Tables of contents and chapter divisions in Irenaeus’ “Adversus Haereses”

The Greek text of the five books of Irenaeus Adversus Haereses is lost, aside from quotations.  A Latin version exists, created in antiquity, and also an Armenian version of books 4 and 5.  The French Sources Chrétiennes text contains some interesting statements about the tables of contents prefixed to each book, and chapter divisions.

In Sources Chrétiennes 100 (introducing book 4), p.42-3 we have the following statement by B. Hemmerdinger:

The Armenian version is not divided into chapters.  But book 4 is preceded by a summary, while book 5 is not.

In Latin, book 4 is preceded by a summary and divided into chapters [1], while book 5 has neither.  This implies that in Latin the chapters were created from the summaries, and that the Greek archetype of the Latin and the Armenian had a summary before book 4, but not before book 5.

This summary does not vary, either in the manuscripts or in the early editors from Erasmus to Grabe.  It is an innovation in the Latin version to copy these argumenta and insert them in the text as titles of chapters.  So there is no need for us to encumber the text of Irenaeus with these titles, which don’t belong there. 

[1] In 80 chapters in the manuscripts… 

On pp.186-191 there is a lengthy “Observation on the argumenta“.

…all the Latin manuscripts precede book 4 with a list of “argumenta”, which are then repeated in the body of the same book, a few variants aside, as titles for divisions of the text, divisions of very varying lengths.  The Armenian manuscript offers a list which is substantially identical preceding book 4, but, differing here from the Latin manuscripts, the “argumenta” are not reprised in the interior of the book.  This is the first piece of data which is imposed on whoever studies the “argumenta” in either version of the text.

This invites us to make a distinction between the list of “argumenta” on the one hand and the insertion of them in the body of the text on the other.  The list of “argumenta” preceding book 4 is therefore anterior to the Latin and Armenian translators, since both of them translated it.  Thus it belongs to the Greek tradition, even if, as seems certain, it does not go back to Irenaeus himself.   As for the introduction of “argumenta” in the body of the text, it is more recent.  Although it precedes the division of our Latin manuscripts into two families, it seems to be much later than the translation itself.  This is clear from the fact that it does not respect the periods and phrases of the text, as Pitra already noted in 1884.  The translator would hardly have brutally cut these in half, as in the case of V, XL, XLII, XLIV, XLVII, LVI, and LXXIV. … The insertion must be foreign to the Greek archetype common to the two versions, for otherwise it is inexplicable that there is no trace of it in the Armenian version.

What do these “argumenta” represent?  As F. Sagnard has justly noted (SC34, p.78), this is not a division into real chapters, but more an overview of subjects treated, of a series of landmarks punctuating a course of progress quite often alien to the development of the work.  Indeed rather than defining in a neat manner a step in the thought of Irenaeus, and seeking to summarise it personally, the author of the “argumenta” preferred, in a general fashion, to pile up this formula and that which struck him in the course of going through the text, and repeated them in compiling the list.  In consequence there are a good number of “argumenta” which echo phrases in the Adversus Haereses, but where we look in vain for any development of the idea (e.g. “argumenta” VIII, IX, X).  Hence also a certain daftness in the list.  The author dwells unduly sometimes on pages that do not demand it, and sometimes ignores material which deserved a special note.  All this shows that he had no intention of compiling a list of chapters in the modern manner. …

It does not follow that the list is thereby deprived of interest, and we believe that the too severe verdict of F. Sagnard should be revised.  …

He then goes on to point out that because it derives directly from the Greek text, it can be used as a guide to correct transmission errors.  Then there is discussion of the differences between the Latin and Armenian versions of the list, due to mistakes by the translator, or Latin or Armenian copyist errors, and substantial lacunas.

The comparison of the Latin and Armenian lists furnishes us a third piece of data.  The numbering of the items in one is quite independent of that in the other.  For the Armenian one can say that the numbering, made in the margin, seems to be the work of a later hand.  This tends to show that the numbering formed no part of the early Armenian text, and was just added ad-hoc later on.  Just by considering the numbering of book 4, we are driven to conclude that numbering did not form part of the Greek text.  However this conclusion is weakened if we step outside book 4, which is our present study.  For book 2, in fact, in Vaticanus 187 (Q), the “argumenta” are listed with a numbering in Greek numbers.  J. B. Pitra drew attention to this and reproduced it in his Analecta Sacra vol. 2 (1884) p.215.  Also the lemmas of three Syriac fragments, one of book 2 (Harvey II, p. 435, n. 1) and the first two of our book 4 (Harvey II, p.443, n.1; p.444, n.1) also attest to the existence of one and even many numberings, the origins and value of which we cannot discuss here.  These observations may support the idea of numbering in the Greek text.  But it must not be forgotten that book 5, in whatever version, manifests a kind of incompleteness in that it has no “argumenta”.  In the era in which translators and compilers were using the book of Irenaeus, the Greek manuscripts must have presented, in the fragile portion which the initial list is,  important lacunas and divergences, which the differences of the Latin and Armenian only reflect. 

The author adds two studies on the subject of the Armenian argumenta: A. Merk, Der armenische Irenaeus Adversus Haereses — IV. Das argumentum des 4. Buches, ZKTh 50 (1926), p.481-494; and J. A. Robinson, The Armenian capitula of Irenaeus Adv. haereses IV, JTS 32 (1931), p.71-4.

In Sources Chrétiennes 152 (introducing book 5), p.30-31 we find the following interesting statement:

A peculiarity of book 5 in the manuscript tradition is the absence of argumenta, and consequently of chapters.  The absence is a feature of the Armenian version as well as the Latin version, which suggests that the Greek copies which served as a basis for each were likewise devoid of argumenta.  Why?  Was it just laziness by the scribe originally charged with compiling them?  Or an accident to a Greek archetype?  It is not our intention nor within our power to pursue this question.  But it is worth knowing that editors have reacted very differently to this absence.

It is worth mentioning that book 5 does have a preface.

In Sources Chrétiennes 34 (introducing book 3) the discussion is on p.77-8.

It was stated earlier that the argumenta found at the start of the books are the same in all the manuscripts.  This is particularly so for book 3, where the list comprises 46 chapters.  Loofs has already demonstrated in tabular form the agreement of the lists found in the manuscripts.  However he made a mistake in assigning V a different numbering system.  The error is simple: the numbers initially appear before the title to which they relate, and so at the end of the preceding title, but later on, because of long titles covering more than one line, they appear at the end of their own title.

The scribes have made many errors, which are easy to spot.  …

The remainder of the comments are of a similar kind to those in SC 100, although he dismisses the titles as of no  value.

I also had a look at SC406, which publishes Irenaeus Proof of the apostolic preaching, extant only in Armenian and found in the same manuscript (Yerevan 3710) as books 4 and 5 of Adversus Haereses, which it follows.  The table of contents is mentioned for book 4 of AH, the lack of it for book 5, and no mention of one is made for the Proof.

I will perhaps look at books 1 and 2 tomorrow.

Tables of contents in Josephus’ “Antiquities”

In the medieval manuscripts which transmit to us the text of Josephus Antiquities, each book is preceded by what looks to us like a table of contents.  These are present in the Loeb edition edited by Henry St. John Thackeray, who very properly includes and translates them, although they are at the back of each volume.

The books of this work were certainly subdivided in antiquity, because Cassiodorus refers to portions of the text by number in his Exposition on the Psalms, as I verified a post or two ago.  Polybius added tables of contents to his history, at least initially, as we learn from the introduction to book 11, and other writers followed.  Divisions of literature into numbered sections are found in papyri.  So it seems clear that the tables of contents in Josephus are ancient, and probably authorial or — since this is a work so much the work of secretaries — from the original team of authors and editors.

But Thackeray points out one piece of evidence that suggests otherwise.  In Niese’s edition, at the end of the table of contents / prographe for book 1 is a reference to the Chronicon of Eusebius.

Of course that could not be a first century piece of text.  But Thackeray points out that it is not actually found in most of the manuscripts.  There is also an ancient Latin version of Antiquities, which also has these tables; and it is not found in there either.  Here is the apparatus from Niese, showing this:

This variation tends to suggest that this piece of text has a different textual history to the rest.  Perhaps we may surmise that it is a later addition.  No such details are found under the tables for other books.

There seems no real convincing reason to suppose that these titles are not part of the original book, and they should be printed as such.  Birt indeed opined that such tables were originally written on the outside of the roll, and Polybius confirms that copyists tended to ignore them.

These tables exist for some works where the text has been lost.  The prologoi of Pompeius Trogus exist, but the whole history by this contemporary of Livy has vanished apart from a 2nd century AD epitome by Justinus.  So these items had a life of their own, and might circulate by themselves.

Perhaps they were of service to booksellers also.  Is it possible to imagine these things being hung up on columns in the book-sellers’ shops?

Not the best argument against the authenticity of chapter divisions in ancient works

I referred a while back to Matthaeus Gesner’s opinion, delivered in 1787, as to why chapter divisions were not authentic.  Diana Albino gives him as her first reference on why there is a habit of treating such things as inauthentic.

Prior to his chapter 21, which I translated there, he makes the following remarks:

Commode hic nobis accidit, & commodius multo lectoribus accidet, illa capitum quae vocantur & titulorum in minora segmenta divisio, iam a Schoettgenio instituta, quae etiam ad parallelismum, quem vocant, indicandum, unum optimum interpretandi libros quoscunque instrumentum, apprime utilis est, ut mirer, rem ita facilem, & olim cognitam, negligi fere in splendidis librorum antiquorum editionibus, praesertim cum metus non sit, ne ea similia bonis libris vulnera infligat, qualibus capitum illa divisio occasionem dedit.

