Presenting Fragments as Quotations or Quotations as Fragments

Posted on 15 February 2013

Talk: Dr. Alexandra Trachsel (King's College London/University of Hamburg) "Presenting Fragments as Quotations or Quotations as Fragments".


Date: Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Time: 17:00-18:30

Venue: TOPOI-Haus Dahlem, Hittorfstr. 18, 14195 Berlin (map).

Poster: Download the PDF here.


When dealing with the fragments of Demetrios’ work, we are facing texts which are only transmitted through indirect transmission. This means that we have to rely on quotations made by ancient authors to get access to his work. Unfortunately we do not have kept the different steps of this initial selection-process and cannot measure the difference between the original lost work and the form ancient authors gave those quoted passages when introducing them into their own works. Likewise, the modern editors, when trying to extract the passages out of the source-texts in order to compose their collections of fragments, base their choices on selective principles which depend on their own understanding of the source-texts. They choices may therefore differ widely and provide competing reconstructions of the lost work.

Both selection-processes, ancient and modern, should therefore be taken into account when dealing with the fragments, as the perception of Demetrios as a scholar and the opinions about his achievement varied substantially over time.

Also when focusing on the content of the fragments, two approaches are possible, depending again on the opinion one has about Demetrios’ work and its aims. On the one hand, the geographical aspect can be highlighted and the fragments should then be linked to a map enabling us to understand the geographical frame of Demetrios’ work. On the other hand, Demetrios’ work is also a commentary on the Homeric text and this would suggest to link the preserved comments from Demetrios to the lines of the Iliad. Both approach bear however some difficulties as we will show in the presentation.


Or you can download the slides from here.