Hellenistic Scholarship and Papyrology

Scholarship 4

P.Mich. 1206 (3rd-4th cent. CE). Commentary to Iliad 14, 316-48 with Aristarchean critical signs. Image digitally reproduced with the permission of the Papyrology Collection, University of Michigan Library.

Aristarchus of Samothrace, the most important grammarian working in the Library of Alexandria, has been the focus of my research for several years. I have written articles on him and on Alexandrian scholarship as well as a book collecting Aristarchus’ fragments in the Byzantine Etymologica (Göttingen 2004). Recently I have finished a monograph on Aristarchus’ work on the Iliad, focusing on his methodology and critical principles (Ann Arbor 2016 – expected).

Most of my work with papyri concerns literary and sub-literary papyri connected with scholarship, especially lexica and commentaries on papyrus. I also like to look at literary papyri as ‘artifacts’  to reconstruct the characteristics and physical features of ancient books. For example, in TO MEGA BIBLION (Durham NC 2010) I studied book-conventions in rolls and codices containing hexametric poetry . Most recently I became  interested in the editorial practices connected with the Greek Bible, and especially in Origen’s use of Alexandrian critical signs in relation to the Hexapla.

Together with Luigi Battezzato (Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale, Vercelly, Italy) I am the editor of New Texts from Ancient Cultures, UMPress (https://www.press.umich.edu/browse/series/UM98)



  1. I frammenti di Aristarco di Samotracia negli etimologici bizantini. Introduzione, edizione critica e commento, «Hypomnemata» 152, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht: Göttingen 2004.
  2. From Alexandria to Babylon. Near Eastern Languages and Hellenistic Erudition in the Oxyrhynchus Glossary (P.Oxy. 1802 + 4812), «Sozomena» 4, De Gruyter: Berlin-New York 2009.
  3. Τὸ μέγα βιβλίον: Book-ends, End-titles, Coronides in Papyri with Hexametric Poetry, «American Studies in Papyrology» 48, Oxbow: Durham NC 2010.
  4. The Best of the Grammarians: Aristarchus of Samothrace on the Iliad, UMPress: Ann Arbor 2018.


