Professor James Diggle holding the Cambridge Greek Lexicon

First English dictionary of ancient Greek since the Victorian era

Huge congratulations to Professor James Diggle, one of the founding members of the Odysseus Unbound team!

James led the team behind the Cambridge Greek Lexicon – a 23-year-long “Herculean task”, he says. However, the result is a magnificent work of scholarship. The Lexicon’s publisher at Cambridge University Press, Michael Sharp, says the book is “one of the most important classics books we have ever published”.

The Guardian newspaper reported on the publication of the Lexicon (27 May 2021). It updates HG Liddell and Robert Scott’s 1889 dictionary, the Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon, that until now has been the most commonly used reference work in schools and universities.

  • As The Guardian reports, antiquated language and Victorian prudery have been cast aside for a very modern dictionary!

Without James Diggle’s incomparable scholarship, the Odysseus Unbound project would never have started. James and our founder, Robert Bittlestone, worked together to translate and analyse Homer’s text. James’ understanding of ancient Greek has been central to the Odysseus Unbound hypothesis.

Watch James Diggle’s presentation about the making of the Lexicon to the Cambridge Centre for Greek Studies.

We are incredibly fortunate to have one of the world’s leading Classics scholars on the team. 

  • Photograph: Sir Cam. Courtesy of Guardian News & Media Ltd

3 Responses

  • Don’t forget the tantalizing one-liner embedded in a Hittite account of a festialival “Then they began [singing] the ‘When from High Wilusa'” — Wilusa apparently being Hittite for Ilium. Much argle-bargle over this one in Asia minor linguistic wonks: could there have been a “Wilusiad?”

  • Odyssea or Ulises is not greek.
    You are wrong Sir.
    History of Troy and warriers of ancient times is connected with pelasgo- illyrian tribes as Dardans and acheans. All teibes spoke a language very similarly with albanian language. This can be easily confirmed be meaning of warriers names, place names, gods names. Nothing greek was in that times. So called greek people came at sec viii before christ, but Troy history happened at sec xii before christ.
    Greek historiography has manipulated history and superposed events and names.

    • There is evidence for Greeks (or proto-Greeks) and the Greek language existing at the time of Odysseus (the Late Bronze Age):

      • Around 1300BC, the Hittites, who lived in Asia, refer to a major power that they came in contact with called Ahhiyawa, which most scholars believe to have been the Achaeans of Greece. This is one piece of evidence supporting the existence of the Greeks well before 1200BC.
      • The place called Pylos in Greece is described in Homer’s epics as the home of Nestor, one of Homer’s heroes. At Pylos has been discovered a treasure trove of ancient tablets written in a script or language called Linear B. Linear B is an adapted form of Linear A, which was borrowed from the Minoans by the Mycenaean Greeks, probably about 1600BC. Its language is considered to be the Mycenaean Greek dialect of that time. Linear B script is found on clay tablets and on vases dating from about 1400BC to roughly 1200BC. This further confirms the existence of the Greeks and an early form of the Greek language before 1200BC.

      Julian Rush
      (Odysseus Unbound)

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