They say there’s an app for everything. Introducing Topos Text, a new travel app unlike any other, created for Greek history lovers, poets, and the educated traveler.
Greek start-up: Topos Text
Delving in depth into the Classics – the literature, history, philosophy, languages and archaeology of ancient Greece – is one of the deepest ways to understand Greece today and its immense contributions to today’s world.
Now, that very concept is downloadable — as an app.
New start-up Topos Text is a travel platform that has taken 5,000 places relevant to the ancient Greek world from ancient cities and shrines, medieval castles and towers, modern museums and excavation sites and links them to the ancient authors who wrote about them in Greek or Latin. It’s a digital library for Classics lovers that takes the Greek travel experience to a new level.
Brady Keisling, the scholar behind Topos Text, is a former U.S. diplomat to Greece. He’s always had a passion for the Classics and travel through Greece.
“My key audience is educated travelers, poets, and lovers of local history. The magic of Greece is that the landscape does makes sense, because every inch of it has been shaped by more than 10,000 years of human effort and imagination, shaped by a people who learned to write, and more importantly to read, very early on.”
Brady Keisling of Topos Text on a cliff in Greece.
Compiling info sparked an idea
The idea for Topos Text came naturally to Brady. Over the years he had been digitally storing ancient literature texts that fellow Classic lovers were collecting online, knowing he’d want to read them as he traveled through Greece.
One day he thought of combining these important texts with the geographical coordinates related to them. He came up with a name for his idea by marrying the word text and topos, the ancient Greek word for place.
“It should have been easy. Unfortunately, I got carried away. I wanted more texts, everything important for Greek history, mythology, or geography.”
Brady, an American expat living in Athens, eventually made headway by teaming up Bruce Hartzler, a Classics graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin and freelance programmer. He also paired up with Greek software company Pavla to code the one-of-a-kind app.
Topos Text went through a soft launch earlier this year and today Brady’s vision of a humungous digital library of ancient texts combined with a detailed gazetteer is available online and as a free mobile application for iOS and Android smart phones and tablets. The start-up will celebrate a formal launch through the Laskaridis Foundation, a non-profit organization for Greek culture and arts, in early December in Athens.
So far, the start-up efforts are self-funded. Brady hopes that as more Classics lovers download Topos Text, he will receive feedback to improve it including adding new sites, offering new texts, and suggesting ways to apply the ToposText architecture to other projects including ones people would pay for.
“My standard for the success for Topos Text 2.0, due next April, is that I won’t be able to drive more than ten minutes in Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, or southern Italy without consulting it.”
Brady says a little bit of background in history or mythology or art is required to utilize Topos Text to its fullest, an app that journeys with the curious travelers who aim to connect with the most ancient literary culture in the world: Greece.
“Topos Text is a tool to give intellectual depth and respectability to the joy Greece can and should inspire in any sensitive soul.”
Topos Text is downloadable for iOS and Android smart phones and tablets. For more information visit their website.