An Epic “Hit List”

by Amanda Gerber

Modern literary historians often turn to manuscript margins to uncover evidence of medieval reading practices, especially to uncover the ethical, rhetorical, or allegorical interpretations appended to texts.[1] While examining medieval copies of classical epics, I have observed that, more than any of the aforementioned interpretive paradigms, medieval readers sought the same type of assistance as modern ones: namely, assistance with deciphering classical epics’ difficult syntax, historical contexts, and convoluted character lists. This blog post accounts for one such struggling fifteenth-century reader of Statius’s first-century Achilleid, a reader who devised his own means for tracking the names of and relationships between the poem’s numerous characters. Continue reading “An Epic “Hit List””

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