Literary History in the Parian Marble

  Rotstein, Andrea. 2016. Literary History in the Parian Marble. Hellenic Studies Series 68. Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies.

To Tamar


I never dreamt of writing a book on the Parian Marble, but intellectual adventures are not always foreseen. It was on the very soil of Paros, at a conference on Archilochus in 2005, that the inscription beckoned and the fields of poetry and chronology converged in my mind. My interests in ancient literary history found an appropriate channel.

For encouraging me to brave this fascinating document I owe a debt of gratitude to Dwora Gilula, Margalit Finkelberg, Gregory Nagy, Jonathan Price and Ralph Rosen. Warm thanks go to the friends and scholars whose comments and discussions helped me on my way: Krystina Bartol, Ewen Bowie, Robert Cioffi, Andrew Ford, John Franklin, Sylvie Honigman, Dániel Kiss, Astrid Möller, Douglas Olson and Rachel Zelnick-Abramovitz. Special thanks are due to Astrid Möller, who inadvertently set in motion my interest in chronology through her work on Eratosthenes, and to Richard Burgess, Paola Ceccarelli, Giambattista D’Alessio, John Franklin and Veit Rosenberger, who generously shared with me some of their published and unpublished work.

Several of my former students helped me in this project. Barak Blum, Dafna Cohen (Baratz) and Jonathan Schabbi proofread the manuscript of this book at different stages; Naomi Michalowicz and Ronnie Hirsch made numberless errands to the university library. Thanks are due to the CHS staff for their keen and professional assistance; to Sarah Lannom, Bruce King and most particularly to Jill Curry Robbins for her absolutely endless patience.

I gained valuable insights from the audiences at the Center for Hellenic Studies and the Ohio State University. Reactions to my presentations at Northwestern University, Tel Aviv University, Yale University, and the Epichoreia workshop in Ancient Greek Music (NYU) made possible some last minute fine tuning.

Invaluable institutional assistance came from the Israel Science Foundation (grant no. 169/11) that supported all stages of my research, and Tel Aviv University, that granted a sabbatical leave in 2011-2012 and funded research trips to Athens, Paros, Oxford and Berlin. A fellowship by the Center for Hellenic Studies provided access to wonderful resources, including the CHS and other Harvard libraries, as well as opportunities for discussing my work with friends and colleagues. The DAAD made possible a research stay at the University of Freiburg’s Department of Ancient History.

As ever, libraries, museums and archives have proven more than repositories of knowledge. I am grateful to the American School of Classical Studies for enabling me to work at the Blegen library; to the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford and the Paros Archaeological Museum for the opportunity to study the Parian Marble and other Greek inscriptions; to Charles Crowther of the Centre for the Study of Ancient Documents in Oxford for access to squeezes. I am much obliged to Klaus Hallof, research leader of the Inscriptiones Graecae, for facilitating access to squeezes, photographs and unpublished materials at the Research Centre for Primary Sources of the Ancient World of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities. Conversations with him and his colleagues, Jaime Curbera and Daniela Summa, were truly inspiring.

I would like to end with a personal note. When I started to juggle with issues of chronology my daughter Michal was learning to master the mysteries of time: the difference between yesterday and tomorrow, the weekly rhythms of work, play and rest, the recurrent cycle of the Jewish holidays, the irreversible nature of time. As I conclude revising this book, her six years of age have given her a sense of her own past. I treasure the privilege of holding Michal’s hand, as we visit the times before she was born and envision possible futures.

Finally, I dedicate this book to my partner Tamar. As with most of the good things in our life together, her love has made this book possible.


Jerusalem, 2014