FAQ

An EPICPOEM.ORG edition is a searchable printable PDF edition of epic poetry, whereas a BARDLINES.ORG edition is a searchable printable PDF edition of a work that is not an epic, such as an edition of Shakespeare's plays.
We charge a one-time fee of "a buck and a half a book" for an individual to license a version of an EPICPOEM.ORG or BARDLINES.ORG edition (e.g. $36 to for all 24 books of the Iliad), for personal use only, subject to the terms of the license applicable to EPICPOEM.ORG and BARDLINES.ORG editions (for those terms, see Section III here).
We only license our editions to individuals (that is, to human beings) for personal use. We do not license them to libraries, corporate entities or institutions.
YOU MAY NOT SHARE AN EPICPOEM.ORG OR BARDLINES.ORG EDITION WITH ANYONE BY ANY MEANS IN ANY MEDIUM.
No. You cannot lawfully obtain an EPICPOEM.ORG or BARDLINES.ORG edition anywhere other than seahandpress.com (NB: epicpoem.org and bardlines.org both redirect to seahandpress.com).
Quos ego! Please act responsibly and respect our rights, the rule of law and your institution’s ethical guidelines.
EPICPOEM.ORG and BARDLINES.ORG editions do not violate any copyrights or any third party contractual rights to digital text.
The text of each edition is based on the lines of an edition in the public domain, and no one owns a copyright to text that is in the public domain. However, the owner of a digital transcription of the lines of an edition in the public domain may, as a matter of contract law, restrict the use of that digital text.
Subject to the exception noted below, we digitized and carefully proofed each line of each EPICPOEM.ORG and BARDLINES.ORG edition, restored the consensus manuscript line order, and (only when necessary to address a well recognized crux) conservatively edited the text. As such, our digital editions are not subject to any third-party contractual restrictions, and as a matter of contract law we may commercialize them and restrict their use.
The lines of our BARDLINES.ORG edition of Shakespeare are derived from the unrestricted free digital text known as the "Complete Moby (tm) Shakespeare" now available at shakespeare.mit.edu.
We clearly identify in the bookshop and on the cover page of each book of each EPICPOEM.ORG and BARDLINES.ORG edition the public domain edition we digitized, proofed and (only where necessary) edited. In the case of Homer, we digitized the lines in Dindorf’s editions of the Iliad (Teubner 1861) and the Odyssey (Teubner 1877).
A line-by-line comparison of the copy text of West’s Homeric editions to Dindorf’s reveals differences of punctuation and orthography (e.g., West's editions separate enclitics; Dindorf's do not), but after restoring numbered lines that West demoted to the app. crit., if one disregards differences of punctuation and focuses on the letters alone, West’s Homeric lines rarely deviate from Dindorf's. For example, 99.5% of the letters in West’s lines of Iliad 5 match Dindorf’s lines. You can easily determine the degree of such similarity in each book of Homer, because if a letter is not underlined in our EPICPOEM.ORG Homeric editions, that indicates West and Dindorf agree as to that letter. We compared every line.
If West’s Homeric lines are the modern gold standard for the Homeric Greek text of Homeric epic, the scarcity and in almost all cases irrelevance (with respect to sense) of the underlined letters in EPICPOEM.ORG Homeric editions establishes that Dindorf’s lines and ours are no less golden.
We do not publish works in the public domain without adding value. Our free digital edition of Cunliffe’s Homeric Greek lexicon is far more useful than the print version, or the version available on archive.org, because we digitally bookmarked each page and named each bookmark (using Greek letters) after the first entry on its page, then added a book-by-book lexicon of hapax legomena (which we compiled) and useful diagrams from Autenrieth's Homeric lexicon (1876).
This next bit is technical, but if you are interested in sight reading Homeric Greek epic you should pay attention. We noticed that when using a PDF reader called PDF Expert on a Mac, when you select any bookmark in the bookmark tab then type one or two letters, the highlighted bookmark jumps to the bookmark that begins with those letters. As we often work with Greek texts and rarely use the Caps Lock key, we reassigned Caps Lock to switch back and forth between English and Greek-polytonic input modes [to do that on a Mac, go to System Preferences / keyboard / input sources then select “Use the Caps Lock key to switch to and from [U.S.]”].
Now, let's suppose you were reading Iliad 10 and come across a word you do not know. You have our digital edition of Cunliffe's Homeric Lexicon open in PDF Expert on your Mac, with the bookmarks tab displayed. You glance at the menu bar in the top right corner of your screen to confirm the input source is Greek – Polytonic, and if it isn't you tap Caps Lock to switch to that input mode. Next you click on any bookmark of the dictionary in PDF Expert then type the first one or two letters of the word you want to look up. **The highlighted bookmark tab will jump and the bookmark of the page with the word you want to look up is now in sight; you need not scroll through hundreds of bookmarks to find it.** Select the bookmark of the page with that word’s definition and look up the word on that page.
From the moment you wondered about the meaning of that word until you brought up the page on which it is defined, you hit Caps Lock and typed not more than two Greek letters — just a few seconds have elapsed. That search is optimized for speed and efficiency and eliminates resistance to the dictionary.
Readers of a foreign language do not look up every word they cannot define with certainty because using a dictionary feels tedious. We each have a threshold of certainty about the meaning of a word above which, though we may be curious, we will not reach for the dictionary. That threshold varies depending on factors including the perceived degree of tedium involved in looking up a word, how long it takes to look it up, and how much effort is required (e.g., how many letters must be typed, or how many pages of the dictionary must be flipped).
Our bookmarked digital edition of Cunliffe’s lexicon is so efficient and involves so little effort when used with PDF Expert as described above that it all but eliminates resistance to the dictionary.
We expect readers who use Cunliffe in this way with PDF Expert (i) will look up many many more Homeric Greek words, (ii) will have a far steeper learning curve than otherwise, and (iii) are far more likely to achieve Homeric Greek sight reading proficiency. The bookmarked Lexicon is an optimized tool that greatly improves the experience of reading and learning to read Homer.
We expect new and experienced readers will read far more Homeric Greek if they use this PDF lexicon.
Homeric hapax legomena (or simply “hapax”) are words with a dictionary entry not shared with any other word in the 27,803 lines of the Iliad and the Odyssey. They are lexical toll booths that require even advanced readers to stop reading the poem to consult a dictionary or read on without certainty of meaning, again, and again, and again. We identify them in our Homeric editions so readers can efficiently review the meanings of these rare words in our free stand-alone book-by-book lexicon of hapax legomena both before and as needed while reading a book of Homeric epic.
If a PDF file seems to be corrupted, first quit the PDF reader and reopen the file, then try opening it in another PDF reader. If it still will not open, use the link in the email you received with your purchase or follow the instructions on the “downloads” page to download your licensed products at no charge. Please contact us if necessary to restore access to your licensed editions.