Welcome to EuripidesScholia.org

This site offers Release 1 of the Scholia on Euripides, Orestes 1–500, part of a long-term project to provide an expandable and correctable open-access presentation of the Greek annotations found in ancient and medieval manuscripts of Euripides (or assembled separately from the text of the dramas). Release 1 was officially launched on May 1, 2020, after several weeks of preview while various aspects were being finalized and rechecked.

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For archival purposes, the 2010 Demonstration Edition (representing a much smaller sampling) is still accessible at https://EuripidesScholia.org/2010version/EurSchHome.html.


What are Scholia?

Scholia is a catchall term applied to various annotations accumulated in antiquity and the medieval Byzantine period to explain or comment on various aspects of Greek texts. The Greek word scholion is derived from scholē (meaning ‘leisure’, but also ‘study’) with the addition of a diminutive suffix ‑ion. It presumably started out meaning ‘a small product of learned study’. This word is first extant in a private letter of Cicero (ad Atticum 16.7.3) and is found in Greek writers of the Roman imperial age such as Arrian, Galen, and Lucian. The terms scholiographos and scholiographein (‘writer of scholia’ and ‘to write scholia’) appear in the Church Fathers and within corpora of scholia themselves. The term scholiastēs (‘scholiast’) is attested in the 12th century (in Eustathius and Tzetzes) and in some corpora of scholia.

Major works of ancient Greek literature were the object of scholarly study among the Greeks themselves at least from the fifth century BCE onward. From the third to the first century BCE, important scholars edited the texts of the dramas of Euripides and the two other famous fifth-century tragedians, Aeschylus and Sophocles, and wrote commentaries and treatises that touched upon the mythological subject matter, performance, language, and interpretation of the plays. The variegated body of miscellaneous annotation we call scholia to Euripides is an amalgam of excerpts from the Hellenistic tradition of philological study and commentary, brief explanatory notes and paraphrases of a more basic nature produced by intermediate school-teachers, and analyses of rhetorical structures and arguments derived from the practice of more advanced teachers.

A few marginal annotations are found in some ancient books of the papyrus-roll type, the normal format for literary texts from classical times through the 2nd-3rd centuries CE. The codex-form became increasingly common for literary texts during the 2nd-4th centuries, and during the early Byzantine period (4th to 6th centuries CE) scholia came to be written in the margins around the primary text in some books. The compilation of large sets of annotations from different sources occurred in major centers of learning either in the 5th-6th centuries or at the time of the earliest minuscule manuscripts in the 9th century.


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