A manuscript collation of Pappus of Alexandria

Via Ancient World Online I learn of something marvellous from the University of Newcastle in Australia.

The Treweek Pappus Manuscript

We are proud to provide researchers with an online copy of Emeritus Professor Athanasius (Ath) P. Treweek’s manuscript transcription and restoration of the Collection of Pappus of Alexandria (Vaticanus Graecus 218) A6617 (v) a-e [Original Manuscript] Emeritus Professor Athanasius (Ath) P. Treweek’s manuscript transcription and restoration of Vaticanus Graecus 218. The transcription (with notes) is divided across five notebooks 3r-50b; 51a-75b; 76a-100b; 101a-150b; 151a-203a.

The text was copied in 1946-1947 from a photostat of the original manuscript made in 1938-1939. It was later rechecked against the original manuscript and to Pappus of Alexandria’s original diagrams in 1949 and 1956, and against derived manuscripts to clear up doubtful points.

Professor Treweek argued that Vaticanus Graecus 218 was the basis of all extant Pappus Mss and that, accordingly, the others could be used not only to restore V218 but in so doing, to get as close as possible to Pappus’ original text.  … The notebooks are provided here as large PDFs. So you might wish to right mouse click on the link and select ‘save link as’ to download the file to your computer.

This is precisely what archives should be doing.  Who in the world knew that a handwritten transcription of Vatican manuscript gr. 218 existed, with diagrams and corrections, forming the basis for a possible new edition?  Nevermind had a copy?  Now the world can access it, and Pappus scholarship can move forward using it.  And the release is in PDF format, which is what we can all use, rather than one of these vanity force-scholars-to-use-our-website online readers!  Well done, the University of Newcastle!

Most people will have no idea who Pappus of Alexandria was.  I knew of him only as a commentator on the ancient engineer Hero of Alexandria.  Hero wrote ca. 62 AD, and I gave a bibliography of his works here.  So I thought that I would see what I could find.  More later!

Update: I find that he was a 4th century Greek mathematical writer.  I’m afraid my intention to hunt down his works rather diminished during a busy day — maybe some other time.


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