Suda On Line: Byzantine Lexicography
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Since the range of topics covered by the Suda goes far beyond the expertise of any individual scholar, we depend on the wisdom and specialized knowledge of a diverse group of editors. We encourage our editors not only to vet translations, but also to share with us ideas for improving SOL. Please send any comments, criticisms, problems and new ideas to the senior editor (see the home page for a link to his address).

When you are ready to begin editing

First of all, log in with your username and password (if you have forgotten these, contact the managing editors)

If you know the Adler number of an entry you would like to edit, access the entry via the list of all entries (also accessible from the home page).

If you don’t have in mind a particular entry or don’t know the Adler number of the entry you’re interested in, you can find entries you would like to edit using any of the searching and browsing methods available on the home page and in the list of search options you find when you log in.

Once a particular entry appears on your computer screen, scroll down to the bottom of the display and you should see a button inviting you to “Vet this entry”.

vet this entry

Clicking this button takes you to the Vetting Page that looks something like this:

vetting page

Editable boxes present you all the different categories of information in the entry (Headword, Translation, Notes, Bibliography). You can change or add to the information in these boxes as you see fit.

Further down the page, there is a box in which you can enter or edit the URLs (web addresses) for associated web pages, with a line break between each URL. Below that is a scrollable menu with standard keywords that you can click to associate them with the entry (ctrl-click or command-click to select more than one keyword). Keywords give users an easy way to find entries relating to topics that often show up in the Suda.

keyword entry

At the bottom of the page is a button inviting you to “Click here to see the new work”. Before clicking this button, briefly describe the editorial actions you have performed in the “Vetting Comments” box, as in the following example:

vetting comments

When you click this button, your browser displays the work as you have edited it. If you see something else that needs to be added or changed you can use the Back key on your browser to return to the Vetting Page as many times as you like.

When you are done editing, be sure to click the “CONFIRM TO SAVE” button at the bottom of the display that shows your edits. Otherwise none of your changes will be saved to the database:

confirm to save

Be bold in editing! Even if you screw up very badly, the database retains all the previous versions of the entry, so restoring the entry to a previous form is not difficult (do contact the managing editors if you need to restore an entry).

You can come back to the same entry and make changes as many times as you think necessary. You do not have to do all your editing of an entry in one sitting. But please try to leave the entry in a presentable form when you take a temporary break from it.

Like translating, editing is never proprietary on SOL. After you have edited an entry, other editors can (and will) come by later and re-edit the same entry. Your name will remain attached to the entry as editor, however, in perpetuity. See this page on how to cite your own work in SOL.

Your goals as an editor

Your aim is to improve the translation and annotation of each entry in as many ways as you can. Here are some suggestions:

  • Verify the translation against Greek text.   The standard text for SOL is Adler's Teubner edition.  The text of this edition (without apparatus) appears on the editing page. If you would like to a copy of the apparatus from Adler’s text for particular entries send to you, you can request that from the managing editors. If there is a variant reading in Adler’s apparatus (or from some other source) that you prefer, alter the translation accordingly and explain your choice in the footnotes.
  • Vet the translation, notes and bibliography for accuracy, clarity, spelling/grammatical errors and for adherence to the SOL guidelines for style and content (on which, see below).
  • Add more footnotes, or more information to existing footnotes.
  • Add citations and bibliography to scholarship that elucidates all or any part of the entry, and also to scholarship in which that particular entry is an important source of evidence or a focus of discussion.
  • Add information, either from Adler’s apparatus or from your own research, on the possible sources of the information in each entry and of the quotations. Adler’s apparatus includes a good deal of information on sources, cross-references, etc.
  • Confirm that the proper subject keywords are selected. The more pertinent keywords you select the better. To select multiple keywords, hold down on the control (ctrl) key (command/apple key on Macintosh) while clicking on each keyword.
  • Tag titles of ancient works by enclosing them with <t></t> tags; e.g. <t>Prometheus Bound</t>. Greek words anywhere in the entry or notes (apart from transliterated proper names) should not be in transliteration or in a unicode Greek font, but in Betacode, and tagged with <g></g> tags; e.g. <g>fqhsome/nwn</g> (= φθησομένων) so the software can present them in customized formats.
  • Confirm that all web links are operative; delete or emend those that aren't.

