BMCR 2005.09.24

Response: Worthington on Marincola on Jacoby’s FGrH

Response to 2000.01.09

Response by

At the beginning of his recent and excellent review of Brill’s CD-ROM of F. Jacoby’s Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker I-III with Bonnechère’s Indexes (BMCR 2005.08.37), Professor John Marincola referred to a new edition of FGrH I-III under my editorship. Since news of the project is still seeping into the scholarly world, I thought I would give some further details about it. I am grateful to the editors of BMCR for allowing me to do so here.

Brill’s New Jacoby (BNJ) is a new edition of FGrH Parts I-III with some significant changes. Each fragmentary author will have a Greek text (updated from that of Jacoby where relevant), facing English translation, new, critical commentary (in English), and a brief encyclopaedia-style entry about his life, works, importance, etc., followed by a select bibliography. In addition, BNJ will include several new authors and fragments of existing authors that were either unknown to Jacoby or excluded by him. Jacoby’s numbering system will be retained. New authors will be inserted into the appropriate section and will be given the same number as the preceding author followed by an A or B in order to distinguish them. This practice thankfully avoids the need for a concordance between FGrH and BNJ.

BNJ will be published online at the rate of approximately 50-60 fragmentary authors every six months. The first authors will be published in January 2006, and the last by December 2013. Each entry is subject to a stringent peer-reviewing process as with any scholarly work. The advantage of online publication is that authors can be published as soon as the refereeing process is completed rather than having to wait for others in order to fill a hard-copy volume. In the big picture, it becomes immaterial if Number 51 is published before Number 6, and so on. BNJ may even offer the opportunity to publish online the much-need Part IV (under the direction of Guido Schepens).

Professor Marincola described BNJ as a “massive” project, and having already spent over eighteen months working on it (including a visit to Leiden in 2004 in order to finalise both it and the CD-ROM) I can certainly agree with him. There are 107 scholars in 16 countries working on the 856 fragmentary authors of FGrH Ι, 13 editors responsible for various areas, and I am editor-in-chief.

It goes without saying that the time is more than ripe for a new edition of FGrH, given its fundamental importance to classical scholarship. The advantages of BNJ are many. New texts of the authors will become the standard ones. The translation of the fragmentary authors will make them immediately accessible to Greekless readers. The scholarly heart of BNJ will be the commentaries; these will be the most recent, and so immediately supersede those of Jacoby. There will also be various search tools (similar to those on the CD-ROM). Finally, BNJ will be published in a timely manner. There are “competing titles,” so to speak, of which the most important is undoubtedly the Italian series I frammenti degli storici greci (Tivoli: TORED) directed by E. Lanzillotta. Two volumes were published in 2002: Libyka (17 authors from Charon of Lampsacus to Favorinus of Arelate, by G. Ottone) and Cratero (by D. Erdas). However, it is unknown how many of the fragmentary historians the series will eventually cover and how often the volumes will appear.

The marketing and distribution side of BNJ is in the hands of Brill, and I have no details. I imagine that those wishing to consult it will pay a subscription fee and receive a password that will allow them access to the BNJ site. An individual fee as well as an institutional fee will most likely be available.

As Professor Marincola noted, Brill is to be commended for producing the CD despite its exorbitant price. Brill also needs commending for undertaking BNJ. In effect, the production of the CD-ROM is the first step towards BNJ, and so to the best of my knowledge there will not be a version 2.0 along the lines that Professor Marincola desires (if one is scheduled, I support his remarks that it needs to be dual platform). I hope, however, that BNJ will more than make up for this.

For your information, the editorial board is as follows:

Editor-in-Chief: Ian Worthington (Missouri-Columbia)


Hans Beck (McGill); A.B. Bosworth (Western Australia); E.M. Carawan (Missouri State); Craig Cooper (Winnipeg); John Dillery (Virginia); K. Dowden (Birmingham); R. Fowler (Bristol); Stephen Hodkinson (Nottingham); Amelie Kuhrt (London); P.J. Rhodes (Durham) (advisory editor); J. Roisman (Colby College); Nicholas V. Sekunda (Torun); J. Sickinger (Florida State); David Whitehead (Queen’s, Belfast)