Ithaca, Troy, Thebes…We all know of these places where a great part of ancient Greek history and mythology unfolded. Yet, sometimes yesterday and today are miles apart. What if there was a way however to bridge this gap? What if there was an app that could help you locate these places to their present position on the map? Topos Text promises to do just that!

ToposText (where ‘topos’ in Greek means ‘place’) is a new interface that helps travelers locate and learn about some of the most significant sites form ancient Greek literature and culture. By presenting 5000 places relevant to the ancient Greek world – ancient cities and shrines, medieval castles and towers, modern museums and excavation sites – primarily in Greece but including major places from Spain to the Caucasus, it “links readers and travelers to Europe’s most ancient literary culture and to the Greek landscape that inspired it”.

The application was designed and assembled by Brady Kiesling, senior associate member of the American School of Classical Studies, then implemented as an application by Athens-based software company Pavla S.A, with the support of the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation – a non-profit organization devoted to promoting Greek arts and letters. The inspiration came from Kiesling’s two decades of exploring Greece by car, foot or bicycle and the realization that it would be extremely handy if, during his travels, he had the written accounts of historians, travelers or geographers at his fingertips to provide historical and cultural meaning to the places he was visiting around Greece.


ToposText was designed as an application for mobile devices. Opening it presents a scrolling alphabetical list of 5000+ Greek cities, colonies, sanctuaries, archaeological sites, museums, and other points of interest, side-by-side with a location-aware map showing the nearby places by name, icon (city, sanctuary, theatre, etc) and the number of ancient references in the TT database. The texts and index and a basic map are stored on the device that requires no internet connection. Most coordinates come from Pleiades, an online database of thousands of ancient places, names and coordinates.

Selecting a site from either the list or the map opens up a table of two-line snippets from ancient authors, headed where available by a modern description. Selecting from this index list, which can be filtered by date, genre, and relevance, connects one to the full text of 240-odd works in English translation, some with the original Ancient Greek as well. Thus, at a glance, and from any location, you can select and read the passages in ancient literature that give a place its historical and cultural meaning. While you are reading, the map alongside shows the location of the ancient places mentioned. A link next to many place descriptions connects to Travelogues, a sister web site of the Laskaridis Foundation offering thousands of early traveler illustrations of Greece and its antiquities that complement the ancient texts.


At this stage, ToposText is comprehensive only for the area of modern Greece but aspires one day to include more inscriptions, ancient scholia anddictionaries, ideally every ancient text that refers to Greek places from mythological times through to the Late Roman era. Enriching the TT library, or expanding it to include Byzantine, Medieval and early modern texts, will depend on the willingness of scholars to make texts and English translations available.

ToposText is available for iPad free at Apple’s app store. Soon it will also become available for the iPhone and for Android devices. Download the app and have a large classical library married to an up-to-date gazetteer to help you find your way around the ancient world!