XX. Hic locus est plura de infelici illa capitum divisione, conjunctis ei rei lemmatibus disputandi; qua de re visum est hic uno loco ita dicere, ut totam complecti aliquis animo possit, ac tum in his, tum in aliis libris eorum, quae hic disputata sunt, meminisse. Jam ipsos antiquos scriptores uno fere tenore & continuatione libros scripsisse, satis constat, ut non tantum historias in unum perpetuum & undique cohaerens corpus redigerent, sed ea etiam, quae diversitatem aliquam habent, arte quadam inter se devincirent, latentibus, ut in Corinthia columna, membrorum finibus, aut in statuarii opere commissuris, & subtiliter permixtis, velut in pictura extremis partis cujusque lineis. Cujus rei nescio an clarius & mirabilius exemplum exstet Ovidiano Metamorphoseon opere: quod qui uno quasi spiritu legere volet, ille demum poetae ingenium mirabitur, qui mille partes dissimillimas ita inter se coagmentaverit, ut uno solido factum marmore totum illud templum videatur. Ita quam apte Plinius ille naturae historicus transitione res saepe diversissimas connectit? ut unum voluisse illum librum uno quasi protelo percurrere appareat. Quae cum ita sint, dissecuisse antiquos, quae scripsissent, in partes libris ipsis minores, non est probabile: qui librorum ipsam divisionem ad voluminum & chartarum modum necessitate quadam attemperaverint.

Well, quite so.  He argues that ancient books are all written in a single piece to join together diverse materials, like a Corinthian column, and even Pliny the Elder in his Natural History does the same.

Of which I do not know whether a clearer and more admirable example exists than the Ovidian work Metamorphoses: because he who chooses to read it as if in one spirit, he will marvel at the ingenuity of the poet, who has joined together a thousand utterly dissimilar pieces in such a way, that it seems made like a temple out of one solid marble. So Pliny, the historian of nature, often joins together the most diverse materials by an appropriate transition, so that it appears that he wanted to run through that one book as if in one go. This being so, it is not probable that the ancients divided, what they had written, into smaller parts than the books themselves, when that division into books was only forced on them by the necessity of the medium of rolls and papyrus.

Unless I am quite misunderstanding the argument, this is merely a subjective opinion.

Birt’s revised thoughts in 1923 on ancient chapter titles, divisions, summaries

When I translated the relevant portions of Theodor Birt’s 1882 classic, Die antike Buchwesen (The ancient book trade), I mentioned that Birt revised his opinions after the discoveries of papyrus fragments of actual ancient books.  In his Abriss des antiken Buchwesens  (Outline of the ancient book trade)(1923), he makes the following remarks.

[p.10] The ancient world knew nothing of printing or writing machines. A manuscript was not only the first incarnation of the text by the author, but also its method of reproduction. Therefore it is fundamental for all textual criticism to realize, first how the writing material and the book was put together, which carried the texts from the hand of the author through ancient and medieval times down to us, and second in what type of work the texts are found and were originally written. The “book trade” and “paleography” are auxiliary disciplines of textual criticism.

Roll and codex

Firstly in this “Outline of the ancient book trade”, we will cover the most important things. It is important to know that writing may already have been known in the Homeric age, but neither books nor book-copying; further, that the book of the ancient world was of a modest size, which contained only a small amount of text, and that the spacious bound codex first appeared in the 4th-5th century A.D.; it completely replaced the roll as a carrier of literature. The transmission of the text from the roll into the codex is above all the most important event in the history of the text. A codex could probably not contain the whole of Livy, but it probably could include a complete Virgil in itself. Thus, there are gathered together  24 dialogues in the Codex Clarkianus of Plato; Aeschylus comes together with Sophocles and Apollonius Rhodius in a Florentine ms. The medieval miscellaneous manuscript meant that we received in transmission the anonymous work “On the Sublime,” περὶ ὕ ψους, along with the Aristotelian φυσικὰ προβλήματα; and Seneca’s satire on Claudius, the “Apotheosis”, together with the lives of the saints, medical texts and other fragments, and Theophrastus’ Characters in the collected works of orators, along with Aphthonius, and Hermogenes. 

inscriptio and subscriptio

An ancient scroll never contained on the other hand more books (with exceptions later on); on the other hand, because the roll was not large, more extensive works fell into several books, i.e., rolls.  If we print each time the title of the work at the top of each book by an author (eg Lucanus de bello civili liber V), this goes back to the fact that in ancient times each book of the whole work consisted of a roll by itself, each also including as an indication of its membership the exact title words with the number.  Likewise, each book concludes with the word explicit or explicitus, ie “All rolled up or rolled up to the end”, and anyone who wants to imagine the original edition of a work like the Aeneid, has to add this also each time, [p.11] just as we are obligated to give accurately the unexpected book titles.  The latter has implications, e.g. for the Monobiblos of Propertius (a liber primus of the poet is missing).  Now, at last, an editor of this poet, C. Hosius has decided to put Monobiblos (1) in the title at least. This is likewise true of the Editio ad libellum of Apollinaris Sidonius. This original, where the title is guaranteed by the best text-tradition, means that the “edition” put a name on the poem-booklet that was sent out into the world. (2) Furthermore, it is wrong to print “liber quartus”, in the works of Τibullus over  the Panegyricus Messalae, against the reading of the mss., because “Panegyricus Messalae” was rather the ancient heading of the roll following the third book of Tibullus, to which then, so it seems, the Tibullus poem that is mistakenly numbered as IV 2-14, was added in ancient times as an appendix. There is no “fourth” book of Tibullus. It is also perverse to add the content of the so-called fourth book of Tibullus to the 3rd Book, as Hiller did.

(1) On monobiblos see Rhein. Mus. 64 p. 393 ff.
(2) Max Krämer, Res libraria cadentis antiquitatis etc., Marburg 1909, p. 49.

Chapter division

However a single prose book can be divided again into chapters and a book of poems into individual poems. It is necessary to determine to what extent those chapter divisions, together with chapter headings, and the tables of contents often prefixing the overall text, is ancient, and possibly to publish them carefully.  Treatment of this area was until the most recent times very bad, in that material that is genuine was rejected, and allowed to fall under the table.  Recently, R. Friderici (3) established that the chapter division of prose texts, such as stand before us in the New Testament, is quite ancient and prevailed in textbooks and especially in collected writings, with or without headings. As an illustration from inscription texts; so the Gortyn law already has chapter divisions. In the Heraclean tables the text was from the first divided into two parts, separated by the heading συνθήκα Διονψ́σω χωρῶν. So also in literature. The great Πίνακες or list of writers of Callimachus was divided into sections with headings such as δεῖπνα ὅσοι ἔγρψαν (Athenaeus, p. 244 A). Each Vita in Nepos’ book has a title, which sometimes uses hic as a reference, such as in cap. 2:  Themistocles Neocli filius Atheniensis. Huius vita ineuntis adulescentiae etc.  Rutilius Lupus does the same, and in a medical journal of the 5th Century B.C., which reaches us in an inscription, the process is quite similar: on the great Epidauros inscription IG. IV 951 f. the identity of the patient is always given briefly as a heading, then with οὗτος the medical history is given without a conjunction. (4) This explains why the Romans use the term “rubric”, rubrica (Digest. 43, 1, 2).  The chapter title was in fact written in red; as already in the lex Acilia repetundarum from the year 123 to 122 B.C.

(3) De librorum antiqu. capitum divisione atque summariis, Marburg 1911.
(4) Also in the Achiqarpapyrus it must be noted that the individual Sayings are separated: see Ed. Meyer, Papyrus­fund von Elephantine p. 111.

[p.12] Objections have been made to the transmitted chapter divisions of authors, e.g. in Cato’s work On Agriculture, because sometimes the divisions do not correspond very well to the sense.  But we have the classic demonstration of the Monumentum Ancyranum whose arrangement — Mommsen’s verdict – is no better.

The term caput must be examined once more. (1) Perhaps it means the same as κεφάλαιον. In my opinion, caput in a book was originally the “top line of a paragraph” and then the section itself became so named, and also was occasionally numbered. (2)

(1) Jerome also names the chapter comma: see the Vulgate, praef. Iob: libri partium comma quod remanet; and in Habac. 3, 11, p. 649: commatice per capitula disseramus.
(2) On chapter numbering in antiquity see Friderici p. 12 f. When Cicero Pro Murena § 57 does not refute the individual charges prepared against Murena, but only the crimina themselves given only in brief, such as De Postumi criminibus, these are, in my opinion, words or title headings, capita, where the detail is missing.


Similarly, unless compelling grounds for suspicion are present, the transmitted summaries should be printed at the front of the work or the book, as H. Mutschmann has finally done in his insightful Sextus Empiricus. Also genuine are e.g. those in Josephus’ Antiquitates; genuine is the πίναξ τῶν κεφαλαίων of Hermogenes the rhetorician, especially the aforementioned Summarium of Cato, as I pointed out earlier, and as Friderici has corroborated on linguistic and substantive grounds. No different to these are Columella, Palladius, etc. Pliny in his Natural History, it seems, avoided section titles, but his whole first book was given over to the contents of his detail-rich work, and in this, as he tells us, Valerius Soranus was his model, whose books named βίβλοι ἐποπτίδες, i.e. “statements”, actually mean “the guardians”. (3)  The term ἐποπτίδες is related to σύνοψις [=synopsis] “Compendium” (Plutarch Mor. p. 1057 C).

