About Donald Mastronarde

Donald Mastronarde is Melpomene Professor of Classics at the University of California, Berkeley, and Editorial Board Chair for the series California Classical Studies.
For more information see the indicated website.

End of Download Embargo for Greek Satyr Play Delayed

The book Greek Satyr Plays: Five Studies, by Mark Griffith, contains some material for which the original publisher granted permission for open-access page view but not for inclusion in the free PDF download. This restriction necessitates special handling of the download, which was originally set to be removed from embargo on September 2, 2017.

The eScholarship site is currently in the process of a major upgrade of its software infrastructure. Therefore, it is unfortunately necessary to postpone the removal of the embargo for about two months, to November 2017, in order to develop the special handling mechanism just once, for the new system.

CCS regrets the inconvenience to users and the author, as well as the fact that the original publisher of these items did not accommodate the author’s request in the same way the the other publishers of his work did.

Williams’ Archaeology of Roman Surveillance published

The fifth work in the series California Classical Studies has been published. It is Joey Williams, The Archaeology of Roman Surveillance in the Central Alentejo, Portugal.

Williams’ book is both the first on an archaeological topic and the first to make use of supplementary material available only on the web, in this case the Supplement of Figures, including maps, plans, photographs, drawings, and viewshed-analysis images from excavations of the watchtower at Caladinho, Portugal, as well as from survey of similar structures in the same region of central Portugal.

As usual the print-on-demand paperback is available at our own sales page and will be available in a few weeks from various online retailers. A version in ePub format will also be available almost immediately at our site and from others within two months. The entire text can be read in open-access page view now, and the Supplement PDF is freely downloadable, while the book itself will be downloadable after 24 months.

For more about the book and for links to read it or buy it, see our Catalog page.

Kotwick’s Alexander of Aphrodisias Published


We are pleased to announce the availability of Number 4 in the series California Classical Studies: Mirjam E. Kotwick, Alexander of Aphrodisias and the Text of Aristotle’s Metaphysics.

Alexander of Aphrodisias’s commentary (about AD 200) is the earliest extant commentary on Aristotle’s Metaphysics, and it is the most valuable indirect witness to the Metaphysics text and its transmission. Mirjam Kotwick’s study is a systematic investigation into the version of the Metaphysics that Alexander used when writing his commentary, and into the various ways his text, his commentary, and the texts transmitted through our manuscripts relate to one another. Through a careful analysis of lemmata, quotations, and Alexander’s discussion of Aristotle’s argument Kotwick shows how to uncover and partly reconstruct a Metaphysics version from the second century AD. Kotwick then uses this version for improving the text that came down to us by the direct manuscript tradition and for finding solutions to some of the puzzles in this tradition. Through a side-by-side examination of Alexander’s text, his interpretation of Aristotle’s thought, and the directly transmitted versions of the Metaphysics, Kotwick reveals how Alexander’s commentary may have influenced the text of our manuscripts at different stages of the transmission process. This study is the first book-length examination of a commentary as a witness to an ancient philosophical text. This blend of textual criticism and philosophical analysis both expands on existing methodologies in classical scholarship and develops new ones.

Mirjam E. Kotwick recently received her PhD in Greek Philology from the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich, Germany. After being a DAAD Postdoctoral Visiting Scholar in the Department of Classical Studies at the University of Michigan, she is currently the Onassis Lecturer in Ancient Greek Thought and Language at the New School for Social Research in New York.

Kotwick’s monograph was selected by the Editorial Board as the winner of the 2014 CCS competition to identify distinguished work by junior scholars.

Open-access page view of her book is now available at this link.

The Print On Demand paperback is for sale now at this link. It will soon be available through other major bookselling channels.

Addendum March 20: an epub version has been completed and it for sale at Lulu.com at this link and will be available through other eBook channels after some weeks.


