What I did on my Easter holidays II

Book 1 of the Chronicle of Eusebius of Caesarea doesn’t exist in English.  But like most of his works, it contains long verbatim extracts from lost works.  The text survives in two Classical Armenian manuscripts, and was published with a Latin translation by P. Aucher at Venice in 1818.  A fresh Latin translation was made by H. Petermann in 1875; and a German translation by J. Karst for the GCS in 1911.

Andrew Smith of Attalus.org has translated sections, and I’m interested myself.  Quotes of long chunks exist in Syncellus for which an English translation also exists.  I scanned but didn’t proof Karst’s translation some time ago.

I bought a copy of Petermann for $100 some time ago.  So I got down a Plustek Opticbook 3600 book scanner, which I bought some time ago.  I hadn’t used it, since I found that the TWAIN driver apparently only supported 300 dpi and 600 dpi, whereas OCR is best with 400 dpi.  But I found by accident that if I used it through Abby Finereader 8.0 with the Finereader Twain driver, it did in fact support 400 dpi!  So I tried scanning a page or two of Petermann, first as grey-scale and then as black-and-white, and the results were perfectly satisfactory.  So I went on and scanned all 150 pages of book 1 and created a PDF of this.  I then ran the OCR on the Latin and got very good results, although I still need to proof most of this.

My intention is to do an online collaborative effort using Petermann’s translation.  Put the text up there online, in one sentence editable sections, broken down into around 160-section chunks at a time, with all the reference material around it, and invite fun-loving people like yourself to help produce an English translation. 

But why not translate directly from Armenian?  Well, few of us know Armenian, but this did not seem a problem per se.  There is a good tutorial online (somewhere – I can’t find it at this moment), and probably we could manage.  However I learn that no dictionary from Classical Armenian (grabar) to English exists; only into German.  But we have a German translation made by an expert already!  So what would we gain by struggling with German-language dictionaries?  I think that using all these materials, we will be able to produce a satisfactory translation.  Look forward to this in the summer!

2 thoughts on “What I did on my Easter holidays II

  1. It has always been top of my hit list, but I never got around to it. The starting point had to be an electronic text of some kind, so scanning Petermann (not a trivial thing to do with a big heavy fragile book) was a desideratum. (I must send a copy of the PDF to Attalus). Now its done, only the pressures of Other Things, and the small matter of earning a living, stand in the way. Late summer, I think.

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