Kallimachos: The Alexandrian Library and the Origins of by Rudolf Blum

By Rudolf Blum

The recognized library of Alexandria, based round 295 BCE by way of Ptolemaios I, housed the best choice of texts within the old international and was once a fertile website of Hellenistic scholarship. Rudolf Blum’s landmark examine, initially released in German in 1977, argues that Kallimachos of Kyrene was once not just the second one director of the Alexandrian library but additionally the inventor of 2 crucial scholarly instruments nonetheless in use to at the present time: the library catalog and the “biobibliographical” reference paintings. Kallimachos multiplied the library’s stock lists into volumes referred to as the Pinakes, which generally defined and labeled every one paintings and have become in impression a Greek nationwide bibliography and the resource and paradigm for many later bibliographic lists of Greek literature. notwithstanding the Pinakes haven't survived, Blum makes an attempt an in depth reconstruction of Kallimachos’s inventories and catalogs in line with a cautious research of surviving assets, that are provided the following in complete translation.

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Extra info for Kallimachos: The Alexandrian Library and the Origins of Bibliography (Wisconsin Studies in Classics)

Example text

90 Some researchers think that Aristotle listed in his DidluIuUiai also the choregoi,91 but this is improbable. 94 Aristotle's Didas/cQliIli were doubtless based on the documents in the archives of the archons, because only there could he find the countless details that he included in his list. Other sources, such as oral traditions, inscriptions of votive offerings by victorious choregoi, editions of plays by famous poets, or information from chroniclers, were only taken into account where official documents were lacking.

According to Choiroboskos, the only scholar who indicates the contents of the Pinax ton didIlSkDliJn by Kallimachos, it listed the authors of ancient plays. In my opinion, this indicates that KalIimachos's source, the Didask4/iQi of Aristotle which he merely reorganized, were only a list of performances of plays. The term Didask4liDi, as pointed out above, was merely a citation title. ll2 Aristotle could have had a good reason for not listing the performance of dithyrambs. For him, as a literary historian, onlr the dithyrambs performed by choruses and their authors were of interestY He would even have to list, analogous to the performances of plays, all authors and titles of the songs performed by the choruses of boys and men from each of the ten phyltU.

Initially, he wanted perhaps to collect only material for his lectures, arguments for his assertions. He was the first to expound a thesis which characterizes the men of enlightenment of the fifth century and which was the foundation of their critique of society, namely the thesis of the difference between that which has been ordained by nature (physei) and what is only stipulated by human statute (nomo�and is therefore not ctcrnal and immutable, but transitory and changeable. 3 This is particularly obvious in his list of victors at the Olympic contcsts which was also certainly bascd on archival studies.

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