Book Production with InDesign by “Non-Professionals”

The first books in the California Classical Studies series have been composed with Adobe InDesign (initially the CS6 version, and subsequently with the Creative Cloud 2014 and 2015 versions). The work has been carried out by me and by the editorial assistant Anna Pisarello. Neither of us had previous experience. We used a tutorial book to learn the basics and later solved particular problems by using online help or online searches, with some of the answers being found on Adobe’s own site and others elsewhere. We also began with some templates provided to us by Eric Schmidt of the University of California Press.

For the first two books we did not have computer files but had to begin with scanning of the printed books from 1991 (Kurke) and 1980 (Courtney). In lieu of copy editing, these works required very careful proofreading and manipulation of the files to compensate for the errors of the OCR. OCR of course does not work at all reliably for Greek, and the most efficient course was to hire a graduate student to reenter the Greek in Kurke as Unicode. OCR errors were a particularly acute problem with Courtney because of the number of abbreviations used, the frequent use of italics, and the presence of various foreign languages in this type of commentary. Scanned files also have to be checked carefully to ensure that the font is uniform and that the fontsize is consistent and the character spacing normal, because any deviations will carry over when imported. Eventually we had Word files ready for import into InDesign. Fortunately, we do not foresee doing more reprints of this kind that depend on OCR.

Importing into InDesign was not always straightforward. Sometimes the command that was supposed to add sufficient extra pages for the overset text simply did not work. Sometimes when we tried to use an existing chapter as a template for the next one, the imported text was entirely in a superscript style. After import, when adjusting paragraph styles, it was also easy to end up losing all of the italics or all the non-footnote superscripts (Courtney’s book, in particular, contained many abbreviated bibliographic references with superscript number indicating which edition). With the third book, the footnote callouts also lost their superscript status and it turned out to be faster to fix them manually than to figure out a workaround. We’re still not sure how to prevent such losses of format. For one chapter, the imported text flowed onto the left page of each spread and skipped all the right pages, and repeated attempts to get around this failed (eventually this chapter was simply laid out as a continuation of the previous chapter’s file). For the next volume we now have a blank template document with the particular set of master pages and paragraph styles and character styles we actually use, and importing ought to be more reliable.

One cause for great relief was the successful importing of automatic footnotes from Word into InDesign, since scholarly books contain a lot of footnotes, and it is our mission not to be like the presses that are refusing to use footnotes, either insisting on endnotes only or even declaring there will be no footnotes at all. We did encounter a problem (inconsistently) with the footnotes not following the established style (which had a nested character style determining the size of the superscript footnote number and the small extra space between it and the first character of the footnote). And the setting for having no separator line for footnotes, but only a line of a set length and weight for continuation footnotes, did not seem to be working correctly in the Griffith files (InDesign CC 2014 and 2015). At the last minute before creating a final PDF, this problem went away when the setting for the separator was first turned on in all the chapter files and then turned off again.

We needed to have old style numbers in some places but lining numbers in others (such as footnote numbers), and it took some time to discover that the default figure style for numbers is not a general setting, but depends on the font itself. We are using Abobe Minion Pro, in which the old style form seems to be the default. The first three books have used Minion Pro for the Greek as well, since there has so far been little call for complex combinations that are not present in commercial fonts. But this font will not be adequate if dotted letters are needed or vowels with macron plus diacritic, or if metrical symbols are required. For the Greek itself, the designers of Minion Pro have not created a sufficient left side bearing for capital vowels with diacritics to the left of the capital, and one needs to provide some extra space manually before such a word. The middle dot (Greek colon) in Minion Pro seems to me unacceptably low, and we use a character style to raise it a few points so that it rises closer to the x-height of the lowercase characters.