(3) Friderici p. 56.

Poem titles

In contrast, reasonable doubt may be directed against certain poem section titles, namely such poems, that are on a smaller scale and are only parts of a book. (4) In Horace’s odes they must have been added not long after the poet’s death, because they betray good personal knowledge of him. In reality, it seems gradually after Ovid’s death to have become customary to provide the individual poems in the book collection with titles. Doubtful witnesses are Statius’ Silvae; secure witnesses are Martial Books XIII and XIV.  This process first arose, I suspect, in the service of anthologies or poetry reading. Among these is the earliest example known to me, the section title Ἴαμβος Φοίνικος, in a papyrus collection of the 2nd century B.C., after another one, which began the Phoenix text (5). Likewise Meleager must have given one in his Στέφανος, who gave a title to each of the epigrams which named the poet and so could not be omitted.  No older than Meleager is the Bacchylides papyrus, which shows not only section headings but also some poems arranged alphabetically in title order. (1) The titles found in Theocritus are in some part suspect. Only in Late Antiquity, in the time of Ausonius, when the habit had become established, do you have these subsequently invented and added for the older poets, Vergil’s Ecloges, Propertius, Martial books I-XII. Some poem titles in the Anthologia Palatina seem however to be relatively old, i.e. to belong prior to the time of Ausonius, because Ausonius translates them; this is true of Anthol.Pal.16, 275 εἰς ἄγαλμα τοῦ Καιροῦ, see Ausonius. epigr. 11 in simulacrum Occasionis et paenitentiae, and 16.129 εἰς ἄγαλμα Νιόβης, see Ausonius epigr. 51 in signum marmoreum Niobe.

(4) See Ad. Kiessling, Progr. Greifsw. 1876.
(5) See G. A. Gerhard, Phoinix von Kolophon p. 5.
(1) See Wilamowitz, Die Textgeschichte der griechischen Lyriker, Abhandl. der Göttinger GW. 1900 S. 43, ascribes these titles to a supposed edition by the Alexandrians. On the other hand Strabo p. 728 quotes Σιμωνίδης ἐν Μέμνονι διθυράμβῳ κτλ., so this Memnon, whether genuine or not, at any rate filled an entire book.

In particular there is the puzzle-poem, which we regularly encounter in late antiquity equipped with titles; the title gives us every time the solution, and it is indispensable.  This we see not only in Symphosius, but also in Anthol. lat. 281—284; 481 ff.; thus e. g.:

         De funambulo.
Vidi hominem pendere cum via,
cui latior erat planta quam semita,

a process, that appears to originate with Martial’s books of gifts, XIII and XIV; for if the descriptions of Martial’s gifts were not accompanied by the title, which gives the solution of the puzzle, it would often be very difficult to understand.

Birt then adds “Let us move on” and starts a new section on palaeography.

It is extraordinary that these interesting books have never received an English translation in all this time, and that no-one has attempted to produce a more definitive guide.  Birt’s remarks are rather vague, and his argument rather loose.  But his conclusion — that summaries and titles found in the manuscripts should be printed in the editions unless there is a very convincing reason not to — is striking, and probably right. 

One other remark seems worth highlighting.  He says that the section titles in the Monumentum Ancyranum do not correspond all that well to the sense of the text.  This inscription contains Augustus’ own account of his actions, and since it is contemporary, it has to be taken seriously.  One argument that is often made against the authenticity of chapter titles or summaries is precisely that, that they do not correspond to the author’s intention.  Yet here we have an indisputably ancient set of titles with the same problem.  From this he infers that this argument must be discarded. 

The argument has not been discarded, however.  In the Sources Chretiennes edition of the Adversus Haereses of Irenaeus we find chapter titles dismissed as non-authorial on just these grounds, ancient although they undoubtedly are, and found in both the Latin and Armenian versions and therefore presumably in the Greek from which both derive.  It would be nice to suppose that this argument is made today because Birt’s comments have been weighed but rejected.  I suspect, however, that his remarks have simply not been taken into account.

This brings to an end the translations of the German material on chapter titles from the 19th and early 20th century.  I’m not sure how much more time I will have, but I hope to return to the materials I have on this subject, and to start to post more of it.

P.Oxy.10 – a chapter number in the margin?

The 1897 publication of the Oxyrhynchus papyri contains an interesting fragment, P.Oxy. 10.  This is third century A.D., and is in the Bodleian.  It contains parts of two consecutive columns from the lost Πεντέμυχος of Pherecydes of Syros.  The author wrote in the 6th century BC and was one of the first Greek prose writers.  A chunk of this work is preserved in Clement of Alexandria, Stromateis 6, and most of this chunk is contained, without variation, in the first column of the papyrus.  The content of the fragment seems to be a speech by Zeus from the marriage of Zeus and Hera. The work was extant at this time in full, as Diogenes Laertius tells us (Vit. Phil. i. 11. 6), and indeed he quotes its opening words. 

The interest of  this papyrus for us, however, is the presence of a numeral in the margin. 

POxy 10. Pherycedes of Syros

On this the editor comments: “The numeral in the margin probably denotes a new chapter, and indicates that this was a continuous work, not a collection of extracts.”

If so, this would be interesting as showing how a chapter was marked in an ancient prose work in the 3rd century AD.

T. Birt in 1882 on chapter titles

In Die antike Buchwesen T. Birt discusses the division of books into chapters.  He was to change his views, and I intend to translate his revised statements from 1923 soon.  But for now, here is what he says in 1882.  I have augmented the footnotes by looking up the reference, and placed my additions in [square] brackets.

The lines in the book.

If we ask antiquity, what  measure he uses for the length of his books, his answer is almost unanimous: the line.  The occasional use of different methods is easily recognised as insignificant by comparison.

Clement of Alexandria measures, as we saw (p. 148 [=Strom. II fin.], the size of his book by the “number and extent of the chapters”. From this it is already evident that the size of a chapter itself fluctuated. So they could not be used as a yardstick for comparison. Also, the concept of the chapter does not seem to be very old. In Photius this division of the text is of course commonplace, as in the scholiasts of Aristotle and Hippocrates, where it alternates with τμῆμα (1).  In the manuscripts, chapter headings appear, perhaps for the first time, in the papyrus chemicus N. 66 of the Leyden Museum; however here they seem to be added afterwards. [2] Symmachus reads Seneca in chapters [3] and Cassiodorus reads Josephus in titles [4]. Jerome’s commentaries were present to Rufinus in non-numbered chapters [5].

1) Dietz, Schol. Hippokr. II 3.  Vgl. Bergk Gr. Litterat. vol. I p. 233. [Dietz is Scholia in Hippocratem et Galenum, (1834) vol.II, 3. Page 3, part of the introduction, contains mention of both 6 kephalaia and some tmh/mata (the last word on p.3). Διήρηται δὲ ἡ μὲν πᾶσα πραγματεία εἰς ἑκτὰ κεφάλαια. Ταῦτα δὲ τὰ μέρη ἐν τοῖς Ἱπποκράτους χρόνοις οὐκ ἐζητοῦτο· δυα γὰρ ἧσαν τὰ διδασκόμενα, τοσαῦτα καὶ τὰ τμήματα.]
2) See Leemans, Horapollo, p. XXII.   (1835).  [This reads: Mercerus in adnot. ad cap. 1. dixit, titulos capitum non ipsius esse Philippi, sed a diligenti postea lectore adjecta; idque patere ex MSto Cod. in quo ad marginem adscribantur. Vellem addidisset quoque, num eadem manu tituli illi scripti essent; nam illud non abhorrere a more posterioris aetatis Graecorum, ut eo modo argumentum capitis vel paragraphi uniuscujusque praemittatur, patet ex papyro Chemico n°. 66. Musei Lugduno Batavi, in quo singulis capitibus tituli, eadem manu atque reliqua, sunt superscripti. Pertinet autem MStum illud, ut ex literarum formis conjicitur, ad tempora Constantinorum. Cf. Cl. Reuvens in Epist. ad Letronnium Ep. III. pag. 65. Art. XI. in Tab. Pap. Gr. et Dem. pag. 4. Art. 40. et in Addend. pag. 162, 163. — Mercer, in a note to Ch.1. said that the titles of the chapters were not by Philip, but added later by a careful reader; and was clear from the manuscript itself, in the margin of which they were written. I would like him to have added also, whether those titles were written in the same hand; for that this does not differ from the manner of the latter age of the Greeks, where in the same way the argument was prefixed to every chapter or paragraph, is clear from the papyrus chemicus n °. 66. of the Leiden Museum, where the titles of individual chapters, in the same hand as the rest, are written over the top. However that manuscript belongs, as may be supposed from the forms of letters, to the time of Constantine.  Cl. Reuvens in Epist. ad Letronnium Ep. III. pag. 65. Art. XI. in Tab. Pap. Gr. et Dem. pag. 4. Art. 40. et in Addend. pag. 162, 163.]
3) Symm. ep. X 27.  [Possibly Q. Aurelii Symmachi quae supersunt, ed. by Otto Seeck (Berlin, 1883) , but I was unable to locate the passage, and Birt in 1882 must have used an older edition].
4) Cassiodor arithm. 1: Josephus in libro I antiquitatum titulo IX.  [i.e. Josephus in book 1 of the “Antiquities”, chapter 9.  Cassiodorus appears in Migne, Patrologia Latina, 69-70. Vol.2 containing the Institutiones is here.   But I cannot find the reference given.  In col.618, tho, in the Expositio in Psalterium, I find: “Josephus quoque … vernaculus Judaeorum in libro octavo Antiquitatum titulo tertio multa de temple constructione locutus est …”  and in col. 109 I find “De quo etiam Josephus in libro Antiquitatum tertio, titulo septimo, …”
5) As quoted by Rufinus (Jerome IV. 8. 378 ed. Mart.) in tertio commentariorum (sc. ad Ephesios) libro . . . sub eo capitulo ubi scriptum est “Qui uxorem” eqs. post aliquanta sic ait; if the chapter concerned  had been numbered, Rufinus would have found it easier to cite it by number; likewise further on (p. 380): de eo capitulo ubi dicit apostolus „Sicut elegit” eqs. ita ait; see ibid p. 402; finally on p. 405:  longum est si velim . . . propositis capitulis ad singula respondere. [not verified; these remarks are Birt’s.  From here on I have not looked up the references.]

