The newest thing on the World Wide Web soon will be a 1,000-year-old manuscript, thanks in part to a Powers Catholic High School graduate who is now an assistant professor of classics at Holy Cross College here.
Mary Ebbott, from Powers' class of 1988, helped prepare all 327 pages of a 10th-century copy of Homer's "Iliad" for Internet viewing.
"It's in the raw format. It still needs to be processed," said Ebbott, 37, part of a team of scholars with Harvard University's Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, D.C. "When it's done, we want other scholars to study the manuscript."
The "Iliad," is an 8th-century-B.C. epic poem dealing with the siege of Troy. Ebbott said it and Homer's "Odyssey" were sung for centuries before ever being written down.
"Even after they were written down, the oral tradition continued along with a now textual tradition," she said.
Ebbott said she became interested in the "Iliad" while working on her doctorate at Harvard.
Digital photographers with the team spent about three weeks in Venice, Italy - at the Marciana Library, where the manuscript is preserved - shooting each of the goatskin pages of the Greek manuscript, beginning the process of opening the poem up for close scrutiny.
Ebbott worked as an editor. She returned from Italy late last month.
She said the Homer Multitext project will preserve and, in fact, even show more than the naked eye now can see of the ancient pages.
There was a trade-off, however.
"We were told the manuscript aged 10 years just from the few weeks that it was being photographed," she said.