“Work in Progress” colloquium
12 October 2023
The Centre hosts the following two talks:
1. A. Ellis (Bern), ‘“Greek” in the Medieval Latin Manuscripts of Josephus: Reconstructing the Philological Workings of a Late-Antique Translator’
This talk begins with a series of “Greek” annotations in the margins of a manuscript in Bern (Bern Burgerbibliothek 183), produced in Fleury in the late 10th century by a lay scribe called Rotbertus. The manuscript contains the late-antique Latin translation of Josephus’ Jewish War and its handful of Greek marginalia annotate Josephus’ description of the Essenes, an ascetic community who inhabited the Judean deserts in the first-century BCE. In this talk, I reconstruct the original Greek behind these marginalia and ask how these snippets of garbled Graeca made their way into a medieval Latin manuscript. I trace them back through the manuscript tradition and, after weighing up several possibilities, suggest that we are dealing with Greek words left in the Latin translation by its anonymous author, reflecting unsolved philological quandaries.
2. S. De Martin (Oxford), ‘Reassessing the transmission of Strato com. fr. 1 K.-A.’
In this paper I will discuss the textual transmission of the only extant fragment ascribed to the comic poet Strato. In these hilarious forty-seven lines, a man reports a dialogue he had with a cook who speaks using Homeric glosses – a conversation which resolves in a series of misunderstandings. The fragment is preserved in book 9 of Athenaeus’ Deipnosophists, as well as in P.Cair. 65445, a ‘schoolbook’ that includes a literary anthology. Besides some lacunae due to material damage, the papyrus’ version lacks five lines that are extant in Athenaeus, though the text does not present major linguistic or semantic difficulties. Does Athenaeus preserve an interpolated version of the text? Or is the papyrus’ text abridged? Things are complicated by the fact that in book 14 Athenaeus cites again the first four lines of the text and ascribe them to Philemon.
The talks will take place in the Memorial Room of The Queen’s College on the 7th of November (3.30-5pm).