Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Scripta Privata

Some authors, notably Martin Ferguson Smith (MFS), use the nomenclature scripta privata to group together a miscellaneous collection of pieces of text that appear to come from works that were not part of the main treatises or the maxims (or the Letter to Antipater). This nomenclature was created by William in his pioneering work: Fragmenta. Ordinavit et Explicavit Iohannes William; Johannes, William, Teubner 1907 ISBN 10: 1173108513.

Writing in 1972, MFS  states that, "The scripta privata comprise HK fr. 3 (=Chilton fr. 49), HK fr. 2 (=Chilton fr. 50), HKfr. 26 (=Chilton fr. 51), HKfrr. 21-4 (=Chilton frr. 52-3),' and NF 3". To this group he also wanted to add NF18, which was one of the subjects of his piece at that time.

These scripta privata were an odd assortment and include works such as Letter to Mother (a work attributed to Epicurus, rather than Diogenes), Letter to (a) Friend(s) (termed  epistula ad amicos data by William) and a will written by Diogenes. 

MFF claims that HK frr. 21-4 and almost certainly NF 3 belong to the Letter to Mother.

HK fr. 26 is the closing passage of
epistula ad amicos data. Diogenes addresses a friend, a certain Menneas, and mentions how well he was looked after by Karos and Dionysios on previous visits to Rhodes. MFF feels that he is addressing more than one friend though. He claims that it is possible, therefore, that NF I8 belongs to the same letter.

Another possibility for NF18, MFS claims, is that like HK fr. 2 It is part of Diogenes' will. At the beginning of the will, in which he announces that he is giving instructions. The actual instructions are not given in the extant passage, but presumably related to the setting up of the inscription in the event of the sick and aged Diogenes dying before it was completed. And therefore NF18 might be part of these instructions. 

Finally MFS turns around and states that, "However, it is much more probable that NF 18 belongs to the same writing as HK fr. 3, a short introductory fragment in which Diogenes mentions philanthropy towards foreigners, and refers to the demonstrations of physical and ethical matters which he has given 'in the places below'. 

At this point in 1972, the great flood of new pieces was yet to be found. Therefore I shall return at future postings to address extra pieces of these scripta privata that came to life and started to coalesce into a more cohesive whole. 

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