The Digital Schoolbook v. 0.3a

Exploring the long history of education

Focus as of v. 0.3a: the Disticha Catonis between the 9th and 19th centuries

In preparation for future versions: Latin grammars, Cartillas para aprender a leer, Aesop's Fables in Indigenous languages of the Americas

About the DSB

The Digital Schoolbook (DSB), a labor of love by a multidisciplinary team based at the University of Notre Dame and the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, is an online research and learning environment devoted to Latin educational material, ancient, medieval, and modern. The DSB focuses currently on the Disticha Catonis, a collection of two-verse Latin poems of proverbial wisdom composed between the 3rd and 4th centuries AD, erroneously ascribed in the Middle Ages to Cato the Elder (234-149 BC) or Cato the Younger (95-46BC). Copied and translated in the thousands, the Disticha Catonis was one of the basic texts for teaching Latin to young children in the Middle Ages and up to the 19th century. The DSB aims to transform the Disticha Catonis into a digital schoolbook.

Current sections

Disticha Catonis Database

An indispensable tool for researchers, our fully searchable database contains information on 1116 manuscripts of the Disticha Catonis produced between the early 9th century and well into the late 1800s.

Distichs Reader

A pedagogical resource aimed at Latin teachers and learners, our Distichs Reader offers an interactive application for facilitating the reading of the Disticha Catonis as a Latin primer. It offers full scansions of the poems, word rearrangement and synonym replacement for making their reading easier, as well as audio recordings.


Data visualizations of our database, including maps of current manuscript locations.


A mini-encyclopedia of all things Disticha Catonis, containing articles written and reviewed by expert researchers in our team.

Main Researcher

W. Martin Bloomer
Professor of Classics, University of Notre Dame
247 O'Shaughnessy Hall
(574) 631-2324