Manuscripts from the Byzantine era hand down lists of outstanding Greek authors or canons in the various literary and scientific-philosophical genres, but there has been a lack of research into their nature, chronology, origin, formation and use. The volume Παραδείγματα, the term used in rhetorical texts to designate the canons, provides a new critical edition of these lists as a basis for the topics discussed.
One of the lists, hitherto thought to be unitary, turns out to be composed of two originally independent and diachronic lists, later joined into one: an older one, dating back at least in part to Alexandrian philology, and another possibly from the 5th-6th century AD with additions up to the 9th, formed between Alexandria and Constantinople. A later list of canons, referable to the 13th-14th centuries, proves to be different from the previous ones, reflecting all-Byzantine instances partly intrinsic to Byzantine orthodoxy since it includes Church Fathers and theologians, partly resulting from cultural turning points of the 11th-12th centuries, partly inspired by the Second Sophistic.
The groups and authors of each list were then examined, recalling their geo-historical context, activity, production and textual tradition, and their place in Serorian scholarship. Finally, the lists were compared with the canons transposed or reformulated by Byzantine scholars and scholars. The volume may prove useful to those concerned with ancient literary and scientific-philosophical canons, the history of scholarship, the use of the classics and the Church Fathers in Byzantium.