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Callimachus as Fragment

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Chapter Summary

To a large extent Callimachus’ works have survived only in fragments and, due to the whims of the transmission, our knowledge of these works is far from complete and rather uneven. This chapter investigates the implications of the fact that a poem survives only in fragments, with a focus on Callimachus’ Aetia as a case study. Distinguishing between various categories of evidence (testimonia, book-fragments and papyrus-fragments) it offers examples of the dangers and pitfalls of this kind of transmission and discusses the ways in which one can deal with a fragmentary poem in a responsible and profitable manner. It also shows that the rather diverse material offers much more than just “text” of the Aetia and helps to provide a basis for further interpretation and informs us about the work’s reception and readership

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