An Italian computer engineer has solved a 150-year-old literary mystery found in a rare edition of Homer’s Odyssey at the University of Chicago Library.
The case of the mystery marginalia began when the University received a donation of Homer’s works from collector M.C. Lang in 2007. The collection included a 1504 Venetian edition of the Odyssey containing handwritten annotations in an unknown script. The annotations were thought to date back to the mid-19th century, but nothing else was known about them.
In hopes of cracking the code, the Library’s Special Collections Research Center called on linguists, classicists and amateur sleuths, publicizing a $1,000 prize offered by Lang to the first person to identify the script, provide evidence to support the conclusion and execute a translation of selected portions of the marginalia. Read more.