The limits of exactitude in Greek, Roman, and Byzantine literature and textual transmission / edited by Nicoletta Bruno [and three others].

  • Berlin, Germany ; Boston, Massachusetts : Walter de Gruyter GmbH, [2022]
  • ©2022
1 online resource (468 pages)


Summary note
Building on Calvino’s observations on Exactitude in Six Memos for the Next Millennium, the present book elucidates on the possible definitions of exactitude, the endeavor of reaching exactitude, and the undeniable limits to the achievement of this ambitious milestone.The eighteen essays in this interdisciplinary volume show how ancient and medieval authors have been dealing with the problem of exactitude vs. inexactitude and have been able to exploit the ambiguities related to these two concepts to various ends. The articles focus on rhetoric and historiography (section I), exact sciences and technical disciplines (II), the peculiarity of "ations (III), cases of programmatic inexactitude (IV) and textual transmission (V). Several interconnected questions weave a net across the volume: to what extent is exactitude the goal in ancient and medieval texts? How can the concepts of accuracy and inaccuracy aid the reinterpretation of an already known text or fact? To what extent can certain definitions of exactitude be stretched, without turning into inexactitude?The volume presents an extensive study capable of highlighting the shrewdness and aptness of the concepts introduced by Calvino more than thirty years ago.
Includes index.
Source of description
Description based on print version record.
  • Frontmatter
  • Preface
  • Contents
  • Introduction: “The Crystal and the Flame”. Preliminary Remarks on Exactitude
  • Part I: Accuratio vel ambiguitas: Historical Narrative and Rhetorical Strategies
  • Discourse Relations and Historical Representation: Tacitus on the Role of Livia and Agrippina
  • Unspoken Messages: Tiberius and the Power of Silence in Tacitus’ Annals
  • Prescriptive and Performative Aesthetics: “Exactitude” in Quintilian’s Institutio oratoria
  • The Limits of Exactitude in Lucian’s Toxaris
  • Part II: Philosophical, Scientific, and Technical Exactitude
  • When Terence Writes Ambiguously (But He Does It on Purpose): An Analysis of Donatus’ Commentary on Phorm. 7.2
  • Walking at the Same Pace: On the Relevance of Clarity in Epictetus’ Teaching and Its Models
  • Exactitude in Ancient Pharmacological Theory and Practice, with Cases from the Greek Medical Papyri
  • Exactitude in Greek Musical Treatises: Meanings, Vocabulary, and Limits
  • Part III: Quotations and Misquotations: Three Cases from Greek and Roman Literature
  • Αἰσχυλαριστοφανίζειν: On the Boundaries of an Aeschylean Quotation (Aesch. fr. 61 R.)
  • Misquoting, Misplacing, Misusing: Some Observations on Cicero’s De consulatu suo
  • “Always Remember…”: The Role and Character of the Citations of Heraclitus in Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations
  • Part IV: Choosing Inexactitude: Programmatic and Genre Ambiguity
  • Exile or Envoy? Contradictions, Inaccuracies and Ambiguities about Clearchus
  • Between Inaccuracy and Idealization: The concordia fratrum in Claudian’s Poems
  • Cassiodorus’ Variae and the Role of Ambiguity in Ostrogothic Foreign Policy
  • Navigating the Ambiguity of Byzantine Apocalypses: Remarks on Genre, Exegesis, and Manuscript Transmission
  • Part V: Ambiguities in Textual Transmission
  • Sophocles’ Thyestes Plays: How Many Is Too Many?
  • Titles in Martial’s Manuscripts: Mistakes in Interpretation?
  • Byzantine Hymnographers Named Θεόδωρος: An Attempt at Disambiguation
  • List of Contributors
  • Index of Names and Places
  • Index of Sources
  • Index of Material Sources
Other format(s)
Issued also in print.
  • 10.1515/9783110796612
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