InDesign has very powerful search and replace capabilities, and it is easy to get suggestions online for GREP expressions to do important tasks (like changing hyphens to endashes between page numbers in references). A couple of surprising weaknesses emerged, however. First, when searching by format, you cannot specify a font without also specifying a style (regular, bold, italic, etc.), but there are certainly purposes for which it would be more efficient to be able to find in a single search the font in any style. Second, when searching through “all documents” in a book, InDesign does not keep track very well of where you first began. That is, if you are doing a search in which for a certain number of the hits you will want to make a change, after you make a change and return to search further, InDesign treats that as a new beginning within that file, and to be sure to review all instances you will end up re-reviewing many you have already checked. Third, we discovered that the text entered on a path (there were some vertical captions in the Griffith volume) is ignored when you search (the text of horizontal captions is included in the search).

In producing the two-column indexes, it was very easy with the first two books to select the paragraphs involved and select the setting Split 2 in the toolbar. It was also then very easy when moving to the ePub version to select the same paragraphs and remove the Split 2 setting. Inexplicably, when trying to do the same in CC 2014 and 2015 versions for the Griffith book, the command had become buggy: the paragraphs were indeed separated into two columns, but the flow of the paragraphs was horizontal rather than vertical! To do a two-column layout one had to manually create separate text boxes on each new page and flow the overset text from one column to the next.

When multiple documents are combined into an InDesign book, the pagination works smoothly. If there is a single running head for a document (= one chapter), then entering this once on the chapter page master and applying designated paragraph styles for the left and right headers is simple. If you have a chapter or document with more than one section, however, and need to change, e.g., the righthand header, this is not always as easy as it should be. In MS Word one would use sections and change the header for the new section if necessary: that is a good method, although in reality if you use too many sections Word’s implementation becomes buggy. There is a way to mark new sections in InDesign, but so far doing this has not worked for us as a way to deal with changing running heads. In InDesign if you have consistent section titles that can serve as running heads, one can use a variable and paragraph styles to automate the change of running head, but one may not have titles that lend themselves to this use.

The cover design was produced by a professional, Nicole Hayward, who provided careful instructions on how to resize the width of the whole cover once the width of the spine of a book had been established. She had advised using the Document setup… command to enter the new dimension. This method always caused a crash. There is a workaround that does not crash: there is a Page tool in the tool strip at left (just below the two selection tools at top). After selecting that tool and after making sure the upper left corner is selected as reference point next to the dimensions fields, you can enter the appropriate width dimension there.

InDesign is very powerful, but also daunting in its complexity. It would certainly help to be using it continuously rather than at intervals, since it is easy to forget where the desired command is hidden among the plethora of toolbars, palettes, and menus. It is disappointing, however, to find that a program that has been under development for this many years (and that commands such a high price) contains serious bugs that confuse the user and slow down work. But it is an unfortunate fact of modern software that upgrades are rarely unmixed blessings, between the removal of familiar features, failure to fix all old bugs, and introduction of new features that are not quite polished or reliable.

Greek Satyr Play by Mark Griffith now available

CCS is pleased to announce the publication on August 23, 2015, of Mark Griffith, Greek Satyr Play: Five Studies. The POD paperback, ISBN 9781939926043, is available now for $29.95 at this link, and should be available through other channels by late September. An ePub version should be for sale shortly. [Update: the ePub version is now for sale for $14.95 at this link and should be available through other channels in about 8 weeks.]

Like all CCS volumes, Greek Satyr Play is immediately available for open-access page view at eScholarship.org.