[p.158]  In the year 114 A.D., we find from inscriptions, [1] the city journal or daily paper [2] of the country town of Caere was divided into chapters; it had both chapter numbers and page numbers; what determined the size of the chapter here is unclear; but in any case they were not of equal size [3]. Wills were also divided in this way, and a Kaput ex testamento M. Megonii M.F. Cor. Leonis is also reported in an inscription [4]. Cicero’s book of Paradoxes was divided into chapters, and the four logoi paradoxwn of Damascius may be compared with it, of which the first was divided into 352 kefalaia (Phot. cod.130). But since it is a fact to say that Epaphroditus (under Nero) was rather the first to call the books of the Odyssey ‘kefalaia’, a quite adequate explanation for this can be found in another connection.

1) Mommsen, 1 RN. 6828 (Orelli 3787; Gruter S. 214): Q. Ninnio Hasta P. Manilio Vopisco cos.
2) Commentarium cottidianum municipi Caeritum.
3) Ulpius Vesbinus has built the municipality of Caere a phetrium (φράτριον); the inscription gives first the permission of the city magistrates, descriptum et factum recognitum . . . ex commentario quem iussit proferri Cuperius Hostilianus per T. Rustium Lysiponum scribam, etc. then inde pagina XXVII Kapite VI; follows the permission to Vesbinus; followed by a copy of a second document, the request of the magistrates to Curiatius Cosanus that he make no objection to the construction; this was clearly earlier: inde pagina altera capite primo; thirdly, finally follows the undertaking of Cosanus; on pagina VIII kapite primo. So the first chapter covered the first eight pages or more; on page XXVII one was in chapter VI: on the eighteen pages that lay between pp. VIII and XXVII, at least four chapters were covered, each having an average of 4.5 pages.
4) Fleetwood, inscr. ant. sylloge (1691) S. 75.
5) See chapter 9 below.

Another term is related to this, and perhaps identical with it, pars libri and μέρος βιβλίου. When Jerome writes [6]: undecimus liber . . . facilior erit in principiis et usque ad duas sui partes reliqua simili more dictanda sunt, this presupposes that after two partes of his book, more follow and that each pars [p.159] was clearly delineated in appearance [p.159] for the reader, presumably by paragraphing in that contexts. A book of Hippocrates was similarly divided for Galen (1): τούτου τοῦ βιβλίου τὸ μὲν κατὰ τὸ ἕν γράμμα μέρος τὸ πρῶτον εἰς σμ’ στίχους ἐξήκει.  And a “part” does not mean any particular length, because its number of stichoi must be counted first.  In Hippocrates a μέρη was however a different unconnected treatise.  Asconius cited at least one of the speeches of Cicero, the Scauriana, in such “parts”; his first quotation from it is in fact circa ver (a) prim. XXXX, the next ibidem, but the fourth circa tertiam partem α primo, the following is interpolated with statim, then is paulo post, then circa medium, then post dum partes orationis, post tres partes orationis α primo, finally ver.α nov. . . and ver. α novis. CLX. Again, the partes here are not of equal size (2).  All the more must they somehow have been distinguished in the text, since the usual citation by lines was not carried out.

6) Hieron. comm. Jesai. XI praef.
1) Galen in Hippokr. de nat. hom. XV S. 9.
2) The second half of the oration after the medium holds the rest of pars II and pars III and IV; so pars I must been have completed with the entire first half of pars II; so circa tertiam partem primo α is incomprehensible to me, as one would expect circa alteram.

Something that is indeed a measurement of space is the sheet, σελίς, pagina. To determine the size of the book from the number of pages appears to be obvious, and in fact in the above-mentioned commentarius of the city of Caere the pages were numbered, so that it almost quotes by them. This happened here, however, probably only because counting the verses in a miscellaneous text like this was not really possible.  Otherwise they are quoted, – though rarely – only by verses, and counting the sheets seems never really to have become a common practice.  We can quote here especially the fourth Philodemus roll περὶ ῥητορικῆς (3), whose columns of text from sheet VIII onwards (4) are provided with numbers underneath: ΡΛΖ is on p. VIII, ΡΛΘ on XI, again PM, ΡΜΛ etc until PMZ on sheet XIX; so apparently the roll was of 147 sheets. More often we find the number of selides [p.160] given in the subscription at the end of book; this was done mostly on the Eschatocoll beneath the more important number of stichoi, as in the Herculaneum rolls N. 105, 106, 109, 111, 115 in the listing following the stichometry, with which N. 103 is to be compared. Occasionally in these only the selides are recorded: so Vol. Herc. ed. Oxon. index N. 1414: Φιλοδήμου περὶ χάριτος, κολλήματα CEΔΙΟΗ (1). However, they are never found, like the stichoi, written in the old decade numerals and counting them so proves that they were in principle different from the stichoi, as not really belonging to the bibliometric Usus. – A Greek epigram designates at the end an indeterminate mass of poetry books as μυριάδες βυβλιανῶν σελίδων (2), similar to what Juvenal (VII 100) states about historians: Nullo quippe modo millesima pagina surgit omnibus. Martial speaks of a hundred paginae once (VIII 44). That the sheet in ancient times was still not used as a measurement of the size of a book, can only be explained on the theory that using verses was possible, and allowed an even greater accuracy to appear desirable, than pages could provide: because, in fact, the length of a column of  text was inconstant and could vary between 20-50 lines (3).

1) Which Spengel and also later Cobet rightly read as 78 Selides (σελι οη’  or rather perhaps σελι. οη’).
2) Julianus Aegyptius to Theodorus, Anthol. Pal. VII 594.
3) Within a single book it can be constant, as in the Bankesianus, ca. 43 lines.  But Philodemus περὶ κακιῶν (ed. Oxford) varies between 36, 37, 38; the same p. 83-105 freely between 37 and 46. Vol. Oxon. II p. 1-45 has 25-27, p. 46-116 instead 35.  (See Cobet Mnemos. 1878 p. 262).

Aside from Clement, we find in Cornificius and Cicero that the size of a book is counted from the number of letters it contains …

I hope to add tomorrow the couple of pages in which Birt revises his opinion.  But these pages, elderly as they are, are fundamental for all subsequent work on the question and so well worth reading even as they stand.

How ancient writers marked the start of each new book

I’ve been translating a section of Theodor Birt’s Die antike Buchwesen for the last couple of days.  The book may be elderly, but is still the standard reference.  Pages 14-146 are concerned with prefaces, introductions, tables of contents and the like.  Here is what he has to say.  It is somewhat discursive, unfortunately.  I have renumbered the footnotes.  Note that he says that narrative works, such as Eusebius HE and PE, always avoid “proemia”, favouring linking words.  Both in fact have tables of contents — prographai — which suggests that these must be later additions, if this thinking were sound. But Polybius is a counter-example.  Here is what he says.

[p.140] So much for the individual book in its relationship to the whole work.

The diligent reader who picked up one [book] after another, could ensure the correct order of the rolls from the labels or σίλλυβοι. Such frequent book exchange, with the necessarily distracting break in reading, which was unavoidable, was injurious to continuous reading; the end of the roll that had been read had to be rolled up tightly, its cover put on and [p.141] the roll put carefully to one side before the next could be opened and unrolled, for which a slave may have been helpful. Moreover, it was desirable that a book picked up occasionally, out of context, could be read independently and remain understandable. So it was appropriate for the writer, to have something about the book at the front, in order to inform each reader.

