New texts and old theories

Peter Parsons

in Classics in Progress

Published by British Academy

Published in print January 2006 | ISBN: 9780197263235
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734328 | DOI:

Series: British Academy Centenary Monographs

New texts and old theories

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This chapter describes how the concept of ‘classical’ changes over time by the discovery of new texts. Renaissance scholars collected and printed what they could find. Yet returns soon diminished; and the new science of archaeology could apparently do little to help. However, it gradually became apparent that the cities of the Egyptian Greeks preserved in quantity original books and documents in a way not possible in their motherland. And in one aspect, the papyri are an epiphenomenon of Hellenistic and Roman culture. The twentieth century added to the stock of Greek and Latin literature, slowly and piecemeal. Such finds reminds one how much is lost, and how here and there the lost may be found: new pleasures, new contexts, new interpretations, and new blood for the Classics.

Keywords: Egypt; Greek immigrants; papyrus; Classics; Renaissance

Chapter.  6843 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Classical Literature

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