  1. ‘Sull’uso di σύνθεσις nella critica letteraria antica’, SCO 46 (1997): 1049-1077 (with F. Bottai).
  2. ‘Thuc., 2,13,3 e Sch. Aristoph. Pl., 1193: alcune considerazioni’, ASNS, serie IV, II, 2 (1997): 427-452.
  3. ‘Aristarco studioso di Antimaco’, RFIC 127 (1999): 282-290.
  4. ‘Il testo di Marco Aurelio conservato dalla Suda’, SCO 47 (1999-2000): 209-233.
  5. ‘Aristarco e i pronomi personali: dall’ἔκδοσις alla τέχνη γραμματική’, Athenaeum 89 (2001): 606-614.
  6. ‘SH 1025: definitely Gregory of Nazianz’, Hermes 129 (2001): 439-440 (with F. Pontani).
  7. L’Olimpo non è il cielo: esegesi antica nel papiro di Derveni, Aristarco e Leagora di Siracusa’, ZPE 136 (2001): 11-21.
  8. ‘Articles in Homer: a Puzzling Problem in Ancient Grammar’, in P. Swiggers and A. Wouters (eds.), Grammatical Theory and Philosophy of Language in Antiquity, «Orbis – Supplementa» 19, Leuven – Paris – Sterling (Va) 2002: 145-160.
  9. Aristarchus and his Use of Etymology’, in Chr. Nifadopoulos (ed.), ETYMOLOGIA. Studies in Ancient Etymology. Proceedings of the Cambridge Conference, September 2000, Münster 2003: 71-78.
  10. Plato at Alexandria: Aristophanes, Aristarchus and the ‘philological tradition’ of a philosopher’, CQ 55.2 (2005): 423-434.
  11. Ἀναλογία, analogia, proportio, ratio: loanwords, calques and reinterpretations of a Greek technical word’, in L. Basset, F. Biville, B. Colombat, P. Swiggers and A. Wouters (ed.), Bilinguisme et terminologie grammaticale gréco-latine, «Orbis – Supplementa» 27, Leuven –Paris – Dudley (Ma) 2007: 321-338.
  12. POxy 4812 Glossary (more of XV 1802)’, in D. Obbink, N. Gonis et al., The Oxyrhynchus Papyri LXXI, London 2007, 53-66.
  13. Theory into Practice: Aristotelian Principles in Aristarchean Philology’, CPh 104 (2009): 279-316.
  14. Lexical Translations in the Papyri: Koine Greek, Greek Dialects Dialects, and Foreign Languages’ in T. V. Evans and D. Obbink (eds.), The Language of the Papyri, Oxford 2010: 267-284.
  15. Book-ends and Book-layout in Papyri with Hexametric Poetry’, in T. Gagos (ed.), Proceedings of the XXV International Congress of Papyrology, Ann Arbor 2007, Ann Arbor 2010: 695-704.
  16. The Ambiguity of Signs: Critical Σημεῖα from Zenodotus to Origen’ in M. R. Niehoff (ed.), Homer and the Bible in the Eyes of Ancient Interpreters, «Jerusalem Studies in Religion and Culture», Leiden – Boston 2012: 87-112.
  17. Greek Commentaries’, in M. Popović (ed.), The Emergence of Commentary Texts in Early Judaism from a Comparative Perspective, «Dead Sea Discoveries» 19 (2012): 399-441
  18. The Early Reception of Berossos’, in J. Haubold, G. Lanfranchi, R. Rollinger and J. Steele (eds.), The World of Berossos, Wiesbaden 2013: 235-254.
  19. Aristarchus’ Work in Progress: What Did Aristonicus and Didymus Read of Aristarchus?’, CQ 65.2 (2015): 609-627.
  20. P.Grenf. 1.5, Origen, and the Scriptorium of Caesarea‘, BASP 52 (2015): 181-223.
  21. ‘Scholarship, Hellenistic’ in S. Bagnall, K. Brodersen, C. B. Champion, A. Erskine (eds.), Encyclopedia of Ancient History’, Wiley-Blackwell (online edition) 2016.
  22. Alcman’s Semi-Choruses – in the Text…and Beyond It’, MD 76 (2016): 33-52.
  23. ‘5277. Oppian, Halieutica 4.683–93′, in J.H. Brusuelas nad C. Meccariello (eds.), The Oxyrhynchus Papyri LXXXI, London 2016: 85-87.
  24. Tautologies and Transpositions: Aristarchus’ Less Known Critical Signs’, GRBS 57 (2017): 607–630.
  25. Aristarchus, Greek Dialects and Homer’, in P. Swiggers (ed.), Language, Grammar, and Erudition: from Antiquity to Modern Times. A Collection of Papers in Honour of Alfons Wouters, Orbis/Supplementa 44, Leuven – Paris – Walpole (MA) 2017: 167-185.
  26.  ‘Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος: The Long Journey of Grammatical Analogy’, CQ 68 (2018), 475-497.
  27. ‘Enlightened King or Pragmatic Rulers? Ptolemaic Patronage of Scholarship and Sciences in Context’, in Ph. Bosman (ed.), Intellectual and Empire in Greco-Roman Antiquity, New York-London 2019: 1-29.
  28. The Speaking Persona: Ancient Commentators on Choral Performance’, in M. Foster, L. Kurke, and N. Weiss (eds.), Genre in Archaic and Classical Greek Poetry: Theories and Models, Leiden-Boston 2019: 109-132.
  29. Early Editions’, in C. Pache (ed.), Cambridge Guide to Homer, Cambridge and New York 2020: 112-115.
  30. Homeric Scholia’ in C. Pache (ed.), Cambridge Guide to Homer, Cambridge and New York 2020: 155-158.
  31. La recepción de Homero en Alejandría: la edición homérica de Aristarco’, Anales de filología clásica 32 (2019): 69-88.
  32. Eusebius’ Gospel Questions and Aristarchus on Homer – Shared Strategies ‘to Save’ a Sacred Text’, in L. Ayers (ed.), The Rise of the Christian Intellectual, Berlin – New York 2020: 193-226.
  33. ‘Saving the Ivory Tower from Oblivion: The Role of Scribes in Preserving Alexandrian Scholarship’, in M. Choat, R. Yuen-Collingridge, R. Ast et al. (eds.), Observing the Scribe at Work: Scribal Practice in the Ancient World, Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta, Leuven (forthcoming).
  34. ‘Aristarchus in his own words? What can the ‘most secure’ Aristarchean fragments tell us about Aristarchus’ commentaries, and their transmission’ in A. Kelly and others (eds.), The Ancient Scholia to Homer’s Iliad, Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies 64.1 (2021)