Who we are

Aikaterini Laskaridi Foundation

The Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation, established as a non-profit making organization on April 24, 2007 by a Presidential Decree, continues the cultural activity of the late Aikaterini Laskaridis, initiated some fifty years ago in Neo Faliro and continuing to this day.

The Scope of the Foundation is to promote Greek arts and letters as well as maritime tradition and history. As an active and lively cultural – educational organization, it organizes and performs every year a large number of cultural and educational programmes. Target audiences include the general public, and especially students and the teacher and university professor communities; our educational programs involve more than 20,000 children each year.

In addition to a 30.000 book lending library, the Foundation boasts a Historical Library with some 350.000 titles, including large numbers of incunabula and ancient texts.

Moreover, the Foundation organizes and conducts every year a series of events, lectures, meetings and conferences in many fields of letters and culture in general, presented by distinguished members of the Academic and University communities in Greece and abroad. The Board of Directors, chaired by Panos Laskaridis, is composed of members of the Laskaridis family; the Foundation is run by its vice president Katerina Laskaridis. The Scientific Advisory Committee of scholars and teachers is chaired by Dr. Athanasios Fokas, member of the Academy of Athens and Professor at the University of Cambridge.

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Brady Kiesling

Brady is a former ancient historian/archaeologist from California (Swarthmore College, U.C. Berkeley, American School of Classical Studies, Athens) who returned to scholarship after a twenty-year detour working as a diplomat for the U.S. State Department in Israel, Morocco, Greece, and Armenia. He lives in Athens, Greece. He has written three books, Diplomacy Lessons: Realism for an Unloved Superpower (2006), Greek Urban Warriors: Resistance and Terrorism 1967-2014 (2014), Rediscovering Armenia (2003), and various articles. His happiest moments, however, are spent tramping over remote, thorn-covered hillsides or as an archaeological volunteer (Ancient Corinth 1980, Ancient Nemea 1981, Vorotan Armenia 2007, Aphrodisias 1982, Zagora 2014, Methone 2015). His current interests include ancient Greek religion and Greek topography.

Pavla S.A.

Pavla S.A. was created in 1965. Based in the Metamorfosi neighborhood of Athens, Greece, Pavla S.A provides reliable, high-quality development solutions for websites and native or web-based mobile applications for Android and iOS smart phones and tablets. Pavla S.A. offers comprehensive services for the lifetime of a website (design, implementation, marketing-SEO, maintenance) focusing on its usability and functionality. The application development team of PAVLA S.A. adds its experience and creativity so that the final result will satisfy even the most difficult audiences.

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In 2015 the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation, under the leadership of Panos Laskaridis, generously committed the resources needed to make ToposText a reality. At Pavla, Takis Panagiotopoulos (founder), Christina Plemmenou (coding), Dimitra Chouliara (graphic design) and Vlasis Kosmas (ceo) turned accumulated masses of data into a working application in time stolen from other tasks, with no promise of material reward. Bruce Hartzler, the computer guru of the Agora Excavations of the American School of Classical Study, created - almost but not quite effortlessly - the Perl scripts that made tagging and indexing of 200.000-plus place mentions humanly possible. He also offered key design suggestions.

The Perseus Project, lacuscurtius, theoi.com, lucianofsamosata.info, attalus.org, and others, labors of love by dedicated scholars, have made most of the key writings of antiquity accessible to English speakers. The Suda On Line project of the Stoa Consortium is a model of collective scholarly contribution to make a key text available. Several authors have generously made their translations available, including Diane Svarlien (Pindar and Bacchylides), Ian Johnson (Philoctetes), Paul McKechnie (Hellenica Oxyrhynchia), the Ashmolean Museum and Gillian Newing (Marmor Parium), William Blake Tyrrell (Longos), Jennifer K. Berenson Maclean (Philostratus, Heroica), Yumna Khan (Dionysius of Alexandria), S. Burges Watson (Life of Orpheus).

For most ancient places in ToposText, the original coordinates come from the Pleiades database online, a precious resource for ancient place names under the aegis of the Ancient World Mapping Center (Dr. Tom Elliot, Director). Pleiades depends heavily on the Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World, published by Princeton University Press (2000), edited by Richard J.A. Talbert (this Atlas, a remarkably handsome work of scholarly cartography, is also available from Princeton University Press as a stand-alone app for iPad). ToposText thus owes a tremendous debt to the following scholars: John Camp (Peloponnesus), G. Reger (islands), J.S. Traill (Attica), J. Bennet (Crete), W.M. Murray (Epirus-Acarnania), E.N. Borza (Macedonia, Thrace), J. Fossey and J. Morin (Thessaly, Boeotia), C. Foss (Bosphorus, Asia Minor), S. Mitchell (Asia Minor), D. Rupp (Cyprus), W.V. Harris (Italy/Sicily), J.J. Wilkes (Illyricum) for compiling huge amounts of topographic information.

In revising the identification of a small number of points to reflect more recent scholarship, I have often relied on the work of Prof. Ioannis Pikoulas of the University of Thessaly. His collaboration with Anavasi, an impressively dedicated Greek map company, has made it much easier to locate Greek archaeological sites. Other helpful resources for geolocating and describing less-known sites include Odysseus and Permanent Register of Declared Archaeological Sites of the Greek Ministry of Culture, the Archaeological Atlas of Thessaly, Digital Crete of the Institute for Mediterranean Studies, and (if used cautiously) Wikimapia.org and the Panoramio community of Google Earth. Johan Åhlfeldt's Digital Atlas of the Roman Empire is an excellent source of high-quality coordinates.
As the Pleiades Open License requires, I have shared my improved coordinates both with Pleiades and with other ancient mapping sites for future use.

We owe a debt of gratitude to Manolis Papathanassiou, who has tracked down hundreds of Byzantine, Frankish, and Venetian castles, towers, and other sturdy monuments and made their coordinates and descriptions available on his web site Kastra.eu The icons with a red-green circle mark places borrowed from Kastra.eu, with permission; the link in the description should take you to his site description.

Art historian Nigel McGilchrist, author of McGilchrist’s Greek Islands , an epic series of archaeological guidebooks to the Aegean, has graciously made his site descriptions available as a precious supplement to the ancient texts. Archaeologist Aspasia Efstathiou has volunteered site coordinates and descriptions for dozens of sites in Athens and Attica.

As of December 2016, ToposText.org includes a basic index of proper names from history and mythology. Independent scholar Stelios Antonakis provided a table of mythological personages and Wikipedia links from his forthcoming Digital Lexicon of Greek Mythology as the starting point.

The splash screen of the ToposText mobile application is adapted from 'Oedipus and the Sphinx,' a suitably enigmatic interrogation by French Symbolist painter Gustave Moreau (1826-1898), owned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Image in the public domain courtesy of WikiMedia Commons.