Please do not think that this list is exhaustive. If you see another way to improve an entry that is not listed here, don’t hesitate to do it.

Guidelines for Style and Content


The standard text for the Suda is that of A. Adler's Teubner edition (Leipzig 1928-35). Please note any deviations from Adler’s text that you follow in your translation in the footnotes. References to other entries in the Suda should use Adler’s reference numbers (see the citation form below).


Imagine as your ideal audience advanced undergraduate students who have some knowledge of ancient history and literature but little or no knowledge of ancient languages. Err on the side of giving too much information in your annotations (within reason), rather than too little.

Format and Punctuation

  • If you want to introduce a paragraph break within the “Translation” field, you need to insert a blank line.
  • Footnote reference numbers should be put in the “Translation” field in square brackets: [1], [25]. When numbering notes in the “Notes” field also use square brackets, and insert a blank line between each footnote.
  • Insert a blank line between items in the bibliography field.
  • Do not use angle brackets (< >) except when tagging (see below), and do not use curly brackets ({ }) for any reason. These symbols confuse the software.
  • Use parenthesis marks ( ( ) ) in the translation only to indicate some sort of parenthetical expression that is actually in the Greek text. Do not use them to add your own explanatory parentheses to the translation; use a footnote instead.
  • You may use square brackets ( [ ] ) to add a word in English that does not correspond to anything explicit in the Greek text but that you feel is both clearly implied in the Greek and necessary for understanding in English. For instance, ἐπιρροφοῦντες ἄκρατον (from alpha 122) might be translated as taking an extra quaff of unmixed [wine].
  • If your supplementation represents something that is less clearly implied in the existing text, you may use the abbreviation sc. (= scilicet) in square brackets. For instance alpha 26 has the cryptic phrase καὶ Φάληρα καὶ Κύθηρα. Γάδειρα δὲ καὶ Στάγειρα καὶ Τόπειρα καὶ Δόβειρα which can be rendered as Both Phalera and Kythera [sc. are spelled with eta]. But Gaderia, Stageira, Topeira, and Dobeira [sc. are spelled with epsiloniota]. Keep in mind, though, that the longer and more intrusive such additions are, the more they belong in the footnotes rather than in the translation itself.
  • If some aspect of the Greek text is ambiguous, in general you should choose one interpretation for your translation and explain any alternative interpretations in the footnotes, though small ambiguities can be indicated in square brackets; e.g. Nobody noticed that [he/she/it] had fallen into a chasm.

Greek words and names

  • Avoid leaving untranslated Greek in a translation. If you think anything needs to be clarified by the inclusion of the original Greek word(s), relegate the Greek, if possible, to footnotes. Sometimes, however (for instance, in entries that give morphological information), you will find it desirable to include Greek words in your translation.
  • When you include original Greek in your translation or footnotes, the preferred format is Betacode. To learn how to write Greek in Betacode, visit this site. Enclose any Betacode Greek in the <g></g> tag. For instance, typing: <g>*pla/twn</g> allows Plato's name to appear in a variety of different display formats that the reader can choose (Unicode, Betacode, transliteration, etc.). The only words that should be transliterated from Greek are personal names and toponyms. Transliteration should preferably follow non-radical Latinization:
    alpha-iota ae
    epsilon-iota ei
    iota subscript i
    omicron-iota oe
    omicron-upsilon ou
    omicron-stem nominative singular us
    omicron-stem nominative plural i
    upsilon y
    chi ch
    phi ph
    kappa c
  • Exception: when there is a Anglicized form of a name so familiar that confusion might arise in its absence (e.g. Alexander, Aristotle, Moses), you should use the familiar form rather than direct transliteration, and when the Greek represents a Latin name, you should stick to the Latin spelling (e.g. phi 4: Φαβωρῖνος should be transliterated as Favorinus, not Phaborinus).
  • Also: to assist people searching the database, if the headword of the entry you are translating is a proper name susceptible to different transliterations, put as many different transliterations as you can think of in the "translated headword" box on the translation form, with separate transliterations separated by commas. Examples:
    Translated Headword: Alexander, Alexandros, Alexandrus 
    Translated Headword: Herod, Heroides, Herodes
    Translated Headword: Kimon, Cimon, Cimo
    Put the most recognizable or popular transliteration first, if there is one; otherwise put first the transliteration that follows the rules given above.


