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Greek, Latin, and Ancient Mediterranean Studies

TLG Getting Started

Thesaurus Linguae Graecae (TLG) is the most comprehensive existing database of Greek texts; it contains virtually all Greek texts surviving from the period between Homer (8th century B.C.E.) and 600 C.E., and the majority of surviving works up to the fall of Byzantium in 1453 C.E. Use the TLG to browse texts in Greek, search for words and phrases within texts, search for similar phrases across texts, and view word statistics for all centuries and authors.

Most sections of TLG are open access but users must create a free profile on the site to access the full corpus of data.

To view or input Greek, you need a Unicode polytonic Greek font on your computer. Most Macs come with the Unicode fonts already installed so you just need to configure it once:

  • Open System Preferences > Keyboard > Input Sources
  • Add Greek Polytonic
  • Turn Greek Polytonic on/off using the shortcut icon on the right side of the top task bar

Navigating the TLG

  • For big-picture searches concerning Greek texts, select the Canon Search tab

  • For small, specific searches of words and phrases within texts, select the Text Search tab

    • For guidance choosing which search tab to use and how to navigate within it, use this flowchart

  • To browse two texts side-by-side, select Browse > Parallel Browsing

  • For lexographical information of Greek words, select Lexica‚Äč 

  • To search for and compare similar phrases across texts, select N-Grams 

  • To investigate the frequency and occurrence of a certain word or all words in a certain time period, select Statistics 

  • To use pre-made vocabulary flashcards for any text within the corpus, select Vocabulary Tools

  • Select the save icon to save search results to your account

  • Select the question mark and lightbulb icons to view help pages

Canon tab

Search for authors, works, editors, publications

  • Use to search for works within the canon
  • Can specify date, geographic and generic epithets, and work classification
  • Results contain links to browse texts (select browse icon) and to show all works by that author or in that group (select book icon)
  • View results in a list, interactive map, or interactive timeline format Screen shot of options to view Results including View As: List, Map, or Timeline



Once you’ve selected certain works/authors by checking their boxes, you can then select “Go to Text Search” to search for text within your selections

Screenshot of My Search Selections







Select the save icon to save your search results, which you can later find in the “My Account” tab.

Text Search tab

Search for text within the corpus (option appears after you either do a Canon search or select “Abridged TLG.”)

  • Simple Search: searches for one word at a time. The difference between Word Index, Lemma, and Textual Searches is in how they search the corpus:

    • Word Index Search: searches the form you entered

    • Use if you know the one form you want to search for

    • Faster than Textual Search since it searches for the form, not the text

    • Ignores accents and punctuation (unless “Exact Match” is checked)

    • Wildcard option: allows you to make indeterminable searches. See examples here

  • Lemma Search: searches for all forms or certain forms of a lemma

    • A lemma is the dictionary entry of a word

    • Use if you want to search for multiple, particular forms of a word

    • If “Substring Match” is checked, TLG will search for all compound forms of the lemma

    • Once you search for a lemma, you can specify which forms of the lemma you want to view by choosing to display search results by “grammar”        Screenshot of display results options        and then selecting specific forms.

  • Textual Search: searches the corpus for a particular string of characters

    • Most useful if you want to search for a root, phrase, or beta code

    • Can be slower since it searches each line of text in the whole corpus

    • Ignores accents and punctuation (unless “Exact Match” is checked)

    • Proximity Search: searches for up to 3 words or lemmata in proximity of each other

      • Can do a Word Index, Lemma, or Textual Search

      • Can specify how far apart the words are

    • Select the save icon to save your search results, which you can later find in the “My Account” tab

Beta codes indicate the format of the written text and correspond to brackets, written font size, some punctuation, underlines, etc. A full guide to Beta coding can be found here

Browse tab

Browse works in the corpus

  • One Text: browse a single text
    • Option to view the text’s N-Grams (either by lemma or word form), which then shows other texts where these N-Grams occurScreenshot of N-Grams drop down menu

    • Links to Perseus’ English translation and word statistics

    • Select any word to reveal its lemma and morphological analysis


    • Parallel Browsing: browse two texts side-by-side

    • Use to compare two texts

    • Option to highlight similar phrases between textsScreenshot of parallel browsing options

      • Select “Jump” to move to the next or previous similarity


N-Grams tab

Mechanism for identifying common phrases between texts

  • What are N-Grams?

    • Overlapping sequences of content words in text; “intertextual phrase matching” that is based on lemmata, not word forms

    • Word order and meaningless particles are ignored

  • Select source text and target text and navigate through similar phrases


Statistics tab

Word data for all dates, authors, and lemmata

  • Use to investigate frequency and occurrence of words at different times and by different authors

  • Can also use to determine which words were over- or under-represented by certain authors

  • Provides interactive graphs for most information


Lexica tab

Search for lemmata in different lexicons

  • Use to get lexicographical info on a certain word

  • Shows geographic distribution and word statistics



Vocabulary Tools tab

Provides a list of words/lemmata in author or a certain work

  • Option to view list in flashcard format