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Athenaeus’ Deipnosophists (The Learned Banqueters) is a major Imperial period Greek text in and of itself, but also a source of thousands of fragments by hundreds of authors, many of whom would otherwise be entirely unknown to us. This is the first full new critical edition of the text since that of Georg Kaibel well over a hundred years ago. Kaibel’s text is outdated in many ways, including the fact that he undervalued the Epitome manuscripts, which he thought had no independent significance for the constitution of the text.
The new edition is based on a full collation of the manuscripts, including not just Venetus Marcianus 447 (A, the sole surviving witness to the complete text) and the various Epitome manuscripts, but also a number of 15th-century hybrid versions of Athenaeus already known in Kaibel’s time but ignored by him. Systematic review of the latter set of manuscripts, as well as of early editions also ignored by Kaibel, has allowed numerous conjectures to be reassigned, radically altering our sense of the Early Modern history of the text. A separate, parallel edition of the Epitome is also included.
This now becomes the standard text of the Deipnosophistae and a basic reference work.
S. Douglas Olson, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Germany.
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