Literary Snippets: A Colophon Reader
Kiraz, George Anton
This companion volume to Literary Snippets: Colophons Across Space and Time (Gorgias Press, 2023) gives examples of colophons from the Ancient Near East up to the pre-modern world, from different traditions – Akkadian, Hebrew, Arabic, Syriac, and Persian. Colophons typically provide their readers with the historical context in which the scribe produced his or her work: Who was the scribe? When and where was the manuscript produced? For whom was it produced and who paid for it? But colophons are far more rich. They are literary works in their own right, having a style and rhetoric independent of the main literary text of the manuscript. Some are assertive, providing contextual data about the scribe/publisher and manuscript/book; others are expressive, demonstrating the scribe’s feelings and wishes. Some are directive, asking the reader for an action; others declarative, providing all sorts of statements about the scribe/publisher or even the reader. The latter sometimes provide historical facts otherwise lost to history: wars, earthquakes, religious events, and legal agreements. Through the colophons and translations in this volume we hope to present the colophon as a literary genre, and as literature to be studied, read and enjoyed.
George A. Kiraz and Sabine Schmidtke (eds.), Literary Snippets: A Colophon Reader, Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press, 2024