Stobaios – Preliminary Research and Translation
The subject of the notified project is a work by Ioannes Stobaios from the fifth century after Christ known under the title of “Anthology”. The author recalls and quotes about half a thousand ancient authors and their works, composing extracts in a way that builds coherent picture of ancient literature, customs and the most important philosophical views. The excerpts cover all fields of ancient literature: from epic, lyrical and tragic poets, known and unknown, through speakers historians and philosophers, to physicians.
The Stobaios anthology is an invaluable source of knowledge about ancient literature, many authors and many quotations have been preserved only thanks to this work; it is also an important tool for textological research: the manuscript versions of the texts contain more probable and correct lessons than other manuscripts. It also constitutes a sui generis author’s manual of ancient philosophy and literature, constructed on the basis of excerpts from literature. The work is also didactic and belongs to the history of Greek paideia.
The extracts from literature are subjected to thematic criteria appropriate to the fields of ancient philosophy: mainly physics and ethics (which also includes politics and economics), but also the philosophy of cognition and the subjects of the school „trivium”. Book four, on the other hand, contains remarks on the state, laws, customs, war and peace, agriculture, shipping, arts, marriage, family and parents, household, wealth, shortness of life, illness, medical treatment, ageing, death, mourning and burial – the collected catalogue of issues covers all areas of life, making up a unique collection of literary testimonies on the life and works of the ancient Greeks from the Archaic Age to the Age of Empire (from Homer to Themistius).
It remains a mystery why a work of such importance for the study of ancient literature and culture has not yet been translated in its entirety into any modern language (except for Modern Greek edition). It is also astonishing that it also remains almost absent from published scholarly research, and if it does exist, it is only as a reference point and not as a coherent, thoughtful and outstanding literary work. The literature on the subject is very scarce and so far, however, there has only been a scientific conference devoted to it in the world: it was held in 2008 in Milan and the conference proceedings were published in the volume: Thinking through Excerpts. Studies on Stobaeus (ed. G. Reydams-Schils, Brepols 2011). Although the bibliography included in this volume covers 52 pages, only 27 publications deal with Stobaeus himself and his work. In Poland, research on Stobaios is completely absent (except for mentions in textbook and dictionary studies of ancient Greek literature and culture). In 2018, a translation of 141 pages of excerpts from Stobaeus’ work by M.D. Litwa was published (Hermetica II. Stobaeus, papyrus Fragments, and Ancient Testimonies in an English Translation with Notes and Introduction, Cambridge 2018).
Stobaios’s anthology – sometimes compared to Athenaeus’s ‘Feast of the Wise Men’ – is an invaluable source of knowledge on ancient literature, many authors and many quotations have been preserved only thanks to this work; it is also an important tool in textological research: the manuscript versions of the texts preserved in the tradition contain lessons more probable and correct than other manuscripts. Finally, the work of Stobaios constitutes textbook on ancient philosophy, constructed on the basis of excerpts from literature – the addressee of the work is Stobaius’ son, Septimius. The work therefore also has a didactic character and belongs to the history of Greek paideia.
The aim of the project is to organize a research group composed of scholars of antiquity representing various disciplines (philology, history, philosophy) as well as students and PhD students who will undertake systematic work on the work of Stobaios, aiming at:
– the organization of a world center of research on Stobaios and integration of the global scientific community focused on Stobaios research;
– organization of a permanent research group comprising staff from the three faculties, PhD students and undergraduates;
– publication of research results in journals from the ministerial list;
– the preparation of a selection of texts in Polish translation as a pilot publication for the elaboration of the entire translation in further stages of the project (approximately 300 pages out of a total of more than 2000);
– preparation of a concept for further work on Stobaios in an international perspective and grant applications.
The research method applied is interdisciplinary and includes philological, philosophical, cultural studies, anthropological, lexicographical and historical methods, including but not limited to: The methodology of literary research as discourse; the historical and cultural conditions of literary description and its relations with philosophy; the ancient theory of literary studies, its cultural and geographical conditions, the theory of literature in an anthropological perspective, cultural studies and problems of literary representation, as well as the categories of contemporary literary theory: interpretation, constructivism and semiotics, and the categories of contemporary anthropology of literature: subjectivity, identity, locality.
The work of Stobaios covers an unlimited number of thematic areas of the ancient world, which demand an individual research approach each time – the choice of these areas and the scope of the text to be processed will depend on the individual decision of each participant of the research group; the criterion of choosing the right methodological tools for the correct translation and explication of the text will also be individual.
The task of each member of the research team will be:
– participation in a regular thematic seminar and presentation of the research;
– preparing a commented translation of about 20-30 pages of a selected passus of Stobaios’ work, which will make up a total pilot publication of approx. 300 pages of translation with commentary;
– preparation of one scientific publication to be published in a reputable journal;
– presentation of research results at an international conference;
– participation in conceptual work on setting directions for further research on Stobaios and in the preparation of a grant application.
The research team composition:
dr hab. Krzysztof Bielawski, prof. UJ (Faculty of Philology, Institute of Classical Philology)
dr hab. Joanna Janik (Faculty of Philology, Institute of Classical Philology)
dr hab. Aleksandra Klęczar (Faculty of Philology, Institute of Classical Philology)
dr hab. Michał Bzinkowski (Faculty of Philology, Institute of Classical Philology)
dr hab. Sławomir Sprawski (Faculty of History)
dr Michał Bizoń (Faculty of Philosophy)
dr Jakub Kuciak (JCJ)
Anna Kosmowska (student: Institute of Classical Philology and Institute of History)
Antoni Czachor (student: Institute of Classical Philology and Institute of History; Jagiellonian Library)
mgr Mateusz Kula (SDNH, UJ).
Keywords: Stobaios, literary critiscm, Greek Literture, Late Antiquity, Literature of Excerpts