In general, you should avoid abbreviations apart from common and standard ones like ‘etc.’, ‘cf.’, ‘e.g.’ and so on. Write out grammatical characteristics rather than abbreviating them (nominative singular rather than n.s. or nom. sing.). Do not abbreviate names of ancient authors or titles of works (Homer, <t>Iliad</t>, rather than Hom. Il.).

Tagging and character formatting

The Editing page does not recognize most standard HTML tags; nor does it recognize the sorts of character formatting (italic, bold, etc.) that your word processor can produce. The following three are the only tags that the software recognizes and accepts:

  • <t> </t> (example: <t>Odyssey</t>): Used to tag the title of an ancient work. This tag helps the software format PDF output.
  • <g> </g> (example: <g>*a)ristote/lhs</g>): used to tag Greek words in Betacode, when you want the original Greek to appear in your translation or notes.
  • <i> </i> (example: <i>The Greeks and the Irrational</i>): This tag makes words appear in italics, viz. The Greeks and the Irrational. This tag should be confined generally to the following two cases: (1) titles of modern works of literature or scholarship (as in the example given), and (2) words from a language other than English or Greek; for instance, “this word is the normal Greek equivalent for the Latin term <i>quaestor</i>”. Do not use the <i> tag to italicize titles of ancient works. Use the <t> tag instead.

Citations and Bibliography

Citations of other entries in the Suda

Cross-references to other Suda entries should cite the reference numbers in Adler’s edition. To refer to the entry on ‘kottabos’, for instance, you should cite kappa 2154 rather than (for instance) s.v. ‘kottabos’. Please note the format of the reference (kappa 2154): lower case, with a single space and no punctuation between the letter and the number. Giving the Suda citation in this precise format allows the software to generate an automatic hyperlink to the referenced entry.

Citations of other ancient lexica

Some standard editions of ancient lexica use reference numbers similar to the Suda’s Adler numbers, and you should cite those editions in preference to others if they are available to you. Three such editions of lexica that are frequently cited as sources or parallels to the Suda are the following:

  • Hesychius, Lexicon, K. Latte, ed. (Copenhagen 1953-1966) (Α-O); P. Hansen & I. Cunningham, eds. (Berlin 2005-2009) (Π-Ω))
  • Συναγωγὴ λέξεων χρησίμων [Synagoge], I. Cunningham, ed. (Berlin 2003)
  • Photius, Lexicon, C. Theodoridis, ed. (Berlin 1982-2103)

If you have access to these editions (and all but the third volume of Theodoridis’ Photius are currently in the on-line TLG), you should cite entries in them as follows:

  • Hesychius alpha2127
  • <t>Synagoge</t> sigma104
  • Photius chi97

The lack of a space between the letter and the number in these citations is not a typo. These lexica (and others using this reference system) must be cited in this fashion to keep the software from creating an automatic link to the Suda. For instance, the citation Hesychius alpha 2127 would generate an automatic hyperlink to the Suda entry alpha 2127.

References to ancient sources in general

These references should be written out rather than abbreviated, e.g. Homer <t>Iliad</t> 3.227 rather than Hom. Il. 3.227, and should be put in the footnotes, not in the translation field or in the bibliography. There is no need to cite the edition of the ancient text you have consulted unless you are discussing a particular editor’s reading or recension. If you do need to give full bibliographical information for a particular edition, put that in the bibliography rather than in the footnotes.

