Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The Greek Anthology

The Greek Anthology (edition of 1916)

Archive.org direct link (volume 1)
Archive.org direct link (volume 2)
Archive.org direct link (volume 3)
Archive.org direct link (volume 4)
Archive.org direct link (volume 5)
Open Library main page

Selections from the Greek Anthology (1895)

Anthologia Polyglotta (1849)

The Greek Anthology is not by any stretch a discovery or an oddity but I did recently learn that the century-old Loeb edition is still the closest to a full English translation so it seemed worth a post.  Apparently the original text is intact but a few of the erotic poems were translated only into Latin so it's not complete in English.  The Penguin collection from the Anthology has about a fifth of the total and seems to be the next largest.  (Most of my information comes from Gideon Nisbet's "Flowers in the Wilderness: Greek Epigram in the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries" in the collection Expurgating the Classics.)

Of course there may be a reason that the many other translations are only selections.  As both Nisbet and Paton (the Loeb translator) point out, the anthology is an enormous assemblage of both sublime and routine in a sometimes opaque if not arbitrary organization.  In other words, not a page turner, at least in the full version.  But much of the material is certainly worthwhile, one reason there are so many selected editions.

For a shorter overview, I've included a link to Selections from the Greek Anthology, edited by Graham R. Towson (pen name of poet Rosamund Watson) with translations by Andrew Lang, Richard Garnett and others.  There's also a link to the curiosity Anthologia Polyglotta, which for each of the selected poems includes translations into various languages (usually Latin, Italian, German and English).