Aims, methods, and preparation of material

Nature and aims of L’Année philologique

It will be useful first to clarify the potentially ambiguous words in the title and subtitle, L’Année philologique : bibliographie critique et analytique de l’Antiquité gréco-latine.

L’Année philologique (henceforth APh) is not limited to work relating solely to the study of language and textual history (in the contemporary sense of the word « philology »). In fact, the work it indexes – whether books, journal articles, or collections (proceedings of colloquia, collections in honorem, etc.) – represent all the disciplines that constitute the study of Greek and Roman antiquity. To be convinced of this one need only glance at the organizational scheme (Table des divisions). Despite the disadvantage of ambiguity, the title – which evokes similar publications from the late 19th century, notably L’Année épigraphique – is easy to remember and cite, which probably explains Marouzeau’s choice of it.

Although APh has the subtitle « Critical and analytical bibliography », its editors express no judgements about the works they list. APh is critical only in the sense that it lists, within each book record (and only for books), reviews that appear in excerpted journals. It is analytical in the sense that records of articles include an abstract, usually brief, containing information about the contents of the article. Book records contain a brief description of contents only when the title is uninformative or could be misinterpreted by users.

An important point to remember is that, contrary to what many of its readers suppose, and in spite of its ever-increasing size, APh is not exhaustive (after all, what general bibliography could be ?). As explicitly stated in the Note de consultation that appears at the beginning of each print volume, the use of APh does not eliminate the need to consult bibliographies of specialized subjects, whether in print or on line, or of specialized databases, when these exist ; only these tools are capable, given today’s ever-increasing volume and distribution of scholarly publications, of providing coverage of diverse topics that is both theoretically exhaustive as well as completely up-to-date. For this reason, APh indexes important printed bibliographies such as the Elenchus de Biblica for the Old and New Testaments, and the Bibliographie papyrologique published in Brussels. On the other hand, since it is intended primarily as a resource for scholars and teachers at the advanced levels, APh has long excluded pedagogical materials and works intended simply for a popular audience.

As mentioned above, works listed are of two sorts :

  • articles : journals included in the list at the beginning of the volume (of which we count slightly more than 1,000) are excerpted as regularly and as completely as possible. Articles appearing in other journals are excerpted only as they become available to the editors (usually when authors send offprints to the relevant office of APh). In addition, each office excerpts as many article collections (Acta, Festschriften, and the like) as possible each year.
  • Books: Each office makes mention not only of works encountered in reviews appearing in the journals excerpted by that office, but also of works directed to other offices, or works that have come to the attention of the compilers in any fashion. Since the digitization of APh (i.e., since vol. 66 [1995]), book descriptions follow the standards set by the International Standard Book Description (ISBD), with minor simplifications. Each notice is verified against at least two online library catalogues in order to avoid errors and the omissions. Whenever possible, editors are careful to check book descriptions against a sample copy of the works in question and to study the Table of content. This task of verification is facilitated by the continuing development of electronic library catalogues (Library of Congress, Bibliotheksverbund Bayern, etc.) and book wholesalers (Casalini, Baker & Taylor, etc.), who, with increasing frequency, publish tables of contents.

Productive use of APh depends to a certain extent on the user's familiarity with the organization of the printed volume, which consists of two parts :

The first part is reserved for authors and literary texts in the wide sense of the term (in fact, for convenience, this category includes documents of an epigraphical or papyrological nature, such as carmina epigraphica or school exercises). Since entries are in Latin (Accius Tragicus, Anthologia Latina), the names of Greek authors are given in their Latinized form (Aeschylus Atheniensis, Iohannes Philoponus) and are alphabetized accordingly. Anonymous texts are listed by the title most commonly used today. Pseudepigraphic works are generally found under the rubric of the author who is thought to have composed them, unless they are considered in contemporary usage to be autonomous works (Clementina, Liber antiquitatum biblicarum). Finally, collective rubrics (Carmina uaria Graeca, Comica, Philosophica, etc.) are used for texts that for various reasons it would be awkward to classify under more specific rubrics.

Each rubric may contain several subsections that are separated by a blank line. These subsections are arranged in the following order:

  • Bibliography
  • Methodology and history of scholarship
  • Reference works [dictionaries, encyclopedias, repertories]
  • Indices, concordances, and lexica
  • Texts [editions, translations, commentaries]
  • Reception and transmission
  • Miscellaneous studies

The second part corresponds to subjects and disciplines (more detail can be found in the Table des divisions).

The rubrics have a structure analogous, mutatis mutandis, to those of the first part. The headings are printed in boldface.

The printed volume concludes with five indices :

  • an index of collective rubrics appearing in the current volume ;
  • an Index nominum antiquorum listing the names of historical, mythological, and legendary persons found in the volume ;
  • an Index geographicus where place names appearing in titles or summaries of listed publications are noted ;
  • an Index nominum recentiorum that lists the names of medieval and modern persons who have contributed to the transmission or study of Graeco-Roman civilization and who are mentioned in the current volume ;
  • an index of modern authors.

Because of constraints of time and personnel, APh has never been able to offer even a summary index of subjects.

This is undeniably an inconvenience, which the detailed organizational plan and the numerous cross-references to other rubrics can remedy only in an imperfect way.

This website contains a sample of the printed volume designed to illustrate clearly the above principles.


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