среда, 05. фебруар 2014.

Bibliotheca

Coming Soon: Saint Photius Patriarch of Constantinople, "MYRIOBIBLON, sive Bibliotheca librorum quos legit et censuit...", parallel text in Greek and SERBIAN...
The most important of the works of Photios is his renowned Bibliotheca or Myriobiblon, a collection of extracts and abridgements of 280 volumes of classical authors (usually cited as Codices), the originals of which are now to a great extent lost. The work is especially rich in extracts from historical writers.
Some older scholarship speculated that the Bibliotheca was in fact compiled in Baghdad at the time of Photius's embassy to the Abbasid court, since many of the mentioned works were rarely cited during the so-called Byzantine Dark Ages c. 630-c. 800, and it was known that the Abbasids were interested in works of Greek science and philosophy. However, specialists of this period of Byzantine history, such as Paul Lemerle, have shown that Photius could not have compiled his Bibliotheca in Baghdad because he clearly states in both his introduction and his postscript that when he learned of his appointment to the embassy, he sent his brother a summary of books that he read previously, "since the time I learned how to understand and evaluate literature" i.e. since his youth. Moreover, the Abbasids were interested only in Greek science, philosophy and medicine; they did not have Greek history, rhetoric, or other literary works translated; nor did they have Christian patristic writers translated. Yet the majority of works in Bibliotheca are by Christian patristic authors, and most of the secular texts in Bibliotheca are histories, grammars or literary works, usually rhetoric, rather than science, medicine or philosophy. This further indicates that the majority of the works cannot have been read while Photius was in the Abbasid empire.
To Photios, we are indebted for almost all we possess of Ctesias, Memnon of Heraclea, Conon, the lost books of Diodorus Siculus, and the lost writings of Arrian. Theology and ecclesiastical history are also very fully represented, but poetry and ancient philosophy are almost entirely ignored. It seems that he did not think it necessary to deal with those authors with whom every well-educated man would naturally be familiar. The literary criticisms, generally distinguished by keen and independent judgment, and the excerpts vary considerably in length. The numerous biographical notes are probably taken from the work of Hesychius of Miletus.

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