Scholia Reviews ns 11 (2002) 15.

P. Riemer, M. Weissenberger, and B. Zimmermann, Einführung in das Studium der Gräzistik. Munich: Verlag C.H. Beck, 2000. Pp. 252, incl. 12 black-and-white illustrations. ISBN 3-406-46629-X. DM39.80, €19.90.

James P. Holoka
Foreign Language Department, Eastern Michigan University

German classicists have always been pre-eminently conscientious in providing students and scholars with well-conceived reference tools, from the monumentally comprehensive Pauly-Wissowa and the Handbuch der Altertumswissenschaft series to such works as Der Kleine Pauly (1964-1975) in five volumes and Der Neue Pauly (1996- ) in a projected fifteen volumes. As recently as 1997, Teubner Verlag replaced the old Gercke-Norden Einleitung in die Altertumswissenschaft (first edition Leipzig 1910) with a pair of volumes, one devoted to Latin[[1]] and one to Greek studies; indeed, the 773- page Einleitung in die griechische Philologie, edited by Heinz-Günther Nesselrath, is often cited in the volume under review here. The special achievement of the authors of this Einführung, Peter Riemer, Michael Weissenberger, and Bernhard Zimmermann, of the universities of Saarbrücken, Greifswald, and Freiburg respectively, is to have reduced masses of relevant information to the manageable dimensions of a 252- page student's vade- mecum.[[2]]

In Chapter 1, 'Einleitung -- Definition des Faches und seines Gegenstandes' (pp. 11-13), Zimmermann briefly defines the discipline of Greek studies, its time boundaries (from Homer through late antiquity, that is, c. 800 BC through c. AD 700, and general subject areas -- language, literature, and culture). He also comments on the changing conditions of study in the German-speaking world, noting the diminished role of Greek and Latin in the secondary schools and the more practical emphases of classical studies as a university major. In particular, he appreciates that the range of target careers has perforce expanded beyond the teaching profession to, for example, journalism, editorial and associated work in publishing, and theater and community arts employment. The Einführung thus recognizes the realities of education and career opportunities in today's world. Indeed the relatively small scale of the book and its appearance so soon after the publication of a more compendious one-volume manual on the same subject attest to that recognition.

Weissenberger in Chapter 2, 'Geschichte der Klassischen Philologie' (pp. 14-41), sketches the history of the discipline of classical philology in ancient and medieval times, with subsections on pre- Alexandrian developments (such as the Peisistratean and other recensions of Homer), the Alexandrians, the Pergamene school, late Hellenistic/Imperial Roman, and the 'Greek Middle Ages' (Byzantium). Then follows a synopsis of the modern era, from Italian Humanism through the 'French-Dutch' period (ca. 1530-1700), Bentley and successors, and the 'German period' (from Fabricius and Heyne up to the era of Wilamowitz), to twentieth-century developments, especially since the First World War.

In Chapter 3, 'Sprachgeschichte' (pp. 42-51), Riemer outlines linguistics, starting with the evidence of Linear B and later the appearance of alphabetic writing in Greece. He then distinguishes the dialects, their areas of prevalence, and their peculiar traits. He also comments on distinctively literary dialects on display in Homer, lyric poetry, drama, etc. He concludes by noting typical phonological, morphological, and inflectional features, and observing the richness of Greek-derived vocabulary in modern languages.

Among the preliminary points made in the opening chapter Zimmermann noted that scholars of ancient Greek must devote more effort to the establishment of reliable texts than their counterparts in modern languages and literatures. In Chapter 4, Vom Autograph zur modernen Edition' (pp. 52-81), Weissenberger traces the evolution 'from autograph to modern edition', with separate sections on writing materials, book forms, and publication in the ancient and early medieval worlds. Next comes information about palaeography, with twelve well-selected illustrations of papyri and manuscripts written in various major styles. The second half of the chapter details aspects of textual criticism and the purpose and components of modern critical editions. Especially helpful here is the concise explanation of the stemmatic method of ascertaining relationships and relative values of manuscripts.