References to modern scholarship

These references should receive abbreviated parenthetical citations in the footnotes, e.g. (Traill 1975), (Whitehead 2002: 179-80), with full bibliographical information relegated to the bibliography field.

Use the following as models for listing works in the bibliography/reference field:

  • J.S. Traill, <i>The Political Organization of Attica</i> (Princeton 1975)
  • R. Tosi, <i>Dictionnaire des sentences latines et grecques</i>, tr. R. Lenoir (Paris 2010)
  • D. Whitehead, "Observations on <g>a)dhfagi/a</g>", <i>Rheinisches Museum für Philologie</i> 145 (2002) 175-186
  • A. Maffi, "Analisi di un'istituzione giudiziaria: il lemma sull'androlepsia", in G. Zecchini (ed.) <i>Il lessico Suda e la memoria del passato a Bisanzio: atti della Giornata di studio (Milano, 29 aprile 1998)</i> (Bari 1999) 29-33.
  • I. Bekker, ed., <i>Anecdota Graeca</i>, vol. I, (Graz 1965 (1814))
  • D. O'Brien, “Démocrite d'Abdère”, in R. Goulet (ed.), <i>Dictionnaire des Philosophes Antiques</i>, vol. 2 (Paris 1994) 649-715
  • A. Böhlig & C. Markschies, <i>Gnosis und Manichäismus</i> (Berlin, 1994)
  • A. Mahoney, “Tachypaedia Byzantina: The Suda On Line as Collaborative Encyclopedia,” <i>Digital Humanities Quarterly</i> 3.1 (2009) n.p. Web. 4 July 2014 (web address 1)

Please observe the following in the bibliography:

  • Use the <i></i> tags to italicise titles of books and periodicals; the software does not recognize italic formatting pasted in from a word processor.
  • Do not abbreviate the titles of periodicals: write <i>Journal of Hellenic Studies</i> rather than <i>JHS</i>.
  • If there is untransliterated Greek in the title of the publication (as in the Whitehead article above), put the Greek in Betacode and surround it with the <g></g> tags.
  • For an on-line publication (e.g. the Mahoney article above), do not include the URL (web address) of the publication in the bibliography box. Instead, you may put the URL in the box for URLs on the Vetting Page, and refer to it in the format (web address X) in the bibliography, as in the example above.
  • If you are dealing with a type of source not represented in the examples above, try to follow the spirit of these guidelines when you cite it.

References to on-line resources

You should not put the full URLs (web addresses) to on-line resources (articles, texts, etc.) in the translation, footnotes, or bibliography fields. Instead put them in the box for web addresses near the bottom of the Vetting Page, each one on a separate line. Then refer to these addresses in the notes in parenthetical citations in the following format: (web address 1), (web address 2), etc. The software reads what you put in the web address field and converts each URL into a hyperlink labelled “web address 1”, “web address 2” etc., based on the order in which your URLs are listed in the web address field. You do not need to write “web address 1”, etc. in the web address field yourself. In fact, the software will not work properly if you do.

Try to find the most brief and stable URL for any on-line link you refer to. Many web pages will offer a ‘URL for citation’, or a button to click that will copy the URL to your clipboard, which you can then paste into the web address field.

The Perseus Digital Library has many useful resources you can link to, including an on-line copy of the LSJ lexicon and a large number of Greek and Latin texts with English translations. If you are looking at a text on the Perseus site, the bottom right-hand corner of each page has a listing for a “Citation URI” that you can copy and paste into the web address box to provide a link to the precise location in the text to which you wish to refer the reader.

When you enter the URL in the web address field, be sure to give the entire URL, including the http:// or https:// at the beginning.

Before saving your edits, it’s a good idea to check any links that you have generated (as well as any that were there before), and fix or remove any that don’t work. If you can’t figure out why the link won’t work, the Managing Editors might be able to help.

As always, if you run into issues not covered in this overview, please ask the managing editors about it. Many thanks in advance for your contributions to the improvement of SOL!

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This document was last updated Wednesday April 14, 2021.

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