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date: 03 March 2021

anthologies, Latinlocked

  • Leofranc Holford-Strevens


Modern usage distinguishes the anthology, consisting of self-contained or detached texts from a specific corpus with little or no intervention by the compiler, from the miscellany, in which an author flits from subject to subject, using other writers to make points, and the *epitome, an abridgement of a single work, or works on the same subject, privileging content over style. In antiquity, however, both terminology and concepts are fluid: a great variety of names for works of mixed subject-matter is attested by *Gellius, NA praef. 6–9, though not all these works would nowadays count as either miscellanies or anthologies.The metaphor of picking flowers from a meadow is widespread, giving rise to the titles Λειμών and Pratum, used respectively by *Cicero (as Limon) and *Suetonius for miscellanies, and Florida, used by *Apuleius for an anthology of the best passages from his speeches. Republican writers from *Ennius on called their miscellaneous writings saturae (see satire); Horace’s friend *Iulius Florus compiled an anthology of these pieces under the same title, possibly adding some of his own.

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