Mawr Classical Review 1999.04.01
Heinz-G?nther Nesselrath (ed.), Einleitung in die griechische
Philologie. Stuttgart and Leipzig: B.G. Teubner,
1997. Pp. xvi, 773. ISBN 3-519-07435-4. DM 86.
Reviewed by James P. Holoka, Foreign Language Department,
Eastern Michigan University
Word count: 3503
This is the companion volume to Einleitung in die lateinische
Philologie (1996), edited by Fritz Graf. Together they replace
an earlier Teubner publication -- the Einleitung in die
Altertumswissenschaft -- edited by A. Gercke and E. Norden,
which first appeared in 1910 and then, in partially or completely
revised (and expanded) editions over the next quarter century or so.
The individual chapters of "Gercke-Norden" -- written by such
eminent authorities as K.J. Beloch, E. Bethe, H. Dessau, P.
Kretschmer, M.P. Nilsson, M. Pohlenz, J. Vogt, and Gercke and Norden
themselves, among others -- often grew to monograph length. Certain
segments enjoyed separate publication histories, including
translation: for example, Wilamowitz-Moellendorff's masterly,
succinct Geschichte der Philologie appeared in second (1921)
and third (1927) editions of Gercke-Norden, then in English as
History of Classical Scholarship (Baltimore 1982)1
and most recently in a 1997 German edition.2
Also familiar in English versions are Paul Maas's contributions on
Textual Criticism (Oxford 1958) and Greek Metre
(Oxford 1962) and Viktor Ehrenberg's often reprinted The Greek
State (New York/Oxford 1960).
EGP is divided into twenty-nine sections by twenty-six
spread through eight chapters. A detailed sixty-four-page index
contributes greatly to its ease of use.
Chapter I: Geschichte der Texte
Section 1: "Tradierung der Texte im Altertum; Buchwesen" (3-16).
Tiziano Dorandi speculates about ancient authors' methods of
composition and provides basic information about the creation of
dictated or self-written transcriptions, the physical materials of
book production (writing instruments, tablets, papyrus rolls,
codices, etc.), and methods of publication (ekdosis). Also treated
are libraries, public and private, with separate discussion of
Hellenistic, Roman, and Christian collections. Dorandi then outlines
the consequences of the (4th/5th-cent.) transition from the book
roll to the codex for the transmission of literary texts.
Section 2: "Handschriftliche ?berlieferung in Mittelalter und
fr?her Neuzeit; Pal?ographie" (18-44). Herbert Hunger traces the
vagaries of text transcription and transmission after the fall of
the Roman Empire in the West. The effects of political developments
in the East and the West are indicated; in particular, periods of
efflorescence in the Byzantine "book culture" are identified. Also
sketched are Italian humanism as a "Bridgehead to the East" and the
subsequent proliferation of manuscripts elsewhere in western Europe.
The story is carried up to the appearance of editiones
principes, the printing house of Aldus Manutius, and early
efforts to ensure the literary inheritance of antiquity through the
establishment of sound texts. The concluding survey of developments
in paleographic study features sixteen illustrations of manuscript
hands and type sets.
Section 3: "Textkritik" (45-58). Kenneth Dover states the
purposes of textual criticism, discriminates direct text tradition
(through papyri and manuscripts) from indirect (generally through
quotation of one author in another), then discusses obstacles to
construction posed by textual variants, corruptions, lacunae, and
interpolations. Next, he deals with the devising of "genealogical"
stemmata of texts on the basis of telling gaps, shared errors,
manuscript hands, watermarks, etc., and includes an illustrative
diagram. Dover closes with a judicious and sobering estimate of the
kinds of expertise -- linguistic, literary, historical,
philosophical, etc. -- needed by the competent textual critic, and
of the circumspection that should attend efforts to improve a text
through conjecture. "Textual criticism is not a game in which there
is a prize for ingenuity... One takes into account absolutely every
factor that may prove to be significant" (56).
