Rotstein, Andrea. 2016. Literary History in the Parian Marble. Hellenic Studies Series 68. Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hul.ebook:CHS_RotsteinA.Literary_History_in_the_Parian_Marble.2016.
Chapter 4. The Parian Marble as a Literary Text
1. The Language and Style of the Parian Marble
Both patterns are known from other chronographic texts, but temporal clauses seem characteristic of the count-down chronicle (so, e.g. in the Roman Chronicle, chap. 3, sect. 2 above), while nominal patterns seem typical of sources computing major intervals of time, as in a famous fragment of Eratosthenes’s Chronographiai (FGrH 241 F 1a):
- A36: Syracuse
- A42: Hipponax
- A48: Aeschylus’s fighting in Marathon
- A55: Epicharmus
- A60: Socrates and Anaxagoras
- A71: burning down of the temple at Delphi (suppl.)
- A72: Alexander II
- A79: ]ΣΟΦΟΣ, possibly a philosopher
- B7: foundation of Hellenis
- B11: Ptolemy’s going to Cyrene
- B12: Agathocles appointed strategos at Syracuse
- B14: Menander’s victory
- B15: Age of Sosiphanes at death
Information after the dating formula appears from A36 on, becoming more frequent as the inscription advances: while only ten percent of entries in A display post-archon information (eight times in eighty entries), eighteen percent of B do so (five times in twenty-seven entries). Half of the instances have to do with cultural history, most specifically, with poets (A42, A48, A55, A60, B14, B15, perhaps A79),  although references are not agonistic, except for Menander. Three post-archon events have to do with Sicilian history (A36, A55, B12). Postscripts may be revealing regarding the process of composition. They may have resulted from consultation of additional sources of information, perhaps when revising the text before its engraving. Thus, additional information may have been available, especially for cultural and poetic history, Sicilian history, and particularly for the more recent past. This information may have been found in specific monographs or, as Jacoby suggested, in general works such as Ephorus’s. 
2. The Contents of the Parian Marble
Religious events concentrate in two clusters: the times preceding the Trojan War, and the sixth century BCE (Table 1). Regarding the first cluster, the focus on religious events of aetiological nature is consistent with the practice of both local and universal historians when relating primeval times. The second cluster, which includes the establishment of contests at Delphi and Athens, probably benefited from the availability of documentary evidence—namely, victory lists kept at sanctuaries or reconstructed from local records (although the author most probably gathered the information from historiographical sources rather than from didaskaliai directly). Religious events from the fifth century BCE on, although implied in contexts of poetic victories, are not explicitly mentioned.
No military events are mentioned at the beginning of the inscription. They appear first in a cluster including the Amazons (A21), the Seven against Thebes (A22), and the Trojan War (A23, A24), very popular themes in the visual and literary arts. After that, they become sporadic, emerging in connection to Delphi, the Persian wars (including Marathon, Plataea, and Salamis), peaking with the Persian defeat (A51, A52) and Cyrus’s anabasis (A64, A66). Section B includes a very high concentration of military events (thirty-three events, that is, sixty-nine percent of all military events, appear in B), with relatively high level of detail. In contrast, section A records only famous military conflicts from the mythical past and from the Persian wars, while few inter-city conflicts are mentioned (the battles at Leuctra [A72 suppl.] and Delphi [A75]).
Cultural events are spread rather evenly in section A of the inscription (Table 4), with minor plateaus at the beginning (A1 to A8), between the fall of Troy and Hesiod (A24 to A28), at the beginning of B (B1 to B5), and towards its end. The section corresponding to the Classical period contains more cultural events, but fewer events of other types. Conversely, section B, with a very high frequency of military and political events, has much fewer cultural events (only six, that is, eleven percent of all cultural events, appear in B).
How are the major themes distributed in the Parian Marble? Table 7 helps to visualize their interaction, especially that between gaps and peaks.
In the early periods of the chronicle, information is foundational, about emerging political entities, religious practices, and cultural institutions. The middle period is marked by cultural events and, to a lesser degree, by political ones. The more recurrent themes in the last part of the inscription (B) are political and military. However, in the entire text cultural events are almost as numerous as political ones, and gaps in the military and political series seem to be filled mostly by cultural events, and vice versa. The distribution of themes may derive partly from the sources used, yet authorial choice cannot be excluded, even though it was constrained by the availability of information. The emphasis on poetic events, as we shall see in Chapter 6, is idiosyncratic to the Parian Marble.
3. Narrative and Characters
4. Mapping Space in the Parian Marble