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Original Manuscripts?

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Original Manuscripts?

Postby Milito » Thu May 22, 2003 3:49 pm

There may have been something odd in the coffee this morning. I got to wondering about the structuring of original manuscripts (or, at least, the as-close-as-possible-to-original copies), in either Latin or Greek, and modern editions and/or translations.<br /><br />I read through Herodotus, parts of Thucydides and parts of Arrian (in English) last winter, and all of them are divided into "books" (which I roughly equate to "chapters", though I understand they were originally actual separate volumes). The "books" in turn all have "section" numbers at varying intervals along the margins. These are not line numbers, since they progress upward numerically. The Latin version of Cicero that I'm plowing through is similarly divided.<br /><br />Where did these "sections" come from? I assume they must be indicated somehow in the original manuscripts, but how? Were they actually numbered, so that the modern margin numbers are actual translations themselves, or are they arbitrary additions, or something in between?<br /><br />Just curious.......... <br /><br />Kilmeny
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Re:Original Manuscripts?

Postby Carola » Sat May 31, 2003 1:41 pm

I don't have any real knowledge in this area, but would they have been the amount which appeared on each scroll? I don't think you could have fitted a huge amount of writing on one scroll or they would have been too difficult to manage when reading. Did they used to produce a "set" of scrolls for something like Herodotus' Histories? If any Textkit people know this I would love to hear about book production in ancient Rome or Greece, sounds like a fascinating subject.
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Re:Original Manuscripts?

Postby Elucubrator » Sat May 31, 2003 10:34 pm

One thing I have learned about the terminology of ancient books is that the term "scroll" applies only to biblical texts, whereas all other texts receive the term "roll". <br /><br />The roll was held in both hands and read from left to right, not top to bottom, so the text had the appearance of a bunch of pages arranged side by side, and as you read, you would unroll the next page from one side and roll the page you were reading into the other. The books were not held or read with one hand above the other.<br /><br />Now the book in roll form was a pretty impractical thing. Imagine having to flip to the back of that to consult the glossary for instance. :) People had to read a book and keep it all in their heads because it was too difficult to go back to check something later. Eventually this problem is resolved by unrolling the book and cutting the roll between each of the columns of text. All these loose sheets were then bound into something calld a codex, which is the direct ancestor of our books. <br /><br />I think, but I am not entirely certain of this, that those funny numbers refer to each of the columns of text that were originally pages in the codices (pl. of codex), however, you also see a different set of numbers that indicate the different chapter headings or new paragraphs in the text, as each page in the codex from the cutting of the papyrus roll into does not necessarily correspond to one section of the work.<br /><br />The expert on this is William A. Johnson at the University of Cincinnati. Among other things, he is a scholar of reading and of the book culture in the ancient world. He was working on a book and I think it will be coming out soon, if it has not already been published. You can also find information on this stuff in a book called Scribes and Scholars, now in the 3rd edition.<br /><br />This is a fascinating topic. Johnson published an award winning article a few years ago that will bring you up to date on the scholarship going on in this field. You can find it in the American Journal of Philology (APA) Winter 2000, volume 121, Number 4, pp. 593-627. I can't wait until his book comes out.<br /><br />I should check with him to see if the information I gave in this message is correct. He will probably blush and deny being the leading expert, but it's because he's modest. :) Hopefully he will be willing to post some notes for us.<br /><br />take care,<br /><br />Sebastian
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Re:Original Manuscripts?

Postby annis » Sat May 31, 2003 10:52 pm

[quote author=Elucubrator link=board=6;threadid=125;start=0#645 date=1054420463]<br /><br />Now the book in roll form was a pretty impractical thing. <br /><br />[/quote]<br /><br />Thus Callimachus,<br /><br />[face=SPIonic]me/ga bibli/on me/ga kako/n[/face]<br /><br />"A big book is a big pain."
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Re:Original Manuscripts?

Postby Elucubrator » Sun Jun 01, 2003 5:40 am

[quote author=William Annis link=board=6;threadid=125;start=0#646 date=1054421522]<br />Thus Callimachus,<br /><br />[face=SPIonic]me/ga bibli/on me/ga kako/n[/face]<br /><br />"A big book is a big pain."<br />[/quote]<br /><br />Ahhh, that's what he meant. I thought he meant that a book that was too big was just boring. I would apply the quote to the LSJ, otherwise known as the muleslayer. <br /><br />I like the translation: "a big book, a big evil". :) makes much more sense when you think of the roll. Can you imagine if you dropped your book on a hill! That would be a mess. :o<br /><br />-S. ;D
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Re:Original Manuscripts?

