The Research Project

The aim of this project is to provide through an innovative critical edition the first comprehensive interpretation of some physical, epistemological, ethical and rhetorical works by key figures of Hellenistic philosophy like Epicurus, Chrysippus and Philodemus. These works, totally lost in the manuscript tradition, are preserved exclusively in the carbonised papyrus rolls found since 1752 at Herculaneum and are either totally unpublished or were published only partially between the XIX and the XX century. Even when they were edited, this was done with very precarious methods. In particular, many previous editors did not usually read the original papyri themselves and even when this was the case, they could not dispose of any modern technology for doing this successfully. In order to overcome these problems the candidate plans for each work:

a) to reconstruct with mathematical techniques the relative and absolute sequence of the papyrus fragments in the original book roll;

b) to read and transcribe the original text by means of illuminated stereomicroscopes and with the help of digital multi-spectral images (MSI);

c) to make a thorough textual constitution with a new editorial system and a complete translation;

d) to provide an extensive philosophical introduction and commentary containing a wide-ranging interpretation which highlights the specific contribution given by each work in the mainstream of the philosophical discussion of the Hellenistic age;

e) to supply a DVD including an interactive edition of the critical text with direct links to all the relevant papyrological documentation and a virtual reconstruction of the original papyrus roll.

The works to be edited are intended for publication as indipendent volumes in a new series of Herculanean texts and commentaries.

Next page