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Week 4: Philology Week
Transcript of Week 4: Philology Week
THE TRANSMISSION OF HOMER
A philologist is somebody who "
cares for words
He is normally a specialist of a given language and literature, and he worries about
the preservation and transmission of a text
A philologist will study everything that will help him understanding the text and its transmission.
What is a Philologist?
Ancient Scholarship (dictionaries, notes, commentaries)
Quotes of Homer from other authors (Plato etc.)
Mostly Oral Transmission
fragmentary texts, mostly on papyrus
medieval copies of the text, mostly on parchment, in the shape of a book (codex).
The Ambrosian Iliad
this is the Venetus A, our most important manuscript of the Iliad, copied in the X cent. CE. This image shows the beginning of Il. book II., lines 1-10.
This is another image of the Venetus A codex, showing the commentary surrounding the text. Book II, lines: 263-273
The entire manuscript is available online!
Scripts and Writing Materials
our earliest complete manuscripts of Homer
the first print edition of an ancient text is called
For the Iliad, the EDITIO PRINCEPS is by
Demetrius Chalcocondyles in 1488, in Florence
A print edition of Aristoteles by
, a prominent italian publisher in the XVI cent.
The Arabs invade Egypt!
1453: fall of Constantinople
Indirect references from other authors?
Families of Manuscripts
A modern Edition of a text
after whom the Lachmann method (STEMMATIC method) is named.
He is famous for his edition of Lucretius (1850), which used the method very successfully.
A sample of Greek Scripts
Transmission and Corruption
Impossible to reconstruct!
This we can reconstruct
the text that originated our texts
A textual Criticism Question
You have to put together an edition of an ancient text.
You know that several ancient manuscripts exist for that text.
In order to make the edition you:
a. Look for the OLDEST manuscript that you can find, and reproduce that faithfully.
b. Look for the BEST manuscript that you can find (the one that seems to have the cleanest, most reliable text), and reproduce that faithfully.
c. Look for the BEST manuscript that you can find, reproduce that faithfully, only correcting obvious mistakes.
d. Collect ALL the manuscripts that you can find, and compare them systematically, in order to determine how they are related to each other.
Models of Textual Transmission
A simple model
Our oldest manuscript is the archetype!
A more complex model
The archetype is lost!
we have to reconstruct the archetype by COMPARING our two manuscripts!
Rama is great, Rama is mighty,
Rama does what Rama should.
Rama is reat, Rama is good,
Rama does what Rama should.
A small reconstruction exercise
A yet more complex model
The archetype is lost!
what is the most valuable manuscript?
the method of sorting manuscripts into family trees
manuscripts can be grouped by the ERRORS that they share
All manuscripts in a family will share the FAMILY ERRORS,
plus they will have some errors of their own.
Not just ANY ERROR will do
this is a banal error that can happen at any time
By using this method, we can reconstruct the transmission of the text, as well as THE ARCHETYPE.
The method at work
By studying how the errors must have been transmitted from one manuscript to the other, we can reconstruct the family tree (STEMMA) of all the manuscripts.
We call this the LACHMANN METHOD.
The basic principles
Limits of the Lachmann Method
So far we assumed that the text can only get worse overtime.
What if this is not the case?
what if the scribe improves the text?
what if the scribe consults multiple manuscripts from different families?
what if there isn't a single ARCHETYPE,
but an OPEN tradition?
scribes were also scholars
scribes too can try to make editions
this is the "common" text that most of our manuscripts seem to reflect
this is the result of scholarly work at Alexandria and during the Roman Empire. It is preserved in EXCERPTS in the MARGINS of some medieval manuscripts.
Can you apply the method?
You have 6 manuscripts of the first lines of the Iliad.
By comparing the manuscripts, establish what the original text (=the archetype) must have been like. Note that the archetype is not identical to any of the manuscripts below.
To solve the problem, use the STEMMATIC method (see pg. 211ff of Chapter 6 of Scribes and Scholars) – that is, build a family tree of the manuscripts, and determine which manuscripts are closest to the archetype. Then compare these to reconstruct the archetype.
Your solution will consist of two parts:
1. a family tree of the manuscripts (=STEMMA CODICUM)
2. the reconstructed text of the archetype
The wrath, Sing, o Goddess, of Peleus’ son, Achilles,
Ruinous, which countless pains brought upon the Acheans
Siege of Constantinople as depicted between 1453 and 1475.
Solution to the Philology Problem