Postby Milito » Mon Jun 02, 2003 3:52 pm

Much thanks for the good information (another couple of books to go looking for! Wheeeeee!) and the good laughs! (And here I was figuring that the big book was the one chosen to throw at someone who's been misbehaving......)<br /><br />(Chapters/Indigo lists a book by William A Johnson, University of Toronto Press, called Bookrolls and Scribes in Oxyrhynchus, and says that it's to be published in December 2003. Is this the one you were meaning? What is an Oxyrhynchus? It sounds like something that should be on the World Wildlife Federation endangered species list!)<br /><br />Kilmeny
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Re:Original Manuscripts?

Postby annis » Mon Jun 02, 2003 4:25 pm

[quote author=Milito link=board=6;threadid=125;start=0#673 date=1054569178]<br /> What is an Oxyrhynchus? It sounds like something that should be on the World Wildlife Federation endangered species list!)<br />[/quote]<br /><br />Close. It means "sharp-nosed." It's a kind of fish. :)<br /><br />It was also the name of a city. Not a very remarkable city except that some archaeologists found the city trash heap, which has provided us manuscript scraps a plenty.<br /><br />http://www.csad.ox.ac.uk/POxy/<br /><br />
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Re:Original Manuscripts?

Postby Elucubrator » Tue Jun 03, 2003 3:49 am

[quote author=Milito link=board=6;threadid=125;start=0#673 date=1054569178]<br />(Chapters/Indigo lists a book by William A Johnson, University of Toronto Press, called Bookrolls and Scribes in Oxyrhynchus, and says that it's to be published in December 2003. Is this the one you were meaning?)<br /><br />Kilmeny<br />[/quote]<br /><br />That's the one! ;)
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Re:Original Manuscripts?

Postby Milito » Tue Jun 03, 2003 2:07 pm

[quote author=William Annis link=board=6;threadid=125;start=0#676 date=1054571106]<br /><br />It was also the name of a city. Not a very remarkable city except that some archaeologists found the city trash heap, which has provided us manuscript scraps a plenty.<br /><br />http://www.csad.ox.ac.uk/POxy/<br /><br /><br />[/quote]<br /><br />That's an absolutely fascinating site! I think I could happily bury myself in the stuff that trash heap turned up for a century or two.... ;) So now I just have to twitch a lot until the book that Seba mentioned gets published......<br /><br />Kilmeny
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Re:Original Manuscripts?

Postby Dean » Sat Jun 14, 2003 5:11 am

As I was reading some of the posts about original manuscripts, I have a book that I could recommend that has quite a bit of information about manuscripts and the manuscript tradition. In explaination, I add it tells how they trace the manuscripts back to one or two sources and even how they arrive at figuring out how many pages there were. Anyway the book covers Lucretius and "De Rerum Natura" and I had never seen a book quite like it since. It is almost a masterwork on Lucretius.<br />The title of the book is: T. Lcuretius Cari DE RERUM NATURA: edited by William Ellery Leonard and Stanley Barney Smith. It was published by the University of Wisconsin Press and is almost 900 pages long!<br /><br />Aeneadum genetrix, hominum divomque voluptas,<br />alma Venus, caeli subter labentia signa...<br /><br />And with that I will pass over Lucretius in silence :)
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Re:Original Manuscripts?

Postby Skylax » Wed Jun 18, 2003 1:12 pm

[quote author=William Annis link=board=6;threadid=125;start=0#646 date=1054421522]<br /><br />Thus Callimachus,<br /><br />[face=SPIonic]me/ga bibli/on me/ga kako/n[/face]<br /><br />"A big book is a big pain."<br />[/quote]<br /><br />It is said that this sentence was originally a reaction against Apollonius of Rhodus.<br /><br />Apollonius had written an extremely long poem, intitled Argonautica, in 4 huge "books" (rolls). In contrast, Callimachus wrote only relatively short poems. <br /><br />A matter of taste, because it was technically possible to edit very large works. Callimachus, for example, wrote a Catalogue of the Library of Alexandria in 120 (sadly lost) books.<br /><br />Regards,<br />Fernand<br />
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Oxyrhynchus

Postby annis » Thu Jun 19, 2003 9:42 pm

For those with the big bucks, Sotheby's, via EBay, is brokering the sale of several Oxy papyri (search on "papyri" - not "papyrus" which gets you cheapo pseudo-Egyptian goo).<br /><br />This has caused palaeographers all over small fits - some big fits - since there's no way to be sure the papyri aren't going to end up in a private collection.<br /><br />Starting tomorrow.<br />
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