Written Texts and the Rise of Literate Culture in Ancient Greece
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The landmark developments of Greek culture and the critical works of Greek thought and literature were accompanied by an explosive growth in the use of written texts from the sixth through the fourth centuries B.C.E. The creation of the "classical" and the perennial use of Greece by later European civilizations as a source of knowledge and inspiration would not have taken place without the textual innovations of the classical period. This book considers how writing, reading, and disseminating texts led to new ways of thinking and new forms of expression and behavior.
sorts of education: Nicias’ son Niceratus was proud of having learned the entire Iliad and Odyssey by heart (Symposium 3.5), but Euthydemus, who had had the “best” paideia, collected (sylleg¯o) “numerous writings of poets and sophists” (Memorabilia 4.2.1). A school library described by the comic poet Alexis (PCG 140) contained recitable verse – Orpheus, Hesiod, Epicharmus, tragedy, Choerilus – and “all kinds of texts,” perhaps a reference to prose. If we construe “tragedy” as referring to tragic
polished stones 8 9 10 11 The word dikaspolos, sometimes translated “judge,” is only used as an adjective applied to a person “when he gives judgments” (Iliad 1.238, Odyssey 11.186). Another word – ist¯or – is found in the shield scene (Iliad 18.501: the litigants are seeking an ist¯or), but in the one other occurrence of the term (Iliad 23.486) it is not a professional but Agamemnon, who just happens to be present, who is asked to be the ist¯or. Talamanca 1979. Benveniste 1969: 2.107–10 (s.v.
profession, not his name, that he thought would make him attractive. By the time we get to the classical period, however, we are faced with something of a paradox. In some ways medicine is, if anything, held in even higher regard. In Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound (478–83) Prometheus says he has shown men remedies to ward off all illnesses 9 10 11 12 13 empirical observation that is used by the author of Diseases 4.52 as an analogy for the clotting of bodily humors and of which Aristotle makes
Sophist 232d). That is, Protagoras apparently demonstrated how one could use the techn¯e of rhetoric (i.e., the ﬁeld that was ﬁghting hard to establish itself among the more traditional technai) to defend the more traditional technai should they be attacked by rhetoric.17 The adversaries of On the Art of Medicine may well have been composed more of straw than of ﬂesh. Outside of the medical literature itself, negative portrayals of iatroi do not appear until the fourth century. When Aristophanes
shall underline particular concerns over particular points in due course. But the problem is a general one and needs to be borne in mind throughout. technologies of communication in china and greece Let me begin with China. By the time of the Eastern Han dynasty (ca. 23– 220 c.e.), certain classic texts had acquired canonical status and their transmission and use are comparatively well documented. The canons ( jing) in question included not just the so-called Confucian classics2 but also medical