An email from the British Library EThOS service popped into my inbox a couple of days ago. It told me that a PDF of a PhD thesis was now available online for free download. I’d “placed an order” (free) for this some time back, and here it was.
The thesis was The indica of ctesias of cnidus : text (incl. MSS monacensis gr. 287 and oxoniensis, holkham gr. 110), translation and commentary by Stavros Solomou, London 2007. This link should find it. The quality is excellent – far better than the scans at the Bibliotheque Nationale Francais.
It would help if the site gave permalinks to theses. Likewise, when an order is available, a link to the thesis details would help.
But I’m still dead impressed. Whoever could have accessed something like this, before EThOS came along? I have some slack time today; I would never have hunted this out, but now… here it is. I get to read it, the author gets read, everyone benefits.
Well done the British Library.
The thesis itself is of considerable interest. The Indica of Ctesias was used widely in ancient times, until John Tzetzes; and then suddenly is no longer mentioned. This leads us to suppose that the last copy or copies perished in the sack of Constantinople in 1204 by the renegade army originally hired for the Fourth Crusade.
An epitome exists in Photius. But the author has obtained two additional unpublished mss, and edited these also.