The Logo and Typography
The Loeb Classical Library logo shows Athena, goddess of wisdom, enthroned with her shield (here embossed with the initials LCL for Loeb Classical Library). Nike, goddess of Victory, stands in her hand, holding a wreath. The image is found on a Greek coin from Lampsakos used from about 297 to 282 BC.
The current Loeb Classical Library rejuvenation program involves not only more new and revised volumes but also improved production. Dissatisfaction with the digitized Greek font we had been using—particularly with the shape of some letters and inconsistent letter spacing—led us to commission a new Greek electronic typeface designed specifically for our needs, which we have named ZephGreek and ZephText, in honor of Zeph Stewart (1921–2007), the longtime Trustee of the Loeb Classical Library.
Alex Kaczun, type designer and founder of Type Innovations, Long Island, NY, was commissioned in 1994 to design the new digital Greek typeface and fonts, which were based on and modeled after ‘Porson’ Greek, exclusively for Harvard University Press. Kevin Krugh of Technologies ’N Typography later made adjustments to kerning and breath marks, and converted these fonts to Unicode specifications. In addition, for a crisper type image we are now making our printing plates directly from electronic files (instead of photographically). These improved technologies are evident in Loeb volumes published since 1995.
The Loeb Classical Library features English translation facing the original Greek or Latin text, page by page. In order to present translations that are as up-to-date and accurate as possible, new Loeb editions have departed from an earlier tradition of euphemizing or bowdlerizing material that might be considered offensive.
Earlier Loeb editions took pains to remove or edit any passages that “might give offense,” usually references to sex and homosexuality. Such material was relegated to the footnotes, where the true meaning might be hinted at or translated into an unrelated language (such as Italian). While these convoluted attempts to disguise the risqué nature of the texts were often amusing in and of themselves, the newer translations better preserve the spirit and meaning of the original texts.
As an example, in the updated Loeb translation of Aristophanes, two characters are discussing the poet Agathon, notorious in Athens for his promiscuous homosexuality (see image).
In an earlier Loeb edition, the final line of this excerpt was translated: “I fear there’s much you don’t remember, sir.” A footnote then gave in Latin the real meaning of the Greek line.
The new Loeb translations were covered by the New York Times in September, 2000: O Profligate Youth of Rome, Ye #*!, Ye @#! (See Footnote)
The Loeb Classical Library® is published and distributed by Harvard University Press. It is a registered trademark of the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved.
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