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Anubio, a Greek poet and astrologer in Roman Egypt

English title Anubio, a Greek poet and astrologer in Roman Egypt
Applicant Schubert Paul
Number 146031
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Département des Sciences de l'Antiquité Faculté des Lettres Université de Genève
Institution of higher education University of Geneva - GE
Main discipline Ancient history and Classical studies
Start/End 01.04.2013 - 31.03.2017
Approved amount 178'474.00
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Keywords (6)

astrology; Roman Egypt; Anubio; Anoubion; papyrus; didactic poetry

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
Reconstituer les contours d’un poème grec perdu décrivant les grandes lignes de la science astrologique, tel est l’objet de ce projet : il s’agira non seulement de produire une édition scientifique des fragments conservés, mais de replacer l’ensemble dans le contexte littéraire de la poésie didactique de l’époque, en étudiant des sources transmises par des papyrus (fragments originaux du poème) ainsi que par des manuscrits byzantins (témoignages indirects).
Lay summary

Anoubion, poète élégiaque grec, a vécu en Égypte sous le Haut Empire romain (Ier – IIIe s. ap. J.-C.). Son poème astrologique, dont le titre est perdu, reprend le contenu d’un manuel de la période hellénistique (IIIe – Ier s. av. J.-C.) que nous ne possédons plus. Ce manuel a servi de base à plusieurs autres astrologues, notamment le poète Dorothéos de Sidon, le prosateur connu sous le nom de Manéthon, ainsi qu’à un auteur latin, Firmicus Maternus.

Anoubion a attiré l’attention des savants dès la fin du XIXe siècle ; la publication récente de plusieurs papyrus grecs nous a restitué des fragments inconnus du poème et permet une nouvelle évaluation de l’ensemble. L’édition savante disponible depuis quelques années n’est pas satisfaisante ; il convient donc de reprendre l’ensemble du matériel pour le soumettre à un examen approfondi, tâche qui sera dévolue au responsable du projet.

Ce premier volet du projet facilitera l’exécution d’une seconde étude, confiée à une assistante de recherche, consistant à replacer le poème d’Anoubion dans son environnement littéraire, dans une perspective d’histoire des genres. Anoubion est le seul astrologue grec connu à avoir pratiqué le distique élégiaque, une forme métrique liée – entre autres – à la poésie didactique. Comment expliquer le travail concurrent de Dorothéos, qui pratique l’hexamètre dactylique ? Où placer Anoubion face à la tradition grecque hellénistique, ou face aux poètes didactiques latins de son époque ?

Une fois le projet achevé, nous disposerons d’une édition commentée complète des fragments et des témoignages relatifs au poème, ainsi que d’une évaluation d’ensemble de la place d’Anoubion dans le contexte littéraire de son époque.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 28.03.2013

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
To reconstruct the outline of a lost Greek poem which covered the general teachings of astrology : such is the scope of this project. We shall not only produce a scientific edition of all preserved fragments, but also locate those texts within the larger literary context of didactic poetry of its times, by looking at sources transmitted through papyri (original fragments from the poem) as well as through Byzantine manuscripts (indirect testimonies).
Lay summary

Anubio, a Greek elegiac poet, lived in Egypt under the Early Roman Empire (first – third cent. AD). His poem of astrological content – the title of which is lost – is based on a manual dating back to the Hellenistic period (third – first cent. BC), which is also not preserved. This manual was used by several other astrologers, including the poet Dorotheos of Sidon, the prose writer known as Manetho, and also through a Latin author, Firmicus Maternus.

Anubio attracted the attention of scholars since the latin nineteenth century. Through the recent publication of several Greek papyri, some hitherto unknown fragments of the poem were restored, allowing a new assessment of the whole. The scholarly edition published a few years ago is not satisfactory ; it is necessary to reevaluate the available material, a task which will be undertaken by the principal investigator.

This first part will help to develop a second sub-project, to be executed by a research assistant : she will situate the poem of Anubio in its literary setting, following a perspective of literary genres. Anubio is the only know Greek astrologer to have used elegiacs, a metric form linked – among other sub-genres – to didactic poetry. How can we explain that Dorotheos used hexameters to perform the same task ? Where should we place Anubio in relation to the Hellenistic tradition, or to the Latin didactic poets of his time ?

When this project is brought to completion, we shall have a full edition of fragments and testimonies, with commentary, as well as an overall assessment of Anubio’s place in the literary context of his time.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 28.03.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Anoubion, Témoignages et fragments
Schubert Paul (2015), Anoubion, Témoignages et fragments, Collection des Universités de France, Paris.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Prof. Joachim Friedrich Quack Germany (Europe)
- Publication
Prof. Kim Ryholt Denmark (Europe)
- Publication
Prof. John Steele United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Prof. Philippe Collombert Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Prof. Antoine Cavigneaux Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
27th International Congress of Papyrology (Warsaw, July 29th – August 3rd, 2013) Talk given at a conference Anoubion, poète élégiaque et astrologue 29.08.2013 Warszawa, Poland Schubert Paul; Monteventi Vanessa;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Talks/events/exhibitions Anoubion, un poète astrologue grec en Égypte romaine International 2019
Talks/events/exhibitions Presentation de la monographi Anoubion : témoignages et fragments at the Librairie des Belles-Lett International 2016
Media relations: print media, online media Quand vais-je mourir pourlamourdugrec International 2015
Talks/events/exhibitions Astrologie und Dichtung im römischen Ägypten German-speaking Switzerland 2014
Talks/events/exhibitions Des astrologues grecs en Égypte romaine Western Switzerland 2014

Awards

Title Year
Prix Ambatielos 2016 de l’Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres 2016
Prix Raymond Weil 2016 de l’Association des Études Grecques 2016

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
164872 La poésie didactique astrologique grecque et latine, des origines à la chute de l'Empire romain 01.01.2016 Doc.Mobility
190311 La poésie astrologique dans la littérature grecque et latine 01.10.2019 Open Access Books

Abstract

The aim of this project will be to produce a global study of Anubio of Diospolis, a Greek poet and astrologer who was active in Egypt in the early Roman Empire. This study will consist of two sub-projects running in parallel, the first on the general context of production regarding Anubio, and the second on the text of the poem itself, of which only fragments are preserved.Until recently, it could be said that Anubio sits at a crossroads between four cultures : as a Greek didactic poet, he belongs to a long tradition that goes back to the archaic period ; when Anubio chooses elegy to teach his readers, he is echoing a practice rooted in the Hellenistic period ; the process of astrological prediction, however, harks back to the activity of astrologers in Mesopotamia ; finally, astrology became very successful in Egypt, especially in the early Principate.Recent research shows, however, that this simple structure requires some adjustment : our Egyptian demotic sources now allow us to better grasp the merging of the Egyptian astrological tradition with the Greek tradition in the Hellenistic period, especially through the figure of Nechepsos. Moreover, the recurring presence of iambic elements in the fragments attributed to the so-called pseudo-Nechepsos brings a new dimension - on the formal side - to the question of literary genres.The contextual part of this research will be dealt with by a research assistant and should form the basis for the writing of her doctoral thesis, under the supervision of the applicant and the co-applicant ; the textual part will be in the hands of the applicant, in order to maintain the best possible cooperation between the two approaches.
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