Section 4: "Papyrologie" (59-71). Dieter Hagedorn first defines
the subdiscipline (like epigraphy, in the first instance, denotative
of a material rather than a category of intellectual endeavor). He
identifies types of published papyri -- documentary, literary, and
"semi-literary" -- and methods of analysis applied by modern
editors. This is followed by assessment of the value of
papyrological evidence for the major disciplines: classical
philology and ancient history. As witnesses to the diffusion of
literary texts in small and mid-sized towns of middle and upper
Egypt, they carry sociological implications vis-?-vis political,
socioeconomic, religious, legal, and cultural conditions of life.
Further, the documentary texts in particular illuminate linguistic
change over a period of a millennium or so. Finally, a review of
specialist literature in the field includes tools now becoming
available in CD-ROM format and via the World Wide Web.4
Section 5: "Epigraphik" (72-83). Georg Petzl defines the field as
devoted to inscriptions written in Greek characters (Linear B,
discussed elsewhere, is noted as a special subcategory) particularly
on stone and metal. The chronological terminus post quem is
approximately 800 B.C.; the terminus ante quem is less firmly fixed
(Age of Justinian? Fall of Constantinople?). Petzl first explains
the value of inscriptional evidence for our knowledge of the history
of writing, philology, and Greek language and literature, as well as
for a host of political, social, economic, cultural subject areas.
Next, he outlines methodology -- the epigrapher's management and
description of find-sites, and the preservation, recording (by
photographs, impressions, rubbings, squeezes), documentation,
editing, and publication of inscriptions. He concludes with a
historical sketch of the discipline, the major corpora, special
anthologies, bibliographical tools, and pertinent scholarly
Chapter II: Geschichte der griechischen Philologie
Section 1: "Griechische Philologie im Altertum" (88-103). Nigel
Wilson first speculates about pre-Alexandrian philology: school-aids
like the collections of rare or obsolescent Homeric words, the
allegorical explications of Theagenes of Rhegion, and the
proto-philological bits in Aristophanes, Plato, Isocrates, and
Aristotle. Turning to Hellenistic philology, he discusses the
importance of the Library of Alexandria as locus of scholarly
activity, and isolates the guiding principles of the philologists
who worked there, synopsizing the work of, for example, Zenodotus,
Callimachus, Aristophanes of Byzantium, and Aristarchus as known
from the later scholars who drew on them. A final subsection
describes philology in late antiquity, touching also on the
productions of Jewish and Christian writers, and the origins of
scholia (as influenced -- or not -- by the running biblical
commentary known as catena).
Section 2: "Griechische Philologie in Byzanz" (104-116). In this
pr?cis of his Scholars of Byzantium (2nd ed.: London 1996)
Wilson describes the "dark centuries" from the late sixth through
the late eighth, noting the continuing traditions of Atticism and
grammatical work, and then the "renaissance" of the ninth century,
during which the career of Photius marked the beginning of a long
and continuous tradition of classical studies in Byzantium. Then
comes the "middle Byzantine" era (tenth through twelfth centuries),
marked by the influence of the learned emperor Constantine
Porphyrogenitus, the collaborative work that resulted in the
encyclopedic lexicon known as the Suda, and the careers of
Michael Psellus, Eustathius, and his contemporaries. Wilson
concludes with a look at developments and major figures (especially,
Maximus Planudes, Demetrius Triclinius), between 1204 and the fall
Section 3: "Griechische Philologie in der Neuzeit" (117-132).
