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Forum Antiquum: Myths, islands, signs: snapshots of the exegesis to the Odyssey from across the centuries

  • Filippomaria Pontani
Thursday 14 September 2017
Forum Antiquum


Myths, islands, signs: snapshots of the Greek exegesis to the Odyssey from across the centuries

The ongoing, new edition of the scholia to the Odyssey is a good opportunity not only to give a fresh look to the manuscript tradition of Homer, but also to pause and shed some new light on issues pertaining to the history of Homeric exegesis across the centuries. In the present lecture, we shall focus on three samples, all concerning books 6-8 of the poem:

a) the problem of Euboea, with a special focus on the problematic mention of the island in η 321, and on the geographical and mythographical background of this quaestio;

b) a new occurrence of a critical sign in the Homeric scholia, and its possible consequences on our image of the procedures of philological annotation at Alexandria;

c) the longue durée of the Frage involving the attitude of heroes towards manual work and αὐτουργία, spanning from Porphyry to the Byzantine commentary of Eustathios down to the querelle des anciens et des modernes in 17th- and 18th-century Europe.


Filippomaria Pontani is Associate Professor of Classical Philology at the University of Venice “Ca’ Foscari”. While primarily concerned with issues of manuscript transmission, he is currently editing the ancient and medieval scholia to Homer’s Odyssey (3 vols., Rome 2007-2015). He has published extensively on Greek and Latin texts (Sappho, Simonides, Pindar, Aeschylus, Euripides, Callimachus, Lucilius, Catullus, Virgil, Petronius etc.), on Byzantine scholarship (Isaac Porphyrogenitus; Eustathius of Thessalonica; Maximus Planudes; Georgius Gemistus Pletho; a synthesis in the recent Brill’s Companion to Ancient Greek Scholarship), on humanistic poetry (Politian’s Liber epigrammatum Graecorum, Rome 2002; works by Janos Laskaris and Markos Mousouros; the activity of Aldus Manutius), and on modern Greek literature (Poeti greci del Novecento, with N. Crocetti, Milan 2010; several translations from Cavafy to Kariotakis to Vagenas). He has focused inter alia on the rise of ancient grammar, scholarship, and rhetoric (also in a comparative spirit with the Hebrew and Arabic tradition), on Homeric allegoresis (Eraclito, Questioni omeriche, Pisa 2005), and on the literary facies of ancient myths (Proteus, Calypso etc.).

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