Touring the Reconstruction


The fifth-century Great Stemma was probably drawn on a roll of papyrus of standard height (30 centimetres say) and at least as long as the bed you sleep in. It obviously can't be viewed on your digital device unless you move it around: zoom out to see the expanse of the reconstruction, zoom in to read words, scroll left and right.[*]If you've been here before, the link you are looking for is in the last line of text!

On a touchscreen: pinch, spread and swipe. With a mouse: use its wheel. If you never zoom a keyboard computer, read this. Use the horizontal scroll bar (pictured) at the bottom of your screen to scroll. If the Romans had had computers, this is how they would use them.


Secondly, this reconstruction is interactive. It was made with a coding language called SVG that enabled me to hide all sorts of interesting additional information under the surface. I don't guarantee every browser can display it. You won't be able to see any of the innovative explanatory layers of the chart unless you've granted permission for scripts to run in your browser. Please give your OK, or enable scripts. There's nothing nasty in here, I promise.

Also, it's not a film. Once you are ready, you will have to tap some controls (pictured) to make the layers appear. Each right button makes a new effect visible: the corresponding left button makes it go away. Try it. You can always just reload the page (press F5 on Windows computers) if you got confused.

radio buttons

Finally, I have invited you to read this page because I presume you are interested in graphic arts or the psychology of visualization.

You will see here hundreds of Hebrew names you may not know. I have translated them from Latin into English to make them less alien, but don't get sidetracked or overwhelmed by the names or their glosses. You are on a guided tour of an exotic place: late antique graphics technology. So first read my guiding commentary in the flags (pictured). First up, just concentrate on how a fifth-century designer uses circles to visualize kinship and depict eras of time.


If you like this feat of text archaeology, and I am sure you will, recommend it to your friends. But always send them to this instruction page here. Here's the link again: An introduction will make their experience rewarding instead of baffling.

Now, here's the link to go to the reconstruction. It's a big file: give it time to load. Enjoy the tour.

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