Ernst Vogt stresses the usefulness of a familiarity with the history
of modern classical scholarship for an informed sense of the
parameters of the discipline and the techniques and achievements of
its practitioners. His treatment of renaissance humanism highlights
the importance of Byzantium in the transmission of Greek learning to
Italy and the west, the consequences of the availability of printed
editions, and the nature of northern European humanism. Vogt then
summarizes the course of Greek philology from the sixteenth through
eighteenth centuries, with compact biographical notices in two
subsections ("From Bud? to Montfaucon" and "From Bentley to
Porson"). He tracks the emergence of the discrete discipline of
classical studies in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries,
with attention to the nutritive intellectual milieu of Winckelmann,
Herder, Lessing, Goethe, Schiller, and von Humboldt, and the
decisive contributions of C.G. Heyne and F.A. Wolf to the infant
"Wissenschaft vom Altertum." Also outlined are the careers of
leading nineteenth-century German philologists and the creation of
basic research tools such as corpora of inscriptions, compilations
of fragments, papyrological collections, and technical journals. A
separate subsection is devoted to Wilamowitz. The concluding summary
of twentieth-century developments focuses first on the "Crisis of
Historicism" and then on such breakthroughs as oral poetry theory
and the decipherment of Linear B. Also registered is the effect of
the broader currents in literary theory associated with M.M.
Bakhtin, R. Barthes, G. Genette, and J. Derrida.
Chapter III: Geschichte der griechischen Sprache
Section 1: "Vom Mykenischen bis zum klassischen Griechisch"
(136-155). Klaus Strunk, opens his sketch of Mycenaean Greek with a
discussion of physical remains -- tablets, seal stones, and vases --
bearing Linear B script. He then inventories the phonological,
morphological, semantic, and onomastic information derived from
these texts and notes the relative synchronic uniformity of the
language. There follows a discussion of the dialect-groups of early
Greek, their origins, interrelations, and distinctive traits.
Finally, Strunk outlines "literary dialects" -- viz., Ionic, Aeolic,
Attic, and Doric -- and characterizes the poetic language
(Kunstsprache) of Homer, early lyric poets, and dramatic and
prose authors of the classical era.
Section 2: "Von der Koine bis zu den Anf?ngen des modernen
Griechisch" (156-168). The late Robert Browning traces the formation
of koine Greek in the Hellenistic era, its peculiarities of
phonology, morphology, syntax, and vocabulary. He then describes
linguistic developments during Roman imperial and Byzantine times,
with a separate sketch of Atticism. Finally, after noting the
difficulties -- owing to general lack of sources for the period
600-1100 -- that obstruct a precise delineation of the emergence of
modern Greek, Browning describes the "new Kunstsprache" that
appeared as an amalgam of various regional dialects in
Chapter IV: Geschichte der griechischen Literatur
Section 1: "Griechische Literatur bis 300 v. Chr." (171-245), by
Enzo Degani, includes subsections on archaic- and classical-era
epic, lyric, anonymous poetry, folk narrative, philosophy,
scientific writing, history, drama, oratory, and lesser known genres
like dithyramb, mime, epyllion, and the skolion.
Section 2: "Hellenismus" (246-268), by Richard Hunter, has
subsections on dramatic and "para-dramatic" poetry, satiric and
iambic poetry, epic and epyllion, catalog and didactic poetry, hymn
and encomium, epigram, and history.
Section 3: "Kaiserzeit" (269-293), by Heinz-G?nther Nesselrath,
focuses on rhetoric; such "light literature" as Lucian, prose
romance, anecdotal miscellanies, and fictional epistolography;
historical, biographical, and related forms; philosophy; poetry; and
Greek-language Judaic and Christian writings.
Section 4: "Sp?tantike" (294-315), by J?rgen Hammerstaedt, covers
secular literature from Constantine to Theodosius II; Christian
literature from Constantine to the Council of Chalcedon in 451;
secular literature from Marcian to Justinian I; and Christian
literature in the same time span.
Section 5: "Abriss der byzantinischen Literatur" (316-342), by
Athanasios Kambylis, begins with a rather extensive introduction to
Byzantine philology, the nature and the temporal and spatial
boundaries of "Byzantine literature," language and meter, generic
subdivisions, and problems of discrimination among theological,
"high" secular, and popular forms of literature. The following six
chronological segments are: early Byzantine (324-c. 650), the "dark
centuries" from 650 to 800, the pre-Macedonian era (c. 780-c. 850),
Macedonian proper (c. 850-1000), post-Macedonian (1000-c. 1080), the
era of the Comneni (1081-1204), the era of the "successor states"
(1204-1261), and the Palaeologan renaissance of 1261-1453.
