Encyclopaedism from Antiquity to the Renaissance

There's a wealthy physique of encyclopaedic writing which survives from the 2 millennia earlier than the Enlightenment. This publication sheds new mild on that fabric. It lines the improvement of traditions of knowledge-ordering which stretched again to Pliny and Varro and others within the classical international. it really works with a huge suggestion of encyclopaedism, resisting the concept there has been any transparent pre-modern style of the encyclopaedia, and displaying as an alternative how the rhetoric and methods of accomplished compilation left their mark on a shocking variety of texts. within the approach it attracts cognizance to either notable similarities and remarkable alterations among conventions of encyclopaedic compilation in numerous classes. the focal point is totally on European/Mediterranean tradition. The booklet covers classical, medieval (including Byzantine and Arabic) and Renaissance tradition in flip, and combines chapters which survey entire sessions with others concentrated heavily on person texts as case reviews.

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On the development of Roman interest in Aristotle see Barnes (1997). 13 A principal concern of scholars in each period was to eliminate inconsistency and establish a rational order of genuine works. Catalogues (pinakes) were allegedly produced by Andronicus, probably around the turn of the millennium, and certainly by Ptolemy in the second century CE. 14 Aristotle’s later reputation as a systematising thinker is not necessarily a good reflection of the underlying conceptions of his work. And yet despite all of those qualifications it is hard to deny that Aristotle’s works do often seem to gesture towards a vision of what a systematic account of all branches of human knowledge might look like.

Sallmann). 3 To take just one example, Strabo lists Homer first among those philosophers interested in geography, and as the founder of the science: First of all I must state that we and our predecessors, among whom I include Hipparchos, consider that Homer was the founder (archˆegetˆes) of the science of geography: for he has not only surpassed all other men, past and present, in terms of the quality of his poetry, but also in terms of his knowledge of public life. For this reason he did not only concern himself with political life, so that he could become an expert and pass on his knowledge to posterity, but he also became an expert on every place and on the shape of the world as a whole, both lands and seas.

Philosophical and medical writings, histories and the works of sophists were among the first produced on a large scale. By the end of the fourth century, Aristotle had reputedly created a large collection in the Lyceum. 27 Yet even this total marks a scalar change in the classical bookworld. Most were presumably of poetry. Callimachus’ catalogue of the library in the mid-third century BCE, the Pinakes, ran to 120 scrolls and already offered a classification by subject matter and genre as well as biographical and bibliographical notes on the authors.

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