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Critics, Compilers, and Commentators: An Introduction to Roman Philology, 200 BCE-800 CE

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"To teach correct Latin and to explain the poets" were the two standard duties of Roman teachers. Not only was a command of literary Latin a prerequisite for political and social advancement, but a sense of Latin's history and importance contributed to the Romans' understanding of their own cultural identity. Put plainly, philology — the study of language and texts — was important at Rome.

Critics, Compilers, and Commentators is the first comprehensive introduction to the history, forms, and texts of Roman philology. James Zetzel traces the changing role and status of Latin as revealed in the ways it was explained and taught by the Romans themselves. In addition, he provides a descriptive bibliography of hundreds of scholarly texts from antiquity, listing editions, translations, and secondary literature. Recovering a neglected but crucial area of Roman intellectual life, this book will be an essential resource for students of Roman literature and intellectual history, medievalists, and historians of education and language science.

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Zetzel James
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James Zetzel studied at Harvard University and the Institute of Classical Studies of the University of London; he has taught at Brown and Princeton Universities and for the last 32 years at Columbia University. He has written extensively on the literature of the first century BCE and on the history of classical scholarship. He has also published two volumes of translations of Cicero.

Table of Contents


List of Abbreviations

Part I: A Short History of Roman Scholarship

Chapter 1: The Face of Learning

Chapter 2: The Origins of Roman Grammar

Chapter 3: Word and World: Varro and his Contemporaries

Chapter 4: Past and Present: From Caecilius Epirota to Valerius Probus

Chapter 5: Finding the Right Word

Chapter 6: Dictionaries, Glossaries, Encyclopedias

Chapter 7: Commentary and Exegesis

Chapter 8: Grammar and Grammarians

Chapter 9: Author, Audience, Text

Chapter 10: Dictionaries and Encyclopedias

Chapter 11: Commentaries

Chapter 12: Grammars and Other Forms of Erudition

Chapter 13: Early Medieval Grammars

List of Works Cited




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