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By Yun Lee Too

In The notion of the Library within the historical World Yun Lee Too argues that the traditional library was once even more than its incarnation at Alexandria, which has been the focal point for college kids of the topic up until eventually now. in truth, the library is a posh establishment with many alternative varieties. it may be a construction with books, however it is also person humans, or the person books themselves. In antiquity, the library's features are a number of: as an device of energy, of reminiscence, of which it has numerous modes; as an articulation of a political perfect, an paintings gallery, a spot for sociality. Too in a roundabout way increases vital conceptual questions about the modern library, bringing to those the insights research of antiquity can offer.

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Galen tells a narrative that illustrates this. Ptolemy III (Euergetes, 247–222 bc) borrowed texts from Athens in his zeal to obtain all of the historical books (±ðÜíôøí ôHí ðƺÆØHí âØâºßøí). The texts are to be understood because the licensed versions of the nice dramatists Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, which the rich Athenian orator Lycurgus had required through legislation to be written out and stored in a public depository for session by means of actors (see Plutarch Moralia 841E–842A). Giving as a deposit Wfteen silver skills, he got the texts of the dramatists for copying. The king had fabulous copies made at the Wnest paper; then he stored the ‘old’ (ôaò ðƺÆØÜò) books, sending again the deposit and the ‘new books’ (ŒÆØíaò . . . âßâºïıò). Galen observes that the Athenians are sure to settle for the copies, for, by means of returning the Wfteen silver abilities, Ptolemy intentionally forfeits his warrantly because the penalty for failing to come the unique texts (Comm. II in Hipp. Epidem. three. 239–40). This narrative demonstrates that having the traditional texts skill possessing the unique texts in as far as this is often possible—and, when it comes to the Attic tragedians, this used to be attainable. Athenocentrism is an authorizing movement for the Alexandrian empire and originality is a mark of energy. The beginning of a Library 37 In different respects, this hindrance to procure the unique replica is strictly what jeopardizes the descent of antiquity’s library. simply as Peisistratus had paid for strains of Homer, the libraries at Alexandria and Pergamon oVered Wnancial rewards to people who provided them with volumes of outdated books (ðƺÆØHí âØâºßøí), and therefore the falsiWcation of works from an prior age grew to become a profitable company (cf. Comm. in Hipp. De Nat. Homin. 1. forty four. 10531). a bit of later within the similar paintings Galen notes that there have been no forgeries ahead of this time (Comm. in Hipp. De Nat. Homin. 1. 127). consequently, feedback as practised at Alexandria had therefore to function a method, not only for constructing authenticity of person texts but additionally for saying the concern and privilege of the Hellenic, and preferably the Athenian, tradition that produced them. the fear to discriminate what used to be initially composed by means of Homer from the adulterations and additions produced via next poets and performers of the epics used to be largely the fear that imitations will be (mis)taken for the unique voice and that the voice of authority, Homer’s, could be disseminated among pretenders. To this finish the Wrst librarian and editor of Homer, Zenodotus, engaged in what a contemporary student might realize as textual criticism—although it is very important consider that textual feedback used to be just one measurement of the serious venture at Alexandria. His paintings at the Iliad printed an inclination to forget altogether from the textual content suspected or spurious passages. 32 except outright excision, Zenodotus identiWed speciWc bits of a textual content as being spurious or unacceptable by means of markings. He invented ‘athetization’ (athetismos), the marking procedure during which a passage of textual content is said illegitimate.

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