Section 6: "Griechische Metrik" (343-362), by Richard Kannicht,
begins with a super-succinct chronicle of the study of Greek meter
(from Gorgias of Leontini to Martin West in one page!). After
presenting the fundamentals and key terminology of Greek prosody,
Kannicht then classifies the meters of Greek poetry within three
principal divisions: standard stichic or "spoken" verse patterns
(dactylic hexameter, elegiac couplet, iambic trimeter, choliambic,
trochaic tetrameter, catalectic and acatalectic iambic tetrameter,
and anapestic tetrameter); epodes and asynarteta; and lyric or
"sung" meters, subdivided into those constructed in repeating metra
(e.g., dactyls, anapests, cretics, dochmiacs) and those not
(dactylo-epitrites and aeolo-choriambics). This chapter-section,
though (chiefly for reasons of scale) it does not supersede Paul
Maas's brilliant Greek Metre, is clear and competent.
The authors of this chapter, the longest the volume (40% of its
contents), have produced a terse literary history without addressing
theoretical issues or the varieties of interpretive appreciations.
They devote less space to purely literary or "higher" criticism of
the ancient authors and more to ancient testimonia and authoritative
editions and collections, though they do catalog especially
influential works of modern secondary literature. The
author-by-author coverage is typically not as full as in the
corresponding entries in the third edition of the Oxford
Classical Dictionary (Oxford 1996), but does offer a coherent
chronological narrative and much fuller bibliographical assistance.
The inclusion of late antique and Byzantine developments is a
distinct advantage over most histories of Greek literature.
An eye-popping three-foot by sixteen-inch fold-out "Synopse der
griechischen Literatur," prepared by Henning L?hken, is packaged in
a sleeve inside the back cover of the volume.
Chapter V: Geschichte der griechischen Welt
Section 1: "Archaische und klassische Zeit" (365-401). Despite
the section title, Gustav Lehmann begins with brief treatments of
Bronze Age Greek civilization from the arrival of Greek-speakers
around 2000 B.C. through the Mycenaean era, the "Dark Age" of
1200-800, and the origins of the Greek polis system. He then
outlines the great era of Greek colonization, early struggles among
the city-states (for instance, the Lelantine War), and the
widespread appearance of tyranny. Next, he characterizes the
anomalous "World of Sparta" in the seventh and sixth centuries.
Further subsections are devoted to the evolution of democracy at
Athens from Solon to Cleisthenes, the Persian Wars, and the Athenian
Sea League and the radical democracy of the fifth century. The
chapter closes with segments on the Peloponnesian War, the
subsequent period of Spartan dominance, and the quest for hegemony
in the fourth century prior to the Battle of Chaeronea.
Section 2: "Hellenismus" (402-417). This section, also by
Lehmann, opens with clarification of terminology and chronology,
then turns to the rise of Macedon under Philip II. Lehmann
summarizes the conquests of Alexander the Great, then dedicates the
chapter's longest subsection to the struggles of the diadochi
and an overview of the Hellenistic states in the third century.
Finally, there is a very concise account of Rome's impingement on
and ultimate subsumption of the Hellenistic kingdoms.
Section 3: "Kaiserzeit" (418-434). For his presentation of the
Roman Imperial-era Greek world, Walter Ameling departs from the more
rigidly chronological tracking favored in Lehmann's narratives. He
begins by noting that the various major and minor Hellenistic states
were not related to or incorporated within the Roman Empire in a
uniform fashion. He also typifies the internal distinctions -- both
social and civil -- among the inhabitants of the Hellenistic states.
Sub-subsections differentiate among client kingdoms and provinces
(both provinciae senatus and provinciae populi
Romani), and identify the various tricky and long-standing
difficulties confronted by Rome along the eastern frontier of the
Empire. Ameling concludes with relatively full scrutiny of specific
regions: Greece proper, Asia Minor, Syria, Judea, and Egypt.