With a new introduction and some revisions, these five essays on Classical Greek satyr plays, originally published in various venues between 2002 and 2010, suggest new critical approaches to this important dramatic genre and identify previously neglected dimensions and dynamics within their original Athenian context. Griffith shows that satyr plays, alongside the ludicrous and irresponsible—but harmless—antics of their chorus, presented their audiences with culturally sophisticated narratives of romance, escapist adventure, and musical-choreographic exuberance, amounting to a “parallel universe” to that of the accompanying tragedies in the City Dionysia festival. The class oppositions between heroic/divine characters and the rest (choruses, messengers, servants, etc.) that are so integral to Athenian tragedy are shown to be present also, in exaggerated form, in satyr drama, with the satyr chorus occupying a role that also inevitably recalled for the Athenian audiences their own (often foreign-born) slaves. Meanwhile the familiar main characters of tragedy (Heracles, Danae and Perseus, Hermes and Apollo, Achilles, Odysseus, etc.) are re-deployed in an engaging milieu of erotic encounters, miraculous discoveries, guaranteed happy endings, marriages, and painless release from suffering for all—both for the well-behaved heroes and also for the low-life, playful satyrs (the “slaves of Dionysus”). In their fusion of adventure and romance, fantasy and naïveté, Aphrodite and Dionysus, Athenian satyr plays thus anticipate in many respects, Griffith suggests, the later developments of Greek pastoral and prose romance.

Distinguished Work by a Junior Scholar: Mirjam Kotwick on Alexander of Aphrodisias

Mirjam Kotwick’s study Alexander of Aphrodisias and the Text of Aristotle’s Metaphysics has been designated the winner of the CCS competition to identify distinguished work by junior scholars. The competition was announced in December 2013 and was open to all submissions by junior scholars made during the calendar year 2014. The award of this designation is based on the reports of external referees and the judgment of the CCS Editorial Board.

Kotwick’s book is an expanded and updated English version of her Munich dissertation completed  early in 2014 under the direction of Professor Oliver Primavesi. Through an intensive study of lemmata, quotations, and interpretations in Alexander’s commentary, Kotwick offers a new appraisal of the ancient tradition of the Metaphysics, demonstrating what uses can be made of Alexander’s commentary to learn about that tradition, and how the commentary may have influenced the tradition of the philosophical text itself.

Alexander of Aphrodisias and the Text of Aristotle’s Metaphysics will be published in print-on-demand paperback and online open access late in 2015 as No. 4 in the series California Classical Studies.

Forthcoming volumes announced

California Classical Studies, a peer-reviewed open-access venue for long-format scholarship, is pleased to announce its next two forthcoming volumes and to invite English-language submissions, especially in the areas of papyrology, epigraphy, archaeology, and studies of textual tradition. No affiliation with the University of California is required for publication in the series.

Forthcoming summer 2015: Mark Griffith, Greek Satyr Play: Five Studies [CCS, Number 3]. With a new introduction and some revisions, these essays on Classical Greek satyr plays, originally published in various venues between 2002 and 2010, suggest new critical approaches to this dramatic genre and identify previously neglected dimensions and dynamics in these plays within their original Athenian context.

Forthcoming late 2015: Mirjam Kotwick, Alexander of Aphrodisias and the Text of Aristotle’s Metaphysics [CCS, Number 4]. Based on the author’s 2014 Munich dissertation, this study offers a new appraisal of the ancient tradition of the Metaphysics, demonstrating what uses can be made of Alexander’s commentary to learn about that tradition and how the commentary may have influenced the tradition of the philosophical text itself.

In preparation for 2016 and 2017: Todd Hickey, Greek Papyri in the British Library (P.Lond. VIII or IX); Donald Mastronarde, Preliminary Studies on the Scholia to Euripides; Giambattista D’Alessio and Lucia Prauscello, a new edition of the fragments of Corinna.


Mark Griffith’s Greek Satyr Play in production

CCS’s next publication, due out in the middle of 2015, will be Greek Satyr Play: Five Studies by Mark Griffith.

This volume brings together, with a new introduction, minor revisions, and cross-references, five essays published between 2002 and 2010, only one of which is currently available online.

These essays refine and significantly modify our understanding of Athenian satyr-dramas of the 5th C. BCE. They show that these dramas constituted a significant and distinct genre whose elements of “romance” (adventure, love affairs, heroic characters, happy endings) worked closely in tandem with their accompanying tragedies, not so much as burlesques, parodies, or comic inversions of tragedy (as many modern scholars have argued), nor as an entirely ribald and gross type of comic relief (as many others have also claimed), but rather as providing a kind of “parallel universe”, a fantasy world of adventure and desire, in which distant, usually rustic places are visited, ogres and other threats and obstacles are overcome by noble Greek heroes and heroines, social norms are restored, and the rewards of music, wine, dance, and sex — including marriage for those noble characters — are shown to be attainable to all who merit them — a world that has much in common with Theocritean pastoral and the later prose romances.

