Using parallel texts and corpora to investigate
the transmission of classical scientific and philosophical literature
from Greek into Syriac and Arabic

The project

The ERC project HUNAYNNET (Starting Grant ID 679083, 2016-2021) is the first attempt at compiling a digital trilingual and linguistically annotated parallel corpus of Greek classical scientific and philosophical literature and the Syriac and Arabic translations thereof. The impact of the Syriac tradition upon the Arabic translations has so far been acknowledged but not thoroughly explored. Compared with the extant body of Graeco-Arabic translation literature, the available Graeco-Syriac translations constitute just a small fraction of texts. The very availability of that relatively small group of texts in all three languages requires therefore comparative examination. The present corpus presents all and only those classical Greek scientific and philosophical works that are preserved in all three languages.

Presenting the Greek originals along with all extant Syriac and Arabic versions in aligned and digitally enhanced parallel columns, the present corpus enables the user to compare directly the terminology and phraseology of all versions, to spot at a glance corresponding passages in all three languages, to get an idea of the translator’s accurateness and reliability, to check textual disparities between the different versions, to assess the significance of the Syriac and Arabic versions for the critical establishment of the Greek texts, and to retrieve external lexicographical information on any word in any text. Furthermore, the present corpus will contribute to the still pending question as to which Arabic translations were made directly from the Greek and which were prepared on the bases of Syriac intermediaries.

Drawing on online lexicography and corpus linguistics, the full-text database is enhanced by a linguistic corpus management system providing various kinds of more specific lexicographical and linguistic search tools for all texts included in the present trilingual parallel corpus, such as word or phrase queries, frequency analyses, cross-linguistic concordances or word lists.

The two open-access databases thus create new instruments for multi-disciplinary studies of the history of the transmission of Greek scientific and philosophical literature in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. All these texts in all the formats available on this website are provided under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA) license.

The project is funded by a Starting Grant of the European Research Council (Grant Agreement No. 679083, Principal Investigator: Grigory Kessel, Project acronym: HUNAYNNET). It is hosted by the Austrian Academy of Sciences and is undertaken in cooperation with the Ruhr University of Bochum.

Read the texts

Click on the links below to read the texts in parallel using our Reading Interface®.

De simplicium medicamentorum temperamentis et facultatibus liber VII

De simplicium medicamentorum temperamentis et facultatibus liber VIII

Download files

All the files produced by the project can be downloaded here or from our Github page.

Text and version TEI XML Manually annotated Parallel vertical text

The Team


We thankfully recognize the contribution of the following colleagues and friends:

Linguistic annotation Assistance with critical editions Administrative support Digital humanities support
Nicolas Atas (ܙܳܟ݂ܶܐ ܐܰܛܰܫ ܕܒܶܐ ܒܰܫܫܐ) Ali Afifi Soliman Ms. Katharina Lindtner Dr. Torsten Röder
Briana Grenert Ahmed Hassan (احمد حسن) Ms. Anna Exinger The GREgORI project
Jonathan Warner Ahmad Gomaa (احمد جمعه) Dr. Paraskevi Sykopetritou Sonic Studio s r.o.
Special thanks
Dr. Stefan Hagel