It occurs to me that music bloggers typically make year-end ‘best of’ lists for the best new music they’ve heard this year. Why shouldn’t I make a post to highlight the most interesting things I’ve read this year that were published this year? Thanks to my obsessive cataloging of my reading with EndNote, compiling a list is actually not so hard, so without further adieu, and in no particular order (aside from alphabetically, as every good bibliography should be) is my selective list of my philological favourites of 2014:
Colvin, Stephen. 2014. A Brief History of Ancient Greek. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.
I did blog earlier about Stephen’s book closer to the time it was published. I wrote then that “the chapter giving an explanation of Greek dialect ecologies in the Classical period is one of the clearest treatments of the topic I’ve ever read”. In general it’s a very good introduction to the prehistory and the early development of the Greek language. I’m going to be eagerly waiting the paperback version.
Duhoux, Yves & Anna Morpurgo Davies (eds) 2014. A Companion to Linear B: Mycenaean Greek Texts and their World. Volume III. Louvain-la neuve: Peeters.
The latest instalment of the Linear B Companion was somewhat disappointing, as it ended up not having the long-awaited chapter on Mycenaean language and dialect and it appears that it will have to be relegated to yet another (previously unplanned) fourth volume in the series. (The sad passing of Anna Morpurgo Davies earlier this year has likely complicated the publication schedule of this series). Nevertheless there’s an enormous chapter by José Melena about the script, and John Bennet has a very good chapter about Linear B and Homer, focusing on the archaeology.
Dunkel, George. 2014. Lexikon der indogermanischen Partikeln und Pronominalstämme. Band 1: Einleitung, Terminologie, Lautgesetze, Adverbialendungen, Nominalsuffixe, Anhänge und Indices. Band 2: Lexikon. Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter.
I don’t care what people have to say about the irreconstructability of PIE particles because of their essentially pragmatic function, it’s still quite impressive to see George Dunkel’s longterm project to collect all the comparative data on PIE particles, pronominal stems, suffixes, and adverbial endings finally out in published form. I wrote a little bit about this book earlier when I finally found out that it had been published, and the more time I spend with the book, even if I may disagree with come aspects of reconstruction, I keep being more impressed at the enormous amount of work and analysis that has gone into the lexicon. And, at €120 for two thick well-produced volumes, I hesitate to say it, it’s actually rather affordable compared to the average of €230+ per individual volume in the Leiden IE Etymological Dictionary Series. (We’re speaking comparatively here, but I was shocked to hear a certain Professor of Comparative Philology call that a bargain price in this day and age. Oh, how we’ve become so desensitised to Brill-iant prices…)
Falluomini, Carla. 2014. “Zum gotischen Fragment aus Bologna” Zeitschrift für deutsches Altertum und deutsche Literatur 143:281-305.
Although it was actually published for the first time in 2013, I only recently discovered that a new Gothic palimpsest was discovered in a codex of Augustine in Bologna. It’s always exciting to find new material for a language with a corpus as restricted as Gothic. Falluomini’s article is a second, critical edition of the text, with commentary.
Hintze, Almut. 2014. “Avestan Research 1991–2014. Part I: Sources and Phonology” Kratylos 59:1-52.
Kratylos is normally a journal for book reviews of new works in Indo-European philology, but from time-to-time it has the occasional Forschungsbericht or review article. In the latest issue Almut Hintze has put together a critical review of the last 14 years of Avestan scholarship following up on similar surveys written covering 1900-1990 by John Kellens and Jacques Duchesne-Guillemin in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. I’ve found it useful to catch up on the state of research, and also thanks to Almut putting it on academia.edu, it’s also available online – although you might need an account on the website to download it.
Mayor, Adrienne, John Colarusso & David Saunders. 2014. “Making Sense of Nonsense Inscriptions Associated with Amazons and Scythians on Athenian Vases” Hesperia 83:447-93.
This article gained a good deal of media attention earlier this year – from LanguageHat to National Geographic, and so the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, which publishes the journal Hesperia, has made it open access. I’m afraid I haven’t read it in detail myself, but I’m sure I’ll get around to it sometime soon.
Obbink, Dirk. 2014. “Two New Poems of Sappho” Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 189:32-49.
For me, this was probably the highlight of the philological year. It’s not every day that six-to-seven near-complete stanza’s of Sappho’s poetry gets published, nor every day that new papyrological finds get press attention in The Guardian. I wrote a short piece for the Cambridge Graduate blog, Res Gerendae, about it back in February.
Thompson, Rupert J. E. 2014. “Orations for Honorary Degrees” Cambridge University Reporter 6353:653-62.
Finally to close with something fun, this document contains the texts of the Latin orations given for honorary degrees granted in Cambridge this last June. Among the awards was an honorary doctorate for Magneto (or Gandalf, whomever you prefer), and for the first time Elvish was publicly uttered in the Senate House of the University of Cambridge.