A work with a purely scientific purpose such as Strabo’s certainly could not be based on the pre-Alexandrian approach of texts only being split into books as an after-thought (1), laconically indicating where each had left off.  In others we find, however, the custom of the proemium already formed, at first quite clearly merely for the practical purpose of orientation: the contents of the previous roll were in summary once again more or less briefly recalled, and the next task to be treated stated. At an early period Polybius does this scrupulously sometimes; one of his προγραφαί is summarised eightfold in no less than seventeen lines: …. To which is added in two short lines:  … The purpose of these προγραφαί, as Polybius (XI proemium) gives it in a remarkable manner, is: ‘to allow the reader to orientate himself, but also to encourage one who happens to pick up the book to read it, and finally to allow those who just want to look up something quickly to do so”. The proemia of Diodorus probably come closest to that pedantic type. In Varro it is simplified to even such a simple phrase such as in De lingua lat. VI init.: “origines verborum quae sint locorum et ea quae in his, in priore libro scripsi, in hoc dicam de vocabulis temporum” with the [p.142] addition: “atqui si qua erunt ex diverso genere adiuncta, potius cognationi verborum quam auditori calumnianti geremus morem.” Lucretius also summarises at length at the beginning of his books, usually with a “Et quoniam docui” (III, 31 f., 26 f. IV, VI, 43 f.), once in a full 25 verses (V, 56-81). How much more elegantly did his successor in the didactic poem, Virgil, briefly introduce wine-making with a “Hactenus arvorum cultus et sidera caeli, nunc te Bacche canam eqs.” and beekeeping with a “Protinus aerei mellis Caelestia dona exsequar eqs.” But we see that length also at later times, such as recur in the dream-books of Artemidoros. But it should be noted that this advice to the reader was sometimes unconnected with the actual text of this book, i.e. apparently only attached to the outside of the roll; this we see first reliably in the προγραφαί of the first six books of Polybius (2), the praefationes of Jerome (3), and it also seems to apply to those of Martial (4).

 A writer of taste, especially a poet, could not be content with such sober notes, however.  He reshaped the proemium, which was merely an index, into a proemium-shaped [p.143] excursus.  The beginning of each new roll is a fresh invitation to the reader to an important discussion and a common work: it was a reminder, so as to put forward a more general idea; the author, by speaking in a disinterested way, masked his zeal in a pleasant manner. The threshold of each roll is like that of a hospitable house: the meal may not be available immediately behind the covered vestibule.  Lucretius himself diverts the attention of Memmius, before he sets off and speaks, in a well-planned manner in what is possibly a preparative commonplace, which can fill a quarter or half of a hundred verses; similarly also Virgil to Maecenas, after he briefly has stated the contents of the book (Georg. I, 5-42, II, 4-8, III, 3-48). Diodorus also usually writes in the manner of Lucretius, either in technical discussions, or generally considered thoughts … — once almost with an ἀθιπενοι προλέγειν (XIX, 1, 9) — making a summary and disposition (so IV, V, XIV, XV, XVIII, XIX). Oppian and Manilius proceed in the same way. The latter in his astronomy wanders even more extravagantly than Lucretius (II v. 1—149, III 1—95, IV 1—121, V 1—31).  And Cicero acknowledges this as his own principle: in singulis libris utor prooemiis (ad Att. IV 6, 2).  It is easy to see how these pieces in Cicero’s books are added to the front externally; they betray their purpose very clearly. He himself writes about this once a very instructive note to Atticus (XVI 6, 4): “I have sent you my single book De gloria; but it has got the wrong proemium, which is already used for the third book of the Academica. I had  not remembered, when I was at Tusculanum, that I had used it before; afterwards on the ship, I was reading my Academica and discovered the problem. I immediately got a new one on paper for De gloria; it is enclosed; you must cut off the old one and stick this one on  (illud dissecabis, hoc agglutinabis)”. But Cicero explains the cause of this error to Atticus: “It’s because I have compiled a collection of proemia in their own roll; from which I choose one when I need a σύγγραμμα.  But Pliny proceeded quite otherwise. The [p.144] “medicinae ex animalibus” could not, unlike most chapters of his encyclopidic treatise, be contained in a single book; although Pliny elsewhere avoids real proemia, he interrupts the three books in the “medicinae ex animalibus” at the beginning of the second (XXIX) by giving a short history of medicine, at the beginning of the third (XXX) by giving a similar piece on magic.  The appearance of these introductions thus should relieve the monotony of these series of books for the reader. Nor was it accidental, but intended by Pliny, when he gave the book of the “medicinae ex aquatilibus” (XXXII), both front and rear tractates (5).

Narrative works always avoid proemia, however.  The Metamorphoses, the Aeneid, Lucian’s True history, the novel of Longus [=Daphnis and Chloe] and the like would have been greatly affected. The invocation of the muse in Apollonius Rhodius init III. and IV init. is not intended as an introduction, but as the start of special new material; accordingly II. init lacks such a passage (6).  The proektheses of Diodorus on the other hand seem intended almost to isolate the individual books, and so are different in principle to the προγραφαί, in the terminology of Polybius (7), which, as previously mentioned, were only attached to the outside of the roll, and therefore did not break up the text itself; the first hexad of Polybius only had these προγραφαί, and therefore there was in it, according to Polybius VI init., the [Greek] from book to book. Certainly the proemia of Xenophon’s Anabasis are simply such προγραφαί; based on the [Greek] Polybius. XI. init.

And only in such works, with  no proemium, was a textual uncertainty possible of the kind  that we encounter in VergiI. The sixth book of his Aeneid points to the dominant tradition of the verse “Sic Fatur lacrimam classique immittit habenas / Et tandem Euboicis Cumarum adlabitur oris.” The tradition in [p.145] Servius (on V fin. and VI init.) teaches that this is as arranged by the editors Tucca and Varius, while Virgil himself instead allocated the verses to the fifth book’s end, and that then “Probus and others” restored the arrangement of Virgil. Similarly it could be argued that even in Homer ὧς εφατο κλαίουσα once stood at the end of the book (II. 23. fin).

There was a practical, though inconspicuous way, in works without proemia, to help the memory of a reader who went from one roll to another. Care was taken that the final sentence of a book was repeated at the beginning of the next one, either exactly or slightly modified form; usually a little sentence expressing a transition; i.e. according to the testimony of the best manuscripts of Strabo (8) III fin.  …[several lines of Greek] Pliny VII Nat. hist fin. says: “nunc revertemur ad reliqua animalia primumque terrestria“, and then VIII init.: “ad reliqua transeamus animalia et primum terrestria“; first IX fin. has: “hinc volucrum naturae dicentur“, and then X init.: “sequitur natura avium“. Eusebius places at the end of the second book of his Ecclesiastical History “καὶ τὰ με καψὰ Ἰουδαιουσ ἐν τούτοις ἦν”, and book three begins with the same words without καὶ; the same happens in the transition from IV to V; the second book of his praeparatio [p.146] evangelica begins with the final words of the first: “τὰ με το προειρημένον περιέχει τρόπον” etc. (9).  See also the repetition of the διὸ in Porphyry “de Abstinentia” II init. from I fin. This also is present in pre-Alexandrian texts, as we see in Theophrastus’s History of Plants (VII fin. and VIII. Init.). We have here a trick, perhaps less the author’s own, so much as his publisher’s.

Instructive as the beginning of the book is, more still is the behaviour of authors at the conclusion of each book, to which we now briefly turn. …  (Birt continues with a discussion of colophons)

(1) For this subject see chapter 9.
(2) Polyb. XI. proemium says that only his first six books had prographai, the following instead had proektheseis, before each new Olympiad; both types of preface have similar purposes for his work, and the difference is that the prographai deteriorate easily through accidents of the copyist’s art (δυὶ πολλὰς αἰτιυς καὶ τὰς τυχούσας ὀ λεγωρούμενον καὶ φθειρόμενον), while the proekthesis have a safer place, as more closely linked to the work (…). Book V has not come down to us with a προγραφή. — That the opening words of this excerpted passage are incorrect has already been observed; they can be completed thus ….
(3) Hieronymus comm. Ezech. V praef.: Ne librorum numerus confundatur et per longa temporum spatia divisorum inter se voluminum ordo vitietur,praefatiunculas singulis libris praeposui: ut ex fronte tituli statim lector agnoscat quotus sibi liber legendus et quae nobis prophetia ezplananda sit.
(4) Martial’s (and Statius’) prefaces stand outside of the actual book: IX init. stands extra ordinem paginarum, VIII init.. in ipso libelli huius limine; also II init. stands before the pagina prima.
(5) This is done rigorously in De Halieuticis S. 159 ff.   [= Th. Birt, De Halieuticis Ovidio Poetae falso adscriptis (Berlin, 1878) — RP]
(6) Quintilian’s remark IV proemium 4  applies here also. 
(7) See above P. 142 note 1. 
(8) This is witnessed by ms. Mediceus Β for all four books, Parisinus C for III. fin. And IV fin., and Mediceus k forV. and VI fin; although in the latter case Β is missing some of the words in k giving τρόπον, but only as far as Ἰταλικῶ, the material omitted in Β is probably an expansion in k. These details of the ends of the books I owe to Prof. Niese.
(9) On this feature in Eusebius see Heinichen’s “Excursus XV” to Eusebius’ Kirchengeschichte, Bd. III, S.445. 


More on Polybius and tables of contents

In a comment on my post about Polybius and his discussion of tables of contents versus prefaces at the start of his books, Ted Janiszewski has kindly pointed out that Walbank’s remarks about the passage are online.  In fact at the PACE site, the text of Polybius with facing translation are available, with notes.  This does not work well in IE8, but displays is fine in Firefox.  It’s here.  So I’m going to excerpt what Walbank has to say; it is indeed of great interest in working out what Polybius means. 

The key words in all this are prographai and proekthesis.  The meaning of these words determines what Polybius is saying.  My current understanding is that prographai are lists, tables of contents, listing the subjects covered; and that a proekthesis is a part of the book itself — indeed a term used in orations –, in which the author sets forward the subject(s) which his argument will address.  But am I right? 

