"To teach correct Latin and to explain the poets" were the two standard duties of Roman teachers. Not only was a command of literary Latin a prerequisite for political and social advancement, but a sense of Latin's history and importance contributed to the Romans' understanding of their own cultural identity. Put plainly, philology - the study of language and texts - was important at Rome.
Critics, Compilers, and Commentators is the first comprehensive introduction to the history, forms, and texts of Roman philology. James Zetzel traces the changing role and status of Latin as revealed in the ways it was explained and taught by the Romans themselves. In addition, he provides a descriptive bibliography of hundreds of scholarly texts from antiquity, listing editions, translations, and secondary literature. Recovering a neglected but crucial area of Roman intellectual life,
this book will be an essential resource for students of Roman literature and intellectual history, medievalists, and historians of education and language science.
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James Zetzel studied at Harvard University and the Institute of Classical Studies of the University of London; he has taught at Brown and Princeton Universities and for the last 32 years at Columbia University. He has written extensively on the literature of the first century BCE and on the history of classical scholarship. He has also published two volumes of translations of Cicero.
James Zetzel has written two outstanding books in one. The second half of Critics, Compilers, and Commentators is a modern portrait gallery of our ancestors, the ancient scholars who hover behind our Latin texts. The first half tells a fascinating story of how the work they did coalesced into a cultural project. * Peter White, University of Chicago * This is a book that anyone with a serious interest in classical Latin language and literature will want to own and read. It represents a truly staggering amount of chalcenteric labor, carried out to meet the highest standard of excellence, by a scholar who has no peer in this field today. It is a great achievement and will be recognized as an indispensable resource for generations. * Robert A. Kaster, Princeton University * This unparalleled work fills an immense gap in the history of Roman philology. Experts and general readers alike owe a profound debt to Prof. Zetzel. Only a scholar with mastery of the grammatical textual tradition in its entirety could deliver such a methodical, lucid, and consistently stimulating account. * Alessandro Garcea, Sorbonne Universite *
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