The Odyssey Shorthand

On April 24, 2014 the University of Chicago Library announced a contest for the decipherment of shorthand marginalia found on two pages of a copy Homer's Odyssey printed by Aldus Manutius in 1504.

With my partner Giulia Accetta, I was able to identify the code as a French tachygraphic system invented in 1776 by Jean Coulon de Thévenot. The mysterious annotator employed it in 1854 to take notes while translating the Greek text.

The following file contains my report for the contest. I will update it with new information as soon as I am able to translate more annotations. For any corrections, suggestions, or inquiries, please write me an email.

I would like to thank Michael C. Lang, the collector who donated the book to the Library and sponsored the contest, and Alice Schreyer and Judith Dartt from the UCL for their incredible support.