Homer Through Numbers


Image: Copyright, Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford | WA1850.31

It has long been clear that the Homeric poems, due to their length, structure, and repetitive nature, invite methods of analysis and interpretation which centre around data, counts and numbers. Quantitative approaches have been used to shed light on almost every aspect of Homeric studies ever since its inception and continue to thrive today. Topics like the linguistic makeup of the epics, stylistic patterns across different portions of the text, metre, the relationship between different texts within the hexameter corpus, and synchronic/diachronic behaviour of formulae have all benefited from and been informed by quantitative methods.   

In recent decades, quantitative methods have become more and more refined, with a plethora of digital tools available to us, such as various databases, pieces of computer software, and statistical practices. The purpose of this conference is to bring together everyone who works on interpreting Homer (and other early Greek hexameter poetry) through numbers, so that we can all learn from the incredible variety of approaches and share best practices in their application. We are particularly interested in contributions that explore both the unique advantages and limits of quantitative methods as applied to archaic Greek epic: can statistics sometimes be more of a hindrance than a help? When might quantitative methods be obscured by the unique nature of the Homeric texts, as opposed to other genres? When are they, on the other hand, particularly apt to the task of elucidating Homer? We intend to publish the proceedings of the conference in a peer-reviewed volume, which will contribute to bringing quantitative analysis of Homer to the forefront of the scholarly landscape.

The cost to attend is £20, with concessions for Postgraduates and Undergraduates at £10. 

Further concessions are available for low or un-waged scholars.  Please email events@classics.ox.ac.uk for more details. 
The full 2-day programme is available HERE

Registration is now open via the Oxford University Online Store.