Athenaeus: the Manuscripts of "the Deipnosophists"

The oldest manuscript of this work (A) is in the Biblioteca Marciana in Venice.  It is excellently written, on parchment, probably in the 10th century.  But books 1, 2 and the first part of book 3 are missing; there are also two gaps in book 11, and the end of book 15, the last, is missing. This manuscript is one of the 238 Greek manuscripts brought to Venice from Constantinople in 1423 by Aurispa.  But it was incomplete even then.  

A now lost copy of A was made in the middle of the 15th century, and used by Musurus as the basis for the Aldine edition of 1514.  Various copies of this are still extant, including:

The lost material can be restored to some extent from manuscripts containing an epitome of the work.  The best of these are

However the original text may well have been of much greater extent than the 15 books now completely or partially preserved.  But the 15 book form was already the one known to in the middle ages to Stephanus of Byzantium, Constantine Porphyrogenitus, and the Suda.


Charles Burton Gulick, Athenaeus: The Deipnosophists, Harvard (1927), Loeb Classical Library 204, xvii-xviiiChecked.

Constructive feedback is welcomed to Roger Pearse. Corrections and additions are very welcome.

This page has been online since 7th June 2008

Return to the Manuscripts Pages             Return to Roger Pearse's Pages