Section 4: "Sp?tantike" (435-454). Edgar Pack commences his
review of the approximately three centuries from Diocletian through
Justinian with pointed reflections on the "continuities between
'decadence' and innovation." Three main section-topics follow: the
sociopolitical system (centers and internal substructures of the
imperial court; military affairs and civil administration both
overarching and city-specific); Christianity and the Church as
(re-)organizational agents; external threats and the split of the
empire into eastern and western segments with divergent fates.
Helpful in reading this chapter are three fold-out maps inside
the back cover: I - Mainland Greece (and some islands), II -
Mainland Greece and the Aegean, III - The Eastern Mediterranean and
Chapter VI: Griechische Religion
In this chapter (457-504), Fritz Graf handles Greek religion
under seven headings. (1) The Unity of Greek Religion: Graf isolates
defining traits of Greek polytheism, the nature of our evidence
about it, and the history of its study since 1829.5
(2) Fundamentals: discussed here are matters of terminology; forms
of ritual; notions of the holy and its locales (natural and
man-made); priests, officials, and seers. (3) Myth: Graf examines
the complicated issue of definition (both ancient and modern),
categorization, function, as well as relations between myth and
religion. (4) The Festival Calendar: this segment offers general
remarks followed by a sketch of Greek time-reckoning and rather
detailed classification of the types of festivals. (5) Religion
beyond the Polis: here are covered such pan-Hellenic phenomena as
divination, healing, and mystery cults. (6) The Gods: in this part,
there are subsections on the nature of Greek polytheism, categories
of divinities -- Olympians, chthonic spirits, minor deities,
collectives (the Fates, nymphs, muses) -- abstractions, and foreign
gods (for example, Cybele, Bendis, Sabazios, and later Isis). (7)
Chapter VII: Griechische Philosophie und Wissenschaften
Section 1: "Philosophie" (507-560). Friedo Ricken begins his
outline of Greek philosophy with a brief definition of terms and an
account of the periodization conventionally adopted in modern times
and popularized by E. Zeller.6
He then allots twelve pages to the pre-Socratics, four to the
Sophists and Socrates, eight to Plato and Platonism (up to
Plotinus), nine to Aristotle and (very briefly) Theophrastus,
fourteen to the Hellenistic philosophies (the lion's share to
Stoicism), and five to Neoplatonism from Plotinus through
Porphyrius, Iamblichus, Proclus, and John Philoponus. Many minor
figures are mentioned, and for each of the major ones, there are
succinct accounts of life, works, and influence.
Section 2: "Wissenschaften" (561-582). Alfred St?ckelberger opens
the section with remarks on the origins of scientific thought in the
pre-Socratics (special stress on cosmology and theory of the
elements) and its further adumbration in the works of Plato and
Aristotle. He then summarizes developments in mathematics,
astronomy, geography, biology, medicine, physics (theoretical and
applied), and chemistry/alchemy, with attention to achievements and
advances in all periods from classical through Roman imperial.
Chapter VIII: Griechische Kunst
Section 1: "Archaische Zeit" (585-608). Wolfram Martini's
discussion begins with painted vases, sculpture, and architecture of
the Geometric and Orientalizing eras. He then takes up the Archaic
era proper (620-480 B.C.) in about the same degree of detail. The
section is enhanced by seventeen b/w illustrations of vases and
sculptures, and four architectural plans/elevations.
Section 2: "Klassik" (609-634). Adolf H. Borbien opens with
rather detailed remarks on centers of artistic production; consumers
and patrons; and finer points of periodization. He then takes up in
turn sculpture, large-scale painting, vase-painting, and (more
briefly) architecture, tracking developments chronologically within
each category. There are ten b/w illustrations of sculpture, two of
Section 3: "Hellenismus" (635-658). Robert Fleischer begins by
advising against the familiar three-period systematization based on
stylistic notions of early, flowering, and late periods.