In the extremely short Chapter 5, 'Hilfswissenschaften' (pp. 82-87), on ancillary disciplines, Weissenberger deals with epigraphy and papyrology. Somewhat fuller is Zimmermann's discussion of metrics in Chapter 6, 'Metrik' (pp. 88- 96).

In Chapter 7, 'Rhetorik' (pp. 97-114), Riemer breaks down the typical ancient speech into its constituents (prooimion, diegesis, prothesis, pistis, epilogos), and indicates usual contexts of delivery (judicial, political, etc.). He further characterizes the process of selecting and arranging material as part of the overall strategy of the speech-maker. A section on stylistics comprises two short glossaries of the most common tropes (from allegory to synecdoche) and figures of speech (from alliteration to zeugma). The chapter concludes with a demonstration of some of these tropes and figures in Gorgias, Helena 8-14, and some final thoughts on rhythm, periodic style, and clausulae as seen in Demosthenes, De Corona 1.

Riemer handles philosophy in Chapter 8 (pp. 115-34), which embraces segments on pre-Socratics, Sophists, Socrates and the Cynics, Plato and the Academy (discussion here of the famous analogies and allegories in Republic 6 and 7), Aristotle and the Peripatetics, Hellenistic philosophy (Stoicism and Epicureanism), and, very briefly, Neoplatonism.

The next three chapters -- 9 and 11 by Zimmermann, 10 by Weissenberger -- cover literary matters. Chapter 9, 'Epochen der griechischen Literatur' (pp. 135-52), outlines the conventional chronological divisions (archaic, classical, Hellenistic, Roman imperial/late antique), specifying major generic developments in each, with the briefest indications of principal authors. Chapter 10, 'Die Gattungen der griechischen Literatur' (pp. 153-86), presents a more detailed classification by genres. Under poetry, Weissenberger itemizes epic and other hexameter forms, didactic verse, mock and miniature epic (epyllion), hymns, mime and bucolic verse, lyric, elegy, epigram and iambic, and finally the dramatic verse forms -- tragedy, satyr-play, comedy. He sub-categorizes prose forms as philosophy and science, history and biography, oratory, letters, and the novel. Chapter 11, 'Autoren und Werke' (pp. 187-213), presents particulars of the literary and personal biographies of major authors, following the four-part chronology of Chapter 9: archaic (Homer, Hesiod, Archilochus, Alcaeus, and Sappho); classical (Pindar, Bacchylides, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes, Herodotus, Thucydides, Lysias, Xenophon, Isocrates, Aeschines, Demosthenes, Menander, and cross- references to the Plato and Aristotle portions of Chapter 8); Hellenistic (Callimachus, Theocritus, Apollonius Rhodius, Polybius); Roman imperial and late antique (Dionysius of Hallicarnassus, Plutarch, Lucian, Libanius).

In Chapter 12, 'Das Studium' (pp. 214-26), Riemer summarizes the stages of Greek study on both the undergraduate and graduate levels in German universities. He prescribes a semester-by-semester scheme of lecture-courses, proseminars, translation classes (Greek to German and German to Greek), special topics courses (metrics, linguistics, pedagogy), and a minimal list of suggested readings in Greek authors. Also delineated are typical requirements for degrees and state licensure, including types of examination -- written and oral -- at various levels.

There are several appendices: a list of abbreviations commonly used in critical editions, four Greek mythological family trees (house of Atreus, gods and giants, house of Labdacus, and the Trojan royal house), and a lightly annotated ten-page bibliography. Finally there are indices rerum (with glossary) and nominum.

This is an attractive, useful, and handy reference tool that packs a good deal of well-arranged detail into a comparatively small compass. It should be in the personal collection of every classics graduate student; in an English translation, it could also serve the needs of upper-level Anglophone undergraduate majors.


[[1]] F. Graf (ed.), Einleitung in die lateinische Philologie (Stuttgart/Leipzig 1997).

[[2]] On a similar scale, and including both ancient languages, is another masterfully succinct handbook: Gerhard Jäger (ed.), Einführung in die Klassische Philologie (Munich 1980[2]), now apparently out of print.