Here again is the text of the opening words of book 11, with the rather superficial Loeb translation of W.R.Paton, who reads prographai as “prologues”, and proekthesis as “summary”.  I then include Walbank’s remarks (corrected slightly for typos).  Note how Walbank uses Birt (whom I need to make available in another post), as everyone does. 

Ἴσως δέ τινες ἐπιζητοῦσι πῶς ἡμεῖς οὐ προγραφὰς ἐν ταύτῃ τῇ βίβλῳ, καθάπερ οἱ πρὸ ἡμῶν, ἀλλὰ καὶ προεκθέσεις καθ᾽ ἑκάστην ὀλυμπιάδα πεποιήκαμεν τῶν πράξεων

Some will perhaps inquire why in this work I do not, like former authors, write prologues but give a summary of the events in each Olympiad. 

 ἐν ταύτῇ τῇ βίβλῳ: probably, as Büner-Wobst suggests, the epitomator’s words, since βίβλος (βύβλος) must mean a book, not the whole work. Birt (Buchwesen, 142 n. 1) proposed adding καὶ ἐν ταῖς πρὸ ταύτης; but this is unconvincing. Orelli’s ἐν ταυτῇ τῇ πραγματείᾳ or Büner-Wobst’s ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ συντάξει gives the required sense. 

 καθάπερ οἱ πρὸ ἡμῶν: if, as this suggests, προγραφαί preceded the books of previous historians, they have rarely survived. The prefaces to Xenophon’s Anabasis, ii–vii, summarize the contents of the previous book, and are not προγραφαί at all; but one can form some impression of a προγραφή from FGH, 577 F 1 (= P. Oxy. 665), which is probably the προγραφή to a work on Sicilian history (Philistus?), and from FGH, 115 F 103 and 217, which are either προγραφαί or epitomes of books xii and xlvii of Theopompus’ Philippica. Examples survive in Diodorus. 

ἐγὼ δὲ κρίνω χρήσιμον μὲν εἶναι καὶ τὸ τῶν προγραφῶν γένος· καὶ γὰρ εἰς ἐπίστασιν ἄγει τοὺς ἀναγινώσκειν θέλοντας καὶ συνεκκαλεῖται καὶ παρορμᾷ πρὸς τὴν ἀνάγνωσιν τοὺς ἐντυγχάνοντας, πρὸς δὲ τούτοις πᾶν τὸ ζητούμενον ἑτοίμως ἔνεστιν εὑρεῖν διὰ τούτου· 

I indeed regard a prologue as a useful kind of thing, since it fixes the attention of those who wish to read the work and stimulates and encourages readers in their task, besides which by this means any matter that we are in search of can be easily found. 

 εἰς ἐπίστασιν ἄγει κτλ: cf. xiv. 1 a 1, εἰς ἐπίστασιν ἄγουσι τοὺς ἐντυγχάνοντας καὶ διὰ τὸ πλῆθος καὶ διὰ τὸ μέ γεθος τῶν γεγονότων. 

θεωρῶν δὲ διὰ πολλὰς αἰτίας καὶ τὰς τυχούσας ὀλιγωρούμενον καὶ φθειρόμενον τὸ τῶν προγραφῶν γένος, οὕτως καὶ διὰ ταῦτα πρὸς τοῦτο τὸ μέρος κατηνέχθην· 

But as I saw that for various fortuitous reasons prologues were now neglected and had degenerated in style, I was led to adopt the other alternative. 

 ὀλιγωρούμενον καὶ φθειρόμενον: ‘they are held in little account and get destroyed’. This is a general characteristic of προγραφαί, and not something which has recently come about as Paton’s translation implies: ‘as I saw that . . . prologues were now neglected and had degenerated in style’. φθειρόμενον refers, not to style (so Pdech, Mthode, 510 n. 78), but to the loss of προγραφαί (see above, 1 a n.). 

τῆς γὰρ προεκθέσεως οὐ μόνον ἰσοδυναμούσης πρὸς τὴν προγραφήν, ἀλλὰ καὶ πλεῖόν τι δυναμένης, ἅμα δὲ καὶ χώραν ἐχούσης ἀσφαλεστέραν διὰ τὸ συμπεπλέχθαι τῇ πραγματείᾳ

For an introductory summary is not only of equal value to a prologue but even of somewhat greater, while at the same time it occupies a surer position, as it forms an integral part of the work. 

τούτῳ μᾶλλον ἐδοκιμάσαμεν χρῆσθαι τῷ μέρει παρ᾽ ὅλην τὴν σύνταξιν πλὴν ἓξ τῶν πρώτων βυβλίων· ἐν ἐκείνοις δὲ προγραφὰς ἐποιησάμεθα διὰ τὸ μὴ λίαν ἐναρμόζειν ἐν αὐτοῖς τὸ τῶν προεκθέσεων γένος

I, therefore, decided to employ this method throughout except in the first six books to which I wrote prologues, because in their case previous summaries are not very suitable. 

 πλὴν ἓξ τῶν πρώτων βυβλίων: for the reading in M (resembling according to Hultsch) Mai read ‘and Cobet’; but there were special reasons for not giving προεκθέσεις καθf ἑκάστην ὀλυμπιάδα to books i–vi. i and ii were introductory, vi was an account of the constitution, army, etc., and iii-v dealt exceptionally with a single Olympiad. iii could have had a προέκθεσις to Ol. 140, but instead P. chose to prefix an introduction to the whole work (cf. iii. 1. 5 n.), just as he had included a προέκθεσις of the προκατασκευή in i. 13. 1–5. The προγραφαί, now lost, were a substitute, giving the contents of the first six books (cf. 1 a n.). 

This is very interesting indeed.  Walbank is taking the same view of prographai that I was tending towards; that these are “lists of contents”. 

But there is a reference out to book 14, which also has an introductory section.  The first part is ignored by Paton, so is from me (in brackets).  proekthesis appears again, this time translated differently.  Walbank again has a note. 

Ὅτι φησὶν Πολύβιος περὶ ἑαυτοῦ καὶ περὶ τῆς τῶν βίβλων ὑποθετικῆς ἐξηγήσεως· Ἴσως μὲν οὖν ἐπὶ πάσαις ταῖς ὀλυμπιάσιν αἱ προεκθέσεις τῶν πράξεων εἰς ἐπίστασιν ἄγουσι τοὺς ἐντυγχάνοντας καὶ διὰ τὸ πλῆθος καὶ διὰ τὸ μέγεθος τῶν γεγονότων, ὡς ἂν ὑπὸ μίαν σύνοψιν ἀγομένων τῶν ἐξ ὅλης τῆς οἰκουμένης ἔργων· 

[This says Polybius about himself and the meaning of the subject in his books]. Perhaps it is true that in all Olympiads the syllabus of events arrests the attention of the reader, owing to their number and importance, the actions of the whole world being brought under one point of view. 

αἱ προεκθέσεις τῶν πράξεων: ‘the introductory surveys of events’. 

εἰς ἐπίστασιν ἄγουσι: ‘arouse the attention of the reader’; cf. xi. 1 a 2. 

Here proekthesis is “introduction”.  So I think we’re proceeding on the right lines. 

The other point of interest in all this is the reference to examples in FGH.  There is a CDROM of the “New Jacoby” from Brill, doubtless at a price that one had better not ask.  But as I far as I know, the FGH is not accessible online, even though early volumes must be out of copyright.  Does anyone have access to FGH, 577 F 1 (= P. Oxy. 665), FGH, 115 F 103 and 217? 

Fortunately POxy665 we can access here, in vol.4, p.80 of the Oxyrynchus Papyri (1904).  Even better, there is a plate (plate I).  The right hand column is the fragment in which we are interested. 


P.Oxy.655 a table of contents in a 2nd century papyrus history of Sicily

This is transcribed as follows:

P.Oxy.655 transcription

Selected details from the book:

Fr. (a) 10·5 x 4.6, Fr. (b) 10·5 x 4·6 cm.

These fragments, which belong evidently to the same column, of which they formed the upper and lower portions respectively, are notwithstanding their small size of no slight interest and importance. They contain an abstract or summary of events in Sicily, the different items, which are stated in the concisest manner, being marked off by paragraphi and further distinguished from each other by the protrusion of the first lines into the left margin.

The papyrus was a regular literary roll, written in a fine uncial hand, which bears a very strong resemblance to that of the Oxyrhynchus papyrus of the Prooi/mia Demografika/ (facsimile in P. Oxy. I, p. 54), and also to that of the Bacchylides papyrus, to which it presents a still closer parallel than was provided by the Demosthenes MS. We should assign it, like the Demosthenes, to the second century A.D.; an earlier date is not at all likely. Probably this is part of an epitome of a continuous history of Sicily, and it may well be that, as Blass thinks, the work epitomized was the lost History of Timaeus.

The period to which the fragments refer seems to be that immediately following the general overthrow of the tyrannies in the Sicilian cities which took place about the year 465 B.C. (Diod. xi. 68.5). This period is indicated by the frequent mentions of conflicts with the Xenoi, by whom are meant the mercenaries settled in the cities by the tyrants as a support of their rule. …

The fragments also supply information of an expedition of Agrigentum against Crastus, and an engagement subsequently occurred at the latter place between the Agrigentines and forces from Himera and Gela, which may be supposed to have come to the assistance of Crastus. …

So … this, then, is an example of prographai, as they existed in the 2nd century, for a historical writer.