Following more recent studies, he prefers a three-part system keyed
to political developments only: the era of the diadochi
(323-ca. 275), the heyday of the Hellenistic kingdoms (ca. 275-ca.
150), and the period of Roman domination (ca. 150-30). Fleischer
then portrays the major individual states (Ptolemaic Egypt, the
Seleucid Empire, Pergamum, Antigonid Macedon and Greece, Commagene)
and proceeds generatim to architecture, sculpture (noting
tendencies to classicizing and archaizing and the importance of
copying), and such lesser (or less-attested) forms as terra-cotta,
wall-painting, mosaic, metalworking, seal-stones and cameos, and
ceramics. Sixteen b/w illustrations.
Section 4: "Kaiserzeit" (658-677). Dietrich Willers starts with
observations on the value of the rich available archaeological and
literary evidence for our understanding of the adaptation of Greek
artistic forms to the new conditions and requirements of Roman
imperial civilization. He then discusses public monuments and urban
planning, with emphasis on victory memorials (e.g. at Actium) and
triumphal arches, emperor-cult (e.g. the Ara Augusti in Miletus),
and, more generically, theaters, gymnasia, baths, amphitheaters, and
shrines. Next he highlights aspects of Roman-era urban planning in
four cities: Corinth, Nicopolis, Ephesus, and Athens. Concluding
subsections center on sculpture, including both idealizing and
actual portraiture, sarcophagus and grave reliefs, and finally
wall-paintings and mosaics. Five architectural plans and
Section 5: "Sp?tantike" (678-693). This section, also by Willers,
parallels the preceding one, but concentrates on the fourth through
sixth centuries. Specific topics include (under architecture and
urban planning) the residence of Galerius at Thessalonica, buildings
in Constantinople, and Christian edifices both at the imperial
capital and elsewhere. Sculpture again embraces both idealizing work
and portraiture, as well as historical reliefs and sarcophagi.
Concluding the section are discussions of wall-painting and mosaic;
gold, silver, and ivory objets d'art; and textiles. Four b/w
Section 6: "Griechische Numismatik" (694-707). Herbert Cahn's
exposition is divided into sections on Archaic, Classical, and
Hellenistic. In each, he outlines the state of the evidence -- the
survival and location of coins and coin hoards -- and the
information that evidence provides about the types of coinage,
distinctive styles, and their evolution, with due regard to both
technical details and aesthetic matters. Twenty-seven coins are
illustrated in both obverse and reverse.
Within the constraints of a one-volume reference tool, EGP
is a remarkable accomplishment. In its breadth and continuous manner
of presentation within subject areas, it is more readable than
lexicon-style handbooks like, say, the Oxford Classical
Dictionary. But in its degree of detail and the sheer extent of
its bibliographical guidance, it also surpasses any available
single-volume ancilla to Greek studies. Together with the companion
volume on Latin philology, it constitutes a wonderfully
comprehensive and current, yet not overwhelming,
Vogelperspektive of the disciplines of classical studies.
Professional scholars and graduate students will find it an
invaluable aid to study. In an English translation, it could
admirably serve a similar purpose for undergraduates and interested
1. Translation by A. Harris, with
an introduction and 669 footnotes by H. Lloyd-Jones.
2. Stuttgart/Leipzig: Teubner; with
introduction, expanded bibliography, and index by A. Henrichs.
3. Most of the contributors are
German-speaking; two chapter sections originally in Italian and five
in English are translated into German by J. Hammerstaedt (I.1) and
the editor (I.3, II.1-2, III.2, IV.1-2).
4. E.g., the "Duke Database of Documentary
Papyri" and the "Heidelberger Gesamtverzeichnis der griechischen
year of publication of C.A. Lobeck's fundamental Aglaophamus sive
de theologiae mysticae Graecorum causis libri tres.
6. In his Philosophie der Griechen in
ihrer geschichtlichen Entwicklung (final editions 1919-1923).