Bryn Mawr Classical Review

Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2003.07.22

M. Di Marco, B.M. Palumbo Stracca, E. Lelli, Poiesis. Bibliografia della poesia greca 2000. I (2001).   Pisa/Roma:  Istituti Editoriali e Poligrafici Internazionali, 2002.  Pp. 424.  ISBN 88-8147-303-8.  EUR 250.00 (annual subscription).  

Reviewed by Luis Guichard, Universidad de Salamanca (
Word count: 935 words

This is the first issue of a new bibliographic tool that will be welcomed by classical scholars, and especially by those working on ancient Greek poetry. Produced by a large group of Italian scholars, most of them young researchers, Poiesis will appear in three different forms: 1) an annual volume such as the one discussed here, devoted to summarizing critical monographs and articles published in periodicals and collective volumes; 2) a quaderno, published every two years, devoted to summarizing editions, commentaries, lexica and other materials; and 3) a CD, published every two years, that will help to search both 1 and 2. Annual volume, quaderno and CD are all included in the subscription.1 Summarizing is the main object of the Editors, and it is important to note that at least this volume does not contain a critical appraisal of books and articles examined but instead a much more detailed summary than that found in any other review. The Editors do not discuss the facts presented by the authors, do not complete information, and do not say whether or not they share the opinions expressed. This attempt to be neutral, and the details of the summaries are the main reasons why Poiesis can be very helpful and, in the future, offer an essential step in research.

The following notes refer of course only to Volume 1 (2001). The Editors state that it summarizes monographs and articles dated 2000 and published by September 2001, the sole exception being the editio princeps of the new epigrams of Posidippus (P. Mil. Vogl. VIII 309), published in 2001, owing to its importance (foreword, p. VII). Books and articles dated 2000, but actually published after September 2001, and those unavailable to the Editors will be included in number 2. Volume 1 already includes editions, commentaries, lexica and other materials that will be summarized in the quaderno corresponding to the second year. Each item is identified by a three-number code that indicates the issue in which Poiesis summarizes it; its year of publication, and the progressive number of the review, e.g. 1-00-0437 indicates that a certain work is included in the first issue of Poiesis; that it was published in 2000, and that it bears the number 437 of the first issue. An item with code 2-00-0058 refers to a work summarized in number 58 of the second issue, but published in 2000. Works other than monographs and articles are not summarized, as I have said, in this volume, and are waiting to be included in the quaderno, but already have a code that will identify them in forthcoming issues.

Works are distributed in four basic sections:

1) Authors and texts. 557 items arranged alphabetically by author name or work. Items on each author or text are presented in the same order: editions, translations, tools, studies, reviews, and intertextuality; the last refers to other authors or texts. Recall that only the studies (books and articles) are examined in this volume.

2) Thematical sections. 256 items divided into the following sections: classic and modern; comedy; satirical drama; festivities and folklore; literary genres and literary history; metrics; mythology and religion; literary motifs; music; papyrology; Latin poetry; rhetoric and literary critic; history, institutions, and society; text transmission and textual criticism; theatre; tragedy.

3) General tools. In this issue only Fraser and Matthews' Lexicon of Greek Personal Names IIIA (1-00-0814) and Der Neue Pauly VIII, IX and XIV (1-00-815) appear.

4) Collective works and compilations. 30 books to be commented on in the quaderno.

Exhaustiveness is a difficult task in any field of knowledge, but a bibliographic tool is expected to be as complete as possible. From this point of view, it is not so important how many items did not arrive on time for their inclusion -- they can always be included in following issues-- but why others received on time are missing. Editors say only that they have selected those items "with the closest relation to poetry", but the reader would prefer quality criteria. Although "closest relation to poetry" is a puzzling concept, at least for me, in my own review of this issue I can only indicate a few inconsistencies or mistakes. Some of them appear in the index of modern authors (pp. 417-423), most related to Spanish and English names.2 There are two inconsistencies for which I found no explanation in the foreword. According to the list of periodicals considered (pp. IX-X), Emerita 68 has been included in this issue, but the articles by Macía Aparicio (on Aristophanes) and Morales Ortiz (on Euripides) do not appear; on the other hand, that by Martínez Manzano on Pindarus (1-00-0796) does appear; all three have been published in the same number. Habis 31 is also considered, but the article by Villarrubia on Musaeus does not appear; that by Calderón Dorda on Theocritus (1-00-0542),3 published in the same number, does appear. I hope this inconsistency, confined only to these two journals, will be clarified in future issues. Other minor questions raised in this first number: Why are these 151 journals included? Are these all the journals to include articles on poetry in 2000 or are they the most important? Will these continue to be the same every year or will those that only occasionally publish works on poetry -- not in 2000 --, as for example BASP or ChrE, be considered?

The brief foreword and the not completely satisfactory indexes of this number are evidence of the difficulties involved in producing a work like this on time. In any case, these are peccata minuta in view of the great benefit this review offers to classical scholars.


1.   The CD is not mentioned in the foreword to this volume -- that should have been a little more detailed and clear--, but it is offered by the web page of the press (checked 23. June. 2003), Istituti Editoriali e Poligrafici Internazionali: "Every two years a CD-Rom equipped with a text-search facility is supplied together with the annual issue of the Journal. This makes it possible to undertake across-the-board searches by key-word or word strings, searching not only in the titles of works but also, more importantly, in the entire text of individual studies." On the other hand, the web page does not mention the biannual periodicity of the quaderni, stated only in the foreword (p. IV).
2.   These are minor mistakes, which become important in an index. Spanish names: read "Nieto Hernández, Pura", not "Hernàndez Pura, Nieto"; "Gil, Luis", not "Gil, Louis"; "Suárez de la Torre, Emilio", not "Suàrez de la Torre, Emilio"; "Velasco López, María del Henar", not "Del Henar Velasco Lopez, Maria". English names: read "McGill, Scott G.", not "Gill Mc, Scott G." (but cfr. p. 78); "McDounough, Christopher M.", not "Dounough, Mc, Christopher M." (cfr. pp. 154 and 239).
3.   Erroneously referred to as 0472 in the index of modern authors (p. 417). For my review, I have used the survey of publications on Greek Philology in Spain (2000) by H. Rodríguez Somolinos, Epos 17 (2001), pp. 413-456; this and other yearly surveys could be very useful to the editors of Poiesis if they could have them in advance, but in this case the review probably would become something like a little Année Philologique, and this is not the aim of Poiesis.

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