More on chapter titles from Albino’s article

I got a little ahead of myself, discussing Birgk’s 1872 comments about lists of subjects at the start of books of Polybius.  I was in fact going through the article in Italian by Diana Albino on chapter titles, and started by translating the bit about Gesner, the first to write on the subject.  Let’s hear some more from Albino, then.

Il Bergk (2) per primo, invece, asserì che già prima di Polibio si era diffuse l’uso di far precedere un quadro sommario ad ogni libro o di riassumere brevemente l’argomento di ogni capitolo in note marginali o in soprascritte, per rendere più agevole la lettura e la consultazione delle opere (3).

Dopo il Bergk, Theodoro Birt (4) affermò che la divisione ed i titoli dei capitoli non potevano essere tanto antichi; ma la scoperta, di poco posteriore alla pubblicazione della sua opera, di un gran numero di papiri permise di approfondire molti aspetti della questione, sicché lo studioso tedesco fu indotto a modificare il suo primo giudizio ed a constatare che divisione, titoli, sommari a volte risalgono agli stessi autori.

Già nei papiri, infatti, spesso le varie parti sono staccate l’una dall’altra o mediante intervalli di spazio o mediante l’accorgimento di far sporgere nel margine le prime lettere del rigo iniziale di ciascuna sezione o mediante i segni speciali ad indicare diplh~, korwni/j e paragra/foj. Presentano tali caratteristiche alcuni papiri di Ercolano (5) ed alcuni papiri del III secolo d.C. e precisamente i frammenti del codice papiraceo contenente la orazione di Demostene contro Aristarco (6) ed il brano del volumen nel quale era il Pente/muxoj di Ferecide (7). Tali modi di suddividere si conservarono anche nel Medioevo. Così, nel codice M (fine del sec. V, inizio del VI) della Naturalis Historia di Plinio il Vecchio, i capitoli sono contrassegnati o da intervalli vuoti o da lettere maiuscole o anche dal segno di coronide (8). Sempre tra i papiri alcuni volumina rivestono particolare importanza ai fini della nostra ricerca, in quanto presentano sui vari sezionamenti veri e propri titoli. Ricordiamo, innanzitutto, il papiro berlinese, attribuito al II secolo, che contiene un indice di persone e fatti degni di nota (9). I personaggi che vi sono ricordati sono raggruppati in varie sezioni precedute ciascuna dall’indicazione dell’attività da essi svolta, che assolve quindi la funzione di un titolo di capitolo.

E.g. Col. VI, 10:
Σόλων Λυκοῦργος Ζα-
[λεῦ]κος Χαρώνδας Δράκων
Σέμων Ἀθεναῖος· οὗτος
[εὗ]ρε πρῶτος […..]

Nei frammenti del papiro contenente il De medicina (10) al rigo 38 della V colonna si nota il segno di diplh~; inoltre doveva esservi il titolo del capitolo, che è scomparso quasi completamente, tranne una lettera, p, che il Cronert ha supposto fosse l’iniziale di peri/. Titoli di capitolo si trovano anche nel Papiro Argentoratensis, attribuito al II secolo d.C., che contiene precetti medici, di cui due si riferiscono evidentemente a medicamenti per gli occhi (11). Infatti, i titoli che si trovano al rigo 1 e 10 e che sporgono nel margine sono:
1) πρὸς λευκ [ώματα]
2) πρὸς οὐλάς

Molto importante è poi il papiro contenente il commento di Didimo a Demostene, la cui scrittura è stata attribuita all’inizio del II secolo d.C., e sul retro l’ Ἠικῆς στοιχείωσις; di Ierocle, scritta da un copista alquanto posteriore (12).

Sulle colonne del papiro si trovano i titoli composti dal grammatico per fornire un indice del suo commento a quattro orazioni di Demostene; a volte su una colonna compaiono due titoli, ma il secondo è distinto dal segno di diplh~, che è poi riportato nell’interno dell’opera all’inizio del capitolo, cui si riferisce. Si può osservare che tali titoli di capitoli sono sicuramente anteriori, all’età del copista, giacché questi ha riportato su alcune colonne titoli che si riferiscono al contenuto di colonne diverse, evidentemente per un errore di trascrizione da un modello più antico. Altri papiri suddivisi in capitoli forniti di titoli sono il Papiro di Ossirinco, della fine del II sec. d.C., contenente precetti medici (13), gli Excerpta ex Tryphonis arte grammatica del sec. VI o VII d.C. (14), l’Anonymus Argentinensis della seconda metà del I sec. d.C. (15), sul cui contenuto sono sorte varie questioni e che infine il Laquer ha riconosciuto come frammento di un opera Peri\ Dhmosqenouj, di cui fu forse autore il già citato Didimo.

Which I have translated as:

Bergk (2) at first, however, claimed that even before Polybius, there had spread the use of preceding each book with a reference summary [abstract], or to summarize briefly the argument of each chapter in notes in the margin or superscript, to make easier the reading and consultation of the works (3).

After Bergk, Theodore Birt (4) stated that the division and the titles of the chapters could not be as old; but the discovery, shortly after the publication of his work, of a large number of papyri permitted a deeper investigation of many aspects of the issue , so that the German scholar was forced to modify his first opinion and to state that the divisions, titles, and summaries sometimes go back to the authors themselves.

Already in the papyri, in fact, the various parts are often separated from each other by intervals of spacing, or through the device of protruding into the margin the first letter of the initial line of each section, or by means of special signs to indicate diplh~, korwni/j and paragra/foj.  Some papyri of Hercolaneum introduce such characteristics (5)  and some papyri of the III century A.D.,  namely the fragments of papyrus containing the oration of Demosthenes against Aristarchus (6) and the portion of the volumen in which was the Pente/muxoj of Pherecydes (7). These ways of subdivision are also preserved in the Middle Ages. Thus, in codex M (end of the 5th century, beginning of the 6th) of the Naturalis Historia of Pliny the Elder, the chapters are marked by empty intervals or capital letters or even the sign of coronis (8). Also among the papyri some volumina are of particular importance for our research, as they present various sections and their own titles. Let us recall first the Berlin papyrus, attributed to the second century, which contains an index of people and events worthy of note (9). The characters that are recorded are grouped into several sections, each preceded by an indication of the activity they perform, which then performs the function of a chapter title.

E.g. Col. VI, 10:
Σόλων Λυκοῦργος Ζα-
[λεῦ]κος Χαρώνδας Δράκων
Σέμων Ἀθεναῖος· οὗτος
[εὗ]ρε πρῶτος […..]

In the fragments of papyrus containing the De medicina (10) in row 38 of column V we see the sign of the diplh~; there was also the title of the chapter, which has disappeared almost completely, except for one letter, π, which Crönert has supposed to be the first letter of περί. Chapter titles are also found in the Papyrus Argentoratensis, attributed to the second century AD, which contains medical precepts, two of which clearly refer to medicines for the eyes (11). In fact, the titles found in row 1 and 10 and protruding into the margin are:
1) πρὸς λευκ [ώματα]
2) πρὸς οὐλάς

Also very important is the papyrus containing the commentary of Didymus on Demosthenes, who has been attributed to the early second century AD, and on the back of the Ἠικῆς στοιχείωσις of Hierocles, written by a somewhat later copyist (12). 

Over the columns of the papyrus are the titles composed by the grammarian to provide an index of his commentary to four orations of Demosthenes; sometimes over a column there are two titles, but the second is distinguished by the sign of a dipl ~, which is repeated in the interior of the work at the beginning of the chapter to which it refers. It may be noted that such titles of chapters are certainly earlier than the date of the copyist, since over some columns are repeated titles that relate to the contents of different columns, evidently a transcription error from a more ancient model. Other papyri divided into chapters with titles are the Papyri of Oxyrhynchus, late second century. AD, containing medical precepts (13), the Excerpta ex Tryphonis arte grammatica  of the 6th or 7th century A.D., (14), the Anonymus argentinensis from the second half of the 1st century. A.D. (15), the contents of which raised various questions and which finally Laquer recognized as a fragment of a work Peri\ Demosthenous, which was probably written by the aforementioned Didymus.

(2) Griechische Literaturgeschichte, Berlin 1872, pp. 232-33.
(3) Like Polybius, Diodorus, Parthenius, Antoninus Liberalis, and Athenaeus adopted this method.
(4) Das antike Buchwesen in seinem Verhaltniss zur Litteratur, Berlin, 1882, pp. 157 ff. et passim.
(5) Herc. vol. 1580, col 7 vs. 6 B (Coll. altera XI, 99) e col. 10, 8 Z, C. a. XI, 102.
(6) Oxyrh. III, 459, p. 112.
(7) Greek papyri, ed. GRENFELL, II, XI, 2, 4.
(8) Cfr. K. DZIATZKO: Untersuchungen ueber ausgewahlte Kapitel des antiken Buchwesens, Leipzig, 1900, p. 53 e pp. 113-114; PLINII Naturalis Historia ed. SILLING, Gothae 1855 voI. VI, Proleg. pp. 18, 20, 26.
(9) Ed. H. DIELS: Abhandl. d. Akad. 2, Berlin, 1904; cfr. Arch. f. Pap. Forschg. III, 492.
(10) Pap. Mus. Brit. n. 155.
(11) Ed. K. KALBFLEISCH: Ind. Lect. Rostochiae 1902; cfr. CRONERT: Archiv. ii, p. 375 n. 376.
(12) Cfr. Didymi de Demosthene commenta, edd. H. DIELS and W. SCHUBART, Lipsiae, 1904.
(13) Oxyrh.. pap. II, n. 234, pp. 134, 136.
(14) Griech. Papyri, ed. HALBERLIN, Lipsiae, 1897, p. 80.
(15) Ed. B. KEIL, Argentorati, 1902 (edito princeps).

