The difficulties of consulting Libanius

A kind correspondent sent me a link to a 1960 article by A. F. Norman on the book trade in ancient Antioch, in the latter part of the 4th century AD.[1]  This was based mainly on statements in the orations of Libanius, then almost untranslated.

In the half-century after that, Dr. Norman made a considerable number of English translations, although much remains to be done.  However all of these are offline and inaccessible.

We all know that one great merit of the Patrologia Graeca series of the Fathers is the parallel Latin translation, which allows us to find our way around the cramped and crabby Greek text.  But nearly all ancient texts in Greek were published first in a modern Latin translation.  So I wondered where this might be met with.

I’m still looking; but a great number of the works of Libanius were printed in Greek, with parallel Latin translation, by Morellus in 1606, in two volumes, which are online: volume 1, and volume 2.

1606 is a very long time ago, of course.  The fonts are crabbed and hard to read, and the long-s makes a profuse appearance.  I also learn from Fabricius’ Life of Libanius, which I found in an ancient elderly translation here, that Morel’s translation is obscure and mistaken in “numberless” places.

Nevertheless, it makes scanning the text of Libanius easier.

  1. [1]A. F. Norman, “The Book Trade in Fourth-Century Antioch”, Journal of Hellenic Studies 80 (1960), 122-126, online at JSTOR here.

One thought on “The difficulties of consulting Libanius

  1. A useful source also for translations of some of the Orations and Letters are:

    Loeb Classical Library 451
    Selected Orations, Volume I
    Julianic Orations
    Edited and translated by A. F. Norman
    ISBN 9780674994966

    Publication: January 1969

    Loeb Classical Library 452
    Selected Orations, Volume II
    Orations 2, 19-23, 30, 33, 45, 47-50
    Edited and translated by A. F. Norman
    ISBN 9780674994973

    Publication: January 1977


    Loeb Classical Library 478
    Autobiography and Selected Letters, Volume I
    Autobiography. Letters 1-50
    Edited and translated by A. F. Norman
    ISBN 9780674995277

    Publication: January 1992

    Loeb Classical Library 479
    Autobiography and Selected Letters, Volume II
    Letters 51-193
    Edited and translated by A. F. Norman
    ISBN 9780674995284

    Publication: January 1992

Leave a Reply