Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Christos Theodoridis (ed.), Photii Patriarchae Lexicon. Volumen III, N–Φ. Berlin; Boston: De Gruyter, 2013. Pp. xxvi, 600. ISBN 9783110282665. $266.00.

Reviewed by Martin West, All Souls College, Oxford (martin.west@all-souls.ox.ac.uk)

Version at BMCR home site

Photius' Lexicon has grown and grown. Although the work had always been known about, none of it was published until 1808, when Gottfried Hermann issued a virtually uncorrected text from two inferior copies; the edition bore, in Blomfield's words, 'many marks of that precipitancy and want of concoction which so often distinguish the productions of that very learned and able German'.1 Richard Porson, who died in the same year, left a transcript that he had made from the twelfth-century Codex Galeanus in Trinity College, Cambridge, which is the archetype of all known manuscripts of the Lexicon (g). Actually it was his second transcript, the first having been lost in a fire. Peter Dobree took it over, checked it carefully against the manuscript, added a few emendations to those few that Porson had made, and published the work in 1822. Although not much had been done to correct the transmitted text, this remained the standard edition through the nineteenth century; that by S. A. Naber (Leiden 1864–5) marked a critical advance, but was marred by numerous omissions.

The great defect of g is that 120 leaves of the original manuscript are lost, so that it preserves only some 55 per cent of the Lexicon. Most of α–ε is missing, as well as portions of κ and of φ–ω. Eventually a thirteenth-century manuscript acquired in 1901 for the Preussische Staatsbibliothek, b = Berolinensis graec. oct. 22, was found to contain the beginning of the work as far as ἄπαρνος, filling 157 pages in Reizenstein's edition of 1907.2 Then in 1959 Linos Politis discovered in a remote monastery at Zavorda in western Macedonia a codex of the thirteenth or fourteenth century (z) containing the entire Lexicon from α to ω, albeit with some abridgment.

The Classics Department of the University of Thessaloniki resolved to undertake a new edition of the Lexicon. After fourteen years of desultory collaborative work and discontinuous funding, responsibility for the project was entrusted to Christos Theodoridis, who accepted it on condition that the edition should appear under his name. Between 1974 and 1979 he spent several periods of time at Bonn with Hartmut Erbse, consolidating his mastery of the grammatical and lexicographical tradition while he made progress with the edition. He worked from photographs of z, as the pig-headed bishop of Grevena, the diocese in which Zavorda lies, denied him access to the original.

His first volume, covering α–δ, appeared in 1982 and the second, covering ε–μ, in 1998. Both contain extensive Prolegomena. Those in the first volume deal with the transmission of the Lexicon, its relationship to the ῥητορικόν cited in the Etymologicum Genuinum, and Photius' sources; those in the second with Photius' relationship to the Suda, the Harpocration epitome, and Timaios' Platonic lexicon, and further questions connected with the Suda and Genuinum.

The third volume was meant to be the last, but in September 2009, after completing much the greater part of it (up to φ), Theodoridis died. His widow, Niki Papatriantaphyllou-Theodoridis, who had followed his work from the beginning 'mit Geduld und Einfühlung' (I. xii, cf. II. x), has put the finishing touches to his manuscript and seen it through the press. The remainder of the Lexicon, χ–ω, is to be edited by Stephanos Matthaios.

Of the 592 pages of text in the new volume only the last 13 (φορίνη–φώσσων) add to what was in Porson's edition of g, and all the material that they add was already represented in other sources such as the Synagoge and Suda; they bring us no new fragments of classical writers. But Theodoridis' work of course represents a huge advance in terms of editorial technique, with its numbering of glosses, marginal source-indications, and double apparatus in which all the parallel texts from the grammatical tradition are cited and exact information provided about variants and scholars' conjectures. For α–φ we now have a definitive edition. Unless some of the missing leaves from g turn up, or a manuscript independent of g, Photius will not need to be edited ever again.

The following examples, taken from the first hundred glosses of ν and the first hundred of σ, will illustrate how often the new text (Th) is superior to Porson's (P), though many of the improvements are already in Naber (N). I cite some corrections from Th's apparatus as if they were in his text.

ν 16 ναμέρτεια N Th: ναμεργία Ρ || 21 Ναξία λίθος· ἡ ἀκόνη N Th: Ναξίανθος· ἡ ἀκοή P || 38 (om. N) ἐὰν δὲ ἦι ναυκραρικά, εἴη ἂν τὰ τῶν ἀρχόντων Th: ἐὰν δὲ ἦι Ναυκρατητικά, ἢ ἀντ᾽ αὐτῶν ἀρχόντων P || 40 διαταγῆναι αὐτούς, ἃ ἐκάλουν ναυκραρία<ς> Th: διαταγῆναι· αὐτοὺς δὲ ἐκάλουν ναυκράρια P N || 48 ναυσίποδες Th: ναύποδες P N || 50 νηΐ· {νηΐ}· τὴν δὲ πληθυντικὴν <***> Th: νηΐ· νηΐτην δὲ πληθυντικήν P: νηΐ· νηΐτην δὲ πληθὺν τὴν ναυτικήν N || 64 ναυτικὴν N Th: ᾽Αττικὴν P || 70 Νικοφῶν N Th: Κτησιφῶν P || 73 Αἰξίν· N Th: Σφιγξὶν P || 74 κενὰ N Th: καινὰ P || 82 (om. N) διαζωννύντος νεβρίσιν· <***> ἐπὶ Th: διαζωννύντος· νεβρίζειν ἐπὶ P || 91 τειμὰς N Th: τιμὰς P || 98 νεοχμιζομένου N Th: νεκνιζομένου P.

σ 2 καὶ τὸν σῶον σῶν· καὶ σῶοι σῶι παρὰ Θουκυδίδηι· οἱ δὲ δισυλλάβως σῶοι N (in app.) Th: καὶ τὸν σῶον καὶ σῶν· καὶ σῶοι, σοῖ· παρὰ δὲ Θουκυδίδηι δισυλλάβως σῶοι P || 4 σαβαρίχην N Th: σαβαρίχιν P || 23 σαλακωνίσαι N Th: σαικονῆσαι P || 27 κοσμεῖ· {ἢ χαίρει} Th: κοσμεῖ ἢ χαίρει P: κοσμεῖ ἢ χαίνει N || 41 σαλάμβην N Th: σαλάβην P || 49 σαμάκιον N Th: σαλμάκιον P || 50 (om. N) σαλακών Th: σαλαμός P || 59 εἰς ὑηνίαν ἐπισκώπτων †Μιννύωνα†· ὑσὶ Th, item cum μιννύω· ὑσὶ N: εἰσυαμίαν ἐπισκώπτων †μιννύω† ναυσὶ P || 61 ᾽Αρχῖνος ὁ ᾽Αθηναῖος … κε´ N Th: ἄρχειν· οἱ δ᾽ ᾽Αθηναίοις … καὶ P || 63 σανδαλιοθήκην N Th: σανδανοθήκην P || 67 σαννίον {ον}· τὸ αἰδοῖον· ἀντὶ <τοῦ> κερκίον N Th: σαννίονον· τὸ αἰδοῖον· ἀντικέρκιον P || 70 νάξας N (in app.) Th: ἁμάξας P || 74 σάκ{τ}αν· καὶ σάβυττον Th: σάκταν· καὶ σάβυτταν P: σάκταν καὶ σάβυττον N || 82 Τάλων N Th: σιαλον P || 83 σαρκάσας· τὰς τῶν χειλῶν σάρκας <διανοίξας> N Th: σαρείσας· τὰς τῶν χειλῶν σάρκας P || 88 Κράτης τὴν μεγάλην N Th: κρατίστην· μεγάλην P.

Wilamowitz, reviewing the first volume of Ada Adler's Suidae Lexicon eighty-five years ago, wrote, 'Wie gut wird es die Generation haben, die Cyrill und Hesych, Bekkers Anekdota und die Etymologika im Stile dieses Suidas besitzen wird.'3 He would have acclaimed Theodoridis' Photius as a decisive step towards that still distant goal. It is to be hoped that we shall not have to wait too many years for χ–ω and for the indexes that Volumen IV will presumably include. An Index Auctorum is an especial desideratum.


1.   Edinburgh Review 42 (1813), 331.
2.   Der Anfang des Lexikons des Photios, Leipzig and Berlin.
3.   Deutsche Literaturzeitung 49 (1928), 2158.

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