The Thesaurus Linguae Graecae is an electronic database of ancient Greek texts available to those with a Yale IP address (to learn about how to access TLG off campus click here [from the Yale library]). This is one of the most useful online tools for accessing Greek text. TLG currently contains over 12,000 works by 3,200 authors.
In this initial post about TLG we will look at how to configure your screen and how to find authors and texts.
Configuration is easy for TLG since you are using Unicode (Not using Unicode? Click here to set up your computer now.) From the front page click Enter on the left under A. Unicode input and display. All the text will now be displayed in Unicode fonts. If the fonts do not display correctly (i.e., letters with accents or breathing marks are in a different font), click here to set up your browser’s Greek font. NOTE: Internet Explorer on the YDS public computers will not display Greek Polytonic Unicode correctly. Please use FireFox instead.
Finding authors and works:
Searching is not complicated in TLG once you realize that the names are in Latin rather than English (e.g., to find the NT you search for Novum Testamentum rather than New Testament). As surprising as it may seem, it does take some of us a little while to realize this. One great feature with TLG is the option of narrowing searches by Date, Category, or Region. Make sure you put these functions to use when searching for common words or phrases.
To search for material from a specific time period simply leave the author section blank and select the centuries (1=1st, 2=2nd, etc.) you would like to search. The results will display a list of all of the works with dates ranging from your selected time period (e.g., select 1 B.C. and 1 A.D. and the Sibylline Oracles will appear because the estimated date of composition is between the 2nd century B.C.E. and the 4th century C.E.). The process is the same for searching for a specific category or region.
As with most website databases, the best way to access the material is to spend some time on the site “playing” around. Have fun.