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A.M. Gorky Institute
of World Literature
of the Russian Academy of Sciences

IWL RAS Publishing

A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature
of the Russian Academy of Sciences


Povarskaya 25a, 121069 Moscow, Russia



Types of publications

About the author:

Ludmila I. Shchegoleva, DSc in Philology, Researcher, Institute of World History of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Leninsky Prospekt, 32 a, 119334 Moscow, Russia.

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The article deals with the treatise “Homeric questions” (Ὁμηρικὰ ζητήματα) by the outstanding Greek Neoplatonic philosopher Porphyry of Tyre (about 232 – about 305). The treatise, compiled by the author presumably in the initial period of his work, during philology classes under the guidance of Cassius Longinus (before 263), was an important stage both in the study and commenting on the texts of Homer, as well as in the development of ancient humanitarian knowledge in general. The first book of the treatise was rewritten separately in full, the material of the other books was included as an integral part in the scholia to the “Iliad” and the “Odyssey”, indicating the authorship of Porphyry. The article discusses the main philological problems that the first book of Porfiry’s treatise is devoted to (etymology and internal form of words, features of language and style, tropes and figures of speech, explanation of plot contradictions and incomprehensible places, textual difficulties, etc.), and methods of their solution. It is concluded that the first book of “Homeric Questions” is an exemplary scientific work of its time, based on the works of its predecessors (Aristotle, philologists of the Alexandrian school, Cassius Longinus) with the involvement of a large amount of the most diverse material from the Greek language, literature, history and mythology. This is a valuable source for studying the history of European philological thought and for observing the scientific methods of working with the text of a philologist of the second half of the third century.

  • Keywords: ancient literature, Homer, commentaries, Porphyry, poetics, rhetoric.


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