Name: Ioana Costa
Affiliation: University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, Department of Classical Philology
Citation Recommendation: Costa, Ioana. ”Ancient Tables of Contents”. Synthesis, XLI (2014): 3-9.
Title: ANCIENT TABLES OF CONTENTS
Table of contents (Latin summarium) is a vital component of a book, meant to reveal both the topic and the approach and to create a rapid connection between the author and the reader. The ancient books, mostly those written on papyrus scrolls, sometimes included a summarium: two major examples are Pliny the Elder’s Naturalis historia and Cato the Elder’s De agri cultura. These two works have in common the magnitude of the content, either in the encyclopaedic dimensions, in 37 extended books/chapters, or the pragmatic significance of a handbook about running a farm. Both summaria are placed before the actual work, as perfect opening and plea for being read and frequently used. The long ordeal of transmitting these writings from ancient times to the printing era and, nevertheless, from a specific printed edition to another, reveals the importance of summarium in keeping alive a book.
Keywords: summarium, Pliny the Elder, Cato the Elder, text transmission.
CATON, De l’agriculture. 1975. Raoul Goujard (ed.), Paris: Les Belles Lettres.
CATO, De agri cultura. Cartea despre cultivarea pámíntului. 2010. Ioana Costa (ed.), București: Editura Universității din București.
PLINIO SECONDO, Storia naturale. 1982-1988. 5 vol., Gian Biagio Conte (ed.), Torino: Einaudi.
PLINIUS, Naturalis historia. Enciclopedia cunoștințelor din Antichitate. 2001-2004. 6 vol., Ioana Costa (ed.), Iași: Polirom.