Welcome to the Website of the Digital Plato Project

The reception of Plato’s work in ancient times is characterized by a tremendous diversity and has not nearly been exhaustively researched.

The Digital Plato project, sponsored by the Volkswagen Foundation, aimed to explore the aftermath and reception of Platonic works in ancient Greek literature through the paraphrasing tradition of Plato’s œuvre in Antiquity.

Digital Plato was a joint project encompassing project partners from the fields of Classical Philology (Prof. Dr. Sier, University of Leipzig), Ancient History (Prof. Dr. Schubert, University of Leipzig), Corpus Linguistics (Prof. Dr. Scharloth, TU Dresden/Waseda University Tokyo), and Computer Science (Prof. Dr. Molitor / Dr. Ritter, University of Halle-Wittenberg). It was funded by the Volkswagen Foundation within the framework of the “Open - for the Extraordinary” funding line and was funded from 2016 to 2019.

On the basis of existing approaches from the field of paraphrasing technology and the manifold digitally available secondary materials on the Platonic Work and ancient Greek literature, we have developed two approaches to paraphrase search which are adapted to the needs of various research questions and search strategies. They are based on quotations, synonyms, adjoining terms and equivalent or combinable elements in the Corpus Platonicum by a ‘classification’ of sentences or coherent sentences contained in post-platonic ancient Greek literature in relation to the Platonic world of terms. This enables the detection of indirect quotations and non-literal paraphrases.

This paraphrase search is made available to the public in particular via a web portal with adapted search and setting options (www.paraphrasis.org). In the sense of a thesaurus, we have collected the various research and development pathways from the project work: thus, an explorative analysis of the aftermath and reception of Platonic works in ancient Greek literature is now possible as well as an application for studying the development of the aftermath and reception of other ancient authors, so that whole networks of traditions can be made visible.

The insights gained can be transferred to other research questions from philosophy, literary history and the history of science. They form the basis for the analysis of and insight into large text corpora with scholarly or ironic allusions in other epochs as well. Furthermore, we offer a contribution to the differentiation of the concept of paraphrase in computer science and corpus or computational linguistics, which results from the examination of different functions of paraphrases in the rhetorical tradition of metaphrase, paraphrase and allusion.

The results of our project are available both as printed publication in Open Access and eBook in HTML-View (https://doi.org/10.11588/propylaeum.451).