By Paola Ceccarelli
During this quantity, Ceccarelli bargains a heritage of the improvement of letter writing in old Greece from the archaic to the early Hellenistic interval. Highlighting the specificity of letter-writing, in preference to other kinds of communique and writing, the amount seems at documentary letters, but in addition lines the function of embedded letters within the texts of the traditional historians, in drama, and within the speeches of the orators.
While a letter is in itself the transcription of an oral message and, as such, may be both fair or deceitful, letters bought destructive connotations within the 5th century, in particular whilst used for transactions about the public and never the non-public sphere. considered because the device of tyrants or close to japanese kings, those damaging connotations have been obtrusive particularly in Athens the place comedy and tragedy testified to an underlying problem with epistolary conversation. In different parts of the Greek international, akin to Sparta or Crete, the letter can have been noticeable as an unproblematic software for coping with public guidelines, with inscriptions documenting the reputable use of letters not just by means of the Hellenistic kings, but in addition through a few poleis.
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During this quantity, Ceccarelli bargains a historical past of the improvement of letter writing in historical Greece from the archaic to the early Hellenistic interval. Highlighting the specificity of letter-writing, instead of other kinds of communique and writing, the quantity appears to be like at documentary letters, but additionally strains the function of embedded letters within the texts of the traditional historians, in drama, and within the speeches of the orators.
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Extra info for Ancient Greek letter writing : a cultural history, 600 BC- 150 BC
This corresponds rather neatly to the way in which most Greek traditions on the invention of writing characterize the new craft: although a letter ﬂeetingly and ominously ﬁgures in the Iliad, and although the earliest reference in Greek literature to something written thus concerns letter writing, the document is there presented as a (rather enigmatic) given, not worthy of discussion. Narratives of the discovery of writing, from the late sixth century throughout the ﬁfth and fourth centuries, sharply differ from ‘conventional wisdom’ in presenting the new craft either as something that simply ‘arrives’ from the outside, not earmarked for any speciﬁc use, or also as something that is invented to allow organization (hence the importance of numbers), to enable recording, and to facilitate poetic composition.
500 bc, mentioning records on skins, as well as by the proverb, preserved in the Suda and in Diogenianus, ‘you say things more old-fashioned than skin’ (IæåÆØüôåæÆ ôBò äØçŁÝæÆò ºÝªåØò). 24 Bearing all this in mind, what can we say about the type of use that was made of writing, and by whom?
S. 2. Hal. 7. 6 (232 bc), where âıâºØÆçüæïò is found. The ðôıåÆEò âßâºøí in Aesch. Suppl. 947 may be ‘folds of books’, as in Weir Smyth’s translation, or also, as is more likely, folded letters (sealed and conveying a decision): see discussion below, 194–7. The meaning of ‘book’ is attested already in Aristophanes, Av. 974; cf. the discussion below, 242. v. In view of some of the later meanings (geographical map or votive tablet) it is perhaps not accidental that pinax is chosen in the Iliad for a letter marked with óÞìÆôÆ ºıªæÜ, terrible, signiﬁcant signs, but not necessarily alphabetical.
Ancient Greek letter writing : a cultural history, 600 BC- 150 BC by Paola Ceccarelli