Bryn Mawr Classical Review

Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2006.02.15

Gavrilov et al. on Ivantchik on Dickey on Gavrilov et al., Corpus Inscriptionum Regni Bosporani: Album Imaginum.   Response to 2005.11.20



Response by Alexander Gavrilov, Natalia Pavlichenko, Denis Keyer, Bibliotheca Classica Petropolitana (bicladm@bicl.spb.ru)

Since Dr. A. I. Ivantchik does not carry on polemics so much with the reviewer of the CIRB-Album Dr. Eleanor Dickey as with the editors of the CIRB-Album (2004), the latter feel themselves obliged to shed light on some points. In our response we follow the order of items in the letter of Dr. A. I. Ivantchik.

Dr. A. I. Ivantchik claims that "only old photographs were published by the editors". He is a native speaker of the Russian language and, of course, is in a better position to judge about the Russian sections of the Album than Dr. E. Dickey, but this did not prevent him from misreading the statement made on p. 412 where it is admitted there that attempts to make new images from the stones directly turned out to be unsuccessful due to lack of technique and miserable present state of many stones. At the same time, he failed to see additions to the collection mentioned on page VII f.: 102 photographs of stones and squeezes from the photo-archive of the Institute for the History of Material Culture (St. Petersburg); 153 photographs taken by the editors from the squeezes from the Department of Manuscripts of the archive of the same Institute; new photographs taken by museums (15). We can add that numerous photographs were reprinted from negatives (from which no prints were previously made).

Dr. A. I. Ivantchik mentions protests of museums against the publication. In the letter which dates from 20. 02. 04 the administration of the Kerch State Historico-Cultural Reserve (P. I. Ivanenko and V. N. Zinko) asked to postpone the publication until the work on restoration of the stones from there will be completed. The editors with all respect to this advice could not follow it. Our point was (and still is) that these photographs more often show a better state of preservation of inscriptions and they are of immense historical value by themselves and even more so, if made easily accessible to all researchers. At the same time, this letter was not a protest, as it can be seen from the fact that according to an agreement (1999) between the St. Petersburg Institute for History of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Kerch State Historico-Cultural Reserve the latter put at the editors' disposal the inventory numbers of inscriptions in question. We were not at all amazed that after the publication of the Album there came a letter from the director of the Kerch State Historico-Cultural Museum, P. I. Ivanenko (08. 12. 2004), acknowledging receipt of copies of the photographs agreed upon. The letter ends in the following words: "We are glad that the monuments of Kerch which are of great interest for epigraphers all around the world had been edited to a high scientific and publishing standard". The administration of the State Hermitage and of the State Museum of the History of Fine Arts named after A. Pushkin (Moscow, Dr. V. P. Tolstikov, deputy director) also supported the plans to publish the Album and supplied inventory numbers of required inscriptions. The total number of museums that agreed to collaborate is twenty.

As to the lapidem non vidimus (perhaps not an apt turn of phrase), we tried to hint cautiously that some stones seemed to be missing or at least disappeared from view. Dr. A. I. Ivantchik points to "amazing number of mistakes in lemmata", without specifying though what kind of mistakes he was talking about. Here we would like to remind readers that making a compromise between endless inquiry and responsibility for the collection created some forty years ago, the editors tried to make Russian lemmata of the CIRB (1965) available to everybody (without knowing Russian) who is interested in Bosporan epigraphy. There are still a number of emendations of lemmata published in CIRB, some new publications are cited and repositions announced, but only to such a degree as our initial goal permitted.

Dr. A. I. Ivantchik accuses the editors of keeping the preparation in secret for a long time. As it can be seen from his letter (and his letters addressed to the Institute for History of the Russian Academy of Sciences before the publication with the wish for preventing it), he claims that the editors did it to take advantage of the earlier work of I. A. Levinskaya and S. R. Tokhtas'ev (more precisely, that the editors: "took from the archive the materials collected by their colleagues without their permission or even informing them"). This is a serious accusation, but it has been already refuted both by the Institute for History of the Russian Academy of Sciences and by the Branch of History and Philology of the Russian Academy of Sciences. In fact, the Institute's collection of photographs was gathered in the middle of 20th century. The contribution of I. A. Levinskaya and S. R. Tokhtas'ev (both to systematisation or, speaking more precisely, re-systematisation and adding of 24 new photographs) as well as their attempt to publish the photographs in Germany in 1992-1994 are clearly referred to (v. the Table of persons involved in the creation of the CIRB-Album pp. 411-412).

A. I. Ivantchik repeats the claim of I. A. Levinskaya and S. R. Tokhtas'ev that "an album of illustrations to CIRB was even sent to Germany for publication with the publishing house 'Akademie-Verlag'.". This suggests the idea of a totally prepared work presumably linked or even identical to the one published in 2004. But this was not the case: as follows from the official response of 'Akademie-Verlag' of 9th August 2004 (Dr Gerd Giesler), there are no traces of negotiations on the publication of an album in 1992-1994 (to say nothing about submitting a book prepared for publication). At the same time, there are a lot of documents concerning negotiations between the Soviet Academy of Sciences and the Academy of Sciences of DDR concerning the possible edition of CIRB together with an Album in the early 60s (see CIRB-Album pp. 404-405). The state of the materials prepared by I. A. Levinskaya and S. R. Tokhtas'ev seems to have been not finished enough for publication. Its contents were presumably substantially different from the present album, as one can guess from the indications in the letters of the authors themselves and especially from their actual criticisms of our materials. It goes without saying that submission of photographs themselves does not amount to the production of a real edition of an album (as a book or in electronic form or especially in both forms). Apart from purely technical work (such as scanning of material which is much larger than the final set of photos published, photo-shopping etc.) it demands also scholarly work on making decisions between different variants; decisions about the best size of each picture and so on.

After mid 1990s I. A. Levinskaya and S. R. Tokhtas'ev were urged to give the collection of photos back to the archive of the Institute for History of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Since that period of time the Institute was not made aware of their future projects (which differed strongly from those expected by the Institute from I. A. Levinskaya and S. R. Tokhtas'ev) as well of the projects of A. I. Ivantchik until the preparation of the CIRB-Album came close to the end. The plans of Dr A. I. Ivanchik and his colleagues about the publication of the Institute collection were neither discussed with nor permitted by the Institute. At the same time, the Institute for History (one of the editorial institutions of CIRB-Album) was well informed about our work upon the Institute collection of photographs.

As to an epigraphic project of new IOSPE (i. e. a new edition of all Greek inscriptions, with an inspection and restoration of all ancient Greek epigraphical evidence found in the Black Sea region), we are not in position to evaluate its prospects, but given the grand scale of the enterprise and the time which will be necessary to complete it, we expect our contribution to the Black Sea epigraphy to be of some use in the meantime. Time is not unimportant anyway, and not least in the cognitive sphere -- photos of Bosporan inscriptions which would become gradually accessible in a few decades, are not equal to the bulk of the collection published as a whole once and for all.

[For a response to this response by Irina Levinskaya and Sergei Tokhtas'ev, please see 2006.10.16.]

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