Once all these very old references would have been a problem to access.  Thanks to Google, these are probably all online!  I need to follow all this up.

Polybius on prefaces and summaries for his books

Let’s return to chapter titles, summaries at the start of books, and the question of chapter divisions.  In my last post I translated Bergk, but did not give the Greek of Polybius, book 11, nor an English translation.  He says that Polybius says he started his multi-book history by giving each book a summary or headings at the front, but abandoned the idea at book 11, in favour of a preface, because the copyists were not copying the summaries.

Now Polybius is online, and so are two translations of his remarks at the start of book 11.  So we can look for ourselves.  Here’s the Greek from Perseus:

Ἴσως δέ τινες ἐπιζητοῦσι πῶς ἡμεῖς οὐ προγραφὰς ἐν ταύτῃ τῇ βίβλῳ, καθάπερ οἱ πρὸ ἡμῶν, ἀλλὰ καὶ προεκθέσεις καθ᾽ ἑκάστην ὀλυμπιάδα πεποιήκαμεν τῶν πράξεων. [2] ἐγὼ δὲ κρίνω χρήσιμον μὲν εἶναι καὶ τὸ τῶν προγραφῶν γένος: καὶ γὰρ εἰς ἐπίστασιν ἄγει τοὺς ἀναγινώσκειν θέλοντας καὶ συνεκκαλεῖται καὶ παρορμᾷ πρὸς τὴν ἀνάγνωσιν τοὺς ἐντυγχάνοντας, πρὸς δὲ τούτοις πᾶν τὸ ζητούμενον ἑτοίμως ἔνεστιν εὑρεῖν διὰ τούτου: [3] θεωρῶν δὲ διὰ πολλὰς αἰτίας καὶ τὰς τυχούσας ὀλιγωρούμενον καὶ φθειρόμενον τὸ τῶν προγραφῶν γένος, οὕτως καὶ διὰ ταῦτα πρὸς τοῦτο τὸ μέρος κατηνέχθην: [4] τῆς γὰρ προεκθέσεως οὐ μόνον ἰσοδυναμούσης πρὸς τὴν προγραφήν, ἀλλὰ καὶ πλεῖόν τι δυναμένης, ἅμα δὲ καὶ χώραν ἐχούσης ἀσφαλεστέραν διὰ τὸ συμπεπλέχθαι τῇ πραγματείᾳ, [5] τούτῳ μᾶλλον ἐδοκιμάσαμεν χρῆσθαι τῷ μέρει παρ᾽ ὅλην τὴν σύνταξιν πλὴν ἓξ τῶν πρώτων βυβλίων: ἐν ἐκείνοις δὲ προγραφὰς ἐποιησάμεθα διὰ τὸ μὴ λίαν ἐναρμόζειν ἐν αὐτοῖς τὸ τῶν προεκθέσεων γένος.

Here is the translation from Perseus, by Evelyn S. Shuckburgh (1882).

My reason for prefixing a table of contents to each book, rather than a preface, is not because I do not recognise the usefulness of a preface in arresting attention and rousing interest, and also giving facilities for finding any passage that is wanted, but because I find prefaces viewed, though from many inadequate reasons, with contempt and neglect. I therefore had recourse to a table of contents throughout my history, except the first six books, arranged according to Olympiads, as being as effective, or even more so, than a preface, and at the same time as less subject to the objection of being out of place, for it is closely connected with the subject-matter. In the first six books I wrote prefaces, because I thought a mere table of contents less suitable. . . .

And here is the Loeb translation by W.R.Paton, thanks to the generosity of Bill Thayer:

Some will perhaps inquire why in this work I do not, like former authors, write prologues but give a summary of the events in each Olympiad. I indeed regard a prologue as a useful kind of thing, since it fixes the attention of those who wish to read the work and stimulates and encourages readers in their task, besides which by this means any matter that we are in search of can be easily found. But as I saw that for various fortuitous reasons prologues were now neglected and had degenerated in style, I was led to adopt the other alternative. For an introductory summary is not only of equal value to a prologue but even of somewhat greater, while at the same time it occupies a surer position, as it forms an integral part of the work.  I, therefore, decided to employ this method throughout except in the first six books to which I wrote prologues, because in their case previous summaries are not very suitable.

So.  What are the words being used for “preface”, “prologue”?  Well, prographe is it.  LSJ gives us:

προγραφή , h(,
A. public notice, advertisement, X.Eq.Mag.4.9, Plb.25.3.2, SIG976.37(Samos, ii B.C.), OGI515.38 (Mylasa, iii A.D.); edict, D.C.47.13; ἐκ προγραφῆς by edict, Id.56.25.
2. notice of sale, Thphr. Fr.97.2(pl.), Plu.2.205c; public sale of confiscated property, Str.5.4.11.
3. ἐπὶ θανάτῳ προγραφαίproscriptions, App.BC1.2; “σφαγαὶ καὶ π.” Plu.Brut.27; warrant for arrest, BGU372.8 (ii A.D., pl.).
II. table drawn up in advance, of an astronomical cycle, D.S.12.36.
III. heading, preliminary form, BGU780.2 (ii A.D.), Men.Prot. p.16D., etc.; title of a prescription, Gal.13.777:—Dim. προγον-γράφιον [α^], to/, Sammelb.5273.10(v A.D.).

Hum.  And for “summary”? proekthesis, which has the meaning in LSJ:

προέκ-θεσις , εως, h(,

A. [select] introduction, preface,τῆς πραγματείαςPlb. 3.1.7, 8.11.2; prefatory account, Scymn.13, D.H.Comp.23, Quint. Inst.9.2.106.

But surely both translators have inverted the meanings of the  two words?  Proekthesis would seem to  be “introduction”, “preface”; indeed Polybius is given as the reference in LSJ for this meaning. While prographai seems to mean the table of contents, table of headings, titles, and NOT “preface” — indeed the passage has no meaning if the two words mean the same.

The most immediate observation is how different the translations are.  Paton seems to think that Polybius is referring to previous authors, rather than what Polybius had done in preceding books, but the text does not say this.  Indeed I am not sure that Paton understood the Greek of the whole passage.

Neither aligns with what Bergk said, as I understand him.  Can anyone with better Greek and better German than I clear this up?  For it looks as if either Bergk did not understand Polybius, or the two translators did not.

UPDATE: I thought I would do a word search on prographai, and found the following note in de Jong, Time in ancient Greek literature, Brill (2007) p.167, an article by T. Rood on Polybius:

4.  The term for the initial summary is proekthesis: cf. Walbank 1957-59, I 297-298.  For the first six books Polybius included a prographai, lists of contents appearing either outside the scroll or inside, before the text; the only proekthesis was the general summary of the whole work at 3.2-6 (cf. 11.1a, with Walbank ad loc.)  At 14.a1.1 Polybius claims that the proekthesis “arrests the attention of the reader” by showing the interconnections between events.

“Walbank” is A historical commentary on Polybius, I-III (Oxford, 1957-9), as it says on p.537 (and aren’t these Google previews a blessing?)  This suggests that I am right — that both translators have tripped up.  The idea of lists is definitely what prographai is about, public-facing lists of things.  I wish I could access Walbank!

But … I then search for proekthesis.  And I get a preview of Kennedy, Invention and method: two rhetorical treatises from the Hermogenic corpus, SBL, 2005, p.225.  This is a translation of Hermogenes, On forceful speaking.


To state at the beginning headings for what one is going to prove or teach is called by technical writers proekthesis, and to give at the end a reminder of what has been demonstrated the technical writers call anakephalaiosis.[26]  The ancients however call proekthesis hyposkesis [27] and anakephalaiosis epanodos, as Demosthenes reveals when he says (23.18), “It is right for me, having promised (hypeskhemenon) three things, to demonstrate first, that it is contrary to the laws,” and in the other case “I go back [28] to the proofs that the crimes and corruption of these men is the cause of the present problems.”  And Plato (Phaedrus 266d-e) |[428] says that at the beginning (of a speech) there are proemia and narrations, followed by proofs…

26. “Preliminary exposition (of headings)” = “partition” and “recapitulation” respectively; for proekthesis  see Dionysius of Halicarnassus, On Composition 23 (vol. 2, p.117, 11 Usener-Radermacher); Quintilian 9.2.106, citing Rutilius; Anonymous Seguerianus #10; Fortunatianus 2.12 and 15; …

Which seems to make the opposite point.  Um! 

The Anonymous Seguerianus is also online here, Dilts, Two Greek rhetorical treatises from the Roman empire, Brill, 1997, p.5:

10. If the hearers know what the speeches are about, they will become more receptive.  Proekthesis, anaeosis, and merismos create receptivity.  11.  It is proekthesis whenever someone sets out, as in a heading (kephalaia), what he is going to say: for example, “I shall show both that the man is unworthy and  that the decree is illegal.”

But obviously if the proekthesis was of that form, it was a preface or summary of what he was about to say, not a list of contents.  Yet kephalaia is the word for “chapters”. 

The other link I found which is non-scholarly is this, but plainly well informed from some unspecified source.

It still seems to me that I am right; but clearly even the terminology is confusing people.