Fundamental Manuscripts of Greek Classics

The earliest Medieval manuscript of Homer’s Iliad

This article establishes the creation dates of some of the fundamental manuscripts of Greek classics. This article is subject to update. If you see information which is inaccurate, or you notice information is lacking, please email me.

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I have abbreviated “written after” as “w.a.”. All dates are AD.

The current list is as follows;

1 – Achilles Tatius – written after 1100. Text first printed in 1544 by Annibale della Croce (Cruceius).

2 – Aelian, Letters – w.a. 1400. Text first printed in 1499 by Marcus Musurus.

3 – Aelian, On the Characteristics of Animals – w.a. 1200. Text first printed in 1556 by C. Gesner.

4 – Aelius Aristides – w.a. 900.

5 – Aeneas Tacticus – w.a. 900.

6 – Alciphron, Letters – w.a. 1100. Text published in 1499 by Marcus Musurus.

7 – Apollodorus – w.a. 1300. First edition from 1555 by Benedictus Aegius in Rome.

8 – Arrian – w.a. 1100.

9 – Asclepiodotus, The Outline of Tactics – w.a. 900.

10 – Valerius Barbrius, Fables – w.a. 900.

11 – Demosthenes – w.a. 900.

12 – Dio Chrysostom – w.a. 1000. First edition published in 1476 by Dionysius Paravisinus.

13 – Diogenes Laertius – w.a. 1100. First edition printed in 1533.

14 – Dionysis of Halicarnassus – w.a. 900.

14.a – History – w.a. 900. First printed edition in 1546 by Robert Estienne (Stephanus)

14.b – Critical Essays – w.a. 1000. First printed c.1505 by Aldus Manutius

15 – Galen – w.a. 900?

16 – Herodian – w.a. 1000. First printed edition in 1503.

17 – Herodotus – w.a. 900.

18 – Hesiod – w.a. 900.

19 – Hippocrates – w.a. 900. Collection first published in 1525 by Fabio Calvo.

20 – Homer – w.a. 800.

20.a – The Iliad – w.a. 800.

20.b – The Odyssey – w.a. 900.

21 – Homeric Hymns – w.a. 1200. First printed in 1488 by Demetrius Chalcondyles.

22 – Isocrates – w.a. 800. First printed in 1493 by Demetrius Chalcondyles.

23 – Isaeus – w.a. 1200. First printed in 1513 by Aldus.

24 – Libanius, The Julianic Orations – w.a. 900. First printed in 1517 by Soterianus Capsalis.

25 – Nonnos, Dionysiaca – w.a. 1200.

26 – Onasander, “The General” – w.a. 900.

27 – Pausanias – w.a. 1400.

28 – Pindar – w.a. 1100. First printed in 1513 by Aldus.

29 – Philostratus – w.a. 1000.

29.a – Letters – w.a. 1000.

29.b – Life of Apollonius of Tyana – w.a. 1000. First printed by Aldus.

30 – Plotinus – w.a. 800?

31 – Plutarch – w.a. 900

31.a – Parallel Lives – w.a. 900. First printed in 1517.

31.b – Life of Apollonius of Tyana – w.a. 900. First printed in 1509 by Aldus.

32 – Polybius – w.a. 900.

33 – Sextus Empiricus – w.a. 1400.

34 – Sophocles – w.a. 800.

35 – Strabo – w.a. 900.

36 – Theophrastus – w.a. 900.

36.a – Characters – w.a. 900.

36.b – De causis plantarum – w.a. 1000.

36.c – Enquiry into plants – ???

37 – Thucydides – w.a. 1000. First printed in 1502 by Aldus.

38 – Xenophon – w.a. 800.

38.1 – Anabasis – w.a. 800.

38.2 – Hellenica – w.a. 1300. First printed in 1516 by E. Boninus.

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Burney_ms_86_f170v

Here is the above information by century;

9th century – 20, 22, 30, 34, 38,

10th century – 4, 5, 9, 11, 14, 15, 17, 18, 19, 24, 26, 31, 32, 35, 36

11th century – 12, 16, 29, 37

12th century – 1, 6, 8, 13, 28

13th century – 3, 21, 23, 25

14th century – 7

15th century – 2, 27, 33

We can see that today’s scholars consider the 10th century to be the century in which the most of the earliest manuscripts were created. With only 5 of the 38 being created in the 800s (by common opinion), the majority of these manuscripts were created after 900 (by common opinion). The numbers above are reflective of only the earliest document. The majority of the bulk of manuscripts were created after 1000-1100.

Conclusion;

The manuscripts of the authors listed above are generally believed by today’s scholars to have been created after the year 800AD.

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References:

[1] – http://www.tertullian.org/rpearse/manuscripts/greek_classics.htm

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