboration between the Aristoteles Latinus Centre, at the Institute of Philosophy, KU Leuven under the direction of the late Pr. Jozef Brams and the Centre ‘Traditio Litterarum Occidentalium’ (CTLO) under the direction of Pr. Paul Tombeur. It consisted essentially of the Latin texts published in the Aristoteles Latinus series.
In January 2017 there appeared the third release of the database, the ALD-3, under the direction of Pr. Carlos Steel, Pr. Pieter de Leemans, and Pr. Paul Tombeur. This release has been enriched with Latin translations of Aristotle’s works published outside the Aristoteles Latinus series, with the translations of Greek commentaries on Aristotle and with other texts associated with the Corpus Aristotelicum.
Scope and aim
The Aristoteles Latinus Database aims at documenting the various tools that were used in the Middle Ages for the study of Aristotle, with a special emphasis on Latin translations. The first release of the database (ALD-1/2003) consisted mainly of the Greco-Latin translations in the printed Aristoteles Latinus series and also in some unpublished editions in preparation. In the second release (ALD-2/2006), this corpus of translations was further expanded with texts that had been edited within other contexts (such as the Editio Leonina of Thomas Aquinas’s works). The present third release adds many new texts to this corpus, nearly doubling its volume, and in doing so, widens its scope. Not only does it add several previously unavailable Greco-Latin Aristotle translations, it now also includes other texts that have shaped the study of the Latin Aristotle in the Middle Ages. These incluce the corpus of Latin translations of Greek commentaries and glosses on Aristotle (most of them published in the Corpus Latinum Commentariorum in Aristotelem Graecorum), texts that were closely associated with the Corpus Aristotelicum (such as the Liber sex principiorum, the Paraphrasis Themistiana or the Vita Aristotelis), and some translations from the Arabic (the Analytica Posteriora, tr. Gerardi and Averroes’Poetria, tr. Hermanni).
At present, the Aristoteles Latinus Database contains more than 2.3 million Latin words, drawn from 110 works that are attributed to 45 authors.
The electronic database offers the complete texts but is not identical to the printed publication as it omits the prefaces describing the manuscript tradition and also the apparatus of variant readings. Nor does it include the Greek-Latin comparative apparatus or the bilingual indexes. The critically edited texts themselves, however, have been included with all their peculiarities, such as interlinear notes, and the typographical distinctions that characterise the texts of the revised versions.
The texts included have been prepared and supervised by the Aristoteles Latinus Centre of the University of Leuven, under the supervision of Pieter De Leemans. The database is produced in collaboration with the Centre ‘Traditio Litterarum Occidentalium’ (CTLO), which is a humanities computing laboratory for the study of Latin texts. The CTLO, which looked after the textual and philological aspects of the electronic treatment, has undertaken the finalisation of the material into the required electronic form. The aim is to provide the academic world with a scholarly product of the highest quality.
The software used for the ALD is identical to that of the Library of Latin Texts.
The Aristoteles Latinus Database is a Latin full-text database which enables the user to profit from an elaborate system of tools that can be used with the help of a multilingual interface (English, French, German and Italian):
– One can use the database in order to read texts as a whole, to search for words and expressions, to access individual texts by means of their references, or to examine the distribution of word-forms across the entire database and to analyse vocabulary within an individual work, by displaying an exhaustive concordance for each form that is part of that work.
– One can execute a search across all the texts in the database or, with the help of filters, define a subset and limit the search to one or more periods within the corpus, to one or more authors, as well as to one or more titles of works.
– Other criteria for formulating queries are the century of composition and, for works of the Patristic Period, the number in the Aristoteles Latinus Clavis based on the classification of Aristotelian works followed by I. Bekker.
– Far from being limited to queries for single words, the user can search for groups of words or for a particular expressions.
– Search possibilities can be extended by the use of Boolean and proximity operators.
– The order of precedence of the search terms within a query can be organised.
– Queries can be simplified by using wildcards.
– By default, the field to which a query is applied is the sentence as delimited in the text edition used (“the string of text going from full stop to full stop”).
– The target of queries can be widened by extending it to groups of three sentences.
– The ALD makes it possible to perform a ‘similarity search’ (a kind of ‘fuzzy search’). This procedure offers the possibility to quickly search for strings of text that are not absolutely identical to those which are entered in the search field. It was developed to assist the user to find the origin of quotations or other text without having to know the exact words and/or their order.
The table of contents section, which gives access to individual texts by means of their references, offers the possibility of using the references of the Greek text according to the Bekker edition (page and column),which are the most commonly used.
– By using the Cross Database Searchtool, the ALD can be searched online together with the Libraries of Latin Texts, the Monumenta Germaniae Historica and the Archive of Celtic-Latin Literature. The Cross Database Searchtool offers various statistical tools for accessing the included databases and allows one to compare the vocabulary of text corpora which different users, according to their needs and requirements, free to choose on the basis of the included data.
– A direct link to the Database of Latin Dictionaries (which integrates different types of Latin dictionaries, whether modern, medieval or early-modern) allows the user to find relevant dictionary entries for Latin word-forms that appear in texts visualized by the ALD, and to read the articles in the selected dictionaries.
Scientific responsibility and international Partners
The Aristoteles Latinus Database is produced in collaboration with the following partners:
– Union Académique Internationale / International Union of Academies;
– Aristoteles Latinus Centre (De Wulf-Mansioncentrum of the Hoger Instituut voor Wijsbegeerte of the University of Leuven (KU Leuven) under the direction of Pr. Carlos Steel and Pr. Pieter de Leemans;
– Centre ‘Traditio Litterarum Occidentalium’ (CTLO) under the direction of Pr. Paul Tombeur.
The ‘Centre Traditio Litterarum Occidentalium’ (CTLO) continues and develops the earlier activities in the field of Latin studies of Cetedoc, a centre which was founded by the Université catholique de Louvain at Louvain-la-Neuve and has been developed jointly by Brepols Publishers and the university.
The Aristoteles Latinus Database makes a distinction between two periods in the history of Latin:
– Aetas patrum, a period that we normally locate between ca. 200 and the death of the Venerable Bede (735). The oldest text in the database, the Paraphrasis Themistiana (a text originally written in Latin), probably dates from the fourth century, whereas the oldest translations (by Boethius) are from the sixth century.
– Medii aeui scriptores, from 736 to 1500.
According to the nature of the texts included, the database distinguishes between translations of Aristotle, translations of commentaries on Aristotle, and other texts which don’t belong to either of these categories. The database also works with distinctions made with reference to the linguistic background of the texts: it distinguishes Greco-Latin translations, Semitico-Latin translations and texts originally written in Latin.
Thus, a text can be defined as:
– a Greco-Latin translation of a text by (pseudo-)Aristotle;
– a Semitico-Latin translation of a text by (pseudo-)Aristotle;
– a Greco-Latin translation of a commentary on (pseudo-)Aristotle;
– a Semitico-Latin translation of a commentary on (pseudo-)Aristotle;
– a Greco-Latin translation of a text that is not by Aristotle;
– a text originally written in Latin.
The complete list of works (last updated: december 2016) can be downloaded here (PDF file): ALD_list_of_works
English version (PDF)
Subscriptions and contact information
Please contact Brepols Publishers for:
- a 30-day free trial period for institutional users
- a price quotation
- details on, or a specimen of, the licence agreement
B – 2300 Turnhout / Belgium
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© Database by Union Académique Internationale, Brepols Publishers N.V. and CTLO, 2016
© Lucene – search technology by Apache Foundation (http://www.apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-2.0)
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