An Encomium on Henry VIII and Elizabeth I by George Etheridge — British Library Royal MS 16 C X
In December 2009 a group of scholars met in Vienna to present and discuss their research on Greek authors, manuscripts and texts of the Byzantine period, focusing on editorial issues and practices. Part of the proceedings of this International Workshop on Textual Criticism and Editorial Practice for Byzantine Texts, organised jointly by the Austrian Academy of Sciences and the University of Cyprus, was devoted to the editing of autographs and to electronic editions of Greek texts. At the closing session of this Workshop Dr Charalambos Dendrinos and Professor Caroline Macé undertook, on behalf of the group, to produce an electronic edition of an unpublished Greek autograph text in an attempt to explore its possibilities and limitations. Soon, a team of postgraduate students, scholars and technical advisors was formed at the Hellenic Institute of Royal Holloway, University of London (RHUL), to put this project into practice in close collaboration with the British Library.
Although our team was aware of existing work in the field, notably The Codex Sinaiticus Project of the British Library, we decided to adopt an ex nihilo approach so as to give ourselves the necessary freedom to explore the possibilities without the constraints that would have been imposed by an attempt to replicate and perhaps even improve existing work. Developing new ideas and techniques, our team has since been preparing the present online edition of George Etheridge’s autograph Encomium on King Henry VIII addressed to Queen Elizabeth I, aiming at offering a useful tool not only to students and scholars but also to the general public. In the process numerous scholarly, educational and technical questions have been raised by members of the team as well as students and colleagues who have been invited to comment and offer suggestions on preliminary versions of the edition. Given the technical, time and funding limitations, not all of these questions have found a satisfactory answer nor have all ideas and suggestions been fully explored or applied so far. It is the aim of this project to continue inviting, developing, testing, applying and sharing new approaches and practices concerning both conventional and electronic editing of texts, Greek in particular.
In this respect, this is an on-going exploratory, interactive editorial project which has a life of its own. Our hope is that in the future it will keep growing, developing and maturing, hopefully with the help of experts and non-experts who would be willing to share their thoughts and work with us in order to improve it. It is just as important for us that members of the public are externally involved in this project, offering their comments, ideas and suggestions on how to make this and similar editions more accessible, readable, useful and indeed enjoyable, without at the same time compromising its quality in terms of scholarship. For this reason we have supplied this web site with a Feedback option.
So, our door is open to all and we would like to ask our visitors to explore our work and, time permitting, leave their impressions and, more importantly, their corrections and suggestions.