This week we have passed our most significant milestone since the proposal for a new dictionary of medieval Latin a century ago. After decades of painstakingly working through the alphabet, yesterday we celebrated the end of drafting (a point we actually reached earlier this week).
Of course, there is still a large amount of work to be done to get the last part of the dictionary text through the rest of the editorial process and into print as the final fascicule in time for its launch in December. It is nonetheless an achievement worthy of note and it comes as the result of the hard work not only of the present team but of our predecessors over the years.
Publication in December will be the basis for our major celebration of completing the dictionary, but we felt the end of drafting – which began in the mid-1960s – to be a moment worthy of cake and sparkling wine.
In fact, our recent searches through our project archives have revealed several early estimates for the amount of time drafting would take – varying mainly from between 10 and 20 years’ work for two or perhaps three people. Those estimates, which could not have foreseen the aid of modern technology, were sadly wrong by a huge amount, but decades of persistence despite vicissitudes has brought us to this point. Thus, reaching the end of drafting gives the present team huge satisfaction in having seen through to the end a task that has proved far more demanding than anyone expected. We look forward now to December and seeing the final part in print.