Encyclopaedism from Antiquity to the Renaissance

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  1. Encyclopaedism from Antiquity to the Renaissance
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Payment Methods accepted by seller. Stock Image. Published by Cambridge University Press, New Condition: Neuf Hardcover. Save for Later. About this Item pages. It traces the development of traditions of knowledge ordering which stretched back to Pliny and Varro and others in the classical world. It works with a broad concept of encyclopaedism, resisting the idea that there was any clear pre-modern genre of the 'encyclopaedia', and showing instead how the rhetoric and techniques of comprehensive compilation left their mark on a surprising range of texts.

Bibliographic Details Title: Encyclopaedism from Antiquity to the He has also edited volumes on literacy, on the city of Rome and on Roman religion and has published widely on ancient history and Roman archaeology. Encyclopaedism from Antiquity to the Renaissance. Machine generated contents note: 1.


  1. Encyclopaedism from antiquity to the renaissance - Ghent University Library.
  2. The Fire in Her Heart (Shifting Realities Book 1).
  3. Encyclopedia and Encyclopedism.

Classical Encyclopaedism: 2. Encyclopaedism in the Alexandrian Library Myrto Hatzimichali; 4. Encyclopaedias of virtue? Collections of sayings and stories about wise men in Greek Teresa Morgan; 6. Plutarch's corpus of Quaestiones in the tradition of imperial Greek encyclopaedism Katerina Oikonomopoulou; 7.

Medieval Encyclopaedism: Byzantine encyclopaedism of the ninth and tenth centuries Paul Magdalino; Shifting horizons: the medieval compilation of knowledge as mirror of a changing world Elizabeth Keen; Neither work has survived, but their lengths suggest that they were considerably more than just dictionaries. Pamphilus's work was 95 books long and was a sequel to a lexicon of four books by Zopyrion. This passage from the Souda suggests that it was made up of alphabetized entries: [16].

Hesychius fifth century credits Diogenianus as a source, [18] who in turn used Pamphilus. A Roman who wanted to learn about a certain subject would a send a slave to a private library with orders to copy relevant passages from whatever books were available. As they were less likely to withdraw or buy a book, readers were little concerned with the scope of a given work. So the emergence of encyclopedic writing cannot be explained by practical need.

Instead, it may have been inspired by Cato 's ideal of the vir bonus , the informed citizen able to participate in the life of the Republic.

Encyclopaedism from Antiquity to the Renaissance

These three were grouped together as a genre, not by the Romans themselves, but by later writers in search of antique precedent. In Cicero's time, the study of literature was still controversial. In Pro Archia , Cicero explains that he studied literature to improve his rhetorical skills and because it provides a source of elevating moral examples.

Varro's emphasis on the city's history and culture suggests patriotic motives. Pliny emphasized utilitarian motives and public service. He criticized Livy for writing history simply for his own pleasure. Varro's Antiquities consisted of 41 books on Roman history. His Disciplines was nine books on liberal arts.

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Varro also wrote 25 books on Latin and 15 on law. Only fragments of Varro's work survive. According to Cicero, Varro's comprehensive work allowed the Romans to feel at home in their own city. Celsus wrote prolifically on many subjects. This is eight books long. Celsus followed the structure of the medical writers that had gone before him. He summarized their views in a workmanlike manner.

He seldom presented insights of his own. He struggled to manage the overwhelming quantity of relevant source material. He is our main source concerning Roman medical practices. If Varro made the Romans feel at home their own city, Pliny tried to do the same for the natural world and for the Empire. Pliny's approach was very different than that of Celsus. He was a man ahead of his time. Not content to build on what went before, he reorganized the world of knowledge to fit his encyclopedic vision.

In a Latin preface, the writer customarily listed the models he hoped to surpass. Pliny found no model in previous writing. Instead, he emphasized that his work was novicium new , a word suitable for describing a major discovery. Although Pliny was widely read, no later Roman writer followed his structure or claimed him as a model. In the introduction of Natural History , Pliny writes:.

With an entire book dedicated to listing sources, Natural History is 37 books long.

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It's 10 volumes in the modern translation. Book 2 covers astronomy, meteorology, and the elements. Books 3—6 cover geography. Humanity is covered in Book 7, animals in Books 8—11, trees in 12—17, agriculture in 18—19, medicine in 20—32, metals in 33—34, and craft and art in 35— Following Aristotle, Pliny counts four elements: fire, earth, air and water. Pliny had opinions on a wide variety of subjects often interjected them. He tells us which uses of plants, animals, and stone are proper, and which ones are improper.

Was the Roman Empire benefiting or corrupting the classical world? Pliny returns to this theme repeatedly. He analogizes Rome's civilizing mission to the way poisonous plants of all nation were tamed into medicines. The extensive reading and note taking of his slave secretaries is rarely mentioned.

At the very end of the work, Pliny writes, "Hail Nature, parent of all things, and in recognition of the fact that I alone have praised you in all your manifestations, look favorably upon me. Nature awarded Pliny a heroic death that gave him "a kind of eternal life," according to his nephew.

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The great encyclopedist was commander of the Naples fleet and died trying to assist the local inhabitants during the eruption of Vesuvius in AD While classical and modern encyclopedic writers sought to distribute knowledge, those of the Middle Ages were more interested in establishing orthodoxy. They produced works to be used as educational texts in schools and universities. Students could consider the knowledge within them as safely orthodox and thus be kept from heresy.

Limiting knowledge was an important part of their function. As a Stoic , Pliny began with astronomy and ended with the fine arts. Cassiodorus attempted to write a Christian equivalent to Pliny's work. His Institutiones begins with discussions of scripture and the church. Other subjects are treated briefly toward the end of the work. With onset of the Dark Ages, access to Greek learning and literacy in Greek declined.