Article

Athenaeus of Naucratis

Natalia Pedrique

in Classics

ISBN: 9780195389661
Published online January 2018 | | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195389661-0291
Athenaeus of Naucratis

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During the 19th and the great part of the 20th century, scholarship was mainly interested in Athenaeus as a source for the many authors he quotes in his work. Of a lot of them we would not have any text without him. Therefore Athenaeus was and is still an important author for those working on critical editions of fragmentary texts, especially of ancient Greek comedy and historiography. Even though this traditional area remains valuable for scholarship, the development of literary studies and their new focus on texts has also influenced the examination of Athenaeus. Research work enquiring into the function of these fifteen books and the literary methods used for them opens new questions and perspectives on the quoted texts. This constitutes important progress especially for the mentioned literary genres of ancient Greek comedy and historiography. New perspectives consider Athenaeus in his historical and intellectual context. The symposial themes, the permanent focus on erudition, and the often playful tone reflected through the twenty-nine guests of the Roman host Larensis belongs to the Second Sophistic. Athenaeus’s methods of analysis can be compared with similar works of the same period, earlier or later than him, which enriches and expands our knowledge about the methodological procedure of those works. Thus Athenaeus can be related to other authors like Plutarch and Lucian with regard to methods and content. Not only for the ancient world is the study of Athenaues relevant. As we think nowadays about questions related to how we select and organize a huge amount of information and for what purposes, the fifteen books of Athenaeus’s The Deipnosophists confront us with different problems concerning the way he also manages a huge number of texts, putting them together to form a new work with the leading theme of symposial matters. However, the study of Athenaeus offers fascinating starting points for different research areas and questions.

Article.  11593 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Classical Art and Architecture ; Classical History ; Classical Literature ; Classical Philosophy

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