Samuele Coen

DPhil description: My project aims to provide a comprehensive and up-to-date reassessment of the ancient commentary and related genres (treatises on specific topics, paraphraseis, hypotheseis, glossaries) on the basis of the evidence provided by papyrus and parchment fragments. This intriguing and complex topic has never been considered as a whole in the field of ancient scholarship. I aim to challenge the clear-cut categories singled out by many modern scholars within the surviving evidence, in order to provide a more comprehensive as well as nuanced view of how the ancients approached their own literary texts. I consider papyri as objects rather than simply ‘texts’: the physical characteristics of a papyrus (including quality of the writing material, layout, script, presence of lectional and critical signs, corrections and annotations), can provide us with crucial information about its production context and its audience. In Oxford I have the opportunity to inspect the originals of numerous fragments relevant for my project at the Oxyrhychus Papyri Collection kept at the Sackler Library.