Submission Competition for Junior Scholars

In its first year California Classical Studies (CCS) emphasized submissions from tenured and established scholars. Reprints of books by Leslie Kurke and Edward Courtney have appeared, and other work of senior scholars is in development.

In 2014 CCS is pleased to encourage submissions from junior (pre-tenure) scholars whose work fits the intended profile of our series. The primary aim of the series is to disseminate basic research (editing and analysis of primary materials both textual and physical), data-heavy research, and highly specialized research of the kind that is either hard to place with the leading publishers in Classics or extremely expensive for libraries and individuals when produced by a leading academic publisher. Under this heading we have in mind especially archaeological publications, papyrological and epigraphic studies, technical textual studies, and the like.

All submissions from junior scholars in 2014 will be in consideration for special recognition. Either one or two of the submissions will be designated as works of particular scholarly excellence, and all production expenses for these works will be paid from the Mellon Grant supporting CCS in its startup phase.

To be considered in this competition, a work must have completed successfully the preliminary review of the submission questionnaire and its attachments by the Editorial Board and be at least in the peer-review stage (“out to reviewers”) by the end of 2014. The selection of one or two winners will be made in Spring 2015 by the Editorial Board.

For detailed information about the profile of potential submissions, details of the review and publication process, and the submission form, use the Information for Authors link above.

Further thoughts on ePub for scholarly publishing

This is a follow-up to the post Adventures in ePub Conversion.

After the completion of the print-quality PDF of Edward Courtney’s A Commentary on the Satires of Juvenal and publication by print on demand, the conversion to ePub within InDesign was relatively straightforward but not hassle-free. Here is a record of the steps and the issues encountered.

1. The 21 InDesign files that make up the book were copied to a new folder, a new InDesign book was created in that folder, and the files were added to the book.

2. With the All Documents setting in InDesign Find and Replace, Minion Pro font was replaced everywhere with Times New Roman. Since InDesign does not allow one to search for a font family without also specifying a font style, this takes three separate actions to replace regular, italic, and bold styles. [A methodologically superior and more efficient method would be available if the paragraph styles (which originated in a collection of styles provided by a supportive editor at a press) had been better organized and hierarchically defined. With the experience of preparing two books, it will now be possible to devote some time to revising the style definitions to make future projects easier and consistent, and a global change of font much easier.]

3. The change of font caused many of the documents to have overset text errors. Each document had to be reviewed and a page added where necessary to accommodate the overset text.

3. In the document for the front matter, the Table of Contents was deleted, additional paragraphs were added (to title page, copyright page, etc.) to improve the spacing that would appear in the ePub display, the LCCN was deleted and the ISBN revised to that assigned to the ePub format. To break the front matter into sections, a special paragraph style was applied at the proper locations.

4. The print index had two columns in three portions of the text. For the ePub these had to be converted back to one column in each portion (the Split 2 setting being changed to None). This produced overset text errors, many additional pages had to be added. The special format for splitting the document was added twice to separate the three indexes in the ePub.

5. Fortunately, the index is almost entirely made up of references by poem number and line number, and these never had to be edited for the print version or the ePub. There were, however, about 20 page references in the index. These had been altered to reflect the new pagination in the print version, and a list had been compiled of all such changes made in the index and in earlier parts of the book, where almost 80 other cross-references were changed. The page references now had to be altered back to the old pagination, which had been incorporated within the text. (This was far more efficient in this case than incorporating the new page numbers (555 of them) into the text as well.)

6. The 80 cross-references in the body of the book were changed. This took very little time because there was a compiled list to check and searching for “p. ” and “pp. ” was also an efficient means of checking.

7. In the front matter and index document some override (manual) headers had to be removed (the ePub generation in InDesign automatically removes the headers and page numbers on the Master pages). (This also had to be done in part of the document containing Satires 13 and 14. The commentary on each satire was a separate ID file, but an unexplained and unresolved pagination bug in the file for Satire 14 forced me to add that part of the commentary to the file for Satire 13.) The three maps had to have their titles moved from the header into the text itself.

8. With the All Documents setting, searches were performed for non-breaking hyphens and for manual line and page breaks, to determine whether any would cause problems in the display of the ePub.

9. After the above changes, it was necessary to repeat the font replacement searches, since some new paragraphs again contained Minion Pro in their style definition.

After the above steps, an ePub was generated without embedding fonts (even with Minion Pro absent from the book, In Design encrypted other fonts). Inspection of the result required further adjustments.

1. The three maps had been in graphics frames on pages of their own. These graphics needed to be changed to inline graphics, and the largest map needed to be resized.

2. There are half a dozen characters in the book that are not present in standard Times New Roman or many other fonts (e.g., y with breve), so KadmosU had to be added to the ePub. Oxygen XML Editor was used to add the Fonts folder and add the regular and italic styles.

3. BBEdit was used to edit content.opf, where much of the metadata is missing (needed to add author, title, description, license, etc.). The manifest entries for the font files needed to be created. The file toc.ncx was edited so that the correct chapter or section titles would be displayed in place of the file names. The css file had to have the font face declarations added for the KadmosU regular and italic.

4. The first part of the Introduction contained a transcription of an inscription that used underdots to indicate uncertain letters. In the ePub display some of the combined characters worked and some did not, with no rhyme or reason (one E with a dot below worked, but another did not). The easiest course was to change these few lines to a graphic.

5. It later emerged that a form of CUI in the note on Satire 7.210-12 in which both the U and the I were supposed to have a breve (U+016c and U+012c) would not display until the  two vowels in the XML file were replaced with the decimal entities ŬĬ

6. At one place there is a precomposed upsilon with breve and acute accent, supplied from KadmosU font. This shows up in Adobe Digital Editions, but not in Apple iBooks (which uses a rather ugly Greek font in any case, ignoring the embedded font).

7. At some places, it was necessary to edit the XML files to paste in a paragraph containing only a non-breaking space, to create proper spacing between headings and the text above or below.

During this work, the command-line epubcheck utility was used at intervals, and there was never an error. In addition, at the last stage, a penultimate and a final version of the ePub file was uploaded to Lulu and both uploads were without error in the checks that Lulu’s system performs.

Is it worthwhile to create an ePub of scholarly books?

The format is definitely a significant step backwards in sophistication and capabilities in comparison with PDF or even old-fashioned “desktop publishing” from MS Word files. That is the cost of accommodating the mass market and supporting the notion of reading books on tiny screens of devices employing a relatively crippled OS.

The problems with combining characters such as underdots may mean that the format is useless for papyrological texts and for anything involving sophisticated representation of linguistic features (such as having macron or breve with other diacritics).

The problem of pagination and indexing is not trivial. Should ePub readers simply expect not to have an index with useful page references, since they can probably find some things by the search mechanism? The problem was more complicated in the case of the Kurke and Courtney books because they were repaginated reprints of previous editions. If a book is being produced from scratch, the situation will be a little different. After producing a PDF for print on demand, should one always incorporate the print page numbers into the text for the ePub version? Is there an easy and efficient way to produce an index with automated links?

For some of these questions, we await evidence of whether anyone will actually buy these books in this format. Clearly, if the sales are insignificant, it is foolish to devote the effort to creating the ePub version. Having learned a lot from the problems encountered the first time around, I was able to complete the processing described above in less than 8 hours. A few more hours were spent by an editorial assistant looking through the penultimate version to check for problems.