The Web of Athenaeus

Overview

In The Web of Athenaeus, Christian Jacob produces a completely fresh and unique reading of Athenaeus’s Sophists at Dinner (ca. 200 ce). Jacob provides the reader with a map and a compass to navigate the unfathomable number of intersecting paths in this enormous work: the books, the quotations, the diners, the dishes served, and—above all—the wordplay, all within the simulacrum of an ancient Greek library. A text long mined merely for its testimonies to lost classical poets, the Sophists at Dinner has now received...
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Overview

In The Web of Athenaeus, Christian Jacob produces a completely fresh and unique reading of Athenaeus’s Sophists at Dinner (ca. 200 ce). Jacob provides the reader with a map and a compass to navigate the unfathomable number of intersecting paths in this enormous work: the books, the quotations, the diners, the dishes served, and—above all—the wordplay, all within the simulacrum of an ancient Greek library. A text long mined merely for its testimonies to lost classical poets, the Sophists at Dinner has now received a full literary re-imagining by Jacob, who connects the world of Hellenistic erudition with its legacy among Hellenized Romans. The Web of Athenaeus simultaneously offers a literary history of the rarest and finest of Greek culture along with a creative anthropology of a Roman imperial world obsessed with the Greek past.
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Editorial Reviews

Choice - D. Konstan
Jacob surveys Athenaeus’s characters and themes; the role of libraries and Athenaeus’s relation to the past; the intersection of Greek symposium with Roman dinner party; how people read; why they were so passionate about words, many of them obsolete or arcane; what such a work might have meant to the original readership; and how the whole farrago hangs together…The book is a welcome introduction to a type of literature that has had a great influence.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674073289
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 5/20/2013
  • Series: Hellenic Studies Series , #61
  • Pages: 150
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Christian Jacob is a Faculty Member, Anthropologie et histoire des mondes antiques, at École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris.

Arietta Papaconstantinou is a Reader in Ancient History in the Department of Classics at the University of Reading.

Scott Fitzgerald Johnson is Dumbarton Oaks Teaching Fellow in Postclassical and Byzantine Greek in